- By Colin Anderson
Athletes of the Month
Riley Schuller, Junior Peninsula High School
For many, bowling is a fun way to blow off steam on a Friday night or relatively cheap entertainment for the kids, but to Peninsula High School junior Riley Schuller and her teammates, it’s serious business. The competitive Seahawks Girls bowling team takes to the lanes throughout the winter against teams from around the region. While each player contributes a score, it’s the team effort that ultimately leads to who wins each competition.
Riley is a multiple 200 game bowler with a career high of 216. She’s learned that you need to be mentally tough to excel in bowling. “You may be capable of throwing the ball really well and getting high scores during practice, but if you are not mentally prepared to play a match your scores will always be lower than usual,” she said.
Being consistent in your form is key to knocking down strikes and picking up spares, and sometimes even the smallest movements can drastically alter the results. Riley says last season was a challenge because she developed a bad habit of swinging her arm to the left when it needed to go to the right, resulting with a score lower than she had hoped for. “It wasn’t until I showed up for this season that I finally had my arm swing down correctly, and this allowed me to get high enough scores to make it all the way to districts,” she explained.
Riley says the team is welcoming, has little drama and a lot of fun. “Now that the team has gotten another strong group of girls that work together as a team, I can say for certain that the best part of the girls’ bowling team is the community you join when playing with us.”
While she still has a year to go, Riley is already focused on her future. She’s maintained a 3.9 or higher GPA while enrolled as a running start student. She is on track to graduate with an associate degree and plans to pursue a four-year degree as well. Her interests are wide ranging from physics and engineering to art.
“Some of the career interests I currently have are mechanical engineer, physics specialist (specifically designing roller coasters!) or a pottery artist. Most of my life I always thought art would be the thing I do for a living, as it was the one thing I continued to do throughout school, but when I started taking more challenging math and science classes I began to wonder if this could be something I would enjoy doing for a living. I especially look forward to exploring mechanical engineering more because it allows me to create weird designs for useless robots that I’ve always wanted to try,” she said.
Wherever she ends up, she hopes to find a women’s bowling team so she can continue to enjoy the sport she loves so much.
Asher Raquiza, Sophomore Gig Harbor High School
Since the time he could first pick up a basketball, Asher Raquiza has loved the sport. His career started at the age of 3 and took off fast. Asher played in the Upward Basketball program from kindergarten through second grade and was part of the Tides Select AAU program from third through eighth grade. He was offensive player of the year while in middle school, and coaches definitely took notice.
Now a sophomore at Gig Harbor High School, Asher is already a major contributor for his high school team. In fact, Gig Harbor captured the league championship this past season, and Asher was the leading scorer on the team. He was also recognized by being named a Second Team All-League selection. While he’s won many tournaments and championships across his many teams, the losses have also been there, something that motivates Asher to continue to improve each practice.
“One of my biggest challenges has been losing,” he said. “I can overcome this by out-working and knowing what my full potential is.”
A true competitor, Asher tells himself that enough is never enough and to keep striving for greatness. “I enjoy winning the most and knowing that I always strive to put my best effort on the court,” he said.
The high school season has come to a close, but that doesn’t mean Asher will take a break. He continues to work hard at school, evidenced by his 3.95 GPA. He will also continue playing ball for his current AAU program, Total Package AAU. While Asher has hopes in the gym, he can also dish it out on the volleyball court as well. His future goal is to take both of these skills to a Division I program, specifically playing basketball at the University of San Diego, while getting a taste of what it would take to become a professional beach volleyball player as well. He also wants to focus his studies on design and architecture, and to follow in the footsteps of his uncle Cory who is an architect.
With goals of a college degree, career, NBA and pro beach volleyball, Asher has his sights set high, and with hard work and the support of his family, the sky's the limit.
“I want to do all these things because of my love for them,” he said.