For The Tribune
Seymour High School junior Hannah Kaufman began bowling when she was around 3 or 4 years old.
Now Kaufman, along with her Owls teammates, is on her way to represent Seymour for the third time in as many years in the semistate Saturday at Anderson.
Last year, as a sophomore, Kaufman competed in the state finals and finished fourth in singles. The Owls collectively placed eighth in last year’s state finals.
With that kind of experience, Seymour High School bowling coach Shannon Kelly has relied on Kaufman a lot this season to mentor and prepare the others on the team.
The IHSAA limits coaches to oversee one practice per week, and Kelly said Kaufman fills in when the team gets together for practices during other times of the week.
“She comes in and works with them and shows them what they need to prepare,” Kelly said during a practice Wednesday evening at Starlight Bowl in Seymour. “Hannah is a leader for us. It’s been a lot of hard work this year, and we have a close-knit group, and I feel that goes a long way.”
Kaufman has been working with others on the team in spare shooting and finding what mark to hit on the lane.
“If you don’t know the mark you’re hitting on the lane, it’s hard for you to help yourself and get better,” she said. “You have to know what mark you’re hitting and what you’ll be doing.”
Kaufman is not afraid of putting in the work, spending time practicing four or five days a week to keep getting better and keep her fundamentals strong.
“I work on different shots out there on the lanes,” she said. “The shots at semistate and state are going to be tough; it won’t be easy.”
Qualifying for the event depends on how individuals and teams do in the sectional and regional tournaments, which were conducted over the past two weekends, Kelly said.
“The biggest thing is keeping everybody calm,” he said about preparations for the tournaments. “At this point in the season, everybody pretty much knows what they need to be doing.”
Two singles are competing, and one team from Seymour’s squad will compete.
Kaufman said she looks forward to the semistate and hopes she does well enough to qualify for the highest level.
“My goal is to do my best Saturday and make it to the state on Saturday,” she said. “And my goal for state would be to just win.”
The Owls are 12-2 on the season.