SAN DIEGO -- Katelyn Abigania began bowling with her family just a few short years ago, never imagining she'd become a national champion. In August of 2018, she made San Diego history after bringing home a national bowling title.
While most 12-year-olds spend their time playing in more traditional sports, Abigania chose to pursue bowling.
"It's way harder than everyone thinks it is because you have all these bowling balls and oil patterns and you have to hit the right exact spot with the right amount of speed with the right amount of everything, honestly," Abigania said.
Abigania became the first San Diegan in any age bracket to win the United States Bowling Congress' Junior Gold Championship in August, a tournament in Dallas with the top youth bowlers in the country competing for scholarships.
"Going into junior gold I was definitely scared and terrified but I also knew where I could stand and I wanted to show everyone that you may not know me, but I will come for you," she said.
She took first place in the 12-and-under girls division, notching high scores of 223 and 215 to crush her competition by 100 points. She also earned $5,000 towards her college scholarship fund.
"I was so happy," Abigania said. "I have never been this happy before and I started crying. It was the first time I've cried tears of joy."
Abigania's ambitions go well beyond the bowling alley. She's currently on the dean's list at her middle school and says it's her dream to attend Vanderbilt University, where she hopes to continue bowling at one of the top schools in the country.
"It's a really awesome school with really great mentors and academics as well as a bowling team," she said. "I know it's coached by one of my favorite bowlers, Josie Barns."
Her soft-spoken, humble demeanor naturally balances her passion to succeed.
"I've always been a competitive person so when I won junior gold, I was like, yes! All my hard work got in and I've shown that all my hard work has paid," she said.
Abigania's next competition comes at the Pepsi youth championship. where she has the chance to win and return to junior golds once again.