Herricks’ Lau a bowling ‘natural,’ as he looks to lead team to county title

Herricks’ Lau a bowling ‘natural,’ as he looks to lead team to county title
Herricks boys bowler Jake Lau has become one of the best in the county after only competing for one year. Photo credit: Herricks High School

There are scads of athletes out there who have worked at their craft since the crib.
Kids who seem to have been born with a stick, a glove or a basketball in their hands, and then spent decades perfecting that sport.

Then there are kids like Jake Lau, a sophomore at Herricks High School. He never had much interest in bowling as a kid, saying he’d only gone “a few times,” despite his father Tim being a lifelong kegler.

Then in October 2021, looking for a winter sport that he could try, he decided to give bowling a shot.

“I thought it might be fun, worth trying out,” Lau said. “And once I started, it felt really comfortable and natural for me.”

Lau’s rise has been near-meteoric: The sophomore leads the strong Herricks squad, one of the best in Nassau County, with a 210.4 average, good for third-best in the county.

Lau has rolled a season-high 266, and a high series of 692, and has helped Herricks lose only three games out of 99 thru matches of Jan. 7.

“It’s pretty remarkable, and definitely above any expectations I had for him,” said Herricks bowling coach Craig Weinberg. “For only bowling for about a year, to be as good and as consistent as he is, is really something.”

Lau, a righty who uses the newly-popular two-handed bowling style (the bowler puts two fingers into the holes, no thumb, and puts their off-hand underneath the ball to help spin it faster down the lane), said once he got started bowling, it became all he wanted to do.
“I wasn’t that good at first, but I started watching a lot of online videos, and my Dad helped me a lot, and I just practiced all the time,” Lau said. “In the last year, I’ve probably bowled five or six days a week, and I love it.”
Now he’s able to get more revolutions on the ball using two hands.
He’s been helped by being a part of a strong Herricks team ranked eighth in Nassau County that includes freshman Zachary Chen, and senior Tyler Yu.
Both the Herricks boys and girls team (also undefeated, and ranked fourth) will compete in the county tournament on Feb. 4.
For Lau, the mental part of bowling has been as big of an adjustment as the physical.
“Staying sharp and paying attention to everything the other bowlers are doing is really important,” he said. “Just how their ball is moving, how the lane conditions might be changing as the game goes along, that kind of thing.
“One thing I never do,” he said with a laugh, “is look at the score. I don’t want to know exactly what I have, or how I’m doing.”
Weinberg said that Lau’s ability to stay even-keeled is a big reason for his success.
“He can throw three balls in a row that aren’t great, and then reel off seven or eight strikes in a row,” Weinberg said. “He never lets a few bad frames bother him.”
Lau, who also will compete in the county individual tournament on Feb. 11, also has a passion for music; he’s in Herricks’ jazz choir and chamber choir, something he did not see coming.
“Our teacher told me once that you don’t choose music, it chooses you,” he said. “And I think that’s what happened, because now I love it.
“Just like bowling.”


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