Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Striking the stage

Junior Kelly Whipple continues to make a name for herself in the bowling world, proving herself every step of the way along her journey.

The beginning journey that college students face differs for everyone. Their background places them in unique situations, generating different results. The mental guessing games that come with being alone sound deafening. Leaving home and building a new one makes for daunting tasks. Junior bowler Kelly Whipple wrestled those tasks the second she arrived on campus. 

As the first person in her family to attend college, finding inspiration early on did not come easy. 

“I did really struggle my freshman year finding my place,” she said. “…they (her parents and grandparents) were like, ‘You know, just do whatever you can, whatever makes you happy. You need to come home, come home.’ It was really hard for them to motivate me, which I guess was hard for me to get motivated.” 

Whipple coming to UW-Whitewater planted the seed for her success. Bowling for the Warhawks sprouted her purpose pin by pin. Things began clicking.  

“My freshman year, we had a really stacked team. I had a lot of really good athletes to look up to,” she said. “When I was Rookie of the Year, I guess that’s when I realized I could really take this further and I could really use it to my advantage to help my team excel and also start a career for bowling for myself too.” 

The 2022 NTCA Division III Rookie of the Year laid her foundation quickly, making her name known early on for the national stage. No matter the school, no matter the division, Whipple took her opportunity and ran with it. Competing against Division I powerhouses in Nebraska, Vanderbilt and more, the presumed competitive edge against higher ranked opponents gets chalked up to nothing. 

Originally unsure of her capabilities at the college level, Whipple silenced doubters quickly being crowned as 2022 NTCA Division III Rookie of the Year and 2023 NTCA Division III Player of the Year.

“When I’m up there on the approach bowling a game or bowling with my team behind me, I don’t even realize that we’re DIII,” Whipple said. “In my head, we’re like a DI school, you know, competing against the best of the best. Usually, every tournament we put ourselves into contention to at least get into the championship bracket.” 

Whipple’s consistent play following a stellar sophomore campaign resulted in her being named the 2023 NTCA Division III Player of the Year. Now in her junior season, the struggles that faced her as she began her college journey became insignificant. 

“Sophomore and junior year, I kind of never really looked back to home, actually. This became my home,” she said. “… just knowing how proud I am making everyone back home… my grandparents specifically. They’ve been very successful businesspeople, even without going to college. I’ve always looked up to them.” 

Whipple and the Warhawks finished 12th out of 20 teams in the Flyer Classic in Lockport, Illinois, this past weekend. Bowling’s next tournament takes place Feb. 16 to Feb. 18 at the Mid-Winter Classic in Jonesboro, Arkansas. 

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About the Contributor
Gabe Sadoski
Gabe Sadoski, Assistant Women's Sports Editor

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    Paul whippleFeb 12, 2024 at 11:08 am

    Way to go Kelly whipple I am one proud father in what u becoming as a young women and so so so can’t wait to see what ur future holds for u in bowling ur special angle is always with u over ur shoulder we alll love u and keep the head up high no matter what GO WARhAWKS