As a Christmas present, it made for a wonderful gift, but not so much as an investment in the future.
“At Christmastime, I spent like $3,000 on new clubs, balls, hats, everything, getting her ready to play high school golf at Chapelle. This is when she was in seventh grade. She’s opening her presents and she doesn’t look too excited. I’m like, ‘what’s wrong with this this. I spent all this money,’ and later on she tells me, ‘I don’t know if I want to golf anymore, dad.’ I was like, ‘well, shoot me and get it over with,’” recalled Frank Rubi.
It was three years ago that Frank Rubi had that discussion with his daughter, Sarah.
If it wasn’t golf, Frank Rubi was determined his daughter would be involved in some sort of activity.
“I told my wife I didn’t want (Sarah) sitting around the house all day playing video games and eating all day long,” Frank Rubi said.
So, Sarah opted for bowling.
“I thought I liked golf but then I found bowling and I was just really interested in it. It was like my calling, almost. I felt natural with it compared to golf. In golf, I knew I might have a shot with it, but I knew with bowling, I fully had a shot. Now I’m seeing that I did,” said Sarah.
Fast forward three years and it appears everything worked out after Sarah recently captured the girls’ LHSAA State Bowling singles title as a sophomore.
“It’s an honor to be a sophomore and so young and compete against seniors and juniors, some who have had five years of experience. To compete at that level is an honor to me and I’m very proud of myself that I was able to win a state championship and I hope I can do it two more times,” said Sarah Rubi.
It’s a fairly remarkable achievement especially considering that Chapelle didn’t even have a bowling team when Sarah decided she wanted to compete in the sport.
“I was like, ‘what do I have to do to get involved, my daughter wants to do it.’ I was told, ‘well, we had girls who asked to for it, we just didn’t have a coach.’ I handed over my credentials, which covered bowling,’” recalled Frank Rubi.
So, Frank Rubi went from being golf coach at Holy Cross to golf coach and bowling coach at Chapelle.
Sarah went into the state event in Baton Rouge as the No. 16 seed with an average of 177. She bowled a four-game series of 212-230-225-208 for a 875 total. She edged Kelsi Stegall of H.L. Bourgeois, the No. 1 seed who had a 210 average. Stegall rolled 213-214-220-220 for a 867 total to finish second.
“I had a feeling. You could see it coming,” Frank Rubi said of his daughter’s chances to win state. “She competed in junior golds last summer, which is a big national event you have to qualify for. She did OK. Out of 800 girls, she finished something like 214.”
At what point in the event did Sarah think she could win it all?
“When I found out I was in first place after about the second game, I knew then and there that if I could keep my games up, keep my energy up and keep this going and pushing for it, I could beat them,” said Sarah.
Because of hard work, Sarah said, the victory wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I knew that I could do it. It was just a matter of the mental game and being there and being able to do it and play the lanes and just being the best I know I can be,” said Sarah.
Jaya Jensen of Cabrini finished third in the event.
Going in at No. 12 with a 180 average, Jensen bowled 211-216-204-223 for a 854 total.
“I never thought I would be one of the top finishers. At the end of the second game, they said I was in fifth place and I did not think I would be in the top three,” said Jensen.
An adjustment helped to propel Jensen.
“I had to change my balls. One of the balls was not breaking. I was getting stressed out and I figured out, I changed the ball. I did second arrow, and I focused and I came back,” she said.
Jensen then found herself in contention.
“I kept looking up at peoples’ scores and they kept looking at mine. We kept looking at each other’s scores and then when they told me I was third, I was shocked. I would never expect me winning third place,” said Jensen, who has signed a bowling scholarship with Thomas More University in Kentucky.
In team competition, Chapelle went into the tournament as the top seed. Following an opening-round bye, Chapelle defeated Teurlings Catholic 24-3 before losing 21-6 to Academy of Our Lady. AOL went on to win the event to become a two-time state champion.