Dallastown teen proves to be quick study when it comes to two-handed bowling

BARRY SPARKS
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Isaac Lutz

Isaac Lutz, 16, had never picked up a bowling ball until he joined the Dallastown High School bowling club last year.

"When Mr. (Justin) Zelger, my American history teacher, announced a bowling club was forming and he would be the coach, I thought it might be something that would interest me," said Lutz, a junior. "I wasn't involved in any other extracurricular activities, and I was looking for something to do."

After a couple practice sessions, Lutz's average hovered around 70. 

"Nothing was clicking," he said.

That's when Zelger recommended Lutz try a two-handed delivery, which is growing in popularity, particularly among younger bowlers.

The Dallastown teen gave it a try and was intrigued by it. He started watching YouTube videos of two-handed PBA bowlers such as Kyle Troup and Jason Belmonte. He closely studied their styles and techniques.

Lutz applied what he had learned from the videos at exhibition matches against other York County high school bowling clubs, which include Red Lion, Central York, Spring Grove and  New Oxford.

He began practicing with friends and family several times a week. He honed his two-handed style, improved his accuracy and bolstered his confidence.

He's impressing his coach: This year, he's averaging 179, and has a high game of 255. He was encouraged by seeing his average rise the harder he worked on improving his game.

"Isaac is diligent and hard-working," Zelger said. "He committed to learning the fundamentals and that gave him a solid base. He's made tremendous strides in a little more than a year. Isaac is an inspiration to other beginning bowlers."

Lutz has been pleasantly surprised by his bowling club experience.

"Last year was the first time I had been part of a team, and I really enjoyed it," he said. "I've built some solid relationships. It helps that I can now put all my emotions, good and bad, into an activity."

Lutz has been impressed by how positive his teammates and opponents have been.

"I haven't heard a single negative comment from any bowler," he said. "It doesn't matter what your average is, everyone respects you. That atmosphere makes me want to be part of the program."

The Dallastown two-hander has plenty of bowling goals. He wants to roll a 300 game and average 200.

"I want to keep getting better," he said. "I'm looking forward to competing with the Dallastown team next year."

Reach Barry Sparks at sports@yorkdispatch.com.