Oswego High School junior Lani Breedlove is the captain of the Varsity Girls Bowling Team that finished No. 3 in the state final.
Her success earns her a lot of praise from surrounding coaches, one being the head coach, Mr. Dan Okoren, who is also the Career and Technology Education department chair at OHS.
“She is a good teacher. A good motivator. She’s just made a huge impact on the team in a very positive way,” Okoren says.
Breedlove is a great role model for the team. She helps Okoren when he is focusing on another group of teammates, taking it upon herself to coach the girls and help leading practice.
“She’s very trustworthy. Extremely dependable. She helps out with some of the little things that most of the athletes don’t step up to do,” Okoren says.
Her leadership also carries over to the alley, where she leads the varsity team—which she has been part of since her freshman year—as its No. 1 bowler.
“I’ve been doing this sport since I was little, like 6, so I’ve definitely been working at it a long time,” Breedlove says.
It’s important to acknowledge that kind of commitment, especially in an athlete. For most people, bowling is just a fun weekend activity to do, but for Breedlove, it’s a lifestyle.
“For me, it comes down to discipline,” Breedlove says. “A lot of people don’t work at it that hard, but getting to an elite level, you’re putting in that work constantly, seven days a week, …five days of practice, competing on the weekends, Saturday through Sunday.”
Breedlove also expresses her struggles with balancing school and being a varsity athlete.
“I have three AP classes this year. I’m in AP Psychology, AP Research, and AP United States History, and then I have Algebra 2 and Physics,” Breedlove says. “So adding a sport into that has really taught me a lot about time management this year.”
However, Breedlove’s many school and sport commitments don’t stop her.
“She just brings this work ethic. She keeps it a little bit light while also working very hard,” Okoren says.
While balancing a sport and schoolwork is very important, what’s also important is having a good team dynamic and ensuring positive leadership, which Breedlove brings to the team.
Breedlove also reflects this attitude in her own way as a team leader. She enjoys seeing team improvement throughout the season, and it’s clear to see she’s proud of these girls as if she were their full-time coach.
“My favorite part has been seeing these girls and their passion grow,” Breedlove says. “I have really inspired them to work harder and push themselves.”
Breedlove hopes to keep up this attitude, and she also hopes for some improvements of her own beyond high school. For her senior year, she already has some things in mind.
“[I’m] really looking forward to signing with a college [and] hopefully getting a scholarship,” Breedlove says. “[I’m] really looking forward to having another great season with my team.”
Coach Okoren to have high hopes and really cares for Lani, not only from the perspective of a coach coach, but from the perspective of a life mentor. His constant approval of her can inspire the rest of the team for years to come.
“She has helped the team in a lot of ways, and not just knocking over pins,” Okoren says.
Hello! My name is Kira Farooqui, and this is my second year working with 42Fifty. I couldn’t be more excited! I’m currently a senior at OHS who loves anything and everything cats, writing, and history. In my free time, I write my own novels that I hope to publish professionally one day. I look forward to many more years in journalism and writing my heart out!