Gerick siblings L-R: Lacey, Riley & Cody

Meet the up-and-coming Gerick Trio

by bqmedia

If you haven’t come across the name Gerick in the junior bowls circuit yet, it most likely won’t be long before you do.

There are three Gerick names to watch out for: Cody (just 17), Riley (almost 15) and Lacey (13). All three featured heavily in this year’s January Junior State Championships in Toowoomba, with the Gerick siblings taking home medals in the Singles, Pairs, Triples and Fours. Cody took home the bronze in the U18 singles and the gold in the U18 pairs along with Oliver Corken. Lacey and Riley were the proud champions in the U15 pairs. Cody and Riley won the silver in the Triples along with Travis Pearce. Then, to top it off, the siblings took out the gold in the Fours along with Travis.

More recently, Cody notched up a Secondary Schools Cup win with partner Madelyn McDonald representing James Nash High School. This was a back-to-back win for Cody after his win alongside Tilah Mason in last year’s Cup. Cody had been coaching Madelyn for just three weeks prior to the event and this was her first proper game. Cody was also runner up to Queensland’s young gun, Kane Nelson, at the Junior Golden Nugget held in August.

In all, Cody has quite a few memorable bowls moments notched up so far, but for both Cody and Riley one of their most special first moments was winning their club championship Pairs together when Cody was 15 and Riley was 13.

Riley recalls his bowls’ highlights as being in the last 32 in the Australian Open Men’s Singles, playing with Ryan Burnett for the Sunshine Coast District and playing Division 1 pennants with Kurt Brown and world champion Darren Burnett.

Lacey’s most memorable moments so far are when Katelyn Inch and Lacey played in a tournament at Pine Rivers, and for Lacey it was great to play with someone who she looks up to. Getting picked in the girls’ Junior Nugget was also a highlight for Lacey, especially being the youngest one there.

The Gerick trio officially started playing bowls around the end of 2017, with Cody being the first to start, then Lacey, and then they finally convinced Riley!

In their words, the siblings had been “around bowls for most of our lives, as Nan and Pop play and we would have to go with them to the club on school holidays because mum was working”. One day, Bob Hill approached the siblings and was curious if they wanted to take things further. He and his wife Narelle helped them with progressing in bowls. Bob and Narelle often watch and provide transport if their mum is working, for which the trio is very grateful. “We are so thankful, as without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Their love for bowls is clear when you ask them how many hours a week they play bowls. They train every Tuesday to Friday for around two hours and normally play games on weekends. Even on the rare occasions when they aren’t doing anything on the weekend, they might even sneak down and have a roll up.

Along with this love and commitment to bowls comes a large degree of travelling. They play for Kawana Thunder, which is an hour and twenty minutes from where they live. Sometimes, all three can be playing at different clubs on the coast for pennants. This makes it hard for their mum, Bettina, who is a single parent. However, the Gericks have friends who have invited them to stay at their homes and/or help them out with lifts to and from places, which they very much appreciate.

Premier League this year was full on as Cody and Riley played for different clubs, Riley for Kawana and Cody for Hamilton, but again people were so supportive and they both thank everyone who offered to help. Their biggest supporters are Nan and Pop who have been there since day one and the trio stressed how much they appreciate everything their grandparents do for them.

While bowls takes up most of their time, there are other sports and hobbies Cody, Riley and Lacey enjoy. The main other sport they have all played is Rugby Union and they have all played Rugby League as well. Cody and Riley have both gone to a couple of state carnivals for rugby union and they have all had their fair share of sporting achievements outside of bowls. Riley was the captain for the school U14 rugby team and Lacey went to the Wide Bay carnivals for soccer and basketball. They are all decent swimmers as well, with Cody’s biggest achievement outside of bowls getting gold in breaststroke for Wide Bay and placing 8th in the state that year.

Riley and Cody can both play the guitar, with Cody also playing the ukulele. At school, Cody still plays a little bit of volleyball and basketball and Riley plays a bit of Touch. Lacey’s other loves are football (soccer) and art.

The three siblings all look up to Ryan Burnett and Katelyn Inch and think Katelyn is a great role model for so many juniors. They all agree that Ryan is a great bowler, who is encouraging and is very passionate towards the game. Both Katelyn and Ryan are good coaches, offering much help and support and the trio stressed they really appreciated them both.

When it came to asking how bowls had affected other areas of their life, their responses were individual.

Cody said bowls has affected his life in many ways. “I have met plenty of mates and made some awesome memories. Sometimes it gets a little difficult at school, especially being in year 11.”
Riley said playing bowls has been one of the best decisions of his life. “I have made so many mates and achieved some amazing things.”
Lacey said she really loves playing bowls and travelling to different places. “I’m especially thankful for the friendships I’ve made along the way. I have a list of goals that I want to achieve. I’ve just turned 13 so have some time.”

However, each of them has encountered their fair share of hurdles along the way. Cody said that school can get quite full on, especially around Australian Open time, but there are some awesome teachers who offer their support. “Sometimes, with mum being a single parent, it does make things harder, but we have some awesome people around us who help. Honestly, sometimes you come across people who aren’t the nicest but that’s life, most people we have come across are super nice and supportive.” Lacey has found that being a girl trying to come through the ranks in bowls is super difficult. “I have found it hard to be able to play competitively as normally the women play comps while I’m at school. Since joining Kawana, I have been able to play club championships and pennants for the first time. I would love to see open gender pennants and more open gender tournaments in general”.

The Gerick siblings go to James Nash State High School and when they were asked how they would like their school to support their involvement in bowls, their response was:

Cody: “Honestly, I’d love to see a barefoot bowls day with the school and more involvement such as including it in the school program like they used to. We aren’t the only bowlers at our school. Travis Pearce, Tilah Mason, Hayden Oster and his two brothers Alex and Liam also play bowls.”
Riley: “Some help in getting more kids into the sport and some more promotion of the game from schools in general would be nice.”
Lacey: “Even though they don’t know it, lawn bowls is the school’s most successful sport.”

Cody, Riley and Lacey all have future bowls ambitions and goals. For Cody, there’s so much he’d like to achieve with bowls, however, his biggest goal is to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games and win a gold medal. He adds, “hopefully my brother will be there with me”. He’d also like to win the Australian Open Pairs and the World Champion pairs, again with his brother.

Riley thought Cody covered his own ambitions pretty well, but added that “there won’t be enough room on the page for all my ambitions”.

Lacey would like to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games and bring back two gold medals. Some other things she’d like to achieve along the way are to win the girls’ Junior Nugget and the girls’ Australian Open Singles.

When asked what advice they’d give to young bowlers, Cody said, “the worst time you’re going to have playing bowls is that awkward starting period as it takes a while to ‘get in the rhythm’ but, honestly, give it a chance, it gets so much better. I’m sure we all agree playing bowls was the best decision that we have ever made. Sure, natural talent helps but hard work and dedication will get you places”. Riley’s advice was “bowls can bring the best and worst out in some people. 99% of people you come across are awesome but there’s always going to be a few rough characters. Don’t let it bother you, it usually means they don’t want to lose to you”. Lacey said, “I have made so many friends through bowls and have made some awesome memories. I have played a fair few sports but I just love bowls, it’s a sport for everyone”.

Cody, Riley and Lacey want to send a big thank you to everyone along the way who has supported them.

Lacey Gerick
Riley Gerick
Cody Gerick
2022 U15 State Pairs Champions Lacey & Riley Gerick
2022 U15 State Singles Champion Riley Gerick
2022 U18 State Pairs Champions Cody Gerick & Oliver Corken
Reigning Fours State Champions Travis Pearce with Riley, Cody & Lacey Gerick