Local five-pin bowler Tiana Tecson is about to match her talents against some of the top players in Canada.
Tecson, a 16-year-old from Black Diamond Lanes, will travel to Gatineau, Que., next week for the National Youth Challenge. She'll be part of Team B.C. for the tournament and is confident she and her partners -- Brittany Dacosta of Langley and Dakota Heth of Port Coquitlam -- can contend for a top prize.
"As a team, I think we're more than capable of [finishing] up there," she said.
"A gold medal would be great but I'll be happy with whatever we get. It's the first time I've gone so I'll test the waters and see how it goes."
Tecson nabbed the third and final spot on Team B.C. when she participated in a provincial roll-off in November in Surrey. In eight games, she posted close to a 230 average -- about five pins higher than normal.
Tecson is scheduled to fly out of Prince George on Wednesday and will be on the lanes Thursday for the start of the three-day event. At the conclusion of preliminary play, the top six teams will advance to the stepladder playoffs, where the No. 6 seed will meet No. 5 and the winner will advance to face No. 4. Eventually, only two teams will be left standing and they'll go head-to-head for gold.
Without a doubt, there will be some tense moments.
"I'm definitely going to be a little nervous," said Tecson, noting that this competition is separate from the Youth Bowling Canada Four Steps to Stardom tournaments she normally attends. "It's going to be a different atmosphere and I won't get to practice with the team. I won't actually see them until we get there."
Tecson has been bowling for 13 years. Back in 2010, her Black Diamond Lanes team played at the YBC nationals in Gatineau, at the same lanes that will be in use next week. The surfaces are wooden instead of acrylic but Tecson doesn't anticipate that being a problem.
"It shouldn't be that bad," she said. "Maybe a game or two and then we'll figure it out."
Tecson's highest single game to date is a 299. She throws a relatively hard ball that hooks at the end for maximum damage.
"When I'm on, I hit my spot and [the ball] goes right in the pocket and the pins just explode," she said with a grin.
Tecson will also take aim during this year's YBC nationals, set for May in the Lower Mainland. She and her Black Diamond team of Jenny Browne, Caitlin Oakley and Deanna Montgomery claimed the B.C. senior girls championship earlier this month in the Okanagan.