VIENNA - Hamilton Middle School's Lakyn Edwards and Parkersburg High School's Nathan Brookover have been on a roll so to speak when it comes to their time at Emerson Lanes.
Edwards, a seventh-grader, became the youngest person in West Virginia to roll a perfect game. The senior Brookover, who was a member of last year's Big Red state championship bowling team, notched his fifth career 300 last month and nearly broke the city scoring record of 856 still held by Marty Brandjes.
During a youth league event last month, Edwards rolled games of 182 and 205 before striking a dozen consecutive times. Casey Friese, Grace Williams and Logan Clegg were bowling with her and witnessed history.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Lakyn Edwards, left. and Nathan Brookover bowled 300s last month at Emerson Lanes. Edwards became the youngest bowler to accomplish the feat in West Virginia and Brookover nearly broke the city record of 856 in the process.
"I was confident until the 12th strike and I got really nervous. I just kept with my normal routine," said Edwards, who at age 9 threw a gutter ball and then put together 11 straight strikes for what then was a career-best 290. "I always have trouble with the seventh frame and it's just like my nemesis.
"I don't know why, but I always mess up in the seventh frame and once I got past that I knew I was going to get it. I had never bowled more (from the start of a game) than six straight strikes."
When asked if she ever really thought a 300 would happen Edwards replied "no, but it was a goal. My brother (Jacob) had a 299 and I think that was the year after I bowled my 290 and I knew I had to beat that sometime.
"My next goal is for an 800 series. I'm still getting congratulations and everyone keeps on hugging me."
Edwards, who also had a 278 prior to her perfect game in January, carries a 186 average and wants "to go to Vanderbilt University in Nashville to bowl. They have one of the top bowling colleges and it's basically the Harvard of medical schools. I want to be an emergency room physician."
One could call Brookover a physician since he's nearly perfected his craft at bowling, which includes a 219 average.
What made his fifth career game so special came from the fact his father Larry had rolled a 300 the game before during a family twosome league. Nathan was bowling with his mother Beth and dad Larry was paired with sister Justine.
"The first game when dad did it I started with the first seven strikes and then I left a 10-pin and struck out for a 279," Nathan recalled. "After he did it and after my first game I kind of just thought I probably used it all up right there.
"When I started going toward the end I thought maybe I could do the same thing as he did. It was pretty amazing."
The Big Red said he threw an errant ball in the fifth and caught a break because "it went right through the head pin. Three pins were standing and one pin came across and took all three out and I was like 'OK, all right then, I guess I still got a chance.'"
During the 17-year-olds third game, it was deja vu all over again. After hammering through the front seven again, he left another 10-pin in the eighth.
"Then I threw a strike in the ninth and after that lane 20 broke down and I had to wait five minutes between frames so I kind of started to think," Brookover said of the 857 needed to break Brandjes' longtime mark.
"The first one in the 10th I absolutely missed left (of the second arrow) and it just went straight and carried. The second one I threw right where I had been the whole time and it just hooked a little bit and left the 4-pin."
Brookover, who banged out 32 of a possible 36 strikes to finish with a 268 and an 847 series, was just happy to beat Brian Watson's career-best series of 846.
"I've still got a long time I can do this," Brookover said of one day breaking Brandjes' record, which is something Watson has said for a long time as well.
Brookover admits he's enjoyed ribbing Watson of besting his career series.
"I still want to be the first person to throw a 300 in a high school tournament," said Brookover, who has the state tournament in three weeks back at Emerson Lanes.
Upon graduation, he is leaning toward majoring in sports administration at the University of Charleston.