Life in the fast lane for Shanita Clark
WHEN Grafton teenager Shanita Clark swapped her dancing shoes for bowling shoes as a young girl, she didn't know just how far the sport would take her.
The talented 17-year-old has just been chosen as one of seven girls from across New South Wales to represent the state in the under-18 and under-21 tenpin bowling teams for 2016.
It will be her fifth year in the under-18s and third year in under-21s.
Her younger sister Kiara, 14, has also been selected for the under-18 squad for the second year running, along with fellow Grafton girl Rachael Pearce.
Shanita said it was a relief to be chosen this year because she wasn't there to roll off for a place in the team.
"They took me in based on my scores," she said.
"I'm glad I was good enough on paper."
Last week, Clark returned from Hong Kong where she represented Australia in the Asian School Tenpin Bowling Championships.
It was her first taste of international competition and the Year 12 Clarence Valley Anglican School student said playing against teams from Korea, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines and China opened her eyes to a whole new tenpin culture.
"The way they went about running it was different to what I'm used to but it was just amazing," she said.
"Everything they did they just took it to another level.
"In Australia if you don't bowl the same way as everyone else, people just look at you and kind of look down on you. Over there everyone bought their own technique to the table and everyone got along just because you all love the sport."
The under-18 girls' squad just missed out on a bronze in the teams division.
"I didn't get any personal bests but I'm very happy with how I bowled," Shanita said.
The daughter of Grafton Ten Pin Bowl owner Ashley Clark, Shanita said she had bowled in some form since she could walk, but only got serious about competitions when she stopped dancing.
"I've always bowled because Dad owned the business, but didn't really get into the competitive side until about five or six years ago," she said.
As for the future, Shanita said she would love to compete overseas again if had the chance.
"I'll see where it takes me, I'm not giving up this easily," she said.