Between a cancelled flight and a lost pair of eye glasses, Sierra Kanemoto was stressing before she even stepped foot on the lanes at the Intercollegiate Singles Championships.
“I had to practice without glasses and, without them, I can’t see distinct boards,” the Wichita State senior said. “My mom came in clutch.”
Landa Kanemoto got a new pair of glasses to her daughter just in time for the qualifying round of the Intercollegiate Championships at Poelking Lanes South on Tuesday – a definite hometown perk for the Stebbins High School graduate. With the mishaps behind her, Kanemoto regained her focus – literally and figuratively.
“I got into the moment and stayed present,” she said.
A solid six-game qualifying set propelled Kanemoto into seventh place heading into the 24-bowler, single-elimination match-play bracket and earned her a first-round bye.
In her first match, the Shockers senior and Wright State bowler Leslie Campbell were close through the first two games before Kanemoto pulled ahead after posting eight consecutive strikes. Kanemoto topped Campbell 702-616.
Kanemoto’s second match was even tighter as the 23-year-old squeaked out a six-pin win, 683-677, over Samantha Laird, of Hastings College. The Round 3 victory meant Kanemoto qualified to the televised semifinals, taped on Saturday for broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
“I start shaking most of the time, when I’m nervous, and I was definitely shaking in that match,” she said, smiling.
Kanemoto – making her first appearance in the national singles championship – would like to follow in the footsteps of former Wichita teammate Sydney Brummett, who won the title in 2017.
“It’s cool, making the TV show, but it’s also kind of nerve-wracking,” she said. “I know I’m going to be nervous, I just accept it.”
The ISC and ITC championships are more than tournaments for Kanemoto – they are also finales as the singles and team events may well be the final competitive events for the biology major who plans to attend graduate school in the fall. And medical school, down the road, is not out of the question.
“I think I’m ready to go ahead with my future and my career plans,” she said.
Nationally notable: While Kanemoto is the only local bowler who will compete under the bright lights of the ISC televised finals, several local bowlers were in the spotlight this week.
Lindenwood senior Haley Cummings, a Wayne High School graduate, was named to the National Collegiate Bowling Coaches Association All-America first team. Jessica Wolfe, of Pikeville, and Madison Stiffler, Wright State, were named to the second team. Stiffler was also selected as the NCBCA Rookie of the Year. Rounding out the NCBCA honorees was Kanemoto who earned an honorable mention nod.
The International Bowling Media Association also recognized Cummings as a runner-up for the Bowler of the Year honor. Wolfe, a Fairmont graduate, received honorable mention recognition.
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