By Eduard Sides
Seymour High School freshman and first-year bowler Kylee Cooper and sophomore and eighth-year bowler Kaylee Patton competed in Saturday’s Indiana High School Bowling regional at Rose City Bowl in New Castle.
Both did well but did not quality to move on to semistate.
On the previous Saturday morning, South Eastern Indiana Conference bowlers were waking up in five counties getting ready to travel to Columbus Bowling Center for sectional.
Bowlers from South Ripley, Switzerland County, Madison, Seymour and Columbus North walked out to their cars and were met with a frosty 17 degrees and icy windows.
Once at the center, the bowlers tried to warm up, talking with friends and competitors, eating breakfast and talking about their week at school. All the while, in the back of their minds for the seniors, this was going to be the last time bowling in the SEIC competitions, the last time they would see teammates and competitors.
As the time to bowl got closer, the kids gathered at their lanes and began to stretch and get ready. Then the announcement: All of the seniors were asked to step on the approaches.
The crowd was reminded that these 19 young men and women were graduating and moving on. While more was tried to be said, a thunderous clapping began as these bowlers were recognized by their teammates, friends and families. Some of them smiled, blushed and cried.
The competition was going to be all day — three regular games of singles to determine the overall top six to move on to the regional and the overall top bowler for the SEIC in both the boys and girls. And then there was to be the team baker competition to determine the top two boys teams and top girls team to move on to regional.
For the boys, the top six bowlers moving on in singles were Landon Miller, Skylar Harrison and Ethan Staples for Columbus North and Tyler Pelfrey, Joseph Brewington and Elijah Liming for South Ripley.
For the girls, the top six bowlers moving on in singles were Patton and Cooper for Seymour, Ragan Mathis, Alexis Jones and Skye Thomas for Columbus North and Abby Kieffer for South Ripley.
For the team event, Columbus North’s boys and girls and South Ripley’s boys advanced.
As the senior bowlers threw their last shots in the final games, cheers and tears began — all of the emotions and feelings that for some, this was their last time bowling together. Hugs and handshakes were everywhere. Parents were smiling and crying for their bowlers as it began to fully set in: Their babies were closing one door in life and getting ready to open another.
The SEIC would like to recognize the graduating seniors for the 2021-22 bowling season. Many of these young men and women have bowled from early childhood with fellow bowlers. Families have grown together, supported each other and now have to close this chapter of their life and get ready for the next.
Some of these bowlers have signed with colleges and will continue their love for bowling while they pursue their dreams. Many will go to college to pursue their dreams and will continue to bowl with their friends and future families.
The seniors are Luke Lanam, Kenny Kelly and Lilly Kelly for Seymour, Zoey Henderson and Bre Hicks for Madison, Shallyn Thomas, Peyton Fixmer, Alexis Wolter and Michael Edwards for Switzerland County, Cassie Franklin, Ellie Waldron, Abby Hewitt, Abby Kieffer, Tyler Pelfrey, Joe Gill, Joseph Brewington and Travis Benning for South Ripley and Skylar Harrison and Ethan Staples for Columbus North.
From all of the remaining bowlers, coaches, parents and siblings, we wish you all the best and that your hopes and dreams come true. Just remember: Splits happen.
In a few weeks for Seymour, middle school students will begin bowling. All middle school and high school students are welcome to bowl next season.