SOMERSET — Brody Wildenmann started bowling when he was only 3 years old. Wildenmann’s grandfather, Charlie Miller, showed him the sport.
Now the senior of Somerset High School honors his late grandfather. On Friday, Wildenmann signed a National Letter of Intent to bowl at Division III Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio.
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“When my grandfather died in 2012, I turned all my attention to bowling and a lot of practice,” Wildenmann said. “I started traveling for tournaments. I wanted to dedicate myself to the sport I love and the sport my grandfather loved.”
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Miller, who was an avid bowler, taught Wildenmann the mental side of the game. Wildenmann learned that if he had a bad shot, he should put it behind him. He also learned to take it frame by frame, which proved beneficial.
As for the decision to go to Muskingum, it was an easy one for Wildenmann.
“They contacted me. I didn’t have to go to them,” Wildenmann said of his decision to go to Muskingum. “It really showed that they wanted me.
“I bowl a lot in Pittsburgh, and a lot of their bowlers bowl there too. Before I even knew they were a team, I knew everyone on the team. That drove me to go there. It’s close to home and I can bowling in many tournaments.”
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Muskingum was the only college visit that Wildenmann and his family spent. He knew it would become a place he would call his home for the next four years. Wildenmann, who has a 3.8 GPA, plans to study special education and eventually hopes to become a teacher.
Wildenmann brings a bevy of talents to the Muskingum selection. He has bowled 12 career 300 games and three 800 series. At age 14, he became the youngest person to pitch a 300 game at the Terrace Lanes Bowling Center. Wildenmann rolled an 843 to become the only youth bowler to score an 800 at Terrace Lanes.
His achievements go on for days, but Wildenmann’s two biggest achievements came in 2021. He won the Pennsylvania United States Bowling Congress Youth Open and the Pennsylvania USBC Pepsi Scholarship State Championship.
Wildenmann is a 4-time District 3 Pepsi Champion, 4-time Junior Gold qualifier, the nation’s top youth tournament, and the 2018 Keystone State Games Doubles Champion. Wildenmann has made more than $20,000 bowling in youth events.
“It showed that all my hard work is paying off,” Wildenmann said of winning the two tournaments last year. “I haven’t been able to practice much with COVID-19. It showed that over the years I have completed myself as a bowler and perfected my craft.”
Wildenmann looks forward to the opportunity to compete at a collegiate level.
“I want to see what people think of my playing at a collegiate level. I was self-taught after my grandfather died,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the team atmosphere at university. I want to work with the coaches to get better and become friends with everyone on the team.”
Wildenmann, the son of Donnie Wildenmann and Shasta Wildenmann of Somerset, thanked his parents for everything they’ve done for him, including taking him to tournaments as far away as Michigan.
He also thanked his grandparents for their support and his bowling friends, who were always there to pick him up when he was down. They also showed him that bowling is serious, but it can also be fun.
Wildenmann gave up baseball to focus solely on bowling. He played for almost 10 years, but knew that baseball was not his true passion.
“If you compare my level of competition in bowling to anything else… nothing compares,” Wildenmann said. “Bowling is a different world to me than anything else.”