Killean started bowling when he was only 7 years old. He joined a youth bowling league at River Rock Lanes in Ishpeming, MI. He competed in his first Meijer State Games of Michigan bowling event last year where he received a gold medal for the 12-15 year-old age division. When he started as a freshman in high school in 2023, he joined the school bowling team that he had been wanting to be a part of for a long time.
But bowling is not the only sport that Killean competes and excels in. As a pitcher, he assisted his team to victory in the State of Michigan Junior Little League Championship in 2023. Killean’s mom, Kay Ryan, says in one word that he is driven. “Killean is extremely motivated to accomplish his goals, whether it’s completing homework or playing sports.”
In his first year on his high school team, Killean already has a few competitions under his belt. He has been doing very well overall, even scoring 204 in the Iron Mountain Invite while representing the Ishpeming/Negaunee Bowling team. As of January 23rd, Killean is ranked 4th in the Upper Peninsula Bowling Conference.
In the past 7 years, Killean has developed a deep love and appreciation for the sport. He challenges himself to continue getting better with each event he competes in. The aspect he loves the most about the sport is, “the competitiveness and learning how to adjust to the lanes and how to fix and improve my bowling if I am not doing as well as I would like.”
This year, Killean will be returning to compete in the 2024 Winter Games at River Rock Lanes where his bowling career began. In addition, he will be making the trip to Grand Rapids to also compete at Spectrum Lanes. When asked why he decided to compete in both locations, he said, “To give me a chance to see the quality of bowlers across the state.”
Kay and Kevin Ryan have supported Killean since the very beginning. Kay describes Killean as: “a good student and works hard to be the best at whatever he does. He has wanted to be on the high school bowling team since he started bowling … He is thoughtful, caring, and respectful towards others.”
She remembers Killean’s first trip to a bowling alley and his first time holding a bowling ball. She explains, “Killean picked up two-handed bowling right away and he seemed like a natural at it. He would get so excited when he knocked down a bunch of pins.”
As all athletes would agree, sports can have its ups and downs. Killean has had his fair share of difficulties since he first started competing beyond recreation. When asked what challenges Killean has had to face, she explained, “He puts a lot of pressure on himself to be perfect when bowling or playing baseball. It is hard for him to accept that no matter how hard he works, he isn’t going to be the best all the time and that everyone has bad days.”
But this does not hold him back from stepping up to the lane or on the mound. Kay and Kevin are extremely proud of Killean. “He is a very responsible kid. He has a great work ethic for his age and is not afraid to work hard at whatever he is doing. His coaches regularly compliment him on how well he listens and takes feedback and works hard to improve. Killean is also nearly an all-A student and his teachers enjoy having him in their classes” (Kay Ryan).
Killean is excited to compete in his second year with the Meijer State Games of Michigan. He said he is most looking forward to competing against other bowlers that he may not have ever competed against in the upcoming Winter Games in both Ishpeming and Grand Rapids.
So what can we learn from this young bowler? Keep going. When you put in hard work, you will yield the results you are working toward. Killean has no plans to put a halt to his bowling career anytime soon and we’re excited to see how far he can go!