Despite only picking up the sport a few years ago, Russell County’s Nick Blakey officially signed with the Lindsey Wilson College bowling team on Wednesday, March 23.
When it came down to it, Blakey said signing on with the Blue Raiders was an easy choice.
“First of all, it’s close to home, and second of all, I know a lot of people on the team, and I just want to continue bowling for somebody,” Blakey said, noting that he would be teammates at LWC with some former RCHS bowlers. “Lindsey was my first choice.
“Before the signing, I was a little nervous,” he added, “but after the signing, I was just extremely excited. I’m excited to meet up with former teammates and bowl with them.”
Blakey picked up the sport three years ago on a whim, when one of his friends, Zack Kean, encouraged him to give bowling a shot.
“I fell in love with it immediately,” Blakey said. “It’s just a good atmosphere, bowling in general, especially when your friends are involved in it, too.”
Kean also introduced Blakey to a two-handed style of bowling that’s been popularized by Jason Belmonte, an Australian professional bowler, in recent years.
“The first couple of times I went, I started out one-handed because I didn’t even know two-handed bowling existed,” Blakey said. “[Kean] kind of showed me the technique of it and helped me with my approach.”
The two-handed approach to the game was a near-instant success for Blakey. In his first year of competition, he was part of a second-place team at region that also participated in state.
In 2020, he placed fifth as an individual at regions out of 52 competitors.
In 2021, he won the region bowling tournament as individual, out of 42 competitors, and also won first place at the region level to qualify for the state tournament as part of a team and as an individual.
This season, he was the region runner-up and finished sixth in the state tournament as an individual.
Being so new to the sport, though, he understands that he still has a lot to learn about bowling, but he’s looking forward to the challenge.
“I’m very excited to continue learning about the sport,” Blakey said. “I’m still learning about it, obviously, and I’m excited to see how I stack up against college bowlers.”