Hunt reaches semifinals of State Bowling tournament
Marshall County High School senior Austin Hunt turned in a strong showing at the Division I State Bowling Championships last Thursday by advancing to the semifinals of the boys individual tournament en route to finishing 16th in the tourney overall.
"I'm extremely proud of Austin. He is a good bowler and a good person. I know he's going to be successful after he graduates," said MCHS coach Robby Giles. "He has a good work ethic. He practices on his own and competes in a league. He does all the little things you need to be in order to be a good player."
Brentwood freshman Kamron Doyle claimed the boys title on Friday morning while setting a state record pin total of 3,293 for the entire tournament in the process.
With only the top 24 players advancing to the semifinals from a pool of 72 bowlers, Hunt posted a total score of 851 over four games in the quarterfinals at the Smyrna Bowling Center on Thursday morning, which was the 17th best pin total in the round.
"I wanted to shoot 850 in the quarterfinals and I did that. I think I could have actually done a little better, but that happens sometimes," said Hunt.
Boasting a 31-5 record this season and a 201 game average entering the State tournament, Hunt got off to somewhat of a slow start in the quarterfinals and rolled a 190 in his opening game after missing a couple of spares.
Hunt, however, bounced back strong in his second game and posted a score of 268 while recording 10 strikes overall.
After tallying a score of 222 in his third game with the help of six strikes and five spares, Hunt got off to a shaky start in his final game of the quarterfinals and missed two spares in his first four frames before rallying and notching a score of 171 to advance to the semifinals, which were held later that afternoon.
"I was nervous at the start, but I just zoned in after the first game because I had already reached my main goal of making it to the State tournament," said Hunt. "Making it to the semis was just a bonus. It felt really good to make it into the top 24."
With their quarterfinal scores carrying over to the next round, the bowlers in the semifinals were given the added challenge of playing on sport conditioned lanes, which have more oil in the center of the lane and are typically used in professional tournaments, instead of the usual house oil pattern.
Needing to make up ground since only the top six players from the semifinals advanced to the final round, Hunt struggled at the start of the semis along with many of his fellow competitors and posted a season low score of 113 in his first game.
After making some adjustments, Hunt recorded five strikes and missed just one spare in his second game en route to finishing with a score of 208.
Unfortunately, Hunt was unable to make up enough ground on his competitors and tallied scores of 150 and 145 over his final two games of the semifinals to finish with a pin total of 1,467 for the two rounds.
"The house pattern is something that I'm very used to and it's one that I do very well on. I've only bowled on the sport pattern one or two times before today and I struggled," said Hunt. "It was very frustrating at first, but I