Kapa‘a High School senior commits to Lawrence Tech

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kapa‘a High School senior bowler Callum Meredith, the leading Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation boys individualist, checks with his mother Thursday, during the final KIF matches at the Kaua‘i Bowl.

LIHU‘E — Kapa‘a High School senior Callum Meredith committed to the Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, Michigan to bowl for the Blue Devils after he graduates.

“They needed the paperwork,” said Annie, Callum’s mother. “They couldn’t wait until the National Signing Day because of their internal deadlines. Yes, Callum’s going to LTU.”

The commitment took place electronically a few days before the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation bowling season ended. Meredith, just one of two boys bowling for the Warriors, finished the season as the top boys individualist with a 228 average and will head to the Billy Tees Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association 2021 bowling championships at the Leeward Bowl on O‘ahu, Dec. 9 and 10. This is the third straight year Meredith qualified for the Billy Tees HHSAA state tournament.

Meredith, holding a 4.0 Grade Point Average, is the second Kapa‘a High School graduate to sign for bowling, the first being Dana Murata, the state’s top female individualist in 2019, who signed to Upper Iowa University in Sayette, Iowa in 2020.

“Yesterday, Callum was 6 feet, 1 inch, so he’s probably 6 feet, three inches tall today,” said Coach Todd Ozaki of the Kaua‘i Junior Blazing Bowlers, and one of the Waimea High School coaches. “Seriously, ‘The Boy’ as I like to call him, won’t stop growing. This once 5 feet tall, 70-pound kid is now an outgoing fitness junkie who won’t stop talking about deadlifts and PRs, and is violently knocking pins around, gaining the attention of anyone who watches him bowl. He was actively recruited by several colleges, and only recently, committed to bowl for Lawrence Technical University, a Top 10 bowling college.”

During the 2021 Junior Gold National Championships, where LTU scouts were watching the Kapa‘a senior perform, Meredith finished 63rd out of the country’s top 1,167 bowlers in the Under 18 division. He became the first Kaua‘i bowler to advance after qualifying rounds and made it through two cuts into the Top 64, Ozaki said.

“He currently holds an average of 200-plus game with a High Game 289, and is the first KJBB member to maintain a 0 handicap,” Ozaki said. “He is also certified a USBC Level I coach.”

In the Hawai‘i State Pepsi Championships, Meredith finished 5th in the 2019 tournament, and in 2021, had improved to finish in second place.

Annie said Callum had already selected LTU as his college of choice to pursue an Engineering degree.

“He visited several colleges, but after seeing the Engineering Lab at LTU, his mind was made up,” Annie said. “He got an academic scholarship, but the bowling program took that and added to it — substantially. We can’t discuss the details of the scholarship, but it definitely helps.”

Callum started his bowling career after going to bowl with his grandfather at Kaua‘i Bowl and the manager gave them some free games.

“Mahalo to Adam Apo, and Kelley of Kelley’s Kitchen, and Dave Freeman,” Annie said. “They have supported Callum’s bowling to where he is still working at Kaua‘i Bowl as the technician during Rock and Bowl events after starting as a kitchen aide and advancing to cashier, and eventually the front desk.”

Ozaki said Meredith’s story is different than other top bowling performers.

“He didn’t start until he was in the eighth grade,” Ozaki said. “He didn’t come from a family of bowlers and wasn’t overly powerful or athletic. He worked for everything he has. About five years ago, our Junior Bowling league was holding an awards banquet and parent/youth tournament. We were chaotically getting everyone organized, and in walks The Boy and his mom inquiring about the league. They were invited to participate in the parent/youth event and I remember Callum very delicately swinging this yellow 11-pound ball — which was probably too heavy for him at the time — he pulled from Kaua‘i Bowl’s rack of alley balls.”

“A few weeks after joining the Kaua‘i Junior Bowlers, Callum’s intelligence and determination became evident,” Ozaki said. “One of my favorite sayings in bowling is ‘Strike for show, Spare for dough!’ I remember our other coach, Marilou Knight, meeting with him for lessons and working on his spares on weekdays. This is extremely rare for a new bowler. Most kids, and adults, just want a big curve or hook, and only care about strikes.”

Annie said Callum sends his mahalo to Coach Todd Ozaki whom Callum considers his No. 1 Mentor who taught him the mental aspect of bowling, something he demonstrated on the final night of the KIF season when he arrived late, and almost missed the warm-ups because he was in the locker room.

“He takes a long time in there,” said Kapa‘a coach Kevin Gusman. “He has five balls and has to decide on which one he’s going to use. It’s very mental, and you can’t rush him.”

Callum’s mom said other mahalo for support goes to Coach Jason Clark, Jon Putti, the Kusaka and Hayakawa families.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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