Chris Allen’s secret weapon is responsible for her recent hot streak on the lanes.
“I owe it all to being pregnant,” said the 29-year-old Colonie native. “This is my first pregnancy, and I’ve been bowling better than ever. We’re due on May 17, and we’ll find out next month whether it’s a boy or a girl. I think it’s a boy, and so does my husband [Isaac Valenzuela].”
Maybe the soon-to-be bowler is giving Allen an extra edge on the lanes, because she’s not slowing down one bit. She collected her third perfect game in the last month Monday in the DV Greco Insurance City League at Towne Bowling Academy. Two weeks ago, she posted her first-ever 800 triple.
Allen is averaging a robust 234 on Monday nights, and is also averaging 220 in the DV Greco Insurance Women’s Doubles league, also at Towne BA.
“Hopefully, I can continue bowling until I don’t feel well anymore, but if we’re done bowling in April, I might be able to finish both leagues,” she said. “I know some women who have continued to bowl right up until the birth.”
Although she is at the top of her game recently, Allen is no stranger to the lanes. She owns 10 perfect games and recently made the TV finals for the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show’s” Barb Leicht Memorial Championship.
Allen said one of the reasons she is so consistent is that her game is not complicated.
“I’m a down-and-in bowler with a pretty simple release,” she said. “I like shooting the second-arrow shot most of the time.”
Allen’s mother, a 180-average bowler, introduced the game to her at an early age. She picked up more pointers in the junior program at the now defunct Bowlers Club and fine-tuned her game at Colonie High School under the guidance of the late Leicht.
Although Colonie wasn’t the power it is currently, Allen made the Section II all-star team in three of her four varsity seasons. She also played soccer in high school before giving up that sport to concentrate on bowling.
“I knew I was much better at bowling than I was at soccer, and I really loved the game,” she said.
Once Allen graduated to the adult leagues, she quickly sampled most of the area’s top scratch leagues. She joined the Vitalo Classic on Saturday nights at Sportsman’s Bowl and also bowled in the Capital District All Star league before taking a break from scratch bowling.
She has subbed in the Boulevard Classic, as well as some of the other top area leagues.
“I basically use two bowling balls most of the time,” said Allen. “I’ve been using a Storm Victory Road, but I also have an Alpha Max from Brunswick. I don’t use a different ball for spares. I just flatten my wrist and use the same ball I throw for my strikes.”
Allen, who has a high four-game series of 1,035, hopes to bowl in a few more tournaments before her baby is due. She says she is feeling great and doesn’t foresee any problems with her game in the near future.
The second and final Northern Bowlers Association tournament of the season, the Holiday Classic, will be held Sunday at Olympic Lanes in Menands.
Bowling begins at 9:30 a.m. Entry fee for the five-game sweeper will be $50, and both single-game jackpots and brackets will be available.
For the first time, the NBA will offer two divisions. The Open division will pay $840 for first place, based on 60 entries, while the women’s division will pay $550 on top for 30 entries.
Sponsors are Riverfront Insuring Agency, MJ Floors, Gardner Excavating, Carpet This, Dan Ahl’s Bowlers Advantage Pro Shop, Karl & Warren’s Pro Shop and Vince Bonanni’s Pro Shop.
STRIKES & SPARES
- Schalmont High School graduate Liz Kuhlkin defeated Corey Buckley of Albany, 216-174, in the finals of the Capital District Youth Scholarship Tour at Sportsman’s Bowl over the weekend. Kuhlkin, a sophomore at Nebraska, couldn’t accept scholarship money because of NCAA regulations, so Buckley earned the $325 top scholarship prize. Thirty-nine bowlers competed. Zachary Doty of Nassau, Justin Carl of Albany, Chris Hanson of Ballston Lake and Chad Sutliff of Valatie earned entries into the 2013 USBC Junior Gold tournament in Detroit July 13-19. The next CDYST event will be the Holiday Open that runs Dec. 27-28 at Towne Bowling Academy.
