McMahon quietly eyes the prize

SK bowler's passion has helped her become one of the state's best

When coaches and members of the South Kitsap girls bowling team describe Megan McMahon, “humble” and “quiet” come up more than once.

While there’s nothing wrong with those attributes, coach Kathy Hamill feels McMahon can be even better. That level is pretty high at times — she bowled a game-high 246 in a December win against Foss — but the coach feels a different approach could help her more.

“We’re just working on getting a little fire in her belly,” Hamill said of the junior. “We want her ready to compete.”

Well, perhaps not just to compete — more likely to strive for the best.

Entering Friday’s state bowling tournament at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place, Hamill said that distinction belongs to Wilson junior Amanda Richards. She finished with a Narrows League best 195 average, 10 pins better than McMahon, who was second.

“She’s probably the best bowler in the state,” she said. “But I think that’s where Megan is too.”

While her confidence has been questioned at times, commitment is never an issue. McMahon was the first freshman to join the team.

“That’s a big commitment because they’re at the junior high and a parent has to transport them to everything and get them out of school early,” Hamill said.

McMahon said that commitment started when she was 4 years old and her mother took her bowling.

“She bowled for two leagues and I watched and got into it,” she said.

The interest gradually grew and McMahon estimates that she now practices eight hours a week in addition to the two hours the Wolves practice most days at Hi-Joy Bowl.

“If we could build a room here, she probably would live here,” Hamill said.

McMahon said has she worked with her coaches to improve several aspects of her game — ball speed, arm swing, position and stance — and has improved her average from 161 last year.

The result helped propel the right-hander to a first-team all-Narrows League selection this season. Leanna Vigil, a junior who averaged 145, was a third-team selection and the only other South bowler selected.

Hamill notes that McMahon easily is the team’s top bowler, but had trouble convincing her to become a captain this season.

“She didn’t want to go out for captain because she’s a junior, but she’s stepped up and taken that leadership role on,” she said. “The kids respect her and she gets them to do better at their game.”

McMahon also is interested in video production — she recently profiled the Wolves’ bowling team for her class — and hopes to earn a bowling scholarship and major in that subject in college.

Because the Professional Women’s Bowling Association folded in 2003, options for post-college bowling for women are limited. McMahon recognizes that, but that subject is for the future.

For now, her focus is on the state championship.