Dakota Conaway spent the week in Indianapolis, Ind., competing in the North Pointe Junior Gold Open Championships bowling tournament.
The Great Bend High School senior-to-be finished 246th out of 1,048 competitors. The first cut in the semifinals was the top 150 bowlers.
“I was a little upset that I didn’t make the first cut,” Conaway said. “But it was a learning experience. They were using different patterns than I usually see. They were using world patterns like you see team USA using.
“So to finish in the top fourth of the competition was pretty good for my first time bowling on the new pattern.”
The pattern, Conaway explained, has to do with the oil on the lane. The pattern the national competition used only had oil on 33 feet of the lane, which is less than other tournaments Conaway has competed in.
Conaway qualified for the championship at the Kansas City Open earlier this year.
“You have to qualify at a tournament,” Conaway said. “You have to be a Junior Gold member as well as a USBC member. I actually qualified in two tournaments this year, but the first one was in Kansas City.”
Conaway competes in several tournaments each year, and has competed in one other national event — an Adult/Youth International Family Tournament.
“Two years ago, I competed with my dad (Chuck) in an adult/youth tournament,” Conaway said. “We took fifth.”
Conaway said he received a lot of support from the community.
“I am really thankful for Jim and Linda Mayberry,” Conaway said. “They came to Indianapolis with my parents and I. They’ve been supporting me from the get-go to the very end.”
Conaway said that winning these youth events earns him scholarship money.
“I don’t think I got any money for this event, but I have won scholarship money in the past,” Conaway said. “I finished second at the Pepsi qualifying, and I got first in an adult/youth team competition this year with Donnie Clark. I won $500 and another $250 for bowling the high series.”
While Conaway said he was a little upset with his finish, he said he won’t let it stop him.
“I’ve probably bowled more this summer than I have in past years,” Conaway said. “It’s just something else when I’m out there on the lanes.
“I plan to get back next year to give it another try.”