Leah Glazer

Junior Leah Glazer poses for a portrait inside of East Campus Lanes on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Unlike some athletes who started playing their sport at a young age, Leah Glazer didn’t grow up bowling. In fact, this year is only her ninth year involved with the sport. 

“Basically, I had done every other sport and quit,” she said. “Then, I started going bowling for fun, and the more that I did it, the more I realized I really enjoyed this.”

This season marks Glazer’s first at Nebraska after spending her first two years at Arkansas State. She learned of the opportunity to bowl on a Division I scholarship in college and decided to pursue it. 

After deciding to pursue collegiate bowling, Glazer began focusing on the sport and finding ways to improve. That focus is how she got started reading books about psychology and mind games, something she still does today. 

As an escape from bowling, she said she turned to exercise to push herself to figure out how far she’s willing to go. 

“That’s all I’ve done for the past few years besides bowling, is finding ways I can be better while still enjoying what I’m doing,” she said.

What she enjoys most about bowling is how it provides a space for her to focus on herself and go out and compete, Glazer said. She did just that at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, earning first-team all-state honors in both her junior and senior seasons. She won the Nevada Class 4A state championship as a senior, bowling a three-game series of 747 to finish 143 pins ahead of second place. 

When it came time to make a college decision, Glazer ended up at Arkansas State. Located in Jonesboro (estimated population of nearly 77,000 people in 2018), the school provided Glazer an experience different from anything she was used to, but that’s what appealed to her the most.

“I felt like it was a fresh start,” she said. “I had the opportunity to be on a very successful team with a great group of girls, and I was really excited to start something new.” 

Glazer found success early in her freshman season. At the second tournament of the year, she topped the individual standings with a 248.2 average. In five other regular-season tournaments during her first season, she recorded three top-30 finishes, including a top-20 finish at the Prairie View A&M Invitational. 

Last season, Glazer experienced a breakout sophomore campaign with the Red Wolves. She recorded three top-15 finishes and finished inside the top 10 twice, en route to earning All-American honorable mention honors. 

Despite success in two seasons at Arkansas State and being comfortable with her role on the team, Glazer transferred prior to her junior season. The catalyst behind the decision was a desire to play for a big school with a winning culture, she said. That’s how she ended up in Lincoln. 

“I didn’t think twice about anywhere else,” she said. “As soon as I had the conversation with Coach Straub and Coach Klempa, I knew that this is the place I was meant to be.”

In only a few months, Glazer has made a big impact for the Huskers. She has a trio of top-25 finishes in four tournaments this season and has posted a 200-plus average twice. At the team’s most recent tournament in Las Vegas, she finished 10th with a 214.4 average and 261 high game. 

The experience Glazer has provided has been valuable for the Huskers, according to Nebraska head coach Paul Klempa.

“Getting someone like her, you’re not getting a true freshman,” he said. “You’re getting someone new to the program, but she has a couple of years of experience, as well as being an All-American last year with Arkansas State. That’s like getting an accomplished veteran-type player to be able to fill a hole in your lineup.”

Glazer, who was 17 when she started college, said her time at Arkansas State served as a place for her to mature as a person and improve on the lanes. By contributing early for a team with several veterans, she learned how to be aggressive and unafraid of competition.

The area of her game she’s working on the most is her physical game, she said. That means going back to the basics, breaking down her game to analyze how she can elevate it to another level. 

On the lanes, she said her biggest strength comes during pressure situations.

“At this point, if you need a shot to win, I can go deliver that,” she said. “I feel very confident that’s what I’m capable of doing no matter the circumstance.”

The Huskers have gotten off to a fast start this season, and Glazer has set some lofty ambitions for the rest of the year. Individually, she wants to be an All-American again. However, her number-one goal is a large reason why she left Arkansas State — she wants to be a national champion. 

“That’s the one goal I think about every single day. What is it I’m doing that contributes to me being a national championship-winning player?” she said. “I believe that, as a team, we’re well on our way to winning a national championship.”

sports@dailynebraskan.com