For most teens, adjusting to the demands of high school takes some time. Certainly, that is the case athletically for most freshmen with aspirations of interscholastic success. However, O’Fallon freshman Mary Orf has been a notable exception since first stepping onto the lanes as a member of the Lady Panther bowling team.
In fact, the 14-year old bowling phenom has been nothing short of spectacular just the first month of her high school career. Following the lead of her brother, Andrew Orf, who has already garnered Athlete of the Week honors during the winter sports season, Mary joins the list of OTHS athletes who have excelled in their sport of choice.
From the Lady Panthers’ very first match a little more than a month ago, the O’Fallon freshman, the daughter of Rich and Sheila Orf, has been grabbing the headlines and spearheading a young and talented group of bowlers who currently are undefeated, 6-0, in Southwestern Conference play. During the early season surge, Orf has been outstanding, carrying a 208 average in all matches played. Her high game of 288 and high series of 747 are both the top scores posted by any female bowler in the Southwestern Conference to date.
Verification of her skill and determination was evidenced in the first two weeks of the season when she blasted her way to the individual championship at the prestigious Abe Lincoln Invitational.
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“Mary has been bowling up a storm so far this season,” said O’Fallon High girls’ coach Garrett Spencer. “She has been a huge part of the Lady Panthers’ success. Her skill level is extraordinarily high, and it’s obvious that she has a wealth of experience on the lanes. She handles pressure situations extremely well and has come through for us many times when the team needed a boost.”
“I’ve bowled almost my whole life,” said the freshman fireballer. “I started bowling when I was 8 or 9 years old. My family is a bowling family. My grandpa, my dad and his brother, and my older brother, Andrew, have all be very instrumental in my development as a bowler. Practice with and coaching from my dad have been huge factors in my success on the lanes.”
“Bowling has taught me how to stay calm in big moments,” Orf added. “The sport helps you to focus and not become distracted — especially in big matches or in tournaments, whether I am bowling with my team or individually.”