High School Sports

Kendric Siders, a standout bowler at Eagle River High, is having an ‘All Star’ senior year

Eagle River High senior Kendric Siders

Kendric Siders began bowling competitively over a decade ago. Now, the senior at Eagle River High School is in the midst of the best stretch of his young career.

He has been a key member of the Wolves’ elite scholastic bowling team for the last four years, and this past season has been his strongest by far.

Siders helped lead Eagle River to an undefeated season where they lost just one game and not a single match all year.

He was named boys high school bowler of the year after he set a state record with an average score of 238 per game and was named to the boys all-star team.

“It was long and I led the entire season, but I just tried to keep a level head,” Siders said.

Eagle River High senior Kendric Siders

Even though bowling itself is an individual sport, he said that his teammates were instrumental to his success because they pushed him to be better: Some of the top competitors from around the league were on his own team.

“We really push each other to make each other do what we’re supposed to do and we just kept winning match after match,” Siders said.


An early start

He first started bowling when he was 3 years old, and his competitive journey began when he was just 6.

He and his parents were practicing at Eagle River Bowl when a director from one of the bowling leagues came over and told Siders that he was talented enough to play competitively.

“I said, ‘OK, why not?’ So I started on Saturdays, and then I started bowling in a lot of tournaments, and then I started going to national tournaments,” Siders said.

He’s coming off his best showing at a national tournament. He carried the momentum of his sensational senior season into the Storm Youth Championships last month in Las Vegas, where he finished first in the U18 boys division.

“Going into the first day, I didn’t have a lot of confidence because I couldn’t find a line and I just didn’t strike, but throughout that whole block, I shot the highest of everybody else,” Siders said.

Eagle River High senior Kendric Siders

He admits that he didn’t bowl nearly as well on the second day, but neither did many of his competitors. He maintained his lead heading into the third and final day, where he saved his best for last.

“In the first game, I shot my first sanctioned 300 ever, and that was pretty cool because they got it on the livestream as well. So it’s on YouTube and Facebook now,” Siders said. “I just kept a steady lead so no one could catch me, and I won.”

He had a whopping 180-pin separation between himself and the second-place finisher.

Last year, in his first appearance at the tournament, he finished 10th. That spurred him to enter his final year of competing at the youth level with a new mindset.

“I practiced a lot and I had a lot more knowledge going into it and came out with a win,” Siders said.

While he wasn’t the only Alaskan who competed in the tournament, he was the only first-place finisher. It was the highest he had ever finished in the roughly 200 tournaments he can recall participating in since he started bowling competitively.

All of the prize money he’s won — totaling about $12,500 — goes into a scholarship fund. The highest amount he’s earned in a single tournament was the $1,500 he won in his most recent competition.

His last competition at the youth level before he heads to college is the 2023 Junior Gold Championships, which will take place in July in Indianapolis.

Discipline, practice and future plans

Many variables factor into becoming an elite bowler, and strength isn’t necessarily one of them. According to Siders, it requires a lot of practice multiple times a week.

“When I was younger, I used to want to go to the bowling alley every single day,” he said. “It’s just practice, practice and more practice.”

He practices three times a week for four hours at a time during the offseason to hone his craft but cuts it down to twice a week during the season to preserve himself for regular competitions.

In order to “get to where you want to be” in the sport, Siders said “it takes a lot of time and dedication” and that reaching the highest level is much more about proper technique rather than raw strength.


“You have to have a really good mental game and a really good physical game,” he said. “It’s not all just physical.”

While he wasn’t interested in playing other sports growing up, some of his interests outside bowling include fishing for salmon and halibut as well as reading. Two of his favorite authors are J.K. Rowling and J.D. Salinger, who wrote his favorite novel, “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Eagle River High senior Kendric Siders

Siders has already been in regular contact with coaches from several colleges with bowling programs in the Lower 48, including St. Ambrose University, Indiana Tech, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Lindenwood University and St. Francis University.

He hasn’t made a decision about where he wants to go just yet, but he does intend to major in accounting.

While he looks forward to and plans to compete in college, Siders is uncertain about whether he wants to follow the sport to the professional level.

“Part of me wants to bowl on tour and continue as an adult,” he said, “but part of me does want to bowl recreationally — but not compete with the pros.”

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.