ARLINGTON, Texas – Courtney Morelli of Selden, New York, and Tanner Ausec of Colorado Springs, Colorado, have been selected as the United States Bowling Congress Youth Ambassadors of the Year.
The annual award recognizes a male and a female USBC Youth bowler for exemplary contributions in the sport outside of league or tournament play, academic accomplishments, and community involvement.
Selected by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee, based on submitted applications, Morelli and Ausec each will receive a $1,500 scholarship.
Morelli has been a member of the Long Island USBC Youth Leaders program since 2013, and currently serves as treasurer. She chairs the Fundraising and Recruitment committees, and mentors new members.
She also is the vice president of the New York State Youth Leaders board, which she has served on for the last two years.
“Receiving this award is an incredible honor,” Morelli said. “I absolutely love participating in Youth Leaders events and helping out in any way possible. This is such a validation to all the years I’ve spent participating as a Youth Leader and furthering the bowling program.”
While her work with the Youth Leaders program has helped the local and state association, it also has taught Morelli valuable skills.
“I have always been a shy kid, and joining this program has really built up my confidence,” Morelli said. “I have developed my social skills and how to interact with adults. My organization and planning skills have really improved, as well as my problem-solving skills.”
A senior at Newfield High School, she has been a member of the school’s bowling team since the seventh grade. She also competes in a travel league.
She plans to study business administration in the fall.
Ausec currently is serving his third one-year term as a youth director on the Pikes Peak USBC board, ensuring local youth are represented and served through tournaments and awards programs.
“I have been fortunate to receive so much from the local bowling community,” Ausec said. “Whether through coaching, equipment, or knowledge, there have always been people to support me. As I grew up, I learned to understand the importance of giving back wherever possible, which is why I began coaching. This award is an acknowledgment of not only my efforts to give back to the game, but recognition of all that I have received from my local bowling community, as well.”
A senior at Rampart High School, Ausec has a 4.19 grade-point average and ranks sixth in his class. On the lanes, he helped Rampart win back-to-back state team titles the past two seasons.
He started coaching youth bowlers at King Pin Lanes in Colorado Springs four years ago, as part of a National Junior Honor Society community service requirement. He said he quickly realized how much he enjoyed teaching the basic skills of the sport, and it gave him a greater appreciation of those who coached him.
“Coaching has taught me a number of things, but first and foremost it is a constant reminder that bowling should always be fun,” Ausec said. “It has also taught me to be a better student of the game, and my skill level has benefited because of it.”
Ausec will attend the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the fall and plans to bowl for the Warhawks.
Morelli and Ausec may have the opportunity to serve on the IBC Youth Committee and be eligible for additional scholarship funds. Youth Ambassadors selected to serve on the IBC Youth Committee must be at least 18 years old as of Aug. 1 in year of selection.