IMG_8802Angelique Dalesandro ‘18 holds a rare spot in more than 50 years of Saint Viator athletic history: She is the first student to earn a Division I scholarship to bowl in college.

This fall, Angelique will be bowling at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, whose women’s team just won the National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Championships, held last month in St. Louis.

“I’m excited about how good they are,” said Dalesandro. “I’ve never been on a team before, so between that, and having teammates, it’s all new to me.”

IMG_8798At the spring signing day in April, Angelique made a point to thank her father, Dan Dalesandro, with starting her in the game and being her biggest fan. He was the one who enrolled her in a Daddy/Daughter league at the former Rolling Meadows Lanes when Angelique was 5.

She advanced to youth leagues when she was a little older, but it wasn’t until after her freshman year, after playing volleyball for one season, that she returned to the sport she loved.

“I went bowling with friends and did really well,” Angelique says. “I had forgotten how much I missed it.”

She returned to the lanes and hasn’t looked back. For the last three years, she has headed to River Rand Bowl in Des Plaines for practice after school. Without a team at Saint Viator, she competes as an individual, but it was at the Junior Gold Championships last summer in Cleveland, where Angelique stood out and drew the attention of the Vanderbilt coaches.

Her private coach, William Clark, points out that it is the biggest youth tournament in the country, with 3,800 bowlers, and nearly 1,000 alone in the girls’ division, ages 16-20. Among her peers, Clark says Angelique finished among the top 1 percent.

“College coaches are always looking at how well you can execute your shot,” Clark says, “as well as how you throw the ball, adjust to lane conditions and handle adversity.”

Angelique says that she is working hard to meet the level of play at Vanderbilt, but this much she knows: To bowl in college, she says, is a dream come true.