Courtney Jindra is a third generation bowler whose main goal is to advance to a national tournament with her mother and grandmother.
For now she'll go alone as she advanced to the Pepsi International Youth Bowling Championships June 19-21 in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.
Jindra finished second to Crosby's Kim Hawkins-Pankratz during the Minnesota Pepsi Youth Bowling Championship May 1 in Eagan. The Brainerd freshman bowled a 1,386 in the 12-and-over girls' handicap division. She rolled games of 129, 129, 188, 112, 170 and 181 with a 275 handicap.
The 14-year-old earned a $300 college scholarship.
"I just wanted to do my best and just have fun," said Jindra, who swims and plays golf at Brainerd and is an ice skater. "When I got the note at school that I was going to the national tournament I was excited. I was jumping up and down. My friend Ashley is telling me to calm down and I'm like, 'Ashley, you don't understand this though.'
"This is one of the sports I really enjoy and I do well at it."
Jindra started her journey to nationals at Jake's House in Brainerd. She passed through the district tournament in McGregor before heading to Eagan.
"I was kind of nervous," said Jindra, who had never bowled at Eagan's 42-lane center. "I just had to block people out and focus on bowling. Once I bowled my 188, I thought I had a really good chance of placing. I never expected to get this far."
Jindra practices six to 10 games a week. She changed her throwing style to incorporate a hook and said it took about four to six months to get under control.
"I've always wanted to throw a hook," said Jindra. "I've learned how to do that now and that's what I'm going to throw down there."
Jindra started bowling competitively in fourth grade. She is in a junior league and in an adult junior league on Monday nights at Jack's House.
"I started when I was in kindergarten and I just liked it at a young age and kept in it," said Jindra. "I like the competitiveness of it."
Both her mom, Brenda Jindra, and her grandmother, Donna Hjort, coach bowling. When the Jindras moved to Brainerd nine years ago, Brenda placed her children in a junior bowling league.
Home center: Jack's House
What's next: Pepsi International Youth Bowling Championships
When: July 19-21
Where: Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
"I wanted to see if the kids wanted to get involved," she said. "(Courtney) kind of took off to liking it right away. We just kept doing it.
"My mom and I bowl nationals and state together and she says, 'Now mom, when do I get to go with you guys?'"
Brenda Jindra said they may collaborate in a few years. For now the younger Jindra is focused on her own national tournament.
"I'm very nervous," said Jindra. "I just want to have fun, do my best and it would be a lot of fun to make it to the double-elimination round."
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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