The girls bowling dynasty at Neshoba Central High School shows no signs of slowing down.
For the fifth consecutive year, Neshoba won a Mississippi state championship in early February.
Allie Williams (Seminole Tribe of Florida/Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians) has been a part of all five championships. She led the way with the top individual score in this year’s Class II state final at Fannin Lanes in Brandon. Her 555 pins helped her earn all-state honors along with teammates Ashton Luke and Sarah Lewis.
Neshoba rolled a 2415 as a team and won the Baker series 3-0 against Long Beach.
Neshoba has won state championships every year since Williams, the daughter of Seminole tribal member Brandi Williams, first joined the team as a seventh grader in 2017. Being able to rotate a steady mix of younger bowlers with more experienced ones each season has proven to be a winning formula for a program that has won state titles in six of the past seven years.
In a sport where steps are crucial, Neshoba has not missed one.
“Although almost every year we have lost a few starting members, we’ve always been able to adapt with the new and returning people,” Williams said. “The team has become my family – girls and boys (teams) – so being comfortable with each other allows us to stay calm and do what we know to do.”
“One of our goals is to keep a few bowlers from each grade so the younger ones will have a couple of years to learn the game before they are put into the matches,” Neshoba coach Joey Blount said.
This season Williams, a junior, led the team with a 198 overall average.
“It was a big boost from the previous year, however, there’s always room for improvement,” she said.
She was the high scorer in eight of the team’s 10 matches. In addition to scoring improvement this season, Blount said Williams also showed tremendous advancement in her approach.
“I could tell much improvement in Allie’s mental game this year,” he said. “Her focus has always been great and her desire to win or bowl well was there, but in the past she has let her emotions get the best of her. At times her emotions made it difficult to give her advice. This year she did not get visibly upset when things did not go her way. She kept her composure and kept bowling.”
Williams’ individual accomplishments this season included earning top medalist in Class II at regionals and states. Her best scores in three-game series were a 721 series/240.3 average and a 708 series/236 average.
Williams is also excelling outside of high school. She and a few of her bowling friends have qualified to compete in the United States Bowling Congress’s Junior Gold Championships this summer in Indianapolis. She competed in the 2019 tournament in Detroit.
After she graduates next year, she would like to bowl for a college team.
“I’m keeping my hopes up to do so,” she said.
Remarkably, this year’s championship squad had no seniors, which speaks to the depth of the program, and means an experienced crew will be back trying to make it six in a row next year.
“So I believe we are expected to be one, if not the top team in our class again next year. I am expecting even greater things from Allie next year,” Blount said.