By Calli Newberry
Yale sophomore Keith Edgerton made history last week.
What started out as a normal Thursday bowling match became the first time a Yale Bulldog had ever bowled a perfect game, and Edgerton was the one to do it.
“I felt nervous but excited and ready to finally do it,” Edgerton said. “It was my first time. It was exciting to just have everybody that I know be here to see it.”
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While he’s only a sophomore, Edgerton has stood at the ends of many lanes for many years and his experience has finally paid off.
“My dad was always a bowler and I just kind of picked it up throughout the years. I started as soon as I could pick up a ball,” Edgerton said. “He has two 300 games here [at Holly Meadows]. He bowled every day of the week in a league besides Saturdays and Sundays. He had like 10 300 games total, but only two here.”
Yale head coach Chris Hubbard said he shared in Edgerton’s nerves as it came down to the final frame. He questioned whether he should offer any tips or pointers, but chose to let him be.
“I was nervous. I wanted to give him a little bit of a pointer, but I didn’t know if I should, I didn’t want to goof him up,” Hubbard said. “Then with his last two balls, he was as smooth as could be, dead in the pocket, as solid as you could get on a strike. He didn’t show any nerves at all.”
Hubbard credited Edgerton’s ability to keep composure to the years of playing with his father, Mike Edgerton, and his own practice and hard work.
“He knows himself. This is my first year with him as a coach, so a lot of his coaching came from his dad, and he did a really good job, and from Keith working really hard on his game to get to where he is now,” Hubbard said. “If he didn’t keep working at it, he wouldn’t be where he is now. It’s a pleasure for me as a coach to work with him.”
Edgerton was a member of Yale’s varsity squad last year and had hopes of qualifying for the State Finals, but the team was unable to compete at the regional due to Covid protocols. This year, he’s set bigger goals.
“This year I’m looking to win it,” Edgerton said, referring to the State Finals.
With his perfect game last week, he’s now averaging 212, which ranks him among the top of the BWAC. He said it’s going to take a lot of focus to do it, but he’ll be able to rely on past experience to help him.
“You have to have a lot of concentration and stamina. You’ve got to bowl a lot to get prepared for them. [You train] arm strength sometimes, but most of that you just get from bowling,” he said. “I do sport shot tournaments and I bowl eight to 20 games a tournament.”
One time, when he was 13 years old, he played on a four-man USBC bowling team at Holly Meadows and his team qualified for the state championship.
“It was interesting,” he said. “There were singles, doubles, and a team event, and in singles I ended up bowling 796 for three games combined.”
That’s an average of 265 per game – certainly not bad at all, especially for a 13-year old. But one of Edgerton’s favorite memories from his time at the bowling alley was with his dad four years ago.
“I beat my dad for the first time,” he said. “I think it was 236 to 235.”
Bowling is a sport that Edgerton has enjoyed for nearly his entire life, but in 2020, it became even more important to him as he lost his father in November. Mike Edgerton was going to coach the team that year, something both he and his son were looking forward to.
“He was going to be the coach for the school last year, but he had passed away just before the season started,” Hubbard said. “It was tough.”
So now, bowling is a way for Edgerton to stay connected to his father and carry on his legacy. With this history-making perfect game, he’s off to a solid start.
“He’s a really good kid. He helps the other kids and helps me out at matches. If he sees something they’re doing, he’ll say, ‘Coach, I think this might help,’” Hubbard said. “He’s a really, really great kid.”