Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Feb. 2, 2023
When a family owns a bowling alley, some of the children ought to have a career in bowling.
And this is exactly how Olivia Farwell, who graduated from Duquesne in 2022, started her journey toward a Team USA spot.
“I started bowling as soon as I could really walk, I had a ball in my hand,” Farwell said. “My family owns a bowling alley back home, so I was kind of thrown into it. But I grew up with it, so as soon as I could walk and was strong enough to hold a six-pound bowling ball, that’s what I was doing.”
Not only was she able to learn how to bowl in Mount Joy, Pa., at family-owned Clearview Lanes, but she was able to do it with ease, eventually making her way onto Team USA with plenty of awards in her back pocket. During her time at Duquesne, she posted a 205.0 career average in 139 games and had five first-place tournament finishes in her career.
“I was a four-time All-American, I was bowler of the year for the NEC conference, I was the Rookie of the Year,” Farwell said. “Out of the four years that I’ve competed, I’ve won probably too many to count or to remember.”
She was also the first student-athlete in Duquesne’s history to earn a national player of the year award when she was named Player of the Year by the National Tenpin Coaches Association in 2021.
Although she hit some roadblocks on her way toward a Team USA spot, like the passing of a close relative, she was able to conquer them and make the team a few weeks ago.
“My grandmother, unfortunately, passed away in October, so that had a huge impact on my family and myself,” Farwell said. “She was a huge part of my bowling world, and she was always at the bowling alley to watch me practice. So after that happened, I lost the motivation to go in and practice.
“So I talked to a lot of professional bowlers that I bowl with currently and asked for advice, asking how I should go about this, and they told me that once I get out there and I’m around everybody that everything’s gonna fall into place,” Farwell said. “I trusted their word, did exactly what they said. I went out there and everything really did fall into place, and it felt like it was meant to be.”
Although family and friends asked if she was nervous during the tournament, Farwell went out and bowled like it was any normal day.
“I bowled and kind of stayed with who I was and what I was out there to do,” Farwell said. “I didn’t want to overthink it because I knew the second I did that, things could go sideways, so I went out there and treated it like I was bowling with friends.”
At the United States Bowling Congress (USBC) Team USA Trials, Farwell was able to secure a fourth-place finish, putting her right on the USA roster as the event ended. This roster spot will allow her to compete in events all around the world and makes her an ambassador and leader for the sport of bowling.
Duquesne Head Coach Jody Fetterhoff, someone who believed in Farwell from the beginning, said Farwell brought a lot to the team when she was a student-athlete here.
“She’s so good, but I haven’t seen the peak in her yet, so that’s the cool thing about her,” Fetterhoff said. “She continues to grow and evolve, and she has access to so much more than we could have given her here. So I’m just excited to see where her career goes.”
Fetterhoff knew that Farwell was going to do great things after her time at Duquesne.
“The thing about Liv is pretty much whatever she sets her mind to, she’s going to accomplish,” Fetterhoff said. “Nothing ever surprised me about her. It’s kind of like, ‘What’s next?’ for her, and I think other people were always shocked by her accomplishments, but I think whatever she sets her mind to, she’s going to achieve.
“We’re very proud of her, but to be honest, I’m not surprised. She’s a phenomenal bowler, and she’s going to do a lot of great things.”
Although she misses her teammates at Duquesne, Farwell loves the connection they had while bowling together. She still tries her best to keep in touch.
“I think to this day, my favorite part of going out and competing was the environment bowling provides and getting to connect with a lot of different people,” Farwell said. “And that was, to me, the most-important part, building the relationships and friendships that I still have to this day.
“The girls on the team, they were a huge part of my journey with Duquesne, and I still miss them every single day,” Farwell said. “But I’ve been supporting them, and I know they’re absolutely killing it, so I’m excited for them.”
Fetterhoff and Farwell’s old teammates share this love, and can’t wait to see what Farwell is going to accomplish in the future.
“I’m excited, the team’s excited to see how she grows,” Fetterhoff said. “She’s going to get better, and that’s going to be a lot for the rest of the pros out there to deal with.”