Upon senior Megan Prettyman’s arrival at GCIT for the start of her freshman year, she brought with her — unknown to herself or teammates at the time — the beginning of a new age in girls bowling at the school.
After a strong freshman season in which she became just the third female bowler in school history to qualify for the individual state tournament, Prettyman then contributed to the Cheetahs’ groundbreaking 2019-’20 season in her sophomore year, taking GCIT to its first NJSIAA Team State Championship appearance.
Prettyman finished within the top 25 at the individual state tournament two years ago, showing along the way why she would be a bowler to watch across the state in her last two years of high school.
If not for a COVID-shortened season last year, GCIT coach John Holland believes Prettyman would have had a more than memorable season her junior year, with a real shot at an individual state title.
“It’s a shame there was no postseason last year, because I thought that would’ve been a breakout season for her with how she was bowling,” Holland said. “With that being said though, I really looked forward to this year, because I was fairly confident that she was going to have that breakout season this year instead.”
Sure enough, Prettyman made a historic run during the postseason this year during her senior year, making it to the championship round of the NJSIAA as the No. 4 seed. She recorded a total series of 1,230 to earn the No. 4 spot in the stepladder tournament, after bowling a 592 series in the first round and putting up a 638 series in the second.
For that, Prettyman is South Jersey Sports Weekly’s 2021-’22 Girls Bowler of the Year.
Entering her senior season, Prettyman recognized that the year presented her a final opportunity to take part in the various in-season tournaments, and that it was her last chance to go as deep as she possibly could at the individual state tournament.
On top of her second-place finish there, Prettyman was instrumental in the program’s most successful season yet. The girls went 16-0 en route to a Tri-County Conference Bracket A Tournament title and a South Jersey Group 3 sectional title, only the second girls sectional for any female sport in GCIT history.
“We had a really strong team last year as well, and I believe we probably had a shot to do this last year, too,” Prettyman said. “So it was awesome to be able to do this, since we didn’t have that opportunity last season.
“We had a really strong senior class this year,” she added, “and it was cool to see us all get stronger and more successful as a team as we got older these past four years.”
To win the sectional championship, the senior posted the highest game and highest series, at 267 and 666 respectively, to lead the Cheetahs. Having played varsity from the start of her freshman year, Prettyman felt compelled to help bring the program somewhere special by the end of her high-school bowling career, so she played a vital role in delivering the Cheetahs’ first sectional title after years of hard work.
“It was pretty nerve racking to be honest … “ she said. “I was put right into the varsity lineup as a freshman, and I felt like I had an obligation to help try and lead the team to go somewhere and help everyone else out in doing that.”
According to Holland, Prettyman always had a semi-leadership role on the team, whether or not she was named captain at the start of each year. Her caring drive to help others in their sport is part of what makes Prettyman such an exceptional bowler and person.
“She’s always been a leader throughout her four years,” Holland said. “She was always quick to congratulate others or offer advice and work with others, even as a freshman at times. She was the first girl in GCIT history to win the sectional tournament … and to see her do as well as she did was an exciting feeling for sure.”