Elburn youth vies for national title
Photos: Mabel Cummins (right) follows through during a recent tournament in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cummins (below) , a sixth-grader attending Kaneland Harter Middle School, gathers some of the trophies she’s won during recent tournaments from throughout the region. Courtesy Photos
Mabel Cummins seeks nation’s top spot in bowling tournament
Kaneland—Mabel Cummins, a sixth-grader at Kaneland Harter Middle School, is traveling to Detroit next week to compete in the 12-under division of the United States Bowling Congress Youth Open Championships.
Cummins is one of the top junior bowlers in the Chicago area with an average near 180 and a current high game of 238.
Bowling has been part of her life as long as she can remember, even as a toddler growing up in the wilds of Eagle River, Alaska. Somewhere around age 4, she started bowling with her father on Sunday nights before he went to work, but she didn’t get serious about the sport until she moved to the “lower 48” in 2008.
Since coming to Illinois, Mabel has developed a passion for the game, and now she bowls with a clear goal in mind: college scholarship. She has earned recognition with titles in and above her age group, and although only 11, she has caught the attention of some well-known professional bowlers.
Last month in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she impressed PBA champions Jason Belmonte and Diandra Asbaty, co-sponsors of the Elite Youth Tour, when she rolled a five-game, 888 series at a regional event to become the youngest semi-finalist in the U-20 girls division. Earlier this year in Mission, Kansas, she received kudos from PBA Hall of Fame member Norm Duke, who watched her post the high scratch (non-handicap) series among 15-and-under boys and girls during a Next Level Bowling Pro-Am. Norm awarded Mabel with a new bowling ball, an autographed bowling pin and scholarship money for her efforts, and he noted that Mabel has the potential to become a future bowling superstar.
Much like other aspiring athletes, Mabel travels around the region to participate in various tournaments, but her main source of competition is the Fox Valley Junior Travel League. Between competitive events, she hones her skills at Funway Ultimate Entertainment Center in Batavia, under the guidance of long-time PBA professional Mike Sopper.
Mabel said she hopes to eventually use her abilities to garner a spot on Team USA, an elite group of top American men and women athletes who represent the U.S. in international bowling competitions. For now she has other priorities, like staying on the KHS Honor Roll despite being enrolled in advanced level (challenge) classes and teaching early life skills to second-graders on Sunday mornings at Fox Valley Christian Church.