Kelly twins sign to continue bowling careers in college


Twins Lilly and Kenny Kelly began bowling together in a youth league at Starlite Bowl when they were in fifth grade in Seymour.

They continued to bowl together while at Seymour Middle School and recently finished their fourth season bowling together as members of the Seymour High School bowling team.

They plan to continue their bowling careers together as they recently signed letters of intent to bowl at Grace College beginning this fall.

“Our youth minister (Allison Williams) passed away two years ago, and I wanted to go to a college that reminded me of her,” Lilly said. “I felt really comfortable how it made me feel. It brought me a lot closer to her is why I chose to go there. I’m looking forward of getting out of a small town and meeting new people. The college is really pretty.”

Kenny said Grace is a really nice college.

“I enjoy just meeting people and being in a different town with a different team,” he said.

Lilly and Kenny’s father, Shannon Kelly, has been head coach of the Seymour bowling team for 11 years. The twins said he’s the reason they became involved in bowling, and he has always been one of their coaches. He also coached his other two children.

John Ahlbrand and Toby Lawson, who also have coached the Seymour teams along the way, joined Shannon at the signing that was held Jan. 26 in the SHS cafeteria.

Shannon said he feels Grace will be a good college for Lilly and Kenny to attend.

“I’m very excited for them. They get to be in on the first varsity year for the school. It will be Grace’s first year next year for varsity bowling. They’ve been a club sport for the last several years,” Shannon said. “They’re very excited about getting in on the ground floor.”

He said he feels like their background in bowling will help them at Grace.

“This is a great finish. For them to bowl and have fun is the biggest thing,” he said. “I think the coach was excited to have some kids who have seen what it takes to run the program, come into the program, so they have a little more background knowledge.”

The Seymour team practices at Scottsburg on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and bowls in a league on Saturdays. Lilly’s league team is made up of two other Seymour girls and a girl from Austin. Kenny said his team is made up of four boys from Seymour.

“I think the thing I most enjoy is meeting a bunch of new people,” Lilly said of bowling. “I’ve met people from all over the state, and everybody is really nice.”

Kenny said the most fun he gets out of bowling is making friends.

“I enjoy my team and being with people,” he said.

The youth league matches rotate between Scottsburg, Vevay, Versailles and Columbus. Lilly said sometimes, she bowls her best game in the first game, while other times, she bowls her high game the last game. Kenny said the last game is usually his best once he figures everything out and finds that spot on the lane.

The league started in August and finishes in March. It stopped for a couple of weekends in January while the high school bowling sectional was held.

“That was the end of the high school season,” Lilly said. “The league goes a little bit longer than the high school season. In March and April, there is a state tournament for all the youth in the state.”

In the high school season, the Seymour boys finished in a three-way tie with Columbus North and South Ripley for the conference championship, and the boys and girls both placed third in the sectional.

Kenny said he averages 180, his highest game is 267 and his high series is 652, while Lilly said the highest game she can remember bowling is 198.

In college, Shannon said Grace coach Kirk Wyman will look at Lilly and Kenny for some leadership.

“It was more what we were looking for. It’s more of a Christian-based school. We were not looking for something way out there in the mainstream,” Shannon said. “They’re both pretty Christ-centered kids, and we were looking for something more like that, and when we found out about the bowling, that was just icing on the cake.”

Grace College is located in Winona Lakes and is a member of the Crossroads League. Seven of the conference teams have bowling teams, including Indiana schools Marian, Huntington, Trine, Indiana Wesleyan and Bethel.

Wyman said there are two bowling establishments in Warsaw, and Grace College practices at both places.

Wyman coached bowling for 19 years at Warsaw High School before moving to Grace.

“They’re good, solid bowlers,” he said of the Kellys. “What I look at is lane mechanics, approach mechanics, how the ball is released, timing. I look at ball motion on their bowling ball.

“I feel that these two will come in and step in and be varsity bowlers, so they will contribute,” he said. “My job, I feel, is to tweak their game. I’m not going to change their game. I want to tweak their game for the better, and that may be hand release a little bit. They don’t have to be a 200 average bowler. If they’re a 160, I can tweak them and build them up a little bit. That’s what I want.”

Wyman said college teams are made up of eight members with five bowlers competing in matches.

“We can substitute at any time. We bowl five regular games or four regular games, then usually 12 or 16 baker games,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed teaching the game. I like to see how they actually progress through their career.”

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