LEWISTON — There were well over 100 people in the bowling alley and Avery Goulding knew every one of them.

At a high school competition at Sparetime Recreation last week, she was surrounded by mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, coaches, teammates, friends and children she grew up with.

The 17-year-old from Auburn had just helped the Edward Little High School bowling team beat the defending state champions.

Most of the other teens knew Goulding from years of Saturday-morning youth bowling leagues. She began throwing the ball at the age of 4.

Come fall, Goulding won’t be the fixture at Sparetime that she has been for the past 13 years. She will be bowling 1,400 miles away for the Upper Iowa University Peacocks.

Goulding has signed a National Letter of Intent to bowl for the university’s women’s bowling team after receiving athletic and academic scholarships.

She does as well in the classroom as she does throwing a ball, said her mother, Angeliec Goulding.

College expenses not covered by Upper Iowa scholarships will be paid for with scholarships Goulding earned competing at Junior Gold Championship tournaments across the country.

She has been to four Junior Gold tournaments. One was in Cleveland and another in Dallas, a 33-hour car drive with her mother and father.

Goulding will bowl in another Junior Gold in July in Detroit.

“We travel a lot,” Angeliec Goulding said.

Her father, James Goulding, believes the Junior Gold competition in Dallas is where Peacocks’ bowling coach Nichole DePaul-Miller first got a look at his daughter and recruited her.

“Avery’s mental game is a real strength of hers,” James Goulding said. “You have so much time between shots that you spend a lot of time thinking.”

What happens when Avery throws a bad frame? “She lets it go,” her father said. “She just lets it go and will come back and throw a great shot behind it.”

James Goulding has thrown more than 30 perfect games, but it was his daughter’s first and only 300 that he and his wife remember most.

At the age of 15, Avery became the youngest female bowler in Maine to bowl a perfect 300 game.

“It was an unbelievable moment,” James Goulding said.

“We were crying,” her mother said.

Her father said he was “way more nervous” watching his daughter bowl in the final and 10th frame of her perfect game than he was when he was in her shoes.

“There is nothing as rewarding as bowling is to me,” Avery Goulding said. “Every year, a new bowling ball is the highlight of my Christmas.”

She said she quit bowling for a while when she was 10.

“I tried a few other sports. But no other sport felt the same. There was not that sense of community,” she said.

“I am excited to expand my career opportunities,” Goulding said of heading off to bowl and study psychology. “I am a little nervous about getting settled in — more excited than anything else.

“But I love my bowling community here,” she said.

Avery Goulding of Auburn gets a high-five from her high school bowling coach after throwing a good frame at Sparetime Recreation in Lewiston last week. Goulding, 17, received an athletic and academic scholarship to bowl for Upper Iowa University after she graduates from Edward Little High School. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)

Avery Goulding of Auburn spends time with her high school bowling teammates between frames at Sparetime Recreation in Lewiston. Goulding, 17, received athletic and academic scholarships to bowl for Upper Iowa University after she graduates from Edward Little High School. (Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover)