Student Spotlight: Cayden Russell
Writer / Matt Keating
Cayden Russell, a Noblesville High School senior, recently earned a national ranking in bowling, and is eying a future in the sport.
His mother, Michelle Russell, says he is looking forward to continually improving through various competitions.
“Cayden competed in a Junior Gold tournament last year where he placed 16th in the United States,” Michelle Russell says. “This competition sets the standard for youth rankings in the nation. Junior Gold is a nationally recognized event held every year. This year it is in Michigan. Kids from all over the country must qualify and then come together for a week-long competition. The City of Indianapolis looks to be hosting the event in 2023.”
Bowling is in Cayden’s blood. Cayden’s dad, Ronnie Russell, is a professional bowler on the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) tour, holding many accolades.
“Ronnie started bowling when he was just 2 years old,” Russell says. “He is an active member of the PBA, and currently ranked 39th in world standings. He has world tour championships, four PBA national titles, 10 PBA Regional Titles, and has been on team USA twice, earning two gold medals, amongst other accomplishments. He had the 24th televised 300, and I think he has had over 20 PBA 300s. He currently is on staff with Radical Bowling, Dexter shoes, Turbo Grips, Stanley Steemer and Melorosa wine.”
Michelle and Ronnie co-own the pro shop inside Pinheads in Fishers, with E.J. Tackett. “We also own the shop inside All Star Bowl,” Russell says.
Cayden, 18, also works for his parents. In addition to his part-time position at Pinheads, he will intern at Pinheads during this school year as a mechanic.
Russell, who holds a degree in bowling management, acquired an applied sciences degree from Vincennes University in bowling management and technology.
“I have been in the bowling industry since I was 14 years old,” she says. “I started bowling at age 7.”
Cayden is now a third-generation family member to be involved in the bowling community, on both sides of his family. “Ronnie and my parents were both league bowlers,” Russell says. “Ronnie grew up in Marion, Indiana, I grew up in Huntingburg, Indiana. We met when I was in college and we both aspired to be in the bowling community.”
Cayden also started when he was young.
“Cayden literally had a mini bowling ball in his hand before he could walk,” Russell says. “He started an approach and delivery as soon as he could walk.”
Although Cayden was fantastic at baseball, his heart always pulled him back to bowling according to his mom.
“Cayden had a single-hand delivery to start,” Russell says. “When he was 13 years old, he was playing around at the bowling center with a two-handed delivery like bowler Jason Belmonte, who has made a huge impact on the bowling world. Ronnie saw Cayden bowling with the two-handed delivery and said, ‘Do that again.’ So Cayden did. Ronnie said, ‘You are good at that. Just keep doing that.’ That moment sparked something, and his two-hand style developed.”
Russell notes that she was a youth bowling coach for several years, and Cayden decided he was excited about the sport and wanted to get better.
“I took him under my wing and we started hitting all the competitions we could,” Russell says.
Since then, Cayden has had many accomplishments. Most recently, he clinched the Indiana Youth Masters title, putting him on the Indiana All-Stars as a team captain.
“If you are a youth bowler in the state of Indiana, you can compete in the state youth tournament,” Russell says. “From this, we then have the Queens and Masters bowling tournaments. Kids compete from all over the state. If you accomplish the top 16, you are placed on team Indiana.”
At the Indiana and Kentucky All-Stars Tournament, Indiana held the title. “Cayden individually won the sportsmanship award, the high series, and his team won the high team series as well,” Russell says.
In addition to these accomplishments, Cayden has 20 games with a 300 score, several 800 series performances, and he was the 2022 high school all-star champion.
Russell adds that the great thing about bowling is the ability to earn scholarships. “He also competed in the Northwest Indiana Junior Tournament Players Association,” she says.
Recently the PBA invited Cayden and Ronnie to King of the Lanes: Royal Family Edition, for which pros and their children competed for the title of Royal Family.
“This event aired on Fox Sports,” Russell says. “We held a viewing party at Pinheads. Even though Cayden and Ronnie lost the second match, it was fantastic. Out of 10 shots on TV, Cayden struck nine. He then nine-count spared the other frame. This experience gave him a great insight as to what he could see in his future. It is his aspiration to compete with his dad on tour, hopefully soon.”
In July Cayden will go to Michigan to compete in Junior Gold.
“He was 16th last year out of over 3,160 kids in his age group,” Russell says. “This is what gave him the national rating last year.Junior Gold is the biggest youth bowling competition in the country and is held every year over the course of a week. It is a huge opportunity, with scholarships and college scouting. Winning something like that can change the course of a kid’s future. It’s pretty awesome to witness.”
*Student Spotlight is sponsored by Kluth-Richardson Family & Cosmetic Dentistry