Bowling is more than just a hobby for Allie Williams.
The Seminole teenager, who lives in Philadelphia, Mississippi, has been bowling since age 7. She watches the sport on television.
She has her favorite stars to follow, namely Jason Belmonte and Danielle McEwan.
She hasn’t attended a pro bowlers event, but would like to someday.
She’s also helped the Neshoba Central High School girls bowling team win three state championships.
Before Williams started her sophomore year in August, her attention shifted to the national stage.
She brought her passion for the sport to Detroit, Michigan, where she competed in the United States Bowling Association’s Junior Gold Championships from July 15-20.
The national tournament is for the top male and female youth bowlers in the United States. The tournament has eight divisions – U12, U15, U17 and U20.
“I knew there would be a lot of good people because it’s a national tournament,” she said.
Held at bowling centers throughout metro Detroit, the event drew thousands of youth bowlers who qualified from across the country.
Bowling in the U15 girls division that featured nearly 400 bowlers, Williams placed 81st on the first day. She said she was glad to crack the top 100.
She had solid, consistent rounds in the ensuing days, ranking 124th after round two, 98 after round three and finished up 111th after round four.
Her scores didn’t get her into the so-called Advancers Round of the top 52, but she was satisfied with her performance among the nation’s best in her age group.
“I was happy with it. It was my first experience there. To place where I was, it wasn’t bad,” she said.
Her top game was 186, which came in the third round. Her average was 165 for the tournament.
Williams will be shift her focus to the high school season in the coming months, and after that, hopefully a return trip to the national juniors.
Next year’s tournament will be in Las Vegas.
“I’m looking forward to going if I qualify,” she said.
National competitions and state championships are already part of her impressive, growing resume, but it wasn’t that long ago when Williams first picked up a bowling ball.
A new bowling facility – the Depot Family Fun Center – had just opened near the Williams’ home.
“We went there when it opened,” said Williams’ mom, Brandi. “We signed her up for a weekend hobby, but it turned into something she loves. She wanted to keep playing.”
And keep playing she has. The Depot is where Williams has developed her skills and love for the sport. It’s also where she bowled her best game, a 264.
“It’s like her second home,” Brandi said. “Everybody knows her at the Depot.”