LOCKPORT — Like the bowling balls she throws with such skill, Lockport High School senior Samantha Jaeger's young life came full-circle on Saturday morning at Allie Brandt Lanes, “the place where it all started.”
The accomplished Girl Scout and National Honor Society, LHS High Honor Roll and Scholar Athlete student, credits scouting, bowling and those around her who love her and support her — including the Lake Effect Drive-In ownership and staff — with helping her find her path to a promising future.
“Sam,” the daughter of David and Renee Jaeger of the Town of Lockport, has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Division 2 Kutztown University in Pennsylvania on an academic and bowling scholarship. She plans to bowl, while majoring in Secondary Education and English with a minor in coaching.
How important was Brandt's, owned by Brian Borowski, in Sam's development (her older sister, Danielle as well) as both a bowler and young lady? Even in Saturday morning's driving rainstorm, Jeanine Craddock, an employee at Brandt's and a life-long bowler and executive in her own right, opened the doors of Lockport's historic alleys hours early, just to allow Sam to be interviewed and photographed for her local newspaper at her roots.
Accompanied by her parents, Sam talked briefly about her inauspicious start at Brandt's in around fourth grade, but what it ultimately helped her achieve.
“I was so bad when I started,” she admits with no shame. “(But) once I joined the bowling team in seventh grade, I got a lot better. (Bowling) gave me communication skills and my friends that I'm still friends with today and gave me the opportunity to bowl in college.”
A Lady Lions' bowler for six years, she described her time as a member of the LHS team as, “the greatest high school experience for me.
“I hope that all the experiences I had with teaching school-aged kids about Humane Education — my (Girl Scouts) Gold Award project — will help me become the best teacher I can be,” Sam said.
The Golden Bears are not only inheriting an intelligent young lady, but a solid bowler who will undoubtedly make them even better next year. Jaeger boasted a 176 average this past winter season for the Lady Lions. In her junior season, she averaged 183.
Sam said she'd like to become a professional bowler someday, or maybe a teacher and/or coach. One thing's for sure, she has a tremendous interest in bowling, which she credits her coach, Ms. Singleton, one of Lockport High School's greatest bowlers, male or female, in history.
“I'd like to thank my mom and dad and my sister ‘Dani,’ and a ‘thank you’ to Marion, Brian and Jeanine, as well as Mr. (LHS athletics director Todd) Sukdolak,” Sam said.
When she's not bowling, camping, listening to music or hanging out with friends, Sam works at the historic Lake Effect Drive-In on South Transit Road.
Follow veteran US&J sports reporter John D'Onofrio at @JohnD'Onofrio7.