Hoping for gold: Midland bowlers head to national championships

Bayshore Lanes bowlers Blake Weicker and Ryder Ladouceur compete in the Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) Championships in Oshawa Sunday through Tuesday

Two young bowlers from Midland are heading to the national championships on Sunday.

Cousins ​​Ryder Ladouceur, 15, and Blake Weicker, 14, earned the honor after winning the Junior Men’s Doubles title at the Ontario Junior 5-Pin Bowling Championships held recently in Woodstock.

“The Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) Championships are the elite tournament of the year for young high average bowlers across Canada, where the best of the best compete to rise to the top,” says Ryder’s mom. , Marlena Ladouceur, whose father Dennis Brabant has owned and operated Bayshore Lanes of Midland since 1985.

“Our whole family is so proud of them and we’ll be in Oshawa cheering them on. It’s something they’re looking for. »

The duo, who came close at the last provincial championships, finishing second and third, will represent Southern Ontario in Oshawa July 10-12. They will face teams from seven other provinces to try to bring the national title back to Bayshore Lanes.

“This is the first national final since COVID,” said Ladouceur.

Ladouceur and Blake’s mother, Miranda Weicker, grew up bowling in the YBC program and strived to qualify for national championships, but could never get past the provincial finals.

“Both Ryder and Blake have been 5pin bowling since they were three years old in the youth bowling program at Bayshore Lanes,” says Ladouceur, “and have been trying to qualify for Nationals since they were eight years old. years, the youngest age at which you can qualify.

The boys are coached by their grandfather Dennis Brabant, who has been guiding young bowlers since 1977. But this will be his first time coaching at national championships.

“He trained them for several years,” says Ladouceur. “It’s extremely exciting because it’s an elite competition.”

Over the years, the YBC program at Bayshore Lanes has produced many provincial and national champions, including Marlena Ladouceur’s sister, Melanie (Brabant) Middlebro, who won the national final as an 11-year-old bantam bowler in singles for giving this well-known local family bowler his only Canadian champion to date.

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