ARLINGTON, Texas - Joey Kopera of Orland Park, Ill., a freshman at St. Ambrose University, has been selected as the 2013 Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow Award recipient.
The annual award recognizes star qualities, including distinguished bowling performance, academic achievement and civic involvement, in a male high school or college student who competes in bowling. The award winner is determined by the United States Bowling Congress Youth Committee.
"It is such an honor, a great privilege and an awesome responsibility to know that I will be included in the history of the USBC with so many other important names," Kopera said.
Kopera is the only freshman starter on the men's bowling team at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He recently qualified for the xbowling Intercollegiate Singles Championships and helped St. Ambrose reach the 16-team men's field for the 2013 xbowling Intercollegiate Team Championships.
He is a nursing major at St. Ambrose and, once he receives his RN certification, aims to work toward a doctorate degree.
"After college, bowling will continue to be an important part of my life," Kopera said. "I want to bowl in PBA regionals and, hopefully, beyond. I also hope to hold a position within the bowling industry one day."
Kopera graduated from Carl Sandburg High School in 2012, compiling a 3.29 grade-point average. He was a four-year starter on the boys bowling team and was team captain his last two seasons. He won the Illinois High School Association state individual title his senior season after a fifth-place finish his junior year. He also competed in the 2012 North Pointe Junior Gold Championships, finishing seventh.
He began bowling at age 3 and immediately felt a connection to the sport. He said the self-confidence, lessons and work ethic learned on the lanes helped him throughout his education.
In addition to bowling, fishing is another passion. Kopera shared his love of both with youngsters in his hometown. He coached for six years in Orland Bowl's Bowlopolis program for beginning bowlers and participated in the parks program's fishing derby.
"When I was young, I learned early on that with patience and lots of hard work, great goals and achievements could be attained," Kopera said. "I then learned how important it is to introduce the next generation to the exciting achievements they can experience. That's why I am especially honored to receive an award named for a man who dedicated his life toward helping youth bowlers."
The Chuck Hall Star of Tomorrow Award is named for the former Young American Bowling Alliance Executive Director who spent much of his life helping young people through his association with junior bowling.
For being selected for the award, Kopera will receive a $6,000 scholarship that will be formally presented at the 2013 USBC Convention in Reno, Nev.
Go to BOWL.com/scholarships to learn more about youth scholarships and awards.
CHUCK HALL STAR OF TOMORROW AWARD WINNERS
Year, winner, hometown
1980 Chris Whitty, Simonton, Texas
1981 Drew Barthle, Tampa, Fla.
1982 Ricky Corona, Oakland, Calif.
1983 Dan Nadeau, Las Vegas
1984 Robert Beck, Houston
1985 Justin Hromek, Andover, Kan.
1986 Pat Healey, Wichita, Kan.
1987 Mark Fisser, Buena Park, Calif.
1988 Bradley Joinetz, San Antonio, Texas
1989 Lonnie Waliczek, Wichita, Kan.
1990 Jason McCarty, Fultondale, Ala.
1991 Chris Williams, Anchorage, Alaska
1992 Robert Smith, Moorpark, Calif.
1993 Vince Biondo, Hoffman Estates, Ill.
1994 Michael Mullin, New City, N.Y.
1995 John Miller, Wichita, Kan.
1996 David Eisenberg, Kendall Park, N.J.
1997 Todd Filter, Cedarburg, Wis.
1998 James (Eddie) Kirtley, Bowling Green, Ky.
1999 Andrew Cain, Glendale, Ariz.
2000 Scott Norton, Cypress, Calif.
2001 Sean Rash, Anchorage, Alaska
2002 Nathan Bohr, Austin, Texas
2003 Marc D'Errico, Rochester, N.Y.,
2004 Patrick Haggerty, Weimar, Calif.
2005 Brandon Temple, Tempe, Ariz.,
2006 Eric Helmrich, Saint Leonard, Md.
2007 Jonathan Buckert, Rochester, N.Y.,
2008 Kyle Kahlden, Houston
2009 Chris Bardol, Brockport, N.Y.
2010 Andrew Koff, Miami, Fla.
2011 Brent Bowers, Mulvane, Kan.
2012 Kyle Anderson, Lockport, Ill.
2013 Joey Kopera, Orland Park, Ill.