Washburn sisters share same passion

Richard Kelly

Sisters Chelsey and Natalie Bennett may have completely different majors, but there’s one thing they both can agree on: bowling.

Starting bowling at a very young age, the Bennetts are two Washburn students who have very different career focuses, with Chelsey studying accounting and Natalie enjoying history and meteorology. But the two were tied to bowling by their mother and father.

Before the sisters were born, both their parents bowled frequently. As they grew up, they followed in their parent’s footsteps taking on the sport around fifth grade.

Ever since, Natalie has continued with bowling and now finds herself on four leagues spending roughly about 10 hours a week at Gage Bowl. Before coming to Washburn, she even spent a year and a half on KU’s bowling team and admits if Washburn had a bowling team, she might be interested.

But for something that was once just for recreation, a transition point came for Natalie that allowed bowling to become more than that.

“I started bowling and then they started having tournaments with scholarships,” she said. “That’s when I became competitive with it.”

Her sister Chelsey took a different route. While she also enjoyed bowling at a young age, she ended up taking an eight year absence from the sport.

“I quit for awhile­, wasn’t really as interested,” said Chelsey. “Couple years ago, I took a bowling class and it was a way of picking up where I started. But I don’t do it competitively, just for fun.”

Both sisters also worked at Gage Bowl for a period of time, and while neither see it being something they want to make a career out of, both said they would definitely continue bowling for years to come.

Chelsey said she can see it starting to wear off on other family members, as her cousins have developed an interest in bowling as well. Their younger brother, Andrew Bennett, a senior at Topeka West High School, is also an avid bowler.

While many are happy to go to a bowling alley and even break 100, Chelsey often averages around 160, and Natalie averages 220. And Natalie continues trying to improve her score since she remains more competitive with her interest.

“I think it was just the competition that got me interested,” said Natalie. “It’s kind of like if you enjoy a sport, you wanna be good at it. I just wanted to keep getting better with it after I started.”