If you go bowling at Western Bowl, you may see Millard South High School senior Grayson Martin setting out bowling balls, cleaning, or putting up bumpers. It’s the same bowling alley where his dad worked in high school. “I started bowling when my dad entered me and my older brother into a league when I was five or six years old, and I still bowl in it today,” Martin said. “My interest only grew as I got my own equipment and started going to bowling tournaments.”
Martin began bowling with Millard South as a freshman during Covid, and now he’s the senior team captain. He gets his motivation from the determination of his teammates. “I am always driven to do the best I can because I am playing a sport I love with people who care about it just as much as I do. The thing I enjoy the most is celebrating with my teammates after big games and big wins.”
In addition to traditional bowling, Martin also participates in the Unified Bowling team as a peer athlete. Unified sports allow people with and without intellectual disabilities to participate on the same school team. The athletes represent their high school through competing on the team. Unified Bowling coach David Stalling said, “Grayson is an amazing peer coach and will do anything he can to help our athletes. His knowledge of the game and passion make him a vital player on and off the bowling alley.”
Martin has participated in the Unified Bowling team since seventh grade. “The thing I enjoy most about the Unified Bowling team is the positive atmosphere. The people I have met and worked with while being on the team are the kindest and most welcoming people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I want people to know how enjoyable the experience is. It’s not just bowling with students who have disabilities, it’s a team building experience that helps everyone grow as a person.”
Martin is proud of helping popularize the Unified Bowling program, including making it to state two years in a row. “During those state appearances, my fellow teammates and I like to create fun celebrations after big shots. My personal favorite celebration is the turkey gobble after three strikes in a row.”
Millard South boys Bowling coach Nathan Wragge believes Martin is an exemplary student athlete because of what he does for both teams. “Grayson stands out because of how well he works with our Unified Athletes and for his accomplishments on the traditional bowling team,” Wragge said. “For traditional bowling, Grayson has qualified for the state tournament as a member of the 2021-2022 Millard South boys bowling team and has qualified for the state individual bowling tournament in that same year. He was also the All-Tournament team captain (1st overall bowler) at the Metro Conference Tournament last year, which showcased 20 metro schools. Grayson has been a leader for our team with both his bowling ability and his leadership of his teams.”
During the 2022-2023 traditional bowling season, Martin faced a challenge that affected his whole season. “In our first match of the year, I was chosen to throw in a sudden death, one ball roll-off. The other guy threw a strike, and I failed to match him. The miss haunted me, and it caused me to have a mental block for the first part of the season. Our season was mediocre up to the Metro Conference Championships because I wasn’t bowling to the best of my ability. During the tournament I put the past behind me and I got first place individually with a 661 series and we took first place as a team as well.”
Outside of bowling, Martin stays busy with orchestra, show choir, jazz choir, and student council. He enjoys participating in fantasy football, watching movies, or playing video games with his friends. Although he hasn’t settled on a college yet, Martin plans to bowl at the college level and possibly pursue a career in real estate.
Assistant Millard South Bowling coach Brett Keim believes Martin is one of the most level-headed and consistent athletes he’s ever coached. “In bowling, it is very easy to let a few bad throws greatly affect your game and even your entire match,” he said. “Grayson does a fantastic job of not becoming too emotionally charged in either direction, which allows him to be a very consistent bowler. His attitude permeates through the entire team and his positivity keeps his teammates performing at their best. Grayson is a student-athlete that is always doing the right thing and leading by example; whether that is in the alley, in the classroom or in everyday life.”
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