Seguin High School sophomore Nick Carmona is instantly recognizable at the bowling alley.
Carmona, 15, has a very distinct style — one that has caught on in the last few years on the professional bowling circuit.
It’s the two-handed — throw it hard, spin it hard — release used by PBA bowler Jason Belmonte, who has risen to the top level of the sport using the technique.
Carmona saw the style when he was a kid, adopted it and has been bowling that way ever since. Carmona started bowling at an unbelievable age — three years old — introduced to the sport by an aunt.
“I was about two or three, it was when I first started,” Carmona said. “Ever since then I stuck with it. My aunt told me I should bowl one-handed, but I never picked it up — it just wasn’t me.
“My cousin always worked with me on it and we watched Jason Belmonte when he came out, it was about 2009. I’ve got pictures of me bowling back then. I was eight or nine when I started taking it seriously.”
Carmona was bowling in leagues prior to that and competed in the Pepsi Championships (a Texas state championship) in Dallas when he was even younger. He qualified three or four times, he said, winning his age group when he was five years old.
He was nine when he bowled his first 200 game, using a 12-pound ball, and likes the sport for the sound the pins make when he throws the perfect ball.
Carmona uses the two-handed style for accuracy and increased spin on the ball.
“I’m more accurate with it and I put more revolutions on the ball,” he said.
Carmona has used the style to bowl with the Seguin High School team, a club sport at the school. The team was 8-1 in their league last year, when he was a freshman, and came second in district.
The sophomore is taking his bowling skills to Las Vegas next July for the Junior Gold Championship, qualifying in San Antonio last year.
He won his age division with a 207 average over eight games — his high game was a 266. That score was the high game for the entire tournament — but he’s gone even higher, his high game one strike away from perfect, a 290.
He’ll be bowling in Las Vegas with professional bowlers, amateurs and those in his age division.
“I’ll be bowling a lot of great bowlers, professionals like Norm Duke and Pete Weber,” Carmona said. He’ll be competing against those in his age group for scholarship money — “a lot of money,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Carmona is hoping to continue to bowl in college and beyond, noting that with other sports, the chance to continue playing when you are older is not really an option.
He is hoping to get a scholarship to continue bowling in college.
“Bowling can stick with you for a long time,” he said. “With football, you love it, but as time flies, it’s an injury-prone sport. With bowling there’s scholarship money out there, maybe more than any other sport — and even as an older person, you’re still going to love it.”
Kevin Duke is the sports editor of the Seguin Gazette. You can e-mail him at email@example.com .