Deborah Epps grew up in a bowling family, so it seems natural that now she’s part of the family like atmosphere of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s bowling team. Currently 36-12 overall, the Knights are heading into the Northeast Conference fall meet aiming to excel. A key member of the team, Epps was recently named NEC Bowler of the Week as well as FDU female student-athlete Performer of the Week.

“Most people don’t think of bowling as a collegiate sport, but we get the job done,” said Epps. “I’ve been bowling since I was 4. My entire family bowls, so it was a family thing. I played other sports at school, but I always liked bowling better.”

Epps, whose sisters also competed in bowling at the collegiate level, said the FDU team makes it a point to sustain the team vibe away from practice and competition. They often hang out together. Good communication is a major thing.

“With bigger teams that might not be an issue, but there are only eight of us, so we spend a lot of time together,” said Epps. Each tournament is a collaborative effort, as five people bowl in any one game. Away from the lanes, workouts consist of weight training and cardio.

Epps is a biology major with a pre-professional concentration. Her goal is to go to medical school and become a plastic surgeon specializing in reconstructive surgery for birth defects and injury victims. She said giving someone confidence and self-esteem after trauma would be amazing. Being a student-athlete gives her organization and focus, and hones the edge needed for such a competitive field.

“I’m competitive in everything,” said Epps, who said bowling is very detail oriented, which translates to the classroom. “I have to be the best. I have to win.”

She anticipates continuing to bowl throughout her life. Epps has yet to bowl a perfect 300 game, and that remains a goal.

Her parents drive to all tournaments within driving distance of their home in Maryland. Epps said the family members of players often bring ladders to get a better view of the action. If her parents travel by plane to a match, they’ll rent a ladder. The team goal this season is to qualify for the national championship, so hopefully they’ll enjoy the view.