- Albany’s Chris Fedden was the only local bowler to cash in last week’s PBA East Region Knob Hill Senior Open in Manalapan, N.J. He picked up $500.
- Rolling Greens will host the Scotia-Glenville Cheer No-Tap tournament Jan. 4 (7 p.m.) and Jan. 5 (9 p.m.). The five-person teams will receive 75 percent handicap of a 1,100 team average Entry fee is $60 per team and one out of 10 teams will earn prizes. Call Rolling Greens at 381-4848 for more information.
- The Uncle Sam Lanes Handicap Christmas Tournament continues through Dec. 31. Entry fee for the three-person teams is $30 per bowler. One in eight teams will cash. Handicap is 90 percent of a 225 average. The remaining squads will be Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., Dec. 29 at both noon and 3 p.m., Sec. 30 at both 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Dec. 31 at both 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call 227-9728 for more information.
- Pins were flying and scores were soaring in a recent Rensselaer County Men league match at Olympic Lanes. Scott Rogers fired a pair of 300 games and an 823 triple en route to a 1,123 four-game series, while DJ Bigness collected three 279 games during an 826 triple and a 1,105 series. Dwayne Coonradt also had a 300 game, while Jon Magin added a 299 game. Rogers is averaging a whopping 247 in that league, while Bigness is right behind at 246.
- The Menagerie league, which bowls Friday nights at 6:15 at Boulevard Bowl, still has five openings. It’s a four-person mixed league in its 86th year. Dues are $15 per night. Call Paul O’Brien at 421-5427.
- In-house qualifying for the Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show’s” handicap division continues until early January. Entry fee is $10, and you can use your league scores to qualify. One in eight advance from each local bowling center.
- The third annual Towne Bowling Academy Team Tournament continues with squads Sunday at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Top prize is $4,000, with $2,000 for second place and $800 for the top mixed team. Entry fee is $140 per team, plus an additional $15 fee for singles. One in eight teams will cash. Handicap will be 85 percent of 225 per bowler, but maximum handicap is 50 pins per person. Other squads are Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Jan. 4 at 9:15 p.m., Jan. 12 at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Jan. 18 at 9:15 p.m. and Jan. 26 at 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Call Towne at 355-3606 for reservations.
- The 21st annual Michelob Ultra Scratch Challenge is set for AMF Pin-O-Rama Lanes in Utica. Top prize is $3,000 guaranteed. The tournament runs Jan. 9-13. Entry fee is $75. Local bowlers have done quite well over the years, with Steve Wagoner winning in 2007, Warren Guernsey winning in 2000 and Mike Neumann winning in 1997. Call 315-793-0201 for more information.
- Town ’N Country Lanes offers a Kids Having a Ball league beginning Jan. 4 at 3:30 p.m. The league runs for 12 weeks and has an entry fee of $7 per week. Bowlers roll two games. Call 456-1113 for more information.
- A special Huck Finn “TV Tournament Time” event is set for Jan. 6 at Saratoga Strike Zone. The tournament, sponsored in part by Wolf and Warren’s Pro Shop, will have one squad at 10 a.m. First place is $800, guaranteed, with $400 for second. Entry fee is $60, plus Huck Finn membership if not already paid. One in five will cash. Six bowlers advance to match play, with the top two receiving byes. The final two bowlers advance to a best-of-three total pinfall match. Call Jeff Segel for reservations at 439-7628.
- Other upcoming Huck Finn tournaments include a Senior Tournament Jan. 12-13 at Sunset Recreation and Uncle Sam Lanes, the Super Bowl Mixed Doubles Feb. 2 at Spare Time Latham and Feb. 3 at Boulevard Bowl, and a Mixed Doubles Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. at Sportsman’s Bowl.
- Don’t forget that all spectators for Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” TV tapings are eligible to win a free bowling ball. All they have to do is show up for the tapings, which usually start at about 4:30 p.m., and put in an entry blank.
- Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season to all my readers. Here’s wishing plenty of 300 games and 800 triples in your stockings and a new bowling ball under the tree.