Vanderwende to take on the PBA

By on July 10, 2019
Nick Vanderwende, a 2017 Ephrata High School graduate, will bowl on the PBA Tour.

Nick Vanderwende, a 2017 Ephrata High School graduate, will bowl on the PBA Tour.

Nick Vanderwende, a 2017 Ephrata High School graduate, will turn 20 years old in August. Before reaching that milestone, the former Mount will bowl in his first Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) event at Colony Park North Lanes in York.

“If you have a minimum average of 200 over a minimum of 36 games you can join the PBA,” explained Vanderwende recently at Dutch Lanes, his home house. “If you’re a good bowler, you can get in (to the PBA). It’s the money and the upfront costs that steer people away. I think most people think the risk is more than the reward.”

For Vanderwende it all started in elementary school.

“Probably second grade…after school bowling…my uncle got me into the sport,” added Vanderwende. “I wasn’t a big fan of it (bowling) at the start. I did not bowl seriously until four years ago.”

At that point Nick had taken off two years from the high school team to concentrate on his grades. It was the same summer that he switched to a two-handed bowler.

“They call it the two-handed style,” noted Vanderwende. “Even though at the bottom of the swing, when you release the ball, it is still with one hand. I think that if you do it right, you are more efficient and you can compete longer.”

Even though he has not met any pros with the two-handed style, Vanderwende hopes to meet a few August 8-12 in Chesapeake, Virginia, the site of his second PBA event, and first national tour stop.

“I look up to Jason Belmonte and Jesper Svensson,” said Vanderwende. “Those are two pros that are two-handers that I style my game around. I would say maybe 20 percent of the current pros are two-handers. Hopefully I get to cross pairs with them. That would be awesome.”

“I’ve met a few of the pros,” said Vanderwende. “They’re nice guys. Parker Bohn III is one I’ve looked up to. He’s a left-hander. He’s awesome. Danny Wiseman is a right-handed one-hander. They’ve both won over a million dollars on the PBA Tour.”

When did Vanderwende know that he was good?

“When I won a major Pennsylvania Junior Bowler’s Tour event on Super Bowl Sunday at Dutch,” he said. “I kind of ran away with the title on the “Heart” oil pattern. Anthony Neuer was there. He was on Junior Team USA. He won Junior Gold last year.”

Vanderwende has had four coaches that he credits with much of his development.

“My Uncle Dan Bowers has been a huge influence,” explained Vanderwende. “Eric Montgomery of Dutch Lanes and Dean Loux too. Those guys took my game to the next level. Obviously (Ephrata Coach) Bryan Dissinger. He helped me out a lot, getting back into a rhythm. They took my game to places I never thought it would get.”

What was the best advice that he received from these four?

“Slow down,” affirmed Vanderwende. “When I say slow down, it generalizes everything, but mainly the feet. That was probably the best advice they gave me.”

To date Vanderwende’s best is an 835 triple (three games) with one 300 game and several 299s. As a pro, he will officially be known as Nicholas Vanderwende, but look for “Mini Van” on his jersey.

“Eventually, my goal is to get a sponsor,” said Vanderwende. “I want to get my name out there and see how well I do. If I make some money, I’m going to be proud of myself.”

With Nick’s two entries paid for the summer tour, the PBA travels to Japan for the next segment, which is out of his reach for now. He sets his sights on the Winter Tour next, with designs on two to four tournaments.

“It’s tough to get into a lot of them,” described Vanderwende. “The higher tier pros you see on TV flood their entry’s in there right away. That leaves the lower guys to battle to get entry.”

How much travel does he plan on?

“I’ll drive 2-6 hours for these tournaments,” said Vanderwende. “Usually, these are just one day tournaments. If I have to go to Texas or Vegas, I’ll fly.”

Is it something that become a full-time career?

“If it’s going to be a full-time gig for me, I need to be cashing (a check) every tournament,” forecasted Nick. “I would need to be in the top 32 or 40 all of the time.”

“I am progressing faster than I expected,” added Vanderwende. “I am very confident. But there are some physical and mental setbacks every now and then.”

Vanderwende just saw a doctor last week for a pulled muscle and pinched nerve. He faces therapy to get back on track.

With a look to the future, this Ephrata resident certainly has a wish list.

“Two years from now, I’d like to be on tour full time,” he said. “It’s a dream of mine. This is why I’m taking the risk now. It’s better to take it at 19 than to take it at 30, or to never take it at all. I’m definitely excited to get started. I’m ready for sure.”


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