- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - This past season, Kodiak’s Josh Morin proved to be one of the best youth bowlers in the state.

Now, the Kodiak teenager is taking on America.

Morin’s bowling tour will take him to compete at a pair of prestigious youth tournaments, reported the Kodiak Daily Mirror (http://bit.ly/291AtRr).

The first stop: Teen Masters July 2-8 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The tournament is labeled as “American’s premier high school championship event.”

“This is a great opportunity,” said Morin Wednesday morning. “Considering I’m pretty much done bowling in Kodiak, I can meet college coaches.”

Bowlers from around the United States qualify for Teen Masters through various tournaments, but Morin received an invitation after several past participants lobbied organizers to include the kid from Alaska.

Teen Masters is different than any other tournament Morin has competed in, as the event requires bowlers to use plastic and urethane PBA skills balls. The older-style balls require more skill from the bowlers than reactive resin balls.

Morin recently received his PBA skills balls and has been practicing twice a week to get used to his new equipment. He has produced a high game of more than 200 with his 16-pound urethane ball.

“I’m hoping that it won’t be too much of a challenge, but I am expecting it to be,” said Morin, a member of the Kodiak Lion’s Club and a former Kodiak Elks volunteer of the year.

The recent Kodiak High School graduate is among a 220-person field, which includes Marcus and Mason Yamada of Kenai. The entire lineup bowls July 3-6, before bracket play starts.

“I’m pretty excited,” Morin said. “The nerves haven’t really kicked in; I don’t think they will probably kick in until I am down there and getting ready to bowl.”

After Teen Masters, Morin heads to Indianapolis to compete in the Junior Gold Championships July 16-23.

The Kodiak bowler qualified for the biggest youth tournament in the nation by placing second at the Alaska USBC Youth State Tournament. He joins Dustin Swearingin (2015), Germain Jimenez (2013) and the Bormuel brothers (2012) - Jason, Jerish and Jacque - as Kodiak bowlers who recently advanced to the tournament.

A high finish could earn Morin scholarships for college, or a spot on Junior Team USA. He will be attending Arizona State University in the fall, right now only as a student in the architectural program.

“I’m hoping at these tournaments I get to talk to their coach and get some pointers and try to get on the bowling team,” he said.

Morin is coming off his most successful season as a bowler. He averaged a 196 this past youth season and shot a career-best 289 game and a 760 series - a three-game total pinfall.

He said practice has been the staple for his improvement.

“You just can’t stop. You have to keep doing it. You can’t take long breaks or else you start to fall apart,” said Morin, who has been bowling since the age of 4.

While tuning up for the tournaments, Morin picked up a few pointers from Jim Kent - the father of PBA professional Marshall Kent. Jim used to live in Kodiak and was back in town working on fishing boats.

The trip to Florida and Indiana does come at a price tag. Morin has been doing odd jobs to help pay for the trip and a GoFundMe page has also been set up for Morin.

“This is the sport that I have been with the longest and the one that I find most enjoyable,” he said.

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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