Rhiannon Davis is looking forward to being coached for the first time in her bowling career.
Davis — who graduated from Campbell County High School in May — has been bowling since she was 10 years old. She moved to Gillette from Iowa and immediately fell in love with the game after watching her stepfather — Ben Webster — bowl at Camelanes.
Davis’ bowling career took a step forward this month. The former Camel signed to bowl at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. The Division II program competes in the Conference Carolinas for bowling.
“I’m just so happy they even looked at me,” Davis said. “They saw that I had some talent and I’m looking forward to being an asset on their team. I’m happy they even glanced at me because it’s so hard to get recruited for bowling in the first place.”
Wyoming is one of 31 states where bowling isn’t an official high school sport, according to bowl.com. With no team to join at Campbell County, Davis has instead participated in the sport through the regular and travel leagues as well as local and statewide tournaments.
A big part of Davis being recruited to bowl in college was her taking matters into her own hands. She made a highlight tape and began networking through Facebook and other websites to get her name out there in the bowling world. She also impressed some coaches during the annual Junior Gold Championships.
The Junior Gold Championships is an annual national tournament for the top male and female youth bowlers in the country and features eight divisions, including U12 boys, U12 girls, U15 boys, U15 girls, U18 boys, U18 girls, U20 boys and U20 girls.
Davis qualified for nationals every year she was in high school. She qualified this year but decided not to attend.
“Recruiting was such a long process and it definitely wasn’t easy,” Davis said. “I started the recruiting process a little bit earlier during my freshman year. The biggest thing was going to nationals and bowling in front of a ton of college coaches.”
Davis won the girls single scratch state championship at the Wyoming youth state tournament in November. She also finished first in girls scratch, third in doubles scratch and third in team scratch. This year was Davis’ fourth consecutive state title.
The biggest draw to LMU was the connection she was able to establish with the program’s coaching staff. She also enjoyed how small the campus was during her visit.
“As soon as I got there I just loved the place,” Davis said. “All the other girls were so welcoming, too.”
Davis will join a women’s program that brought home the conference title in the Conference Carolinas/Great Midwest Championship Tournament this year. She will bowl alongside CC Bowler of the Year Cassidy Anschultz and Freshman of the Year Lorrie Decker along with four other all-conference athletes, according to LMU’s website.
Davis already has a good idea what she wants to do after her college bowling career. In fact, she’s known what career path she’s wanted to take since she was in the first grade.
“I’ve always known I wanted to be a nurse,” Davis said. “I’m definitely looking forward to studying stuff I’m actually interested in.”
On the bowling side, Davis is most looking forward to having a coach for the first time in her career.
“I’ve gone the last seven or eight years without an actual coach,” Davis said. “A lot of these college kids have coaches, but in Wyoming there are no specialized coaches. I’m excited to learn from an actual coach because I’ve pretty much been teaching myself for all these years.”
Davis also played softball for Campbell County and helped the program win its first state championship last year. She took this summer off from travel softball to umpire instead.
“Umpiring definitely made me miss the team aspect of the game,” Davis said. “Softball was an important part of my life but at the same time I’m ready to put it down to rest for good.”
One of the most important parts of Davis’ visit to LMU was checking out the school’s home bowling alley. While it isn’t Camelanes, she’s excited to see what she’s able to do at Hillcrest Lanes in Tennessee.
Davis will report to LMU in early August and start practicing right away. The Railsplitters will start the season in October.