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In the Gust family, bowling is a family affair. Mom and Dad (Stacey and Matt) bowl along with their 11 year old son Brandon, and daughter Brittany, a freshman at Oley Valley High School. Brittany is a member of the school bowling team.
“I thought it was interesting (bowling),” said Gust. “It’s one of those sports where you meet a lot of interesting people.”
She gets advice from her parents after she’s bowled a match. Their continued encouragement has kept her going in the sport.
Being the older sibling can be tough when you have a young sibling looking up to you, however, that doesn’t bother Brittany. She thinks that her brother should look up to her, because Brittany gives advice to her younger brother Brandon, and sometimes he even listens.
She feels that it isn’t hard to give advice to her brother Brandon since he looks up to her. Her brother knows that Brittany is a good bowler and he wants the advice from his sibling. Brandon bowls in the same league as Brittany at Heisters Lane.
When she first started bowling, Brittany got very little coaching, but she did play in leagues at Bowl-O-Rama in Exeter Township. She now bowls at Heisters Lane in Reading in a junior league on Saturday mornings. Brittany feels that there’s good competition there and it has definitely helped her game.
“I knew it was going to be hard, because there are people that are better than me,” said Gust. “Every week I was trying to beat all these people.”
When Brittany first started, she did pretty well, but then developed some bad habits which she knew that she had to fix. She bowled a lot during the summer, bowling 10 games every day. She also had two coaches helping her along the way - Jack Portum and Wayne Lamp.
She never expected to pick up the game as quickly as she did. “It just wasn’t clicking for me, and it wasn’t happening for me,” said Gust. “I couldn’t throw the ball straight. My arm was way out and I would throw it in the gutter.”
This school year was her first year on the high school bowling team at Oley Valley High. She feels that the year is going very well so far. Brittany will be the first to admit that she was nervous going into the season. Her goal coming into the season was to bowl a 600 series and a 200 game.
“I thought I wouldn’t be able to break my habit and I thought I was going to be on junior varsity,” said Gust. “Now, I’m the top bowler on varsity.”
Her average is 173 so far this year which places her in the top 20 of the Berks Bowling League. Gust was nervous going into her first high school match, but was surprised by how well she did bowling at the high school level. “I thought that I wouldn’t be able to focus,” said Gust. “I blocked everyone out and I focused.”
Gust accomplished her goal from the start of the season and she’ll be the first to admit that it felt really good. She saw that the hard work that she put in had finally paid off. Brittany thought that the most she would bowl is a 170 and a series high of a high 400.
“I’m way past that, and I never expected that,” said Gust.
Brittany’s next goal is to bowl a 700 series which she feels is possible because she’s bowled a 640 earlier this season. Gust feels that she has to get a few more strikes and a few more spares to be able to reach her next goal.
The future for Gust looks very promising with three years left bowling for the high school team. “My mom even said that I could be even better than her,” said Gust. “I believe that I can accomplish a lot more than I have now.”
Brittany looks up to her mothe and asks her for advice “She keeps telling me that if I keep doing what I’m doing, you could be really good at this,” said Gust.
It looks like her mother is right. She has led her team to a 22-8 record which will have her a playoff spot and at least third place in Division 2 of the Berks League. How far they will go in the playoffs is yet to be seen.