Tornado girls are on a roll
Trip to state bowling event caps debut year

By John Enrietto
Eagle Sports Editor



BUTLER TWP The
Butler High varsity girls bowling team isn't performing like a first-year program.
The Golden Tornado are one of 12 teams competing in the Pennsylvania High School Bowling Championships at
9 a.m. Saturday at North Versailles Bowl.
Butler finished third in last weekend's Western Pennsylvania Regional at North Versailles, trailing only Hempfield and Penn Hills.
"I like our chances on Saturday,"
Butler coach Bill Fay said. "We're a first-year team, but these girls aren't first-year bowlers. A number of them have been bowling for a long time."
Team captain and senior Hope Griffith led the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Bowling League with a 189 average. In fact, the Tornado had six of the top eight averages.
Autumn Hepler averaged 166, Ashley Hevesy 165 and Nicole Balk 162. Brea Suchonic (159), Heather Paul (151) and Ashley Aul (130) also were on
Butler's regional roster.
"Ashley Aul is our low-average bowler. But once she got her new ball, her scores have taken off," Fay said. "Everybody on this team has been contributing."
That was evident during the regional tourney. After three games of regular bowling, eight games of baker bowling took place.
Baker bowling consists of five bowlers rolling two frames each in each game.
"One bowler rolls frames 1 and 6, the next 2 and 7, and so on," Fay said. "Butler won the eight-game baker bowling set. That was all about team."
Griffith is the lone senior on Butler's regional team. Her 587 series was third-best at the regional tournament.
"Baker bowling is different because you can't get into any kind of rhythm as a bowler," Griffith said. "You really count on each other.
"I believe we have a good shot at states because our lineup is so deep. We're not about one or two good bowlers. It's all of us. It's five as one."
Griffith averages 186 in the Saturday junior league at Family Bowlaway. She also works there part time.
"Yeah, I wish we had a high school team a couple of years ago, but this is a great way to close out my senior year: meeting new friends while doing something I love to do."
Balk, a sophomore, bowled a 235 for the second-highest game at the regional. Her average has climbed to 175 and she bowls six days a week.
"Besides high school and Saturday junior league, I bowl intramurals twice a week, bowl in a Sunday league at Bon-Aire and do tournaments whenever I can," Balk said.
"I never get tired of this. It's so much fun."
Only 12 girls came out for the team this season. Fay expects a few more next year.
"This is just the beginning," he said. "These kids have been fantastic to work with. A coach can't ask for anything more."