A Seymour High School junior has accomplished what no one else at her school has accomplished before: taking the singles state title in bowling.
Hannah Kaufman traveled to Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette on Feb. 20 to compete in the Indiana High School Bowling State Championship.
Kaufman started the competition earning fourth in preliminary qualifying competition — the last place eligible to advance to the finals.
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“I really wanted to get first, last year I took fourth place. I qualified fourth seed this year,” Kaufman said.
Sitting in the fourth seed position, Kaufman had to climb the ladder by competing against the third, second- and first-ranked bowlers.
First Kaufman defeated Breanna Gibbons of Frankfort, by a fairly large margin, 202-145.
In the second pairing, against Tabitha Dawson of Lafayette Jefferson, Kaufman claimed a victory again by a closer margin, 187-186.
“That was my fault. I didn’t pick up a spare in the ninth frame,” said Kaufman.
The score was enough to carry her to the final match against Jasper’s Mel Kiefer.
When all was said and done, Kaufman triumphed 178-157, awarding her the title of best in state.
“Some times when I look at (the plaque) it just feels normal, but then some days I look at it and just go ‘wow, I won that,’” said Kaufman.
Kaufman attributes much of her success to hard work.
“If you want to win something that big you have to practice as much as you can,” Kaufman said.
Focusing on things that needed improvement, Kaufman said, is a large part of that practice.
For Kaufman, this meant focusing on making sure she picked up spares, and working on pushing the ball when she released.
“You want to push the ball straight, not up or down. A lot of times I miss to the write so I worked on that,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman said she focused on accurately hitting the same mark on the lane over and over again, accuracy in this case meaning being able to consistently roll the ball over the same mark.
“It’s all about the push away and starting posture,” she said.
Kaufman has been bowling since she was three and attributes her grandfather with her drive in the sport.
She competed in Junior Gold tournaments and high school tournaments before, but state is her biggest title so far.
“When it comes to tournaments you can’t let the mental process get to you. Don’t let a bad bowl bother you,” Kaufman said.
The bowler also said she feels like bowling is something she will continue to pursue, defending her title next year and hopefully continuing into college.