Early perfection


BUTLER TWP — A 198-average bowler as a sophomore for
Butler last season, Jacob Cookson doesn't have to wonder if a 300-game is in his future. 
Two are already in his past. 
Cookson, 17, bowled a perfect game during a practice round with the Golden Tornado two weeks ago. It was the first 300 in a bowling lifetime that began when he was 3. 
And it was no big deal. 
“Nobody was paying any attention or anything like that,” Cookson said. “I mean, everyone was practicing. 
“The game was over before anyone knew what was going on.” 
Last Saturday at Family Bowlaway? Different story. 
Cookson was bowling in the afternoon junior league and rolled another 300 game. This one attracted plenty of attention. 
“During the 10th frame, I was standing on the approach and noticed a bunch of people standing behind watching,” Cookson said. 
“I was pretty nervous before that last shot. But I remembered to stay focused, just like on the other 11 shots, and maintain my balance at the foul line.” 
And he had his perfect game, this one coming during sanctioned league play. 
Cookson became only the third Butler County junior bowler to roll a perfect game in the past seven years. The other two — Derek Clark and Aaron Weckerly — did so at Bruin Lanes. 
Cookson's previous high game was a 289, bowled last year. He averaged 193 during his freshman season at Butler. 
“He is a very, very good bowler, extremely consistent,” Butler bowling coach Bill Fay said. “I can't say enough about Jacob. He's an all-around nice person.” 
Fay said Cookson's consistency on the lanes is because of “his love for the game and he pracrices hard.” 
Besides practicing with his Golden Tornado teammates each Monday and Wednesday, Cookson bowls in the morning and afternoon junior leagues at Family Bowlaway each Saturday. 
He also practices on his own. 
“Between here (Family) and Sherwood Lanes, I probably bowl four or five times a week,” Cookson said. “I like it because you can hang out with friends and have a good time, and seriously compete at the same time.” 
Fay figures Cookson can average between 205 and 210 this season. Butler opens its 2012-13 bowling campaign Wednesday. 
“Very few bowlers at his age level can carry that kind of average,” Fay said. 
No Butler bowler has ever rolled a 300 during Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League (WPIBL) play. Braden Troyan holds the team single-game mark of 290, bowled two years ago. 
Troyan has a bad shoulder and cannot bowl this season. 
Cookson isn't worried about any more 300-games this season as much as he's targeting team success. 
“I want to see our team get to the state tournament this year and do well there,” he said.