High Jumper Bowls ‘Em Over Mead’s Curtiss Bergheim Hopes To Make Leap Into Professional Bowling

While aiming to reach new heights as a Mead High School track and field athlete, Curtiss Bergheim’s down-to-earth dream is to one day compete on the Professional Bowlers Association tour.

On one good foot at the Centennial Invitational in Gresham, Ore., three weeks ago, Bergheim high-jumped 6-foot-9, one inch shy of Steve Lucas’s decade-old school record.

On the other hand, the Mead senior is among the top junior bowlers in Spokane, carrying a 204 average and participating monthly in the pro-format Junior Bowling Tour that competes at area houses.

Bergheim is attracting attention to high jumping at a school that has built its track and field reputation on distance runners and throwers.

He has competed for only two years but made rapid progress. And his near-record jump came after suffering a sprained ankle and torn arch.

“I took two weeks off just in time to get to Oregon,” said Bergheim. “When I healed up, I strained the plantar fascia in my jumping foot.”

He sat out another week but was well enough to finish second last Thursday in the Greater Spokane League district meet.

The combination of high jumping and bowling might be expected to be a natural for Bergheim, since his father, Randy, also did both at West Valley High School.

Track also runs in his mother Laurie’s side of the family.

He picked up a bowling ball at an early age and has competed in youth leagues for a dozen years.

But he didn’t give track a thought because he was more interested in soccer and basketball.

Last year his basketball coach, Bill Ayers, and then-track coach Gary Baskett talked him into trying something different because of his leaping ability.

“It sounded like a lot of fun,” said Bergheim. “It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what I was doing.”

He surpassed his dad’s high school best in Oregon and now wonders if he has a future in college.

“I have a lot of fun doing it,” said Bergheim. “If I have a chance, I’d love to go on.”

If not, there’s always bowling.

At the end of June, a quintet of the area’s most consistent juniors is planning to participate in San Francisco in a national tournament.

Then he’ll begin competing in adult tournaments in the Spokane area and attend Gonzaga University to major in business.

“My dream is to bowl on the PBA tour, but I’d have to put more devotion into it than I am right now,” Bergheim said.

“With high school there’s too much going on, and I’ve kind of laid off practicing.”

After graduation he plans to get a coach and start things rolling again.

Meanwhile, this weekend Bergheim will attempt to qualify for Star Track in Tacoma and maybe “give state a run for the money.”

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