NUTLEY, NJ — Nicole Case, a junior, has been a member of Nutley High School’s girls bowling team for the past three seasons, earning a varsity letter all three years. As a freshman, she developed into the team’s No. 5 bowler, filling in for tournaments and seeing considerable action in league play. Last season she earned a starting spot Week 1 and earned All-League honors, which she has also earned this year. Case’s 147 average ranked No. 2 in the SEC American Division. She was ranked No. 1 going into County Individual Tournament play, finally finishing third. Along with this, Case anchored the Raiders to a first-place finish in the SEC American Division. According to coach George Ackerman, she has the potential to lead the Raiders to another great season next year and take her place as one of the premier female bowlers in the state. “The girls look up to Nicole as a positive role model both on and off the lanes,” Ackerman said.
What initially drew you to bowling?
I wanted to join the team for fun, so I got one of my friends to sign up with me during our freshman year. I ended up knowing a few people on the team and after that I just stuck with it.
What is your proudest bowling moment?
My proudest moment probably goes back to my first match ever during my freshman year. During my first game ever for the team I was going strong with a 115 in the sixth frame, bowling on junior varsity. I ended up being switched onto varsity for the remainder of the first game and the second game.
Do you have any superstitions relating to the game?
I have so many superstitions it’s crazy. I have a specific routine before I go up to bowl. I walk to the lane, keep my hand over the vent for about 10 seconds, put my middle and ring finger into the ball first, then my thumb, then once I walk up I take my thumb out of the ball and put it back in again. Then I get set very quickly and bowl very fast. If any part of that routine is different, for some reason it messes with me.
What is your favorite subject in school?
I love chemistry. This year AP is such a challenge but it’s really so interesting to me how all of it works.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would definitely travel to Barcelona. The architecture there is really fascinating, and it just seems like a great place.
What kind of music do you like?
I like mostly pop, rock and alternative music. I don’t listen to music before the game, but if I’m not having a great day I usually listen to my playlist while I’m bowling.
What is something about you that might surprise people?
I want to believe that I’m a pretty well-rounded person. I work in musical theater for the high school and the town as a lighting designer; I play the bass guitar, piano and guitar; I used to do soccer and karate; and I recently joined spring track. Somehow I do all of this while still maintaining my grades and all of the clubs that I’m in.
As an accomplished bowler, what are your views on bumpers?
When I was younger I refused to bowl without the bumpers. Even at tryouts for the team I was terrified of bowling without them. If you’re bowling for fun, use them if you want! They add some excitement to the game since you can bounce the ball off them. Although they are a safety net, if you want to become a better bowler, practicing without them is the better option.