March 3, 2011
Roher steps onto state stage
Courtney Roher is in her element on bowling alleys, and her performance proves it.
The 17-year-old Cortland High senior is on the Section 3 girls’ composite team for Sunday’s state tournament at Strike-N-Spare Lanes in Mattydale after winning the individual championship with a career-high 712 series on games of 187-267-258 at Pin-O-Rama in Utica Feb. 13. The 267 game was one pin shy of her best-ever game.
The seeds of Roher’s success were planted early.
“I’ve been bowling since I was a year and a half old and went with my parents (Diane and Ezra) and kind of bowled,” she said with a laugh. “I started getting in bumper bowling leagues when I was three. My whole family, including my brother, Sid Greene, is in it, and I’ve always bowled in Saturday morning leagues.
“When I transferred to Cortland High from Dryden, it was bowling or volleyball and I decided on bowling.”
Roher’s 185 average was the third-highest in the Onondaga High School League this season and helped lead the third-year Purple Tigers to the league championship with a 12-2 record.
“In bowling, it is easy to become frustrated when things are not going well,” CHS coach Ron Reed said. “I’m not a golfer, but I understand it is the same with that sport. Courtney experiences those days when the ball doesn’t respond the way you expect it to and picking up ‘easy’ spares seems like a major task. Rather than become angry with the situation, Courtney accepts that ‘it’s one of those days.’
“She has the experience and confidence to know that it won’t last forever. She is committed to becoming an excellent bowler. The path to that goal will not always be smooth. Courtney studies the game, makes adjustments and frequently bounces back by the next practice session. And she puts a lot of time into her practice.”
It all came into play, and paid off, at sectionals.
“Mr. Reed told me before we started that I was on the list for the all-sectional team,” Roher said. “Then I was nervous. But I loosened up and had fun, though I was anxious to see how I did... I ended up winning by 42 pins.
“I keep wanting to look up when I bowl to see if I’m near 600 or 700, but coach Reed and the mother of one of my teammates told me not to, that I’d jinx myself. I forgot that it was on the monitor anyway. Before my first ball in the last frame, I knew that I had 700. After staring with the 187, I thought ‘Oh boy. Now I’ll have to bowl really well.’ I focused on my game and didn’t fool around, though I had fun with the girls. Most everyone was doing well, and our team is like a family.”
Roher will graduate this June, a year ahead of schedule, and plans to attend Erie Community College in Buffalo and compete for its powerhouse bowling team. She competed in sectionals two years ago, as a freshman, noting that it was “not great,” but missed last year due to a wrist injury.
“Without trying to be cliché about it, Courtney’s performance at the sectional meet was exceptional but not atypical for her,” Reed said. “What I mean by this is that, despite it being the best performance of her life, she was calm — at least on the outside — and reserved. She was not returning from the foul line after each strike, looking for some fancy acknowledgment by her teammates or others.
“It was her ‘job’ to roll the ball so well, and she was the best in the section that day. Watching the smooth approach and easy roll that typifies Courtney’s technique and style, people knew they were witnessing something very special. She has a humble pride about her achievements.”
“Mr. Reed keeps us going,” Roher said of her coach. “We like having fun, and he’s well-organized and keeps us on our feet. He’s always a fan.”
In addition to Reed, Roher, who works at Cort-Lanes as a cook and occasionally at the front desk, works with Chuck Pitts there on aspects of her game. The state tournament will be bowled on what is known as the “Middle Of The Road” Pattern, and that pattern was laid down at Cort-Lanes so she could practice on it.
“It’s not tough, but it’s not the easiest,” she said when asked if bowling at the house she’s competed in league events on all season would be an advantage. “I have to keep practicing.”
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