Rolling strikes to UPike

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TCHS senior Megan Hedgespeth inks scholarship papers to bowl

By Bobby Brockman

Bobby Brockman

Megan Hedgespeth said she realized as a freshman she had the potential to bowl in college.
That dream became reality on Wednesday afternoon when the Taylor County High senior inked to bowl for the University of Pikeville.
“Mom and dad (parents and coaches Kim and John Hedgespeth) have supported me a lot taking me to Louisville and other places for tournaments.
“I know everything will be tougher,” Hedgespeth said of the move to college.
However, there was no doubt, when she made the trip to the Mid-South Conference and NAIA school, where she wanted to spend the next four years.
“I knew immediately when I visited it’s where I wanted to go. But, I (still) came home and slept on it and thought about it.”
“When she called, it made my day,” Pikeville coach Ron Damron admitted  at the signing ceremony.
“We wanted two high school girls to maintain what we want our program to be. And, now we have one.
“I watched her as a sophomore, researched her and found out she was a Kentuckian and kept up with her before having an in-home visit with she and her parents.
“She’s one of the best Kentucky girls to come along in five or six years and will help us tremendously.
“She’s a great young lady and a great student.  She fits what we look for in a student-athlete. She has academics, ability and character.
“We lose 6-7 players to graduation this year and seven more next year.
So, when these girls are sophomores, they should be more than ready. It’s time for them to contribute.
“We have to compete against the best NAIA and NCAA schools to be successful.”
Hedgespeth, who likes to read for relaxation, has bowled pretty much non-stop for eight years since starting with Mike Phillips at Phillips Lanes. She did try cheerleading in middle school before concentrating on bowling full-time.
She plans to major in biology and go into the medical field and also considered Wichita State, Lindenwood (Mo.) and Vanderbilt before casting her lot with the Bears.
•Hedgespeth led the Lady Cardinals to the Ebonite/KHSAA state title last February at Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville and just finished out of the elite eight individually by two pins. She had finished runner-up individually in 2011 and 2012 as the team finished second in 2011 and lost in the semi-finals in 2012. (The KHSAA established bowling as a sanctioned sport in 2012.)
“We’ve got a talented group of young ladies,” said coach Kim Hedgespeth, the mother of Megan.
“We’ve made state every year — before and since it’s become a (sanctioned) sport.
“We try to win every tournament we’re in — up and through state.
“It’s also our goal to get all of these girls scholarships at where they decide to go.”