Ironton’s Allen headed down the pike to bowl at Pikeville
Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, April 11, 2023
By Jim Walker
Sometimes that first experience isn’t what it seems to be.
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Andrew Allen recalled his first experience with bowling and it wasn’t good. Fortunately, he was too little to remember.
“When I was one, I threw my first bowling ball and I cried after it,” said Allen as a large grin grew across his face.
The Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior All-Ohio bowler wasn’t in tears on Friday but they would have been tears of joy as he signed a letter of-intent to play for the University of Pikevile.
Allen had talked with Shawnee State and he said it would be local option until Pikeville came up with a financial aid package to pay all his bills.
“I got a full ride to Pikeville and I’m really blessed to have this opportunity academically. I’d rather take this option. (Pikeville) is one of the top bowling programs in the nation,” said Allen who finished sixth overall at the Ohio High School Athletic Association state bowling tournament.
Being introduced to the sport of bowling at an early age wouldn’t seem strange since his father Kirby Allen spent time bowling on the Professional Bowlers Association tour.
Although his father is a former professional bowler, Allen said there were never pressured his son to follow in his father’s footsteps.
“He was a big influence, but he didn’t push it on to me. I felt like he let me he do my own free will. I fell in love with the sport of bowling once again during COVID. Sometimes an event like that can change you life,” said the younger Allen.
In August of 2020, Allen started to travel and play in JTB tournaments including in tournament involving Pikeville head coach Kyle Wilson.
“I started bowling (the tournament) and began to see a lot of progress. As my tournaments went up, I needed to practice more. I realized that,” said Allen. “That’s where my progress went up. My practices and my tournaments coincided. The more tournaments I bowled the more practiced I realized I needed.”
Allen said he played some little league baseball and up through his eighth grade year, but then COVID hit and washed away the spring sports seasons in 2020. He also ran cross country high school to stay in shape for his bowling season.
“My freshman year COVID hit and they canceled the season, so I just wanted to pursue bowling full-time knowing it was my main sports,” he said.
Allen will join a strong recruiting class that was sparked by Pikeville’s outstanding success this past season. Allen said he has bowled in tournaments with many of the new recruits and current team members.
“A lot of my teammates bowl in these tournaments who are also committed to Pikeville. I’m excited to become more friends with them and the people at other tournaments who go to different colleges So, there’s going to be a lot of collaboration and mutual. There will be a mutual respect,” said Allen who bowled 657 at the state tournament when he finished tied for sixth place.
UPike head coach Kyle Wilson said he has seen Allen bowl in tournament in his hometown area of Cuyahoga Falls several times a year which is what caught Wilson’s attention.
“He’s a very good bowler and comes from a good pedigree of bowlers, so I’m really excited to have him with our program next year,” said Wilson. “I have so many good bowlers who bowl in the JTB that I don’t have to go too far away form there to fill my roster.”
Pikeville just built a new 10-lane bowling facility that will allow bowlers to bowl anytime outside of their 2-hour scheduled practice time..
“I was just looking at my recruiting list and I usually get 10 to 12 people interested each year. This list I have now has 70 names on it,” said Wilson. “The facility sells itself. Our golf programs in there. Our archery and our brand new wrestling program.
“I’m really excited to have Andrew. I think he’s a really great asset to our program. He’s an excellent student which is good. I don’t like to deal with bad grades. If you get on my bad side with grades, you don’t bowl. You’re a student/athlete. You’re a student first and an athlete second.”
Allen is excited to be a member of the bowling team and he is already looking toward what he hopes to accomplish.
“I just want to try and make the team. That’s my first goal, I work off of little goals. My ultimate goal is to bring this to the professional level and I think (Pikeville) is a good chance to get a good start,” said Allen.
As for his classroom goals, Allen is learning towards majoring in Information Assistance Management “because it is a good mix of computers and business and I really want to be an entrepreneur after college.
Ironton Fighting Tigers’ senior All-Ohio bowler Andrew Allen signed a letter-of-intent with the University of Pikeville Bears on Friday. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, grandmother Michelle Allen, mother Jennifer Allen, Andrew and father and Ironton assistant coach Kirby Allen; standing left to right, Pikeville coach Kyle Wilson, uncle Pierce Reeves, grandfather Danny Allen, cousin Natalie Wilds, uncle Trevor Allen, uncle Cecil Wilds and Ironton head coach Steve Cartmell. (Tim Gearhart Sports Photo for The Ironton Tribune)