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Saxon state finalist set for national competitions

Sports Editor

Hastings High School junior Ashland Hoyt will be rolling with some of the top female high school bowlers from across the country in the coming weeks.

She will be among a group of 125 this coming week as she takes part in the Turbo Tech Collegiate Expo IX in front of hundreds of college coaches at Imperial Lanes in Clinton Township. The invitation only event that opens Sunday and goes through July 10 and also includes 125 of the top male bowlers in the country who are interested in bowling on the collegiate level some day.

Hoyt said right now schools like Vanderbilt, Wichita State, Louisiana Tech and Nebraska are among those who have shown some interest in her skill set on the lanes already.

Hoyt will follow up the Turbo Tech Expo by competing in the national Junior Gold Championships July 13-20, a tournament taking place on lanes throughout the Detroit area.

It is the third consecutive summer that Hoyt is participating in the two events. She'll be stepping up into the U17 division at the Junior Gold for the first time. She finished as high as 57th in the U15 division. She said she'll be competing with roughly 450 bowlers at the Junior Gold tourney. She earned her spot in the event at last October's Michigan Youth Open in Battle Creek.

Hoyt said with her experience she feels comfortable at the big national tournaments. She has had fun traveling around the country for past tournaments, but isn't disappointed to have the Junior Gold just a couple hours down the highway.

“I have bowled at the home centers a couple times, so I am very familiar with the area and very familiar with those bowling alleys. So, it really helps it being closer to home and it really helps being familiar with the area,” Hoyt said.

The opening ceremony for the Junior Gold Championships will be held July 14 at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center. She will roll her qualifying games at Century Bowl, Sterling Lanes, Thunderbowl Lanes and Super Bowl Lanes.

Hoyt qualified for the Division 2 State Finals as a sophomore in the inaugural season of the Hastings varsity girls' bowling team last winter. She was 29th in the qualifying at the Finals, which were hosted by Century Bowl where she will being the Junior Gold competition July 15.

Hoyt will roll four games a day for four days, a total of 16 games, to try and earn a spot among the qualifiers to continue on in the Junior Gold. The top bowlers earn scholarships and can qualify for a spot on Junior Team USA that competes around the world.

“I try to stay focused, but not overthink it and stay loose,” Hoyt said of her downtime at big events.

“Sometimes I'll go watch baseball, just kind of not think about it too much but still stay focused.”

So far this summer, she has just been rolling through her regular practice routine getting ready for these couple tournaments.

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