Girls Bowling: Carly Larson’s calm, cool, collects high scoresMerrillville's Carly Larson led the region in average on her way to her first P-T girls bowler of the year honor. Steve T. Gorches~Post-Tribune
Updated: March 31, 2012 8:30PM
For the past two years, Merrillville’s Carly Larson has posted one of the highest averages in the state, and this season she reached the Indiana high school bowling state finals in singles for the first time — finishing in ninth place overall.
And while Larson, a junior, admits that she finds winning fun, her father and coach, Dave Larson, pinpoints something specific about Larson’s approach that sets her apart from many of her peers, leading to the honor of Post-Tribune Girls Bowler of the Year.
“She’s not afraid to lose,” Dave said. “You can’t win until you’re not afraid to lose. She has the right mindset, and that’s the most important thing. Her average actually went down from last year.”
Yes it did, but a 205 average, which was second best in the state, was hardly a step back for the steady Larson, who posted the highest series in the WestLake Conference (472) and second-highest game (247).
“I’m extremely pleased with how well I bowled this year,” Carly said. “I don’t want to say it was surprising, but I wasn’t expecting to get downstate — I was hoping. I was very excited. Winning is fun and I definitely enjoy competing.”
Carly’s other coach, her mom Paula, said that she tends to get more excited about seeing her daughter succeed than Carly herself.
“Carly is pretty reserved,” Paula said. “She’s very gracious and humble, and I appreciate that. For me, I jump out my skin when she does incredible things. I’m one of her biggest fans. She makes me proud, and not just in bowling but in every aspect of her life. She’s an awesome student and good person.
“And just one pin divided her from the top bowler in the state this year. Carly came out of the gate running the past two years. She likes the competition. She likes to win, but she’s also gracious when she doesn’t win. I rarely see her have an emotional breakdown. She’s even keeled, though she’s obviously human.”
Paula said Carly’s progress over the past two years has much to do with practice and the application that comes from coaching — whether from mom and dad or co-coach Paul Mewes.
“Dave and I co-parent and co-coach, and we have the same morals and values,” Paula said. “Dave is an incredibly good man, and a lot of what comes out of my girls (Carly and Valparaiso University bowler Jill) is the result of him. But it’s harder when your coach is also your parent, so Paul helps her too. That has really worked well. I trust his coaching ability.”
And as Carly looks to improve, she’ll do it at the usual relaxed pace in the summer where she said she will work at being more consistent.
“It’s sometimes a miracle that my shot makes it to the pocket, so I think that’s something I’m going to be working at over the summer,” the humble teenager said.