WICHITA — As Chanute’s first representative at the event, senior Trenton Allen took on the KSHSAA Class 5-1A Boys Bowling State Championships last week in Wichita. Allen finished in 38th place with a 30-frame score of 601.
Allen’s performance at the state tournament was just the end cap on a strong inaugural season for the Chanute Blue Comets.
New to the Sport
A year ago, Allen had barely touched a bowling ball for more than a quick one-off game. Kicking off his competitive career just nine months ago, Allen had to make major strides to get to the state championship.
“Trenton is such a coachable kid,” Chanute head coach Roy McCoy said. “We’d tell him something, he’d analyze it and wouldn’t react (in a bad way).”
Holding a rough average of 140 entering the Unified Bowling season in October, Allen quickly jumped to an average of 192 by winter break.
“I was happy we were finally able to have a bowling team,” Allen said of his senior campaign. “I didn’t realize how many schools had a bowling team until we started going to these tournaments.”
The first half of the Scholastic Bowling season saw Allen hold his strong pace, dropping below a meet average of 180 just once. A down meet at KC Bowl in mid-February threatened to derail his season, as he would average just 158 across 30 frames.
“His lowest series of the year really upset him,” McCoy said. “That’s when (assistant coach Austin Strack) and I sat him down and told him to look to the future, and not what was behind.”
Both McCoy and Allen agreed that the slump was over as quickly as it started.
“After that, I just focused more and tried not to rush everything,” Allen said.
Allen rebounded to post an average of 197 on the same lanes later that week, before posting a 206 average at the regional tournament a week later.
Benefiting the Team
Allen, along with sophomore Jett Cosby, led the Blue Comets in scoring this season. The pair provided consistency throughout the year, which allowed the other four bowlers on the varsity squad to step up an extra level.
“Him and Jett both carried a big load this year,” McCoy said. “That allowed other guys to bowl good and help the team.”
Whether it was cheering his squad on from behind the lane or just taking a performance load off the younger bowlers, Allen was more than important to a young Chanute program.
“It was a good experience, especially helping the others that needed help,” he said. “I’m just glad I could kinda get Chanute’s name out there for the other guys that will be here next year.”
The State Experience
The state tournament would provide another challenge for Allen. The oil inside Northrock Lanes in Wichita were set up as a modified house shot, as opposed to the typical house shot most bowlers were used to throughout the regular season.
McCoy noted that the larger schools with more chances to play in Wichita dominated the day.
“All up and down the house, there were some big, big scores being shot,” he said.
Allen would not be deterred, as he opened the day with a 232, just 15 pins off his season high.
“I was pretty nervous going in, and felt like I didn’t want to be there by myself,” Allen said. “But (after the first game,) I felt really good. I felt like I belonged there and it was just like any other tournament. I’m just glad everybody was there to support me.”
McCoy noted the heavier oil pattern seemed to give Allen trouble in game two, as he dropped to a 181.
“He got a couple good breaks early in the first game and capitalized on them,” McCoy said. “In the second game he had a couple come up a little high, which worried him a little bit. He made an adjustment and it quit coming up in the pocket as much.”
Allen settled in to roll a 188 in game three, rounding out his fourth 600 series of the year.
Colby Lovegren of De Soto rolled a 279 in game three to round out a 743 series for the individual championship.
Kansas City-Piper edged out Wichita-Trinity Academy for the team title. Topeka-Seaman, De Soto and Buhler rounded out the top-five.
After his performances at the regional and state tournaments, Allen was approached by a pair of college bowling coaches. Though he is unsure whether he will pursue the opportunity, Allen is definitely keeping his mind open to the possibility.
“It makes us proud,” McCoy said of Allen’s recognition from collegiate coaches. “He’s such a good kid who is extremely coachable. He will go as far as he wants to.”
38th: Trenton Allen - 232, 181, 188 (601)
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