Naylor making her mark on national bowling scene


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Marissa Naylor, Manitoba’s top female bowler, has been busy raising her profile on the national scene.

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Marissa Naylor, Manitoba’s top female bowler, has been busy raising her profile on the national scene.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Tenpin Federation and its high performance committee named the 25-year-old Winnipegger to its 10-member national female team.

At the Team Canada Trials held in Montreal Jan. 2-6, Naylor averaged 215 through the first 36 games of qualifying before losing twice in the stepladder event, eventually earning the event’s silver medal.

“At the trials, I led the field all week,” said Naylor Wednesday, who finished second at the event for the second consecutive year. “Unfortunately, I lost in the stepladder to Miranda Panas… she’s one of the best in the country… It was fun leading the field all week — I haven’t done that before actually.”

Naylor’s performance was good enough to earn another spot on Team Canada. In 2022, she was Canada’s second-best finisher while placing 20th overall in the individual event and helping Canada to a fourth-place finish in the team event at the Pan Am Bowling Championships in Lima, Peru.

“I guess the difference was last year I was just bowling and hoping to make the team and I placed second this year I want to say I dominated the field all week and then just lost in the stepladder,” said Naylor, who had higher expectations for herself this year. “It’s funny because yesterday, I just bowled my first perfect game — so it’s kind of good timing.”

Joining Naylor on the national team are: Miranda Panas, St. Catherines, Ont.; Felicia Wong, Calgary; Karine Bouchard, Milles-Illes, Que.; Jennifer Besana, Richmond Hill, Ont.; Jade Cote, Franham, Que.; Sarah Klassen, St. Catherines, Ont., Brittney Turcotte, Louisville, Ky.; Tiffany Griffith, Kitchener, Ont.; and Samantha How, Oregon City, Ore.

All ten bowlers will convene for a national team training camp this summer with six competitors eventually being chosen to compete at the world championships later this year at a location and time still to be determined.

“Not to sound cocky, but I can’t see myself not going considering my last three performances at the team trials and in Peru,” said Naylor, who would like to turn professional in the next two to five years. “But it’s all up to the (high performance) committee to kind of make that choice. But based off the team and who we have on the team, it’s a very strong team. I think it’s one of the strongest we’ve had in at least five years. I think that we’ll have a good chance of medalling at the world level.”

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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