Austin Krites has been bowling since as long as he can remember.
His first leagues started when he was just four years old at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta.
Now, at age 16, Krites leads the West Ohio High School Bowling Conference in pin average, and his Wapakoneta Redskins squad has a firm grasp on second place in the league.
Krites has knocked down 5935 pins this season in league play, averaging 212 pins per game. His high game came in a record breaking performance where his team set the new conference record for a match.
Now a junior, Krites can’t remember a time he wasn’t bowling.
“I was always out here when I was younger,” Krites said. “I guess I got really good, so I just kept coming back and bowled more and more. I pretty much grew up with it.”
Krites not only has been bowling for recreation for a long time, he has been working at Astro Lanes in Wapakoneta for about four years now.
He said he does everything from working front counter to the back pin area.
Krites grew up playing other sports like football, baseball and basketball but has since turned all his focus on his passion: bowling.
In November, Krites bowled a perfect game 300 in the high school league at Astro Lanes.
A 300 is a perfect game in bowling and this accomplishment is revered in the bowling community. It requires 12 strikes in a row in one game.
“I’ve just always had an ability to block everything else out in my head,” Krites said. “There can be screaming or a lot of background noise, and it doesn’t affect me. At all.”
Krites and the Wapakoneta bowling team has one more regular season match this year against Ottawa-Glandorf on Saturday.
That match will be in Lima, and with a win and a Coldwater loss to LCC, the Redskins can capture a share of the WOHSBC title.
Krites recognizes that he is the leader of the team in pin average, but acknowledges that it is very much a team sport.
“I didn’t set the team record by myself,” Krites said. “It was a total team effort and that’s definitely the highlight of my year so far.”
Krites spoke about some Wapakoneta bowling greats, and said he wanted to be compared to them someday. Krites said leading the conference in pin average is what he’s been working toward.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Krites said. “I grew up watching Brian Garman and that 2005 team. And that’s now my goal. A state tournament run this year and next.”
Krites and the Redskins are 12-2 on the season with their two losses coming at the hands of Coldwater and St. Henry. But Krites said they are rolling some of their best games right now, and they are looking forward to postseason play.
“We’re playing our best right now,” Krites said. “If we keep playing like this, nobody in the state is going to be able to beat us.”