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Ashland bowler 3rd, garners scholarship

Ashland's Sam Drew didn't have a chance to get nervous prior to the Coca-Cola Youth Bowling Championships in Salt Lake City.

Because Drew's flight from San Francisco was delayed, the 15-year-old bowler was forced to go straight from the airport to AMF Ritz Classic Bowl to begin the national tournament.

The late arrival didn't faze Drew as she went on to finish third in the girls' handicap division and win a $1,000 college scholarship during the event Aug. 4-8.

It was probably the best experience I ever had in my life, said Drew, who became a local favorite. The crowd cheering me on and chanting my name really helped.

Drew, a 135-average bowler, rolled games of 212, 202, 196, 192 and 189 during the tournament.

She was in third place after the initial four-game block of games, then dropped to eighth after another four-game block.

After eight games the 32-player field was cut to 16 to begin a match-play double-elimination format.

Drew won her first two matches, before losing by two pins in her third. She came back to win her fourth and fifth matches. A 30-pin loss in her next match gave her third place. Along the way, Drew defeated eventual winner Sabrina Smart of Idaho.

The Ashland High incoming sophomore didn't have any preconceived ideas going into her first national tournament, but came away impressed.

I didn't really know anything about it, said Drew. There were a lot of people and it was really crowded in big bleachers in the back.

I was really pumped up.

Drew qualified for the national event by winning the state competition and a $250 scholarship. She also picked up a $300 scholarship by winning her division in the Marshall Holman Triple Play tournament held earlier this year at Medford Lanes.