With the team as a whole struggling to find its game at a very competitive semistate in Anderson this past weekend, Seymour junior Hannah Kaufman’s game plan was to survive and advance on the lanes.
Finishing 11th in the girls’ singles event, rolling 550, Kaufman secured her second-straight ticket to the state bowling competition.
“It was really rough for us this past weekend in the singles and team event,” Seymour High School bowling coach Shannon Kelly said. “In the team event, our numbers improved over regional, but it just wasn’t enough. We knew that there were some good teams with low numbers coming in. We did well but their numbers leapfrogged us a bit.”
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The top 12 finishers at the Anderson and Fort Wayne semistate have advanced to Saturday’s state tourney at Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette.
Lafayette Jefferson’s Tabitha Dawson comes into the tournament with the highest score in either semistate, as she bowled an impressive 637 in Fort Wayne.
“This past Saturday, I didn’t do very well,” Kaufman said. “I wasn’t very happy with finishing 11 of 12, but I was happy that I got to advance. My goal is to still win state this year.”
In 2015, Kaufman placed fourth at the state championship hosted in Anderson.
Kaufman bowled a 551 to finish in the top-four to make it out of the morning round, but was then eliminated by Terre Haute South’s Kianna Sweatt 177-167.
Her efforts earned her All-Tournament Team and All-State Second Team recognition.
Kelly said that the biggest improvement to Kaufman’s game this season is her mental toughness.
“She’s more confident,” Kelly said. “She knows her game better and has worked with some more coaches one-on-one outside of the season. She’s not afraid to share that confidence with the other kids. She’s growing up, and it has been great for us and her.
“I just want her to go in and have fun. She’s hard enough on hers — I don’t have to say anything.”
At the state meet, the atmosphere is emphatic with cheers echoing in a packed facility.
“It’s a different environment,” Kaufman said. “Once you get to semistate and state, it’s a whole different ball game. When you get a strike, everyone’s cheering for you. Each section kind of has their own cheer block.”
While her team may not be competing with her this trip to state, Kaufman will have the support from her peers — a tight-knit group of bowlers — at the event.
Looking at the tournament draw, Kaufman will face a tough field en route to the finals.
“There were some really good bowlers at our semistate,” Kelly said. “Looking through the numbers again, there will be some good bowlers (going to state) from the north (part of the state). She knows a lot of the girls from events outside of the season. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.”
Kaufman will bowl three games for the chance to advance to Saturday afternoon’s roll-off, which will be live streamed by the Indiana High School Bowling Association.
“I would say that if I average 200 that day, I should be good,” Kaufman said. “I think that would be enough for the roll-off.”
The Seymour bowling team finished 12-2 for the season after getting knocked off in last weekend’s competition.