Jenna Lehrer’s interest in bowling began one Sunday. Lehrer asked her father if they could go bowling.
Five years later, Lehrer, a freshman from Commack, is one of the top bowlers in Suffolk County and the winner of the 2017 state USBC Pepsi Youth Championships in the under-15 division on May 20 in upstate Rome.
“I was prepared to win,” Lehrer said. “I was so ready. I practiced my hardest . . . seven days a week. I really wanted this for myself.’”
Lehrer was competing against 60 girls. She was third in the standings with a 1,170 six-game series, one of four girls to qualify for the finals. Lehrer defeated the other three girls to win the tournament and a $1,000 scholarship.
“The fact that she even qualified for the tournament made her a winner to us,” her father, Michael Lehrer, said.
Lehrer’s mother, Sharon Lehrer, said, “Jenna’s wanted to win a tournament for over a year, and this is a big one.”
Lehrer has wanted a championship since she bowled that Sunday with her father. She joined a league with her father and discovered bowling was her passion. While in the league, she met Tim Regan, her training coach.
“I saw at an early age that she was good. She had the natural ability, natural motion and the characteristics of a good athlete,” Regan said. “She’s very receptive, a great listener and always improving her game.”
Two years ago, Lehrer was persuaded to try out for the Commack bowling team and made the cut.
Lehrer was the first seventh-grader to bowl for Commack, coach Harold Cooley III said. The extra two years on the team has boosted Lehrer’s skill set and also her confidence.
“She’s very competitive . . . and still improving. She’s bowling fantastic and has some of the best numbers in the program,” Cooley said. “She’s a veteran on the team and we’re building her up to be a great leader.”
Lehrer’s next competition is the USBC Junior Gold Championship in July in Cleveland. Last year, Lehrer placed 45th out of 500 girls in her division across the country. She’s aiming for first this time.
“I’m training every week and perfecting my technique,” Lehrer said. “I want to be the best I can be.”
In addition to Lehrer’s skills on the lane, she is also an outstanding singer. She sang the national anthem before the Suffolk bowling championships this past season.
“Singing is my thing,” Lehrer said. “I sing to myself before my turn to calm myself down. It puts me in a happy place.”