Teenagers looking for things to do on wintertime weekends in Nebraska have few options. Friends of Logan Schilling have even fewer.
Though Columbus has a bustling, constantly growing bowling community, her skills have surpassed what might be appropriate for a friendly game. Thus, no one really asks anymore.
"I would say they're intimidated," Schilling said. "I always have one friend who's like, 'I'll go bowl with you. I don't care if you beat me. I just want to go.' And I'm always like, 'Thank you.' But yeah, I think I intimidate them a little bit."
And if that wasn't the case before, it certainly is now.
Schilling helped deliver the Columbus High girls team a Nebraska Bowling Coaches Association state championship in late January. Just about five weeks later, on Tuesday afternoon, she signed on to continue her career at Hastings College.
From an activity that began as a way to make friends when she was the new girl in town, to securing a future on the lanes at the next level, Schilling has had quite the development as a featured bowler at any level.
"I always knew that I wanted to bowl in college since I started bowling. I just knew it was something I wanted to do," Schilling said on Tuesday after putting pen to paper. "I started thinking about it my freshman year, took a few college visits, went to Hastings and fell in love with it, loved the team and knew a few people on the team, which just made it perfect for me."
The Schillings moved to Columbus when Logan was six. With bowling already in the family in the form of father Cody Schilling, there was a natural connection between tagging along with dad and meeting other kids also watching from the background.
These days, that connection has turned into friendly bragging rights whenever the Schillings, Logan's brother Hunter included, go head-to-head on the hardwood. Most often it's Hunter and Cody in weeknight leagues.
"I actually met one of my best friends there," Logan said. "She doesn't live her know, but she's still definitely a close friend."
Logan started, like many youngsters, two-handing the ball down the lane. Once she grew old enough and strong enough for a one-handed toss is when she says she really fell in love and began putting serious effort into getting better.
"You have to practice a lot, and you have to have the right mindset," she said. "You can't be getting down on yourself because you'll just bowl worse. I know that because it's happened to me. I know that I can't get mad about my last shot. I just have to focus on the next one."
That sort of approach has served Schilling well on and off the lane. Most recently, she faced a fairly daunting split Jan. 26 at the state meet held at Westbrook.
In the second round of the championship bracket, Columbus defeated Arlington by a single pin. Picking up spares as the one Schilling did were monumental in making that happen.
The Discoverers faced a field of six other teams and landed fourth on the bracket after the qualifying round.
They then took down Fremont, Arlington and, finally, top-seeded Millard West for the title.
"It's probably my top memory. It was so cool because I just knew if we could win state then anything is possible for those other girls," Schilling said. "We have a young team. I'm the only senior. The oldest is a sophomore after me.
"I knew if we could all do it, then they could keep doing it."
Schilling led Columbus scores with totals of 174, 164 and 195 for a series of 533.
Each girl bowls three times in qualifying. Team totals are calculated then used to seed the bracket.
Once the state tournament begins, it's a Baker Team format where four girls alternate the 10 frames.
It's the same at Hastings where Schilling will be joining a program that is sending both the men's and women's teams to the NAIA national tournament which begins March 28 in Topeka, Kansas.
"I'm still learning how to improve myself, how to better my game. And I definitely think I can do that at Hastings," she said. "I know that I have a lot to learn still. I'm excited."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.