High School Bowling: Aviators looking for a postseason sweep

Sectional champions and district champions, the Aviators would like to continue the trend.

The Butler girls bowling team has won its last seven tournaments heading into the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division I State Bowling Tournament which gets underway on Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl.

“We have not peaked yet,” Butler coach Mark Seelbaugh said. “We have not had all five girls bowl to their potential in the same match yet. Their strength is that they bowl as a team – from one through eight we’re really solid.”

So solid that the Aviators led the Southwest District field from wire to wire, taking the lead in Game 1 and finishing the day atop the standings. Junior Kaylee Bays led all Butler bowlers in the individual standings with 589, in 13th place, but none of the Aviators made the all-tournament team despite the overall dominance of the team.

“These girls have done a good job buying in to our system,” Seelbaugh said. “They are good learners and able to execute.”

The team philosophy is straightforward.

“They’re not trying to get more than 10 pins at a time and they’re filling frames,” he said.

While this is an experienced Butler team with six returning varsity bowlers in the lineup, none of them have state tournament experience. The last time the Butler girls qualified was in 2018, finishing 10th. But Seelbaugh knows his bowlers have what it takes.

“When two or three of them get going, it’s fun to watch,” he said.

* Twice the fun: With identical third-place district finishes, the Fairmont girls and boys bowling teams are state bound. It’s the first time since 2014 that both Firebirds squads made the state cut.

The return of Heidi Sanders to the Fairmont coaching ranks and addition of Jessica Hatcher – paired with a talented senior-heavy roster – contributed to the girls’ success.

“Our goal was to be a single organization, one family, one united front,” Firebirds head coach Jeremy Fleck said. “We didn’t know it would happen this fast, but to happen this year with so many seniors is amazing.”

Sophomore Danica Roseberry led the Fairmont girls with 660, second only to Turpin’s Natalie Digiacomo (686) in the individual district standings. Firebirds Natalie Benvenuto and Camryn Liming also bowled their way into the Top 20 with 569 apiece – tied for 19th.

Fairmont juniors Isaiah Shannon and Matt Collins claimed the third and fifth spots in the boys’ individual competition with 692 and 680, respectively, as the boys earned their third state trip in Fleck’s six-year tenure. Fairmont leads all Ohio D-I boys’ teams with 10 state appearances since 2007. They last won the title in 2021.

“Both of our teams are capable of making a run this year,” Fleck said.

17th Annual Girls and Boys State Bowling Tournament

Local Qualifiers

(District finish in parentheses)


Boys – (2) Beavercreek, (3) Fairmont

Girls – (1) Butler, (2) Bellefontaine, (3) Fairmont, (4) Troy, (5) Centerville


Boys – (4) Bryce Massingill, Troy; (8) Keaton Fisher, Sidney

Girls – (4) Laena Hartman, Miamisburg, (6) Kylie Fisher, Wilmington

OHSAA State Bowling Tournament

Where: Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl, 3224 South High St., Columbus

When: Division I girls – Friday; Division I boys – Saturday

Tickets: https://www.ohsaa.org/tickets

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