By Vern Hee
She is the bowler-cheerleader hybrid.
When Dee Handley, senior at Pahrump Valley High School, is not at the bowling alley, she is cheering and vice versa.
Handley was chosen as the only female to represent Pahrump at the Junior Bowling Tournament at the Pahrump Bowling Center on Feb. 16.
According to Mike Sherard, a volunteer coach at the Nugget bowling center, typically about 20 percent of bowlers are women in the JBT. JBT gathers all the junior bowlers from all over Las Vegas and puts on one tournament a month.
“I work at the center and bowl in a league and I help Dee out whenever I can. She is a good bowler because of the dedication she puts into it. She really tries hard and she really made some improvements in her bowling this year. She also has exceeded her own expectations and she competes with the guys. In the JBT the girls bowl with the guys and are not separated. She is the only girl in our junior program,” said Sherard.
Handley says her bowling average is 150. For women bowlers, bragging rights start at 140. So Handley is well on her way to being a top female bowler.
John Boston, a bowler and volunteer coach, said the national average for women is 135 and that makes Handley above average.
“I have seen Dee bowl and if she wants to be serious she can really bowl well,” said Boston.
Handley remembers starting bowling when she was really young.
“I like to bowl because I have done it forever. It was one of those things that got me started in bowling. I used to do dance and gymnastics when I was little. It was something new and my mom got a flier and came up to me and said ‘your grandparents bowled and I like bowling so I think you should bowl.’ So since I was little I have been bowling,” remarked Handley.
Handley said if the high school had a bowling team she would have been on it.
“Our freshman year we thought about starting a bowling team in high school. We had a small group of five, but we could not find a coach. We have a group of us now that do go into Vegas and compete as a team. JBT So, we have kind of gone around the lack of a high school team,” she said.
The young bowler does not mind being the only girl on the junior bowling squad.
“I do one bowling tournament a month. I have taken first in some of the tournaments at the Nugget. For JBT, I am kind of new at it. They give scholarships and plaques for awards and it’s fun,” said Handley.
For this young lady, there is no doubt what she will be doing after she graduates this year.
“I plan on going into the medical field. I was thinking about being a nurse or radiation tech or a physician’s assistant. My mother is in the medical field. I am thinking of Nevada State College in Henderson,” she said.
Handley said the books come naturally to her. Her GPA is a 4.0 and at the end of last year she said she was ranked 23rd in her class of 280.
She has been inspired by her older sister, who graduated in 1993 and now has two masters’ degrees and lives in Oklahoma.
“Grades come natural to me. I really do not have to cram that much. My mother does not have to push me that hard because I know what is expected of me and I know what I have to do,” remarked Handley.