Luckily for the 19-year old, there was plenty of time to spare. By the end of the five-day tournament, she had climbed her way to the top of the list of 569 competitors, and captured the Junior Gold Championship on July 20.
“You’ve got to have a positive attitude and stay in it like any sport,” Renslow said. “The game is a lot more mental than people would assume. It’s really frustrating when you’re bowling well but don’t get good breaks. You just have to stay positive.”
The win automatically qualifies her as a member of the Junior USA team, an elite group of 10 boys and 10 girls who represent the United States in international bowling competitions.
Qualifying for team USA is a big accomplishment, but Renslow is no stranger to success. Her high average is 227.
As the only child of two competitive bowlers, Renslow got introduced to the game at 6. By the time she was 7, she started to rack up tournament wins – and scholarship money.
Ever since, Renslow has garnered about $20,000 competing in an average of two major tournaments per year and local ones about once a month. She also recently received a bowling scholarship from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.
“It makes me extremely proud,” said Wendy Renslow, Robyn’s mother. “This is what we worked for all these years.”
Renslow always knew she could draw from her earnings to attend college, but since no colleges in California offer bowling scholarships, she had to be proactive about getting colleges to recognize her talent.
Last year at the Junior Gold Championship in Las Vegas, which many representatives from East Coast colleges attended to scout talent, she finished 22nd out of 578 girls. Competitors had a chance to ask college coaches to watch them bowl, but Renslow’s performance spoke for itself.
Before long, the University of Pikeville in Kentucky recruited her, but she chose Vanderbilt for its academic prestige and quality women’s bowling team.
Vanderbilt was selected by the NCAA Bowling Committee to be a member of the eight-team national championship field for the seventh consecutive year in 2012.
“We are very excited to get a player with Robyn’s abilities on our team,” Vanderbilt head coach John Williamson said. “She is a tremendous competitor and I’m really looking forward to watch her grow in her career.”
Renslow has the perfect combination of physical talent and mental strength to succeed at the game she honed at Harvest Park Bowl. In addition to her parents, the volunteer coaches at Harvest Park Bowl’s Youth Program helped fuel her passion.
“They offer a lot of leagues that promote family togetherness and coaching,” Renslow said. “They offer a lot of coaching for little kids. It’s a neat place to be, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Through the years, the opportunity to compete in tournaments with her mother and father allowed the family to bond.
As fall approaches, so does the time Renslow departs for Tennessee. As she does, she’ll leave behind her favorite aspect of the game – her family.
“It’s a great sport to get into as a family because you get to spend time together,” Renslow said. “How many other sports do you really get to be part of a team with your family?”