Golden Tornado girls bowlers have great expectations for trip to state tournament
Eagle Sports Editor
BUTLER TWP — It has existed for only two years, but the Butler High girls bowling team already is talking state championship.
And why not?
The Golden Tornado placed sixth in the state tournament last year and have the bulk of that team headed to Pottstown for this year's event March 17 and 18.
“These girls work together and help each other,”
Brittney Buzard and Chelsea Shever are the only seniors on this year's squad, which finished third in the regional. The top six teams advanced to the state tournament.
Three Tornado bowlers, Autumn Hepler (second), Brea Suchonic (third) and Nicole Balk (ninth), finished among the top 10 of 84 individual regional qualifiers and qualified for the individual state tournament as well.
No other team had three competitors finish among the top 10.
“As a team, I feel like we can win it,” Suchonic said. “We were sixth last year and we've all gotten better.”
Suchonic is averaging 194, Balk 192 and Hepler 175. Kelly Bintrim (180) and Heather Paul (168) round out the starting five.
Buzard (165) and Alisha Fisher (160) are the alternates.
“We're only allowed to bring seven bowlers to compete,” Fay said.
Buzard had never bowled regularly until last year, when a friend talked her into trying out for the
“I was way behind the other girls,” Buzard said. “Most of them have been with the Saturday junior program for years.
“I joined the junior program this year, bowled a lot over the summer and worked on getting better.
“I never thought I'd get to be one of the seven to go to states,” she added.
Assisting Fay are veteran bowlers Jim Hepler, Jeff Suchonic and Karen Marcellus.
Suchonic said his daughter,
“She was into it from the beginning,” he said. “Her average probably improved about 10 pins each year.
“All of these girls are good bowlers. If they stay focused, they could win it all,” he added.
The elder Suchonic credited the youth program at Family Bowlaway — headed by Rick Reeder — as another key to Butler's bowling success.
“If Butler had started a high school team 10 years ago, there's at least a 50-50 chance the team would have been a state contender,” Suchonic said. “Rick does a fabulous job with these kids.”
The format at the state tournament consists of three regular games, followed by six baker games. In a baker game, five bowlers take turns rolling one frame each. The first bowler rolls frames 1 and 6, the second frames 2 and 7, etc.
Substitutions can be made at any time. Once a bowler is taken out, she can't return for the remainder of that game.
“Our girls have never had an issue with being substituted for,” Fay said. “They recognize that moves like that are made for the good of the team.”
“It's not a problem,” Brea Suchonic said of substitutions. “You want to have the best bowlers in there. We're here to have fun, but we're here to win, too.”