ROCKFORD (WREX) — The Harlem girls bowling program has had plenty of success over the years. Olivia Watton has played a big role, contributing at the varsity level since she was a freshman.
"It's been a lot of hard work for me, I've been at the lanes all of my life. I think I started bowling in like the fifth grade and it's been practice non-stop," said Watton. "I've been through multiple coaches and coaching. I've cried many tears and I've also hurt myself many times by falling and etcetera. For me, my teammates kind of help make me who I am today, formed me into the person I am, helped me get better."
Coach James Heathscott has seen plenty of great players over the years, but none like Olivia.
"Olivia's drive is what makes her special," said Heathscott. "She works harder than anyone I could possibly even remember. She came in as a freshman at a time where it was tough to break the varsity lineup and she did and it was based on the fact that she wanted to put in the time, she wanted to put in the work."
Olivia just recently committed to bowl at Rock Valley College, staying in the area to continue her career.
"I am really happy that I decided to stay home," said Watton. "I want to be near my family and my teammates. I'm truly going to come back next year to watch them bowl. I want to see how they're doing and feel that team bonding again, you know?"
At the end of the day, Olivia is happy to be back bowling after the pandemic struck with uncertainty.
"I feel that we are really lucky just to be here right now. My mom said don't take any moment for granted," said Watton. "Be happy, enjoy what you're doing and have fun. I mean, I just want to have fun and bowl my best. I'm with my friends, I just want to be with them and have fun."
Having fun, performing at a high level and keeping that talent in the area heading to Rock Valley College next year.