Passion for sport pays off for Sarich
Conner Sarich is all about bowling.
The 2012 graduate of Grandview Heights High School displays his passion for the game by working to promote youth interest in the sport.
That was one of the reasons Sarich was named a United States Bowling Congress youth ambassador. The USBC has only two throughout the country each year.
"(Grandview coach) Tony Thivener nominated me for the position and I guess (the judges) liked the recommendation that he wrote," said Sarich, who won a $1,500 scholarship and a paid trip to Reno, Nev., for the awards ceremony. "I figured I would have a pretty low chance of getting it, but it's great to be honored in this way."
Thivener said the recognition was well-deserved for Sarich.
"It really has to do with Conner's enthusiasm for the game more than anything," Thivener said. "When people meet, they can sense what that person is about. He wears his love for the sport on his sleeve."
Elizabeth Sienicki, youth marketing project manager for the USBC, said her organization was pleased with Sarich's potential as an ambassador.
"One of our goals is trying to reach as many youth as possible and trying to get kids to bowl," said Sienicki, whose organization is based in Arlington, Texas. "Conner will be on conference calls with our youth committee and helping to find ways to help promote youth bowling."
Sienicki said Sarich's title lasts for one year, until the next USBC convention in May 2014.
"Originally the award was called the YABA International Youth Leader of the Year Award and the ambassadors were selected to serve on the board," Sienicki said. "This was before the USBC was the USBC. We used to have three organizations under the same roof when we were located in Milwaukee, including YABA (Young American Bowling Alliance), ABC (American Bowling Congress) and WIBC (Women's International Bowling Congress). The current ambassador award has been around since 2005-06."
Thivener said Sarich already was promoting youth bowling at the high school level.
"Conner did a great job of recruiting kids to help build the bowling program (at Grandview)," Thivener said. "He also did a great job of working with his teammates and teaching them the game. He continues that as a volunteer assistant for the team."
Sarich started bowling with his father, Matt, as a youth at the defunct Hillcrest Lanes on West Broad Street. He was on the Grandview bowling team and now participates with the Ohio State Gray team at HP Lanes.
"There is the Scarlet team, which is like the varsity team, and the Gray team, which is like the j.v.," Sarich said. "There are a lot of good bowlers there and I'm working toward being on the Scarlet team."
Sarich, who is majoring in welding engineering at Ohio State, loves the opportunity to promote bowling.
"(The award) kind of opened my eyes," he said. "After it, I feel like I've tried to do more to help local bowling.
"(As a member of) the Columbus (USBC) youth committee board, we work to organize youth tournaments and the youth banquet. We're trying to revive the youth awards and keep the youth leagues following smoothly. It's been a lot of fun."