For Girl Born to Bowl, Sport Is Right Up Her Alley

Crystal Land
• School: Bryan Station High
• Grade: 11th • Sport: Bowling
• Academics: Crystal has a 4.3 weighted GPA, is a volunteer at church and is a peer counselor at school.
• Parents: Danette & Jim

It’s no exaggeration to say that 16-year-old Crystal Land of Bryan Station High can trace her very roots to a bowling alley.

No wonder she’s one of the top youth bowlers in the state.

More than 18 years ago, Jim Land needed a bowler on his team at Collins’ Eastland Bowling Lanes so he recruited veteran bowler Danette Randolph.

Jim found more than a new member of his team – he had just met his future wife. A year later they were married, and a year after that Crystal was born.

The Land’s only child first bowled when she was 2, and before long she was a prodigy.

As a sixth-grader, she made the Bryan Station club team. When bowling became a high school sanctioned sport in 2012, Crystal led the Defenders to the region championship and a runner-up finish in the state tournament.

The coach of the team? Her mother, Danette. Along with her parents, Crystal’s relatives are all bowlers, including her grandmother and her great grandmother.

As a sophomore last year, Crystal posted a 207 average. This year she has raised her average to 215, in part because she rolled a 299 game in a match against Harrison County.

As she rolled strike after strike, a crowd gathered behind her at Eastland and a hush fell upon the alleys. When her last ball hit the pocket perfectly but left the No. 9 pin standing, the crowd groaned in disappointment.

Not too worry. Crystal already had a 300 game under her belt, having rolled a perfect game as a sophomre.

In youth leagues, Crystal has won the Kentucky Junior Open, the state Pepsi Junior Tournament and has bowled for the state all-star team in matches against Indiana for three straight years.

“She is very focused, has great form and has an excellent release,” Danette said.

Added Jim: “People tell us to never change the way she releases the ball.”

Crystal plans to bowl in college, and she has earned more than $5,000 in scholarship money through bowling.

Crystal will have no trouble handing collegiate academics. She has a 4.3 weighted GPA and has taken three A.P. classes.

She also is a model for James Cook Photography and works up to 20 hours a week at Michael’s.

She is a youth volunteer in her church’s nursery and is a peer tutor at school, working with students with special needs.

“Kids seem to be drawn to her,” Danette said about Crystal who plans to be an elementary school teacher.

Added Jim: “When she’s with the kids at church, there’s just a glow on her face.”

And that’s almost as satisfying as rolling a perfect game.