Bowling over: Pelham student shines in local youth leagues

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 26, 2006

With his long red hair and thin frame, 17-year-old Matthew Mullinax of Pelham looks like your typical teenage boy.

But this Pelham High School senior is putting up some impressive wins and numbers in Youth League Bowling.

He enjoyed the highest average in the Pelham High School Bowling Club, which played at Oak Mountain Lanes this past season. His team finished in first place.

Mullinax sports a 187 average against others from Pelham High bowlers. He has also flirted wit the perfect game, won the Youth League Tournament of Champions at Riverview Lanes in 2004 to take home a $500 scholarship. And he finished third in scratch (straight pins play) in the state tournament held in Enterprise this year. That qualified him for Youth Team honors.

There were more then 600 youth bowlers who entered the four-week tournament in Enterprise. Mullinax bowled nine games, four with scores of more than 200 and a high score of 257.

But his best score so far was a 267. He said he made eight strikes after bowling his first four frames. &8220;I guess I just got on a roll too late. I finished with strikes instead of starting with them.&8221;

Mullinax said he likes bowling because it is fun, but for now a pro career does not appear to be on his radar screen.

He said he might try his luck in some pro tournaments, but he said he likes mass communications and would like to go into pro sports radio.

He said he would like to compete in intramural bowling, and &8220;I&8217;ll probably be a league bowler when I&8217;m an adult.&8221;

But Mullinax has a more laid back view of bowling than one would expect.

The youngster, who began bowling with his dad at about age 10, said, &8220;I like bowling because anyone can do it. It&8217;s a sport that anyone can do no matter how old they are. If you want to do it, you can be good at it. You just have to have the motivation to do it.&8221;

Mullinax admitted, however, he likes competition and gets excited when a scholarship is on the line.

He was able to participate in a pro am tournament this year at Oak Mountain Lanes where he bowled with six professional bowlers and

fished eighth out of 85 youth participants. And he said he met pros Mike Scroggins, the 2005 USBC Open winner and Pete Webber.

He said the pros complimented everyone and encouraged everyone to keep bowling. &8220;It was cool to meet them,&8221; he said.

Mullinax is the son of Bill and Ginga Mullinax of Pelham