Jesse Phillips is on a roll, and not just because he bowled a 300 game.
San Marcos High senior Jesse Phillips rolled his way into the history books last month when he bowled a perfect 300 game during the adult/youth summer league at Zodo’s — Bowling & Beyond.
“In the history of Santa Barbara, I’m the only junior bowler to ever shoot a 300,” said the 16-year-old Phillips, who started bowling when he was 13.
Recalling his 300 game, Phillips said: “I took it frame by frame. … Your heart starts beating pretty fast as soon as you’re at about eight strikes. Everybody stops bowling around you and they start watching. All the lanes were silent.
In addition to the thrill of victory, Phillips will receive a $150 scholarship from Zodo’s and a YABA (Young American Bowling Alliance) 300 Ring.
It’s like a Super Bowl ring for bowlers, Phillips explained.
“I seem to excel in tournaments more than practice, just because of the thrill of it,” he said.
Phillips and his partner, KC Ogata, won the state doubles championship last year. Phillips also placed sixth in all events, seventh in Junior Gold and eighth on Team USA.
He won his first title in the majors division last season, competing against top youth bowlers, as well as members of the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UCSB bowling teams. Phillips was also recently honored as the Junior Amateur Tour Farm Club Rookie of the Year. He hopes to turn professional after his 18th birthday.
“That’s my goal in life, to be a pro bowler,” said the former Pony Baseball all-star pitcher.
Phillips said he tries to bowl at least four times a week, bowling in as many leagues as he can and playing in lots of tournaments.
“My mom’s been very supportive,” said Phillips, who also praised his coaches — Tom Shepard, Toshi Ogata, Dave Koppa and Bob Angulo — and Laura Shepard, Zodo’s youth director.
“There is no greater feeling of pride then watching the youths you mentor achieving success, not only in their bowling accomplishments but also in their lives,” said Shepard, who is working to start bowling clubs at the local high schools and eventually make bowling a CIF sport.
“Teaching athletes to excel in their sport is small in comparison to the life lessons we teach hoping to pass on lifelong skills on the way. These youths are our extended family and knowing that you made a difference in some of their lives is my ‘300’ every day.”