PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (WTOK) - Philadelphia’s Allie Williams will be taking her bowling talents to Detroit. The 15-year-old qualified for the Junior Gold Championships, the premier bowling tournament for the top youth bowlers in the country. Winners from each age division earn scholarship money as well as a spot on the Jr. Team USA bowling roster.
This is the first time Williams has competed in a national tournament.
“I want to think that I’m going to do good but time will tell because I’ve never been in that kind of environment before with like thousands of people watching me and everything,” Williams said.
A sophomore at Neshoba Central, Williams has been a part of three bowling state titles and has been bowling since she was seven at the Depot in Philadelphia. It was at that very bowling alley that she qualified for the national tournament where she’s put in many hours of practice on her own – typically two hours a day three to four times a week.
Her parents, Brandi and Gavin, have watched Williams develop her technique and know firsthand the work their daughter has dedicated to bowling both at the Depot and at home.
“If she’s not here practicing, she’s at home studying, watching – watching YouTube, studying,” Brandi said. “Yea she’s a hard bowler. She practices all the time.”
Over the last eight years, what started out as a hobby has developed into an important part of Williams’ life and routine.
“When I first began I didn’t think I was going to get to the point where I am now but the work that I had put in, even when people weren’t watching – like when I come over here by myself just to bowl – I think that contributed a lot to the so-called success,” she said.
Williams averages a 177 and she’s come to learn there’s a lot more to bowling than meets the eye – such as types of bowling balls, feet placement, throwing method and pattern of the oil on the lane.
“Some people thing that you can just go out there and throw the ball and automatically get a strike when really it’s a lot more than that.”
The Junior Gold Championships begin July 15th and will feature thousands of competitors from across the country – Williams will have to score well enough to qualify for subsequent rounds. She says the key is to stay mentally tough.
“Keep calm and like, don’t focus on the last shot, focus on the one next.”
Williams is also a member of the Neshoba Central softball team and has a combined six state championships.