Face time: Brooke Anton, Ms. Maine Bowling

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Brooke Anton is part of a Maine bowling legacy.

She took up the sport at age 5, and for the last two years Anton has reigned as Maine’s state candlepin bowling women’s champion.

She offered a little insight into how to be great, finding love at the lanes and why you should give bowling a shot.

Name: Brooke Anton

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Age: 33

Lives: Saco

What got you bowling so young? My family owned the Big 20 in Scarborough when I was growing up. My grandfather owned it and my father worked there and was one of the best bowlers in the state. I started bowling in the kids’ league on Saturdays from a young age. Fun fact: My mom won a state championship while she was pregnant with me.

When did you start getting really great at it? Honestly, it’s in my genes. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I would say I’ve been great at it since I was about 10 years old. I’ve won many state championships as a child and as an adult. I honestly do not practice much, but I bowl in two five-string leagues a week and participate in many tournaments on the weekends.

What are the nuances to the game that a non-bowler probably doesn’t appreciate? The people you meet through bowling become part of your family, you travel far and wide together and spend lots of time together. I met my boyfriend and some of my closest friends because of bowling. As far as the lane conditions, it’s better if they are not too sticky or slippery so that we can slide properly.

Were you and your now-boyfriend competitors? I met my boyfriend 10 to 12 years ago at a bowling tournament called the Can/Am. It’s a mixed doubles tournament (a male and female bowl together). It’s held twice a year. It’s in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, in June and Bangor, Maine, in October. The American teams bowl against the Canadian teams in one string head-to-head matches. We saw each other over the years and started dating two years ago. I do not recall competing against him until the last couple of years because we bowled opposite shifts (there is a day shift and night shift). We are super competitive when we do bowl each other. Neither of us let the other win, that’s for sure! It’s a bit challenging since we live 5.5 hours apart, but we make it work. He’s my best friend and I have bowling to thank for meeting him.

What is the state of bowling like in Maine? Unfortunately, there are fewer bowlers and bowling alleys these days than there used to be. There are fewer leagues than there were 10 to 15 years ago — there are some really good up-and-coming junior bowlers, though, which is good. As far as ages go, I bowl with and against bowlers of all ages.

Your pitch to entice others to the sport: If you want a challenge and you want to meet fun people, you should give bowling a shot!

Site of the better first date: A bowling alley or a coffee shop? A bowling alley, because I don’t drink coffee.

Farthest you’ve ever traveled and bowled? Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Farthest you’ve ever traveled, period: San Diego, California, family trip when I was in college. I’ve also been to Negril, Jamaica, Cancun and Punta Cana, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic over the past two years, as my boyfriend lives in Canada and we enjoy traveling to the Caribbean together to soak up some rays and relax at the beach.

For 2015, is the pressure on to keep up your championship streak? I don’t feel the pressure yet, because the tournament is not until April, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge. There are some great women bowlers I have to compete against, especially one of my closest friends and biggest competitors, Amanda Carroll. She is my doubles partner and we have bowling together for over 20 years.

kskelton@sunjournal.com

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