Nimitz High School senior Lane Thompson’s final year is looking like a perfect game. After placing fifth at regionals, Thompson qualified for the 2020 national high school bowling championships, putting him in contention to be the top bowler in the country.
Bowling runs in Thompson’s family and sparked his love for the game at a young age. While visiting his grandfather, Thompson played a memorable game at a small ten-lane bowling alley. His grandfather, an avid bowler, quickly recommended Thompson start playing in a league after seeing his potential.
And as Thompson says, “the rest is truly history.”
While he will vy for the title at the national championship this summer, Thompson already claims a number of high-ranking titles. In 2019 alone, he won first place at the North Central Texas USBC Youth City Tournament, placed at the Bowlero Youth Spring Tournament and ranked second at the Teen Bowlers Tour.
In addition to participating on the Nimitz bowling team, Thompson bowls in several local leagues, where he has had the privilege of being coached by nationally-ranked bowlers, including Carolyn Dorin-Ballard. Ballard, who was inducted into the Profession Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame in 2008 and has won over 20 professional titles, has coached Thompson for over three years.
In those years, Thompson’s game has grown tremendously, according to Ballard. But it’s not just his athletic game that impresses Ballard. It’s his enthusiasm and positive attitude that make him a high-caliber athlete.
“He is always asking questions. He is always wanting to learn and do things that will help him get better,” says Ballard. “He has so much to give. No matter how he bowls, he will always be a great asset to his team.”
Thompson says it is his goal to prove that bowling is indeed a sport, and for him, working with a high-level coach like Ballard has inspired and motivated him to perfect his game.
“When I first started getting lessons from Carolyn, I knew that this was the person that was going to make me truly great,” Thompson says. “If it was not perfect, then it wasn’t right! That’s what I needed in a coach.”
Aside from his budding bowling career, Thompson is also an active member of the Nimitz band, specializing in the baritone saxophone. Like with bowling, Thompson’s strong work ethic quickly made him a top musician. For the past two years, he has made the regional band and qualified as an alternate for the area band.
“He’s a top-notch player,” says Nimitz band director Brian Pollard. “Stick him in any music program, and he would be a top player. He’s very self-determined in his way and has proven that through the regional process.”
Though his final semester as a Viking looks a little different, Thompson is grateful for the memories he created with his friends and teammates.
“I am grateful and truly blessed to have been able to walk into my high school and see all of my good friends every day,” he said. “I wish I could go back in time for one day, and go to school just to spend time with my friends and teachers.”
On College Decision Day Thompson signed a letter of intent with West Texas A&M University, where he will continue his bowling career in hopes of one day touring with the Professional Bowlers Association. Thompson will double major in education and music education with the hopes of returning to Nimitz to teach and coach bowling.