Breanna Clemmer is continuing to score strikes in her quest to be one of the world’s best elite women bowlers.
Last week, Breanna, 16, beat more than 600 women bowlers to win the under 20 division of the Junior Gold Competition in Buffalo, N.Y. Many of her competitors were in college.
And this week, the rising junior at Clover High School will compete for the second year against bowlers from around the world in the Tournament of Americas event in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“I went undefeated,” Breanna said about her Junior Gold performance, in which she bowled 35 to 40 matches during four days.
Junior Gold is a national bowling championship. Breanna first competed in 2012, when she won the national title for women in the under 15 age group.
She won the Junior Gold championship again this year, after moving up to the more competitive under 20 division for women.
“I feel like I accomplished something that’s bigger than most of the things that I’ve done,” she said. “I feel like my hard work has finally paid off.”
Breanna was 2 years old when she started rolling bowling balls down the lane at George Pappas Liberty Lanes in Gastonia, N.C., where her grandmother Barbara Clemmer works as manager of the snack bar.
She still bowls there every other day after school.
Her grandfather, Jimmy Clemmer, has one world for her success: “Unbelievable.”
But Jimmy Clemmer said he knows how hard his granddaughter has worked for her accomplishments. He also said she’s had good coaches.
“She wants to be the best,” he said. “She’s competitive.”
Even before last week, Breanna’s laurels included two perfect scores of 300, the 2012 national youth title and a selection to the 2014 Junior Team USA, a national co-ed team for young bowlers that competes internationally.
This year, she also was chosen for the 2015 Junior Team USA.
Breanna said she felt a lot of anxiety before the Buffalo tournament.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “I had a lot of pressure coming onto me because I knew I had the ability, and I wanted to show people that I could bowl and that I was really good at it.”
Barbara Clemmer said Breanna didn’t bowl her best during the tournament’s first two days of qualifying matches. “We thought we were packing up and going home,” Barbara Clemmer said.
On the third day of the tournament, Barbara Clemmer said, “I told her, ‘You had better unleash the beast.’”
And Breanna did just that. She was one of 16 bowlers in the under 20 women to make the final championship round, which she won.
Barbara Clemmer said Breanna worked hard for the championship. “She was bowling with some pretty darn good bowlers,” she said.
Breanna, who aspires to bowl at the college level, said she also wants to study criminology. She’s not allowed to talk with coaches about college scholarships under the end of her junior year, but she’s already thinking about her options.
She said she’s interested in attending McKendree University, a private school in Illinois, because it has a strong criminology program “and their bowling has always been really strong.”
And she’s looking forward to this week’s international tournament in Fort Lauderdale.
“I feel pretty confident going into another year of the tournament because of how well I performed last year,” she said. “But I’m also nervous because it’s a whole new division with a lot more girls in it.”