Winning right up her alley

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

Give the promising young hardwood hurler full frames for her refreshing honesty.

Winnipeg's Danielle Lemoine will be competing in her eighth national championship but first at home when she hits the alleys for the 2007 Youth Bowling Canada National Championships, which will be held at five different lanes tomorrow through Monday.

"I'm anxious, nervous, really excited," Lemoine said. "I'm always nervous before I bowl in competitions like that. And my first national competition at home makes it even more exciting."

THROWING WELL

Lemoine has earned bronze at the YBC nationals and singles gold at the Canadian Tenpin Federation nationals in 2003; silver at the YBC as well as two CTF gold medals and a team bronze in 2004; a YBC silver in 2005; and CTF gold in all events, silver in singles and bronze in doubles just last year.

"That was the best bowling I've ever done in my entire life," Lemoine said. "I had my line and was throwing well. I even had to make an equipment transition (to the 14-pound ball from 12). And it all came together for me."

And she is only 15.

"She's an amazing athlete," said Kerrie Ducharme, her coach. "She's very dedicated, very grounded, focused. I couldn't find a harder worker and she's very accomplished. The hardest part for her is defending her titles. That's the toughest part mentally."

Lemoine is so focused that she even once rolled through a broken ankle.

"In 2003, I thought that I had actually sprained it (while bowling) but it turned out that it was actually broken," she said. "But I kept going. I bowled in the provincials and won."

More recently, the Grade 10 student popped a knee out while competing.

"It was diagnosed as a dislocation so now, I have to wear a kneebrace when I bowl," said Lemoine, who boasts a plus-80% average.

"She's very tall for her age -- she's about 5-foot-11 -- and kind of clumsy," Ducharme said, explaining the injury woes. "Growth-wise, she hasn't caught up to her abilities. And now, she has a knee problem she is working through."

Lemoine, who started throwing a lighter tenpin bowl through her legs when she was three, will compete in the junior singles and combo team with bantam Ashlie Ducharme (Kerrie's daughter) and senior Lauren Fingler this weekend. Lemoine will then compete at the CTF nationals in Edmonton next month.

Other locals to keep an eye on among the 366 competitors this weekend include Mitch Hoop and fivepin bowler Scott Buchanan.

The opening ceremonies will be held at the MTS Centre tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free.


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