Wells to represent USA in youth championships
Mary Wells continues to reach new heights in the sport of bowling.
The 2012 Westerville Central High School graduate recently was named to Junior Team USA and will represent the country in the Pan American Bowling Confederation Youth Championships, which begin Sunday, July 7, and run through July 12 in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The American team is comprised of four boys and four girls. Wells is the only Ohio resident on the team.
"Words can't describe how much of an honor it is to be able to say that I'm part of the Junior Team USA in 2013," Wells said. "It's such an honor to be selected to go to Puerto Rico and represent the U.S., and I'm really excited about the experience and I hope it's something that I will remember for the rest of my life."
Wells, who turns 19 this month, earned a spot on Junior Team USA in a qualifying competition held in January in Las Vegas. The team is open to bowlers ages 19 and under.
Wells recently capped her freshman season on the women's team at the University of Central Missouri, a Division II school in Warrensburg, Mo. She ranked second on the team with a 203.8-game average and was named a first-team National Tenpin Coaches Association (NTCA) All-American and Division II/III Rookie of the Year.
Wells also was named first-team all-academic by the NTCA.
Central Missouri was one of eight teams that qualified for the NCAA Championships held April 11-13 in Canton, Mich., and finished fifth. Nebraska won the national title, defeating Vanderbilt in the final.
Central Missouri had entered the NCAA Championships as the top seed.
"We knew that Mary was a great player and everything we hoped for on her first year came through, with the exception of us being able to win a national title," coach Ron Holmes said. "She stepped right in as a freshman and was able to lead the team to a No. 1 ranking. She did a tremendous job with her All-American awards and Rookie of the Year status."
Wells earned six all-tournament honors in her first season at the collegiate level and was named Most Valuable Player in the Morgan State Invitational in February.
"College bowling is a lot different than high school bowling," she said. "It hasn't really sunk in and I don't know if it ever will because I didn't expect to do that well as a freshman."
Wells and her mother, Julie, are the first mother-daughter tandem to earn All-American honors in women's bowling. Julie was an All-American at West Texas A&M in 1985 and '86.
Julie, who is the bowling coach at Westerville Central, said her daughter's success is a good reflection of the program.
"I'm a pretty proud parent as well as a pretty proud coach," Julie said. "She has excelled way above anything I could have dreamed at this age and she's only just starting in the collegiate realm."
Wells helped the Warhawks finish fifth in the state tournament as a senior. At state, she led Central with a 632 series to place sixth as Pickerington North's Brittany Beeghley won the state title with a 654.
That season, she had a 225-game average and made second-team all-state.
As a junior, Wells led the Warhawks to a third-place finish at state and rolled a 630 series to place third behind Coldwater's Crystal Boyer (661) and Huber Heights Wayne's Kayla Cummings (637) and earn first-team all-state honors.
Wells won the individual state title as a sophomore with a 729 series and helped Central finish second at state behind Boardman, which beat the Warhawks three games to one in the best-of-five Baker game final.
"High school bowling was definitely a huge part of where I am now, (as well as) many other tournaments that I've done throughout the years," Wells said. "But high school bowling introduced me to the team part of bowling."