Born to bowl

Putnam's Nikolas earns MVP honors at state

Courtney Nikolas, a homeschooler who competes for Putnam's girls bowling team, has had quite a year during the 2007-08 high school season.

Nikolas, who has been bowling as long as she can remember, was the most valuable female bowler at the recent state high school bowling championships.

During the tournament, teams bowled Baker format games, with bowlers taking turns rolling the ball within the same game.

In determining the most valuable bowler, points were compiled based on the number of strikes and spares recorded by a bowler, with three points awarded for a strike and two for a spare.

Nikolas scored 159 points, finishing 14 in front of her nearest competitor. She had 37 strikes and 27 spares for 72 frames.

Nikolas earned the top spot on the all-state team through her performance.

It's no surprise that Nikolas, who is a sophomore in eligibility at Putnam, is a successful bowler.

'The joke that's going around is bowling's in my blood,' said Nikolas. 'The night I was born my mom was in labor. She was bowling in league and she told everyone, 'I hope my water doesn't break.' The big joke was I was born to bowl.'

Nikolas carries a 182 average in the Future Pros league at Kellogg Bowl, and a 166 average in the Junior Masters league at Milwaukie bowl.

'I can remember as a little girl my parents helped me and I rolled the ball between my legs,' said Nikolas. 'I've pretty much grown up in a bowling alley.'

Nikolas' parents, Milwaukie High graduate Russ Nikolas and Putnam High graduate Cindy [Kathrein] Nikolas, have bowled in area leagues for 35 years.

Nikolas and her Putnam teammates - Kristin Hollingsworth, Tracy Barker, Karen Edwards and Christy Scherschel - tied Milwaukie for fourth place at the recent state tournament.

Audrey Rook, Katie Cook, Elizabeth Franks, Danielle Franks, Bailey Frey, Calen Brandt, Heather Edwards and MacKenzie Frey bowled for Milwaukie's fourth-place team.

Rook, Franks and Bailey Frey joined Nikolas on the district all-star team.

Nikolas bowled a 287 game and a 746 series last December. She had 10 strikes in the 287 game, but left the 8-10 split in one frame.

With only one team member lost to graduation, Nikolas expects the Kingsmen to have another successful year next season.

Nikolas' personal goals: 'To excel and just have fun. Not to take it too seriously. I used to want to be a professional, but then I heard the women's tour folded.

'I'd just love to bowl for Clackamas Community College. And I want to coach little kids someday and give back to the community….

'I eat, sleep and breath bowling. I love bowling.'

Nikolas said she bowls around 20 lines a week.

In boys high school bowling, Oregon City boys made a strong showing at district, capturing the district team title.

Oregon City senior Jarren Dewald and Pioneer sophomore Brett Day made the district all-star team.

Senior Keith Anderson and juniors Jordan Burford and James Adams were also on the district championship team.

The Pioneers defeated Milwaukie 363-349 and Centennial 375-341 in the district tournament step-ladder finals. Centennial went on to win state.

Boys teams from Oregon City, Milwaukie, Putnam, Clackamas, David Douglas, Grant, Molalla, Franklin, Benson, Portland Christian and Madison competed in the district.

'This is the seventh year in a row that we've qualified for state,' said Oregon City boys coach Doug Platt.