While the heartache of losing their home lanes still lingers, the Seymour High School bowling team doesn’t have time for nostalgia.
The season starts in less than six weeks.
Seymour aims to make its fourth straight semistate appearance with the girls team — and a reigning state individual champion hopes to defend her title.
With the closing of Kingpins Bowl in July, the bowling team has scrambled to find a solution.
Boys and girls bowling coach Shannon Kelly said the news came as a surprise, but the changes won’t stop the team from competing.
“It was such a shock,” Kelly said of the closing. “From the beginning, after it closed, I just kept telling the kids that we’ll figure out a way to make this happen. We have Hannah (Kaufman) who needs to defend her state title. We’re going to figure out a way to do this.
“We’ve got a lot to build off of. We have a really good chance of getting back to semistate this year. We have four very good returning bowlers.”
In recent weeks, Seymour has worked with Scottsburg Bowling Lanes to get practices in on a handful of Tuesdays and Saturdays.
On Wednesdays, the team meets in a room above the Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium for nearly an hour to talk strategy.
While Trinity Lutheran’s team was able to get some time in at Columbus’ lanes, Seymour — with 24 total bowlers — didn’t have such luck.
Seymour’s biggest battle has been the travel, but the school’s administration has helped with the difficulty.
“Everyone has been working with us trying to help with a bus schedule, and we’re very thankful for that,” Kelly said. “The folks in Columbus, they’re pretty full with leagues and don’t have the time for us. Scottsburg are about the same way, but they start a little later in the evenings. It gave us a little bit of a window to get down there.”
The team has already faced travel difficulties in getting to Scottsburg.
If the team isn’t able to arrive on time for their allotted time slot, it’s missed practice time.
“Right now, it’s just a frustration factor,” Kelly said. “Last night (Sept. 6) there was an accident (on U.S. Route 50) and we had to take U.S. Route 31. Instead of 25 minutes to get there it was 45 minutes to get there. We started late so the practice was short. It’s going to be that way all year, there isn’t much we can do about it. We just have to grin and bear it.”
Seymour’s first event is on Oct. 15 at the South Central Indiana Conference’s alumni tournament fundraiser.
The first conference meet is set for Oct. 22.
“We’ve pretty much got the schedule set,” Kelly said. “We’re back-and-forth — the Saturdays that we don’t have competition we’re practicing down there (Scottsburg). There’s a few weeks that we won’t have time for practice, and that’s the way it works out trying to get buses.
“With the school system growing so much this year, they’ve added some bus routes. They have a couple spare buses but no spare drivers, really. It’s a big factor in how we’re going to do this.”
Kelly said that fewer bowlers have come out this year due to Kingpins closing, and he may have to bring some eighth graders up to play on junior varsity and varsity.
Last year, Seymour did bring some middle schoolers up for junior varsity.
Since the middle school program used to do most all of its competition in Seymour, Kelly is unsure whether or not they will be able to field a team this school year.
Kelly said that if they have a middle school team, it will likely start their season in January instead of October or November.
“The middle school is set up differently than the high school,” he said. ‘They don’t travel around to do their league. They have their own league before going to the state tournament. It’s really hard to run a league that far away.”
Despite all the tough changes, Kaufman said that the team has remained positive.
“Things are pretty good,” Kaufman said. “We just have to get used to practicing in Scottsburg. I think that as long as were able to bowl, we will be fine. I think that once we get the team going, and the matches start, it will work out.”
The bowling team is doing fundraisers to help with expenses, including equipment and practice time at Scottsburg’s lanes.
The Seymour High School bowling team will be doing several fund raisers in the next couple of months.
The first one is through selling Marion-Kay Spices.
Anyone interested in buying the spices can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org, leaving your name and phone number, and a team member will contact you.
A percentage of the sales will go to the team.
The team is also looking at doing something similar to last year’s “Flapjack Fundraiser,” which was a big success for the team.
Any donations from the public or any businesses that may be interested will be gladly taken.
Proceeds from the fundraisers will be used to help cover the cost of practices and equipment.