Striking Gold: Haley Youker’s Perfect Game


hailey Steidle, Staff writer

On the weekend of Jan. 20, Mercyhurst University’s bowling team competed in the Northeast Classic along with 32 other universities and colleges. One participant on the Mercyhurst team stood out in particular during the competition. Haley Youker, a graduate student majoring in sports medicine, broke a school record after she bowled the first ever perfect game in Mercyhurst’s history. On the Friday she was competing in the second game of the traditional rounds when she was able to bowl a 300, or in bowling terms a “perfect game.” After finishing as the 2nd best bowler in the tournament, Haley was then named the PPG Athlete of the Week as well as the East Coast Conference Bowler of the week. Winning titles is not some-thing new for Haley though, as she has been highly ranked for years. She has an extensive list of titles under her belt from previous seasons, such as being named a conference player of the year during her most recent full season, gaining five Youth Bowling titles, being named to the Syracuse Jr. Masters and bowling yet another 300 game in a previous JBT Tournament. She also has placed second at a DV8 shootout in Chicago as well as both 8th and 4th place at the Teen Masters in both Richmond and Las Vegas. Haley’s record of wins during her time at Mercyhurst is long and impressive, dating back to 2019 when she was just a sophomore at the school. During the 2019-2020 school year she played in a total of 35 games, which she finished with a total of 7600 pins. Her recorded high for the year was a game with 1,391 pins, which allowed for her game average that year to finish at 217.1. She has finished first at the Medaille Tournament as well as the Wildcat Invite in previous years. In 2019 alone she was named the most valuable player four separate times and also name to the All-Tournament team seven straight times. During her 2020-2021 sea-son she lived up to her reputation from the previous year as she bowled in 272 frames and ranked second on the team with an average of 18.06 per frame. These records allow her to hold an impressive strike percentage of 40.4%.The Mercyhurst bowling team was able to secure a strong 12th place finish out of the 33 teams that competed at the Northeast Classic. Facing a plethora of DI and DII teams like Arkansas State, Tulane, Vanderbilt, North Carolina A&T, Maryville and Central Missouri the competition was strong. A 12th place finish for the Mercyhurst team is a great start to the 2023 competition year. As the season continues on throughout this year two things are certain, Mercyhurst’s bowling team is sure to do well again in future competitions this sea-son and Haley Youker’s name is one to watch out for in the bowling realm.