Princeton teen 'tearing up' Crown Lanes

I first wrote about A.J. Egan a few years ago when he was bowling 300 games in 9-pin no tap (9s count as strikes). Now he's doing it for real.

As reported in the BCR, Saturday, the 17-year-old Princeton High School junior bowled not one, but two perfect games in the Junior Bowling League at Crown Lanes.

That's two 300s. Most bowlers will go their lifetime and not bowl a single 300 game. He did two in two consecutive weekends. And has six or seven non-sanctioned perfectos in his young career already.

How's he do it?

"A lot of luck and lot of practice, I guess," said Egan, who says he makes it to the lanes four to five times a week.

Egan rolled his first 300 in the junior league on Jan. 14. The next Saturday, he did it again on the way to an 814 series, the second highest of any bowler in Princeton. Only Kent Nirider's 821 with a bowl-out has been higher.

It didn't really come as that much of a surprise at Crown Lanes. Egan carried the highest average of anybody at Crown Lanes last year, men's, women's or juniors with a 225 average. This year he's up 230.

"He's been tearing 'em up," said Dave Camp, president of the junior association. "He's just an awesome kid, a fantastic bowler. He's worked hard on his bowling. He practices a lot and works hard for it, a little bit comes natural, too. ... I think its a thing of beauty to watch, myself."

Camp said junior coach Al Layton said he's never seen a 300 junior bowler in his 20-plus years with the junior league.

The teen bowler said he's probably most proud of rolling the 814 than the 300 games, because "that's a big deal. You've got to be more consistent. Anyone can go out and throw a 300, but throwing three consistent games, that's pretty much it right there."

While Egan won't likely have a chance to bowl in high school as PHS has no current team nor plans to institute a program, he is exploring collegiate possibilities. His dream would be to attend Wichita State University to study agri-business and bowl for the Shockers, who were two-time national champions. He has sent letters to Wichita State as well as Nebraska and Iowa State.

Who knows where bowling might take him one day?

"We always say, 'Hey, A.J., when you going pro?' He just smiles," Camp said. "I think one day you might see him on TV. It's hard to say, especially what happens in college."

Egan takes that possibility in stride.

"Nine out of 10 times (going pro) probably won't happen," he said. "I just hope it helps me get through college a little easier. If it happens, it happens, if I don't, I don't."

Egan would become eligible to join the Men's Association when he gets out of school, but he'll have to wait awhile so as to not ruin his amateur status for college.

"He's always asking and saying, I'll bowl for free.' I tell him, you'd probably do well, but I can't let you do that kid," Camp said. "I'm looking forward to him bowling against us, but I'm not looking to bowling against him either."

Egan is appreciative of all the help he gets from mentors like Layton, Randy Allen, John Sterling and Jeff Hanson. He says bowling is a sport for a lifetime, because there's "something new every day and different every time. I can bring my friends out, bring my family out and have a good time. Anybody can do it."

But not everyone can do it as well as he can.

• Super Sunday: So who are you picking in the Super Bowl? There's the Patriots dynasty, looking for its fourth crown in the Belichek/Brady partnership and for revenge of the 2008 upset at the hands of the Giants. And there's the Giants, who have caught fire of late and knocked off the giants of the NFC. While the Pats are slightly favored, there's one thing I've learned — don't overlook the team who's played the hottest coming into the playoff. The Hieronymus' Hypothesis? ... Giants 27-24. Let me know your pick?

• Postseason time: The 2011-12 winter sports season is winding down rather quickly it seems. PHS will host regionals for wrestling Saturday and girls' basketball next week. Boys' regionals will follow two weeks later. Get out to the gym and cheer for your hometown teams and athletes. They deserve it and would appreciate it.

Kevin Hieronymus is the BCR Sports Editor Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com.