Heartland native leads national champion bowling team

Heartland native leads national champion bowling team

HERRIN, Ill. (KFVS) - A former Herrin High School bowler earns another trophy. This time with the University of Nebraska.

Cassidy Ray is a member of this year’s National Collegiate Bowling Championship team.

“I think a lot of us were kind of like, ‘we really just did that,’” stated Cassidy Raye.

Raye and her Cornhusker teammates really did win the national champion.

It’s sixth time since that 2004 that University of Nebraska can lay claims to being the best on bowling ally.

“We were kind of nervous going into the show but after we won it, it’s just like a weight was kind of lifted off for the whole season,” said Cassidy.

Cassidy has been bowling for well over decade.

“I started when I was about 8 or 9 but I‘ve been in the bowling alley since I was a lot younger than that,” said Ray. “Probably times I don’t even remember I was in the bowling alley. My parents bowled league, my dad still does. So yeah, I just kind of grew up into it.”

Losing the first match on opening day motivated the Cornhuskers to work even harder.

“Regional rounds, we lost our first match in regionals. So we were kind of like, ‘well, we got to move on from here, but we can’t lose the next one,’” said Raye.

Raye and her team responded by winning seven straight matches for the championship.

“Everything that happened that week, like, I was not expecting to get there. I always knew we could do it, but I don’t know I was shocked in the end and really glad it happened,” said Amara Speights, a member of the bowling team.

“Just knowing that this was a tough season, we really had to grind it out,” said Gwen Maeha, another teammate.

To prepare for the championship, the bowling team practiced six days a week for three hours a day all while balancing their homework.

Maeha said, “We did break a barrier of what we couldn’t accomplish, and it is something that we really strive to do.”

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