Bowling club ready to strike their spring season

Plaza Lanes, located 2 miles off Allegheny’s campus, where the bowling club competes throughout the fall and spring. (Plaza Lanes)

South down Route 19, two miles from Allegheny College, is a white and gray brick building. Next to it is a sign with a white maraca-shaped figure, a black ball, and in big red letters, “bowling.”

Welcome to Plaza Lanes.

A homey environment that welcomes all skill levels and ages, Plaza Lanes provides fun experiences for many people in the Meadville area, including the Allegheny Bowling Club. Brayden Cartwright, ’23, took over as the team president last semester, and is in the process of setting up matches to play at the alley this spring.

Many of the players on the roster are also athletes on the baseball team. The club was founded by members of the varsity sport in 2018. Not only did this allow the baseball team to have a house on campus — teams are not offered the same housing reservation opportunities as clubs — but it was also an invitation to hit the lanes in a new community.

“It is awesome to be around the guys,” Cartwright said. “We do have quite a few members that have been outside of the team, so it is nice to have that diversity there. But having the guys that close all the time — it is pretty cool because you have some of your best friends at practice, and you get to see them and bowl with them on the weekends.”

Cartwright was grandfathered into the position from the class before him. He was given the opportunity to keep the ship sailing, and knew it was a good opportunity for the team and himself. Although Cartwright never bowled competitively before arriving at Allegheny, he quickly found it another enjoyable hobby.

“I got asked to join the club with some of the guys that were older than me,” Cartwright said. “I went, did not know anything about it, but they taught me and I saw how they were doing it, and I was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome.’”

Given that baseball is a spring sport, it sometimes proves difficult to play significant hours at the bowling alley. However, the team is looking to schedule a six-week season, where they will head down once or twice a week to compete with each other.

Although the club is mostly to have a good time with friends, the competitive spirit within the team comes out during the games. Another member of the club is Andrew Stablewski, ’24, who is in his second year of bowling competitively. Stablewski is always ready to challenge other members, and feels his game has improved since his time on the roster.

“We are always competitive when we are there,” Stablewski said. “We got to see who can get the highest score, which teams are going to beat who. It is always a good time because no one ever wants to lose.”

During the season, the players will compete in one-on-one matches, or in teams, depending on the day and what the guys are feeling up to. Stablewski’s rival has been Chase Chodkowski, ’23, who is also a member of the baseball team. They are great friends on the field, but rivals when striking pins.

Last year, the team had a four-on-four match, which included some of the former graduates taking on the young guns. In an alumni reunion game, the elders showed up to play and outlegged the current roster. Still, it was a fun experience for everyone involved, according to Stablewski.

In the thriving metropolis of Meadville, the bowling club can offer a great way to relieve stress, make new friends and join a new community. The team hopes to keep expanding as the years go on, and they are always looking for people to gain the courage to join.

“The bowling club is for anybody,” Stablewski said. “We are always looking for people to join that want to have a good time and go bowling.”