It’s a rarity, say those who should know: a local bowler accepting a college scholarship in bowling.

And that’s what happened on March 13, when Rio Rancho High School senior Yarelis Alvarez put her name to a national letter of intent in the school’s RAC.

She’ll soon head to New Orleans, where she’ll be part of Tulane University’s bowling team.

Watching her sign were family members, her Rams teammates, a few teachers, Athletic Director Vince Metzgar and Principal Sherri Carver.

Oh, yeah, and someone else: Dana Miller-Mackie, who coached Alvarez for five years, including as an eighth-grader, as the Rams head coach.

Alvarez, with three perfect games to her credit. was part of a three-peat of the Rams’ state 5A title wins with the last two as anchor bowler.

“I’ve enjoyed coaching Yarelis these past five years. She listens very well, asks questions when needed and is an extremely good team, and singles, player,” Miller-Mackie said. “All credit to her supportive family and credit to her for following the youth bowling circuit here and in many other states. Her personality is easy going, but it gets intense on the lanes. She’s been fun to work with because she’s so coachable.”

To his knowledge, Tenpins & More proprietor Steve Mackie said, Alvarez is the first bowling-related scholarship for the Rams.

If a pro career doesn’t work out, Alvarez said she’d like to someday be a graphic designer.

Rams at state

In this year’s 5A event, Alvarez was top scorer in qualifying rounds with 677 over three games, which greatly assisted the team’s top-seeded position at that point. She averaged about 216 for the entire season, which started in November at bowling centers around the state.

In the state championship round, the Rams beat Volcano Vista, 194-160 and 193-189, for a 38-pin lead, reduced to two pins after seven frames of the final game.

Teammates Kara Thompson and Kallista Fritts rallied with strikes in the eighth and ninth frames to extend that to 11 pins going into the last frame. Hawks anchor Josh Burnett threw two strikes while Alvarez made her single-pin spare. Needing all 10 pins down on the bonus ball to shut out Volcano Vista, Alvarez threw the ball and ran it out to cheers and tears from one of the biggest crowds ever at Tenpins & More.

The final tally was Rams 583, Hawks 581 — and a seventh state title for the City of Vision team.

In other bowling news

Kenneth Friedrich of Madrid won last Sunday’s “Pins-Over-Average” tournament at Tenpins & More, the last event held there before the center closed temporarily in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Friedrich, who throws two-handed, entered on a187 league average and fired off games of 200-257-279-202-186 for a total of plus-188.

He beat Dan Brenning, who finished at plus-111, and Robert Edwards, plus-103 and in third place.

Other events in the current “Spring Bowling Carnival” have been postponed until the center re-opens.

It seems likely the annual “Easter Sunday Doubles Marathon” will be able to go ahead on April 12. Bowlers who want to enter should apply online at [email protected].

Yarelis Alvarez hugs Dana Miller-Mackie during her March 13 signing ceremony at Rio Rancho High School.