For the last two years, Brooke Roberts has been the premier girls bowler in the Volusia/Flagler area. This summer, she's blossomed into one of the best in the entire nation.
The Atlantic High junior was one of just five girls, and the only underclassmen, named to the 2017-18 Dexter High School All-American Team. She and the other recipients will be honored at the opening ceremony of this weekend's Junior Gold Championships in Dallas and receive a $1,000 scholarship.
It will be Roberts' second big tournament in less than a month. From June 23-25, she shined at the U.S. High School Bowling National Championship in St. Louis, finishing in third place out of 183 competitors.
Roberts earned top-30 showings at nationals the last two years and dreamed of making a deep run in the tournament. However, since she carried the top score through qualifying and three knockout rounds, she came away slightly disappointed that she didn't bring home the title.
"I wasn't actually going in expecting to make it that far," Roberts said. "It kind of does (hurt), but I'm very happy with how I did. I truly wasn't expecting to bowl that well, like 100 pins over everyone else."
In the fourth round of the survivor competition, Hardin County (Tenn.)'s Faith Welch rolled a 299 game to take the lead over Roberts by 37 pins. Though Roberts chipped away at the lead with a 247 game in the Elite Eight, she ultimately bowed out a round later with her lowest outing of the event (181).
The News-Journal has selected Roberts as Girls Bowler of the Year in both her varsity campaigns. She posted an area-best average of 211 and guided the Sharks to a top-10 finish at the 2017 state tournament.
"Her consistency has gotten better each year," Atlantic coach Kris Blasko said in November. "How dominant is it to be a freshman district champion, a sophomore district champion and then a junior district champion? The thing with Brooke is, she’s always saying she’s putting the team ahead of herself, and I think that’s a mental thing that takes some of the pressure off her. Next year I’m going to emphasize that she be more of an individual, because she deserves a state championship."
With the prep season now just a month away as regular-season matches can begin on Aug. 20, Roberts will look to hunt down that elusive state title. She could be just the third local girl to capture the trophy, joining DeLand's duo of Amy Seymour (2005) and Jennifer Brown (2007).
"Of course, I'm going to have an ever bigger target on my back. And I'm OK with it," Roberts said. "I've dealt with it before, and I won't mind it one bit."