When New Braunfels senior bowler Maggie Thoma walked into Fiesta Lanes on Friday, January 14, she was still on her first career 300 game.
By the time Thoma left, she was the new National and State Girls record holder after posting near-perfect performances in a row.
As they competed for the Unicorns, the senior began her incredible stretch by a 300, then fell a single reserve short for a second consecutive clear game. Thoma’s total of 579 equaled a national record set by Teema Comfort in New York in 2010 and also destroyed Texas’ previous state record (531) with 48 pins.
Thoma said it felt like any other day until she started to find a rhythm.
“The only thing that was different was that they announced there was a cut and I was right under it, so I really pushed to get in the cut,” Thoma said. “I was like, ‘I have to do really well today,’ and then that happened.”
The senior said she didn’t realize what she had accomplished at first.
“They said, ‘Hey, I think she equaled a national record,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, really?'” Thoma said. “I didn’t find out until later that day that I had broken the state record by 40 or 50 pins. That was actually pretty crazy.
“There are those days where you can just see you’re busy, and it was just one of those days.”
Thoma, a two-handed bowler who relies more on spin than sheer power, said she’s been in the sport all her life, but started getting more into the competitive side around age 10. Since then she has been trying to perfect her. approach and delivery as she worked her way up to become team captain for New Braunfels’ program, which is among the best in the state.
“Consistency is a big part of the game,” said Thoma. “Once you get the hang of that, you’re good to go.”
Thoma admitted there were some nerves to work through at the start of January 14, but once she was able to tick the 300 games off her goals list, the tension quickly eased.
“I just had fun during the last game,” said Thoma. “I was like, ‘I already have one.’ Then the second set went really well and I thought, ‘What if I just kept going?’ I finished it and it was a really great day.”
All the while, Thoma kept a cool head and treated her record performances just like any other trip to the lanes. Rather than isolating herself as a pitcher working on a no-hitter, the senior decided to stick with her usual routine.
“They try to give you distance when someone goes that far because you want to keep them focused and not distract them,” Thoma said. “I was still talking to my friends like it was a normal game — like nothing was wrong.”
The Unicorns season is approaching, and Thoma and her teammates are hoping to make a run for the regional, provincial and even national titles. Furthermore, Thoma is set to continue her bowling career in college and is weighing her options before graduating this spring.
“It’s a huge goal of mine,” said Thoma of collegiate bowling. “I’ve been looking at that for years and de-icing where to go is a huge decision to make, but I really want to go far with my bowling career.”
In addition to her recent success, Thoma said it was a rewarding experience to be one of the leaders of the New Braunfels 2021-22 team. She remembers being one of the younger bowlers on the lanes years ago and takes pride in passing on helpful tips whenever she can.
“Over the years I’ve had kids come to me and I’ve helped and coached them and it’s really cool because they look up to people,” Thoma said. “That’s how I grew up too. I always looked up to the older kids, and now that I’m one of them, it feels really great.”