Prince Albert bowlers excited for shot at national title

Prince Albert bowlers Bella Mulhall (left) and Taryn Dumont (right) pose for a photo with coach Michael Pelechaty (centre). Mulhall and Dumont are headed to Ottawa-Gatineau in May after qualifying for the Youth Bowl Canada National Championships. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Prince Albert bowlers Taryn Dumont and Bella Mulhall hope to do something no local bowler has done in a long time: bring home a national title.

The 19-year-old Dumont and 17-year-old Mulhall are headed to the Ottawa-Gatineau region to represent Saskatchewan in the Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) National Championships from May 6-8. The two bowlers will compete in the Senior Girls Doubles competition.

“It’s exciting (and) nerve-wracking,” said Mulhall, who will be competing at nationals for the second time. “I’m beyond happy that I get to experience it again. It’s a feeling like no other. There’s just so much adrenaline. It’s awesome.”

“I’m excited but I’m also nervous,” added Dumont. “It’s my first nationals so I’m excited to have that experience.”

The duo will bowl 24 games over the three-day event, which features competitors from every province bowling in bantam, junior, and senior age categories. Mulhall said they’ll both need to be mentally tough to be successful.

“We just have to keep our minds straight and really just live in the moment,” she said. “I think we have to stick to how we feel. We know we can do good and we know we can win. We just have to stick to that feeling.”

The Prince Albert duo qualified after beating eight other teams at provincials in Regina. Each team bowled four games, with the highest scoring team representing Saskatchewan at nationals.

Dumont and Mulhall found themselves trailing by 86 points after the first three games, but rallied in the fourth to take the provincial title.

“We struggled a little bit, but we pulled through and won and now we’re going to nationals,” Dumont said.

“It was nerve-wracking because we were watching the other team who had a chance at beating us. We knew what they needed to beat us…. It sounds really bad, but seeing that they didn’t get it was an indescribable feeling.”

Team coach Michael Pelechaty credited the duo’s ability to stay calm under pressure for the provincial win.

“We knew going into the last game it was going to have to be a big comeback if we wanted a chance to go to nationals,” Pelechaty said. “Of course, the girls came out strong. Taryn started off with four strikes in a row, and then right after that, Bella had probably four strikes of her own too. They came out clutch when they needed to be clutch and got the job done.”

Pelechaty said having two Prince Albert bowlers representing Saskatchewan in a big boost for the sport locally. He’s hopeful it will translate to more bowlers trying the sport’s competitive side.

“Any time we time we get bowlers from Prince Albert going to nationals, whether it’s the kids or adults, it’s always good,” he said. “Every once and a while when you see new bowlers coming out to the bowling alley, it’s always good to see. We all have that end goal of getting a national banner someday. It hasn’t happened in a while, so that’s always a goal.”

Regardless of what happens at nationals, this will be the last YBC Championship for Dumont, who will not be eligible for youth competitions next year. She bowled in a few adult tournaments during the 2023-24 season in preparation for her first full year of adult eligibility next year.

Mulhall is in Grade 12 at St. Mary High School, and has at least another year of eligibility. Like Dumont, she plans to keep bowling competitively after graduation.