|Messenger photo by Whitney Wilson Coy|
|Chaz Dennis, a sixth-grade student at Galloway Ridge Middle School, recently became the world’s youngest bowler to score an 800 series. Before that, he was named the youngest bowler in history to bowl a 300.|
Most local 11-year-olds spent their spring breaks outside trying to catch a glimpse of the sun or on vacation with their families. Chaz Dennis spent his at the bowling alley preparing for state championships.
Chaz, a sixth-grade student at Galloway Ridge Middle School, has already made his mark on the bowling world, securing two world records in the last two years.
He became the youngest bowler in history to bowl a perfect game of 300 in December of 2006, at the age of 10. Today, this record still belongs to Dennis.
"I think that is going to stick for quite a while," said Jim Dennis, Chaz’s father and a night manager at Hillcrest Lanes, where Chaz does his practicing.
Although that tournament marked the first time Chaz attained a 300 during competition, it was not the first time he had ever accomplished that feat. That happened when he was eight, not long after his father reached the same goal.
"I had bowled my first 300 just a couple of months before that," said Jim.
Now, Chaz has a new feather to put in his hat.
On March 10, while competing in the district tournament of the USBC-Pepsi Youth Championships, Chaz became the youngest bowler in the world to score an 800 series, meaning a total score of 800 after a series of three games.
At that tournament, Chaz bowled a 279, 236 and 300 for a total of 815.
"I was pretty excited," said Chaz.
Chaz began bowling nine years ago, at the age of two.
"We took the bumpers off when he was four," said Jim.
Chaz bowls using a two-handed delivery, a style which, according to his father, is becoming more and more popular.
"Instructors are teaching people how to bowl like that now," he said.
Chaz, however, picked the technique up all on his own.
"He always used my ball, and it was so heavy that he needed to use two hands," explained Jim.
The style stuck, and Chaz now uses that same technique, now perfected, to control his 15-pound ball during tournaments. His average score is 210.
Bowling, however, is more than just fun and games to Chaz. He hopes it’s his future.
Each time Chaz wins a tournament, the scholarship money awarded as a prize goes towards securing his education. The bigger the tournaments he bowls, the bigger the prize.
Chaz hopes to continue his passion for bowling when he enters high school by joining a school team.
"A lot of schools out there have bowling teams now," said Jim.
After that, Chaz plans to compete in college, and ultimately, at the professional level.
Before all that can happen, he has to make it to the state championships, which will be held in Columbus this month. A good performance at state would send Chaz to the national tournament in Detroit in July to bowl against the best of the best in his age group.