by Fred Eisenhammer
PLEASANT GROVE, Calif. – It’s not accurate to say that bowling star Amanda Vogt has had her head in the clouds since she rolled her first 300 game last month.
That’s actually been the case since she started flying planes a couple of months before she turned 16. Amanda is the youngest female private pilot in the country – having fulfilled all the requirements on her 17th birthday last year.
That morning she successfully completed an oral exam and went on a check ride with a Federal Aviation Administration examiner.
Previously, Amanda passed an FAA written exam, went on multiple cross-country solo flights and flew many hours with an instructor in addition to her dad, a captain for Southwest Airlines.
Amanda, who will turn 18 in August, has had a longer history with bowling, having started at age 6.
A resident of the Sacramento suburb of Pleasant Grove, Amanda has been racking up bowling accomplishments.
The blonde left hander was named the 2016 Northern California Junior Elite Tour player of the year and on Feb. 10 fired her first perfect game.
So Amanda is a definite standout in two disparate fields – and she’s not taking sides as to which she prefers.
“I don’t think I could pick a favorite between the two,” she says. “I really love doing both.”
It shows. Amanda, the bowler, carries a lofty 214 average. She has a high series of 715. She’s qualified for the prestigious Junior Gold Championships in July in Dallas. It will mark the seventh time she’ll be competing in the event.
“It’s always a great learning experience no matter the outcome,” she says.
The sky’s the limit on her bowling, no pun intended. She has her sights set on bowling an 800 series and earning a spot on Team USA.
Her first 300 has provided plenty of momentum. She exudes tremendous excitement when describing the achievement that she turned in at West Lane Bowl in Stockton.
“I actually quit looking at the scores after the second frame so I didn’t know I was going for 300 until I threw the 10th ball and nobody got up to bowl. That’s when I realized now was my chance,” she says.
“It felt great to throw two more strikes and look up and see that perfect score. It was definitely overwhelming to realize I finally did it after all these years!”
Still, her recreational passion is shared by two outlets. She speaks just as excitedly about piloting planes and says unequivocally that her father Jeff “is my biggest influence in flying. He taught me almost everything I know about flying
“My goal is to make a career out of it. Hopefully, I can be a pilot for Southwest so I can fly with my dad.” There’s no mistaking it. Nowadays, Amanda Vogt is flying high.