A bowling bronze at nationals
Rachelle Greeley of Upper Island Cove has strong showing in Quebec
It’s not hard for Rachelle Greeley of Upper Island Cove to find inspiration.
Whenever the 21-year-old needs a spark, she leans on her family.
At the recent 2011 Canadian Masters Five-pin Bowling Championships in Gatineau, Quebec, words of encouragement from her mother and thoughts of her late father nearly propelled her to a championship.
Competing at her first national event, Greeley flirted with top spot in the teaching ladies’ singles division for most of the tournament, holding her own against eight of the best female bowlers in the country.
After four days of intense competition, she eventually settled for third place. But along the way, she won the hearts and admiration of her teammates and competitors, many of whom were twice her age, but had never achieved such success.
Greeley was among the youngest females entered in the tournament, and one of only two Newfoundlanders to come away with a medal.
Brad Glynn of St. John’s won a silver medal in mens’ singles.
During an interview last week, Greeley said she was happy enough just to win her first provincial championship this past spring, beating out some 60 others for the right to enter the teaching ladies’ single division at the nationals.
She never expected to perform so well in Quebec.
“It was just great and I was really excited,” she said. “I never thought I would get a national medal. But I did.”
In the teaching division, competitors use a pins-over-average scoring system, while tournament play uses a system called total pin fall.
Greeley finished with a record of 18 wins and eight losses, just one win back of the silver medalist and four behind the first-place winner from Quebec.
When the pressure started to mount in Quebec, Greeley turned to her mother, Sylvia, who was just a phone call away.
“She’s behind me 100 per cent,” said Greeley.
Her father, Winston, passed away at a young age several years ago, but he’s very close to her heart, said Greeley.
She wears around her neck two pendants — a heart-shaped photo of her father and a gold “Daddy’s little girl” — as a constant reminder of his influence and courage in the face of adversity.
“I never take these off,” she said, displaying the pendants in her hand.
Greeley also credited her coach, Ginny Heffernan, for much of her success.
“She really pushed me,” Greeley stated.
And it helped that her boyfriend, Steven Delaney of Shearstown, was also competing at the nationals. Delaney was a member of the provincial teaching menss team, which finished seventh.
Greeley was also part of the provincial teaching ladies’ team, which finished eighth.
A pleasant surprise
Greeley’s performance came as a pleasant surprise to those in the bowling fraternity in this province, since most of the success on the national stage comes from bowlers from the St. John’s area.
Greeley, Delaney and Genevieve Gillard from Grand Falls-Windsor were the only bowlers on the provincial team from outside the St. John’s region.
Greeley joined Youth Bowling Canada ( YBC) as a young girl because some of her friends were playing. She had some success in team competition, winning silver at the provincials with Old Mill Lanes as a 16-year-old.
But it wasn’t until she started playing at the masters level that she took an interest in singles play.
Leading up to the nationals, Greeley was playing three times a week, mostly in St. John’s. It was quite an investment of time and money, but it was worth it, Greeley said.
As for next year, Greeley hopes to play even more, and wants to qualify for the 2012 nationals, which will be hosted in this province, and other national-level events.
Rachelle Greeley of Upper Island Cove displays the bronze medal she won in the teaching ladies’ singles division at the2011 Canadian Masters Five-pin Bowling Championships in Gatineau, Quebec on July 5. She’s also holding her personal bowling ball, which is inscribed with her name.