ARLINGTON, Texas – Paytin Lee of Pearl River, Louisiana, and William Hrivnak of Pickerington, Ohio, have been named the Youth Ambassadors of the Year by the International Bowling Campus (IBC) Youth Committee.
Presented each year to one male and one female United States Bowling Congress Youth bowler, the award recognizes exemplary contributions in the sport of bowling outside of league or tournament play, academic accomplishments and community involvement. Selections are based on nominations submitted to the IBC Youth Committee.
Lee and Hrivnak each will receive a $1,500 scholarship and one could be selected to serve on the IBC Youth Committee.
When Lee entered high school in 2015, she teamed with a couple of friends from her North Shore youth league to push for a high school bowling team at Pearl River High School. After the initial request was turned down, Lee came back with more data, a faculty sponsor and evidence of student interest in the sport, and received permission to start the team.
The first season saw a team of eight bowlers, six of whom had never touched a bowling ball. Lee, the only female on the team that competed in the boys’ division, and another team member advanced to bi-regionals as individuals.
In addition to recruiting team members, Lee helped organize and lead fundraising initiatives for the bowling team. The efforts also were designed to help raise awareness of the team and draw more interest in the program from students.
During the 2017-2018 season, Lee, still the only girl on the co-ed team, was selected First Team Co-ed All District for the New Orleans Region and earned the New Orleans Saints/Enterprise Rental Car Scholar Athlete Award. At the 54th Annual USBC-Louisiana Youth Bowling Match Games Tournament in July, she won the girls regular division.
Lee has excelled off the lanes, too, maintaining a 4.17 grade-point average while taking honors and Advanced Placement courses along with dual enrollment. She plans to study engineering when she heads to college in the fall.
She’s also continued to compete in her Saturday youth league, where she now is vice-president, and the local youth travel league.
“To me, this award means so much,” Lee said. “It means that people, other than my mother and immediate friends, recognize my efforts and accomplishments. Not to say that I need recognition, that is not why I do what I do, but it is nice to know that others think I am doing a good job and commend me for the things that I have done. It means that people believe that I can make a difference.
“To me, this award also means I need to step up my game. I take it as a challenge. I need to push even harder to find ways to help build the sport I love for upcoming youth and future generations.”
Hrivnak is completing his first year of a six-year Doctor of Pharmacy program at Ohio Northern University. He was named to the Dean's List for the fall semester and is a member of the ONU Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Phi Mu Delta fraternity. He was selected by one of his professors as a student assistant for research projects.
He was ranked ninth in his class when he graduated from Pickerington North High School in 2018 and was a four-year member of the varsity bowling team, earning first-team all-conference honors his final three seasons. He volunteered with Special Olympics Bowling, the local blood drive and the City of Pickerington Haunted House for families, in addition to several events through his high school, during his senior year.
He also served as a volunteer and participant at the Ohio Music Education Solo and Ensemble. He has taken weekly piano lessons since age 6 and started taking violin lessons at age 10.
“This award means a lot to me because bowling has been a part of my life since my father introduced me to the sport when I was 7 years old,” Hrivnak said. “Bowling has always been a fun way for my dad and I to spend time together. By participating in youth bowling leagues and tournaments, I was able to learn sportsmanship and how to be a team player.
“Bowling helped me to make friends, meet new people, and earn scholarship money for college. I also really enjoyed helping out new bowlers on my high school team. I am always excited to promote youth bowling because of all the wonderful opportunities it has to offer.”
For being selected as the Youth Ambassadors of the Year, Lee and Hrivnak will receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2019 USBC Convention and Annual Meeting, set for April 29-May 2 at The Orleans in Las Vegas, where they will be presented their awards.
BowlTV.com will have live coverage of the awards presentations that will take place during the USBC Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.
Visit BOWL.com/ScholarshipsAwards to learn more about scholarship opportunities for USBC Youth bowlers.