Austin Kimes became the first Columbia Academy student to sign a college bowling scholarship Thursday when he did so with Martin Methodist College.
Kimes, whose average is currently among the top five individual bowlers in Division II, selected the RedHawks over Tusculum, Campbellsville and Pikeville, citing a longtime connection with the Pulaski NAIA program – including a training relationship with MMC coach Bob Learn, a five-time winner on the PBA Tour and a current Spring Hill resident who now bowls on the PBA50 tour.
“My cousin (former Columbia Central bowler Chelsea Hinton) has been there for two or three years,” he said. “And their linking to the Tennessee program just sealed it.”
Kimes comes from a long family tradition of bowling, and has competed in the Junior Gold Nationals over the last couple of years.
“I started as a hobby, but I realized I could do it in high school, and then in college,” he said. “Obviously the big dream and goal now is to bowl professionally.”
Having bowled at Columbia Academy since eighth grade, Kimes hopes to start his own tradition with Thursday’s signing.
“I didn’t really take that into account until this year,” he said of becoming the first Bulldog bowling signee. “It’s cool to be the first. Hopefully I won’t be the last.”