Helena teen bowls for bronze

Published 4:16 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Two mistakes were the difference between bronze and silver in the Alabama Sports Festival bowling tournament for Helena’s Konnor George.

George, 15, won his third-consecutive bronze medal in the ASF State Games at Brunswick Riverview Lanes Saturday.

Leaving a pair of pins in both the third and ninth frames are the mistakes that George said cost him the second-place match.

But while the result has been the same past three years, George feels like this year’s third-place finish showed improvement.

“I was up against a harder opponent, so I guess, if you place age and experience wise, I did all right,” George said.

George topped out at 263 in a first-round game. He ranked third entering a rolloff to determine first place. After defeating the fourth-place competitor, George fell to second-ranked Matthew Brannan, 19, of Montgomery, 176-173.

George picked up bowling at age 12 after deciding to quit playing baseball.

“He took the sport up and progressively got better every year. He really surpassed my expectations very quickly,” said his father Doran.

George is now one of the top youth bowlers in Alabama. During the past year, he averaged a score of 203 per game, earning him an All-State ranking.

In the winter, George rolled his best game to date with a 288 of a possible 300-pin perfect game.

He delivered 10 strikes in a row, before leaving the 10 pin, the back right pin, on his second shot of the 10th frame. He missed the pesky 10 on his next shot, 12 points shy of perfect.

“It was very frustrating, because a 10 pin is the most annoying thing in the world,” said the rising Pelham High sophomore.

George helped lead Oak Mountain Lanes to a state championship in the spring and will travel with the team to the United States Bowling Congress Youth Open Championships in Indianapolis July 9-11.

Besides having a strong showing in Indy, George’s main goal for the summer is to bowl a perfect game before he turns 16 on Sept. 24.