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State bowling tournament is a family affair

Jessica Sacks can’t remember a time when bowling wasn’t a part of her life.

“In my family, it’s pretty much eat, sleep, bowl,” she said, smiling.

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It’s only a slight exaggeration as bowling is truly a family affair in the Sacks household and that dedication has paid off this season as Jessica and her brothers Paul and Drew are all Columbus-bound this week as both the Butler girls and boys bowling teams qualified to state. The family connection doesn’t end there as their dad, Steve Sacks, is the Butler coach.

“It’s awesome that we all get to experience it together,” Jessica said.

Jessica was relegated to the role of fan last year when the Aviators boys qualified to state and the girls missed the cut.

“This definitely makes it a lot more fun,” she said.

It has also done wonders for the Sacks family harmony.

“After the girls qualified, I was thinking ‘it’s going to be really bad if we don’t make it,’” Drew said. “It’s really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Drew is a junior and his twin siblings are seniors. Paul is verbally committed to Pikeville University and Jessica will likely bowl collegiately but has not committed to a program yet.

Competition and camaraderie go hand-in-hand in the Sacks household.

“Competing with each other and against each other, all these years, has really helped them grow as bowlers,” Steve said. “It has increased their drive and desire to improve their game.”

The Sacks siblings agree that Jessica, 18, is the most laid back of the three and Drew, 16, is the most driven.

“If I go more than a day without bowling, it’s unusual,” Drew said. “I’m definitely the only one in the house who, after practicing in the afternoon, will head out of the house at 9 p.m. and bowl for a few more hours.”

Paul, 18, loves the game but has no intention of trying to match Drew’s intensity.

“He bowls roughly 12 times a week,” Paul said of his younger brother. “My body couldn’t take that.”

That dedication to the game might be just what the Aviators need to propel them to match play as the Division I state tournament gets underway Friday in Columbus with the boys competition. The girls compete Saturday. The Butler boys are making a second straight appearance – finishing seventh last year – while this marks the first state appearance for the Butler girls.

“It’s really exciting, it still kind of feels like a dream,” Jessica said. “It’s proof that hard work pays off.”

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