Just under the wire, Deanna Montgomery struck her name into the history books at Black Diamond Lanes.
After 17 years in the Youth Bowling Canada (YBC) program, the 20-year-old is heading to her first national championship, May 3-6, at the Revs Bowling Centre in Maple Ridge just as her YBC career comes to an end.
"When we first won my dad turned around and was like, 'You won,'" said Montgomery about winning the provincial roll-off in March. "I had to ask him four or five times until it finally sunk in. I just cried and cried. I couldn't believe it. It took about a week for it to finally sink in that we were going to nationals."
She said she set her sights on reaching the nationals in YBC seven years ago after her dad took a junior boys team to the tournament in Newfoundland. A year ago she thought her dream was dead but a rule change in YBC allowing bowlers to compete until they're 19 gave Montgomery another year to fulfill her dream.
"I am so grateful," said Montgomery. "Last year I was like, well OK, it's done. It's over with. It wasn't in my future. It's definitely one thing as a YBC bowler that you strive for - to get to nationals. That is your one goal. I've been in it for so long and I've seen other friends, and I've seen best friends, go through it. You just want it so bad."
Montgomery will represent British Columbia along with her senior girls teammates Caitlin Oakley, Jenny Browne and Tiana Tecson against top bowlers from across Canada. In addition to heading to her first national championship, Montgomery is also a part of another piece of history.
For the first time there will be three Prince George representatives at the national event from the same bowling house, as the Black Diamond Lanes junior girls team of Kassidy Johnson, Megan Reimer, Lezzyl Aquino and Paige Meise have also qualified and so has Jordan Arnett in the junior boys single category. Tracey Montgomery and Chito Tecson are also headed to the Lower Mainland as the senior and junior girls team coaches, respectively.
In 1969 there were four Prince George teams to qualify for nationals, but not from the same house, as the Nechako Lanes and the Fifth Avenue Bowladrome sent two teams each.
Montgomery said she's happy to go to the YBC nationals with her teammates.
"They're just a fun bunch of girls and we just gel really well," she said. "They've kind of become my second family.
"We're definitely going to rock it," added Montgomery. "We're confident in our abilities and we've been practicing really hard. I feel that this is our year that we're going to medal, at least, and we're going to try our best and just have a fun time with it."