By PATRICK MacCOON
When Chelsea Hancock took over leadership of the Bradley Central bowling program, Leah White instantly became a go-to bowler she could rely upon.As a junior in 2016, White became the first female …
When Chelsea Hancock took over leadership of the Bradley Central bowling program, Leah White instantly became a go-to bowler she could rely upon.
As a junior in 2016, White became the first female bowler to advance to the state tournament in school history.
However, a meteoric rise in her game has turned a 174.31 pin fall average up to 192 this season, a tally good for second-place in District 5, right behind Rhea County's Baylee Shipley.
"I am so proud of the young lady, role model and bowler she has become," Hancock said of White on Senior Night. "She is a special part to this program as well as to me and Coach White [who is Chelsea's father]."
Wanting to make a college career out of the sport, and with several top colleges pursuing her talents, White has been the bread and butter of the Bearettes this season.
On Senior Night, Bradley was able to edge Rhea County 14-13.
White won all three of her head-to-head matches with pin falls of 197, 179 and 192, while fellow senior Angel Anderson picked up two points with 146 and 141 frames in game two and three.
"Leah and Angel have shown this team how important dedication and heart are when it comes to this sport," Hancock said. "They have led our girls to have an understanding and desire to come together and win matches."
In the narrow victory over the Golden Eagles (7-5, 3-5 District 5), a clutch spare pick-up by BC's Hannah Winters to roll a 183 (career-high) in game two helped make the difference by two pin falls.
Bradley is now 6-4 overall with a 3-4 mark in district play.
With postseason action approaching in January, White is focusing on trying to help her team make a push in the postseason and is in a strong place, with her average, to make it to the state tournament yet again.
The top two bowlers by average from each district advance to the state tournament, while the next top 20 averages around the state will advance to bowl in Smyrna as well in mid-January.
"Leah has set the bar high for the younger girls and I believe she has really been an inspiration to them," Hancock said. "She had a goal in mind and definitely exceeded it beyond all expectations."
Along with Anderson, the two Bearettes look to leave a strong mark with the program as their prep careers near the final alley.
"They both have great hearts and have a desire to help others grow," Hancock said. "I'm so grateful to have been able to coach both of them. We can't wait to see what the future holds in store."
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