Jada Davis doesn’t go to a bowling alley to eat pizza or joke around with her friends. She goes to win.
Davis is an athlete, and bowling is her sport. That competitiveness not only led to the senior at the Winston School signing a bowling scholarship to attend North Carolina A&T, but it’s fueled an effort to tout the benefits of her sport to many of her teenage peers.
“Most of the time, people just see it as a recreational thing,” said Davis, who’s been trying to popularize the hashtag #bowlingisasport on social media. “I want people to know that it’s a sport.”
Her love for bowling is rooted in her upbringing. Davis’ parents, Derrick and Traci, are longtime league bowlers who met at a bowling alley.
“Everyone knows my parents because they still bowl in leagues,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of pressure because you don’t want to let your family name down.”
Other family members owned bowling facilities of their own, and they were all competitive.
“I had no idea that people didn’t bowl competitively until I was like 10,” she said.
Davis has been a fixture in youth leagues in the Dallas area for many years. A few years ago, her family convinced the Winston administration to start a bowling program for her older sister, and it’s since caught on with other classmates. In fact, the sport has gained steam quickly in Texas as a whole, with more schools adding programs each year.
“High school bowling is going up,” said Teresa Ross, who coaches Davis. “It’s amazing how far it’s come. The bowlers are better and sharper.”
Davis finished third in the Texas High School Bowling Club state tournament as a sophomore. She’s also active in the band and volleyball programs at the school she’s attended since third grade.
Last summer, she qualified for the prestigious Junior Gold national tournament in Chicago, and she hopes to go again this year before heading off to college.
Although she had never been to North Carolina before her official visit to NCAT, she knew the campus in Greensboro would be a perfect fit.
“There was a hurricane when I went to North Carolina, and I still liked it,” said Davis, who plans to study pre-med in hopes of becoming a plastic surgeon, in case a professional bowling career doesn’t pan out.
For now, however, the focus is still on bowling, where Davis wants to continue her family’s tradition of success.