The ability to play a state tournament essentially on your home court is a dream of most youths — and Saturday, four local high school young men and women will get that opportunity along with the McCutcheon boys team.
Sara Benham of Harrison, Annalee Sisk of Rossville and Lafayette Jeff’s Tyler Dispennett and Jacob Bloom will be bowling for a state title at Mike Aulby’s Arrowhead Bowl. The top 12 from each semistate location qualified for the final, which is being held at the bowling alley where all four practice. With such a close venue, it allows for more friends and family to come and watch, which has its pluses and minuses.
“Kind of in a way, there is pressure, ” Sisk said. “If you don’t do well (in front of your family and friends), it looks kind of bad.”
Dispennett believes having the tournament here gives him an advantage and, unlike Sisk, thinks it helps take some of the pressure off competing for a state title.
“I know the lanes better here,” Dispennett said. “It’s more relaxing, there’s not as much pressure, (and you) have lots of friends come to watch you. I like having people come and watch me.”
After placing second at semistate last week in South Bend, Dispennett should provide stiff competition for the other 23 bowlers in his division. He was quick to recognize his competition, pointing out two bowlers from the other semistate, which took place in Greenwood.
“From tournaments, you get to know your competition,” Dispennett said. “Zach Weidman from Franklin Central and Mason Ward from Alexandria should be tough.”
Bloom, who finished with a three-round score of 602 last week, believes Weidman and Ward possess an element of surprise, which makes them dangerous foes.
“I think those will be some of the top contestants,” Bloom said. “They’re from a different semistate, so I don’t know that much about them. I don’t know what they bowl like.”
Benham, who finished with a three-round semistate score of 557, thinks Sydney Brummett of Homestead, Paige Kraushaar of Boone Groove and Aubree Trexler of Hamilton Heights could be formidable opponents Saturday.
Bloom, who individually didn’t make it out of sectionals last year, reaped the benefits of his hard work this past summer. The realization that this is his final season also motivated him.
“I improved a lot,” Bloom said. “Last year was my first year in high school bowling. I dedicated myself to bowl almost every night. It’s kind of a big deal for me being a senior. I wanted to get to the state tournament. I think this tournament will be our hardest yet.”
McCutcheon was a late addition to the field following the disqualification of another school.