It has been a long and winding road for Alexis Neuer. The Lewisburg senior has dealt with a slew of high expectations for being the daughter of former Professional Bowling Association lefthander Andy Neuer. Neuer always seemingly appeared to be the favorite to win regional and state championships.
However, Neuer couldn’t get over the hump. As a sophomore in 2014, she placed third at states due to losing a roll-off in a semifinal to Penn Trafford’s Amanda Balas, who went on to capture gold. Last year, Neuer finished runner-up at both regionals (against Hazelton’s Jamie Kulaga) and states (against Butler’s Megan Paul).
At the 2016 Pennsylvania high school state singles championships on Friday March 18 at North Versailles Bowling Center in Pittsburgh suburb North Versailles, Neuer finally got what had been eluding her in the past- a state title. She defeated Harry S. Truman’s Kelsey Hackbart, 213-202, in the stepladder final.
You knew this was a long time coming. Not known for displaying emotions on the lanes, Neuer let out a “YES” yell after a strike in the later frames against Hackbart. After a mark in the 10th, Neuer put both hands into the air, knowing she had done enough to secure gold.
Twenty-four girls- 12 from the east and 12 from the west- qualified for the competition. After six games of qualifying, the top five moved on to the state stepladder playoffs. Neuer was the highest qualifier with 1,251, earning a direct spot into the championship game.
In the opening stepladder game, four seed Balas, now a senior, defeated fifth-seeded Ashley McCue (Butler). Third-seeded Brianna Lundy (Norwin) ended Balas’ hopes by taking out the 2014 winner in the quarterfinals. Hackbart, who earned a double-bye as the two seed with 1,179 in qualifying, eliminated Lundy in a semifinal.
Once the tournament concluded, Neuer received championship hardware and a hug from her dad and other peers before posing for pictures. Neuer has another opportunity to grab a state title, this time in the team tournament with Lewisburg, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday March 19 in North Versailles. But until then, the spotlight finally shines on Alexis Neuer, your 2016 Pa. girls’ singles champion.