Teen crisscrosses country to be by 'Idol's' side

After weeks of seeing his sweetheart only on TV, 17-year old Dorchester resident Chris Kowalski greeted his girlfriend, American Idol contestant Ayla Brown, in Hollywood last week.

According to Jack Kowalski, Chris's father who accompanied his son to Los Angeles, the trip was a reunion of two close friends.

"They were thrilled to see each other," says Jack Kowalski. "They are terrific friends who share a very warm connection with common interests."

Among those common interests is their passion for sports. Ayla, a senior at Nobles and Greenough School in Dedham, is one of the few Massachusetts female athletes to score two thousand points playing competitive basketball. And many baseball scouts consider Chris a major league baseball prospect. Both plan to attend Boston College in the fall on athletic scholarships.

"They are both level-headed, with their feet on the ground who love what they do. And that shows in Ayla's hard work and dedication, not just in her achievements on the court with basketball, but in her progress on stage with American Idol, also," says Jack Kowalski.

Chris, who lives with his family in Dorchester's Melville-Park neighborhood, flew to the West Coast to support Ayla from the audience during last Thursday night's "Idol" broadcast. In that episode, the weekly "results" showed, the field of contestants was whittled down to 16. Ayla made the cut on the merits of her performance last Tuesday of "I Want You to Need Me," by Celine Dion.

Chris and Jack flew back to Boston on the red eye, Sunday evening. Chris headed straight for school at Roxbury Latin on Monday morning and had baseball practice scheduled for later in the day. Jack made his way to work in the office of At-large City Councillor Sam Yoon, for whom he serves as an aide and spokesperson.

Chris has much to be proud of these days with watching Ayla perform on television and his future in baseball at Boston College in the fall.