California, Missouri bowlers selected as USBC Youth Ambassadors of the Year


    USBC Youth

    Irene Wilson of Pinole, Calif., and Richard Hochecker IV of Ballwin, Mo., have been named the 2014 United States Bowling Congress Youth Ambassadors of the Year.

    Each year, one female and one male USBC Youth bowler are recognized for exemplary contributions to the sport, academic accomplishments and community involvement. The youth ambassadors, selected by the International Bowling Campus Youth Committee, each receive a $1,500 scholarship and one of the winners might be selected to serve on the IBC Youth Committee.

    2014USBCYouthAmbassadorIreneWilson.jpgWilson (pictured right), 19, is sophomore at Dominican University of California, where she is majoring in biology with minors in mathematics and music. She is on a music scholarship and has been on the Dean's List each semester.

    "I am humbled to be selected because I know there are others who are equally deserving," Wilson said. "Being selected for this award is a huge honor; it makes me feel like the time and effort that I spend encouraging my fellow bowlers is worthwhile."

    She is a volunteer substitute teacher at the Music Repertoire in Pinole, teaching seven students. As a member of the Sincerity Girls Ensemble for seven years, she traveled to the Philippines and Ireland to perform with the group. She had done volunteer work with the Alameda Food Bank, St. Joseph Church and served and distributed food at a soup kitchen in Fruitvale.

    Wilson, who plans to attend medical school, has assisted with tournaments at AMF Pinole Valley Lanes, where she bowls.

    "Helping others has taught me how important it is to have a positive mental attitude in all that you do," Wilson said. "Through bowling I learned that if I want to be a great bowler and doctor, it is going to take a lot of time, which is why persistence is an essential part of learning."

    2014USBCYouthAmbassadorRickHocheckerIV.jpgHochecker (left), 16, is a sophomore at Parkway South High School. He has been a tutor at a middle school and has done additional volunteer work through the A+ program. He also helped run the bowling program during the 2013 Senior Olympics.

    "It is a huge honor to receive this award," Hochecker said. "I am grateful that out of all of the applicants the committee felt that I was a good representation of what the award is about."

    A bowler since age 4, he helped with lane certifications at six centers for the St. Louis USBC in 2012, and with inspections in nine centers in 2013. He wanted to become more involved in youth bowling and was appointed to a vacant spot on the St. Louis USBC Youth Committee.

    He was elected as a youth director to the St. Louis USBC Board for the 2013-2014 season and also was appointed to the Missouri State USBC Youth Committee.

    "In the time that I have been on the St. Louis USBC Youth Committee, I have learned more about bowling than I could have ever imagined," Hochecker said.

    Wilson and Hochecker each will receive an expenses-paid trip to the 2014 USBC Convention in Reno, Nev., where they will receive their awards. will live stream the USBC Convention, including the awards presentation.