BEAVERCREEK — Needing a strong final individual game to have a chance at making the state tournament, Aaron Adkins had a calm demeanor in a stressful situation.
After bowling 10 strikes in the third game, his heart appeared to be racing more awaiting the final results announcement than it did in competition.
Aaron with a 258 final game snuck into the fifth and final individual qualifying position during the Division I boys state bowling tournament on Friday at Beaver-Vu Lanes.
A 696 final score moves Aaron on by a single pin to the state tournament on March 11 at Wayne Webb’s in Columbus.
“My mindset was pretty much just staying soft,” Aaron said. “I didn’t really want to try to over grab it or try to speed up or slow down. I really just wanted to try to hit my mark and stay soft with everything. Just pretty much just hitting your mark and staying focus is all our game is.”
Adkins started off his final game with four straight strikes before a nine-spare put an end to his run. Heading into the ninth frame and neck and neck for what turned out to be the last position, Adkins knocked down four straight 10-pins once again to advance.
“It was really a lot of stress going into the last frames, but it was really fun,” Aaron said.
The Xenia team fell behind early and knew it would be difficult to catch up and have the entire group make it to Columbus.
Most of the attention from the team went onto Aaron, with teammates encouraging him and coaches trying to mend his focus.
Xenia head coach Robert Rose said typically he prefers to go with thoughts his bowlers come up with to stay in the game, but believes distractions can help calm his team down as well. Whether it’s baseball statistics of other random facts, he said it’s good to have a chance to take your mind off of the task for a few moments to recharge.
“You can’t focus the entire time,” he said. “So we do stuff like that, and we did that the last game with him a little bit, but he stayed focused and teammates did a good job of rooting him along knowing that he was that situation.”
Aaron pushed through after his opening games to move on, but his team came up short against a strong field.
Bowling rolls well in the veins for the Adkins family, with his brother Evan being a former state champion in 2016 while holding the record score of 805.
A goal for Aaron since his freshman year, now a senior, was to make it this far and match his brother.
Strike after strike down the stretch let him accomplish that in style.
“He was able to clear his mind and execute the fundamentals and throw some really clutch shots,” Rose said. “He’s the leader of the team. He’s grown immensely in maturity. Couldn’t be happier for any kid that I’ve coached.”
Beavercreek qualifies in third
The Beavers were near the top of the leaderboard all day and closed strong with a third-place finish to move on to state.
Beavercreek started the day in second after the first individual games, but had fallen to fourth heading to the Baker session. A 229 average in the first three games gave it the top score to that point in the Baker games and created a comfortable margin into the final games to qualify.