Kirsten Moore isn’t interested in fun and games.
You won’t find her goofing off either.
For Moore, a trip to the bowling alley is the equivalent of punching in for work. And her work focuses on just one simple goal.
"Kirsten is as fierce a competitor as there is," Tallmadge head coach Scott Krainess said. "She sets such high standards. I tell her that chasing perfection is a hard thing to do. She would be the first to tell you that her biggest stress is herself."
Moore probably feels a bit at ease about her future, though.
That’s because the Tallmadge senior is going to do something she loves for at least four more years.
Moore recently signed a national letter of intent to continue her academic and bowling careers at Youngstown State University, a medium-sized public research university that was founded in 1908.
Moore, a three-time state qualifier, also considered Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. She plans to major in English with a minor in business or marketing.
"Youngstown State is the best fit for me," Moore said. "Their academic programs are exactly what I'm looking for and I really enjoyed the campus. They are one of the top 10 bowling schools in the country and compete against some of the best teams out there."
The Penguins, who are led by head coach Doug Kuberski, were ranked 10th in the NCAA Division I standings before their season was cut short by a deadly pandemic known as the coronavirus. Youngstown State competes in the eight-team Southland Bowling League.
"He [Kuberski] was friendly right from the start and always worked his hardest to help me make the right decision," Moore said. "He cares a lot about the team and its success.
"I met the girls during a college visit last year. They were very welcoming and friendly with each other and myself. They made me feel comfortable and answered all of my questions about the school too."
Moore leaves quite a legacy at her soon-to-be alma mater.
She is Tallmadge’s lone three-time state qualifier and is just one of four Blue Devil state individual qualifiers. The others are graduates Jennie Kiss and her younger sister, Emily, who was Moore’s former teammate, and Josh Parry, a senior who recently competed at the boys state tournament.
Moore finished 12th at the Division I state competition earlier this month after finishing 16th the previous year. She was the state runner-up in 2018.
"Since my freshman year, it has always been a goal to make it to state," Moore said. "I was able to achieve that three out of four years.
"That tells me that my hard work and effort have paid off. It's such an experience to be able to compete at the state tournament, especially when I am joined by the rest of the team too."
The Blue Devils qualified for the state competition as a team twice during Moore’s tenure. They finished eighth in 2020 and 11th in 2018.
Moore’s abundance of skills had something to do with it. Her dogged determination and profound commitment did as well.
"I always say that hard work beats talent," Krainess said. "When you are super-talented and you outwork everyone like Kirsten does, that makes you tough to beat.
"She is super consistent. She rarely makes a mistake and her results speak for themselves in high-level competition all across the country. That’s why I say she is the best in the state."
Moore, who had the high series eight times during the winter, credits her father Rich for introducing her to the sport.
"He has been there every step of the way, encouraging and coaching me," Moore said of her father, who is an assistant coach with the Blue Devils. "I know he will always be there to help me no matter what. Coach Krainess has always pushed me and encouraged me to be the best I can. He is a very supportive coach for all of us."
Moore doesn’t plan to be a spectator when she enrolls at Youngstown State. At the same time, though, she knows the circumstances will be dramatically different.
For much of her high school career, Moore was Tallmadge’s undisputed alpha female. That most likely won’t be the case when she joins the Penguins, who won two tournaments during the winter.
"I want to continue to work hard and keep building on my skills," Moore said. "I would love to travel with the team as much as possible, but I have to make sure I put in the effort to earn my spot.
"I'd love to be one of the top girls on the team or just be a team leader down the road. I will be joining a great group of girls and I want to make sure I can contribute to us continuing to be successful."
Now that her season is over, one might think Moore will take some time to stop and smell the roses.
Not a chance.
The work never ends for the relentless perfectionist. And that’s just the way Moore likes it.
"The last two or three years, I have been obsessed with bowling," she said. "I seriously want to bowl all the time and I constantly want to work on improving myself. Bowling with my team in high school was such an amazing experience I will always be grateful for."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_Gannett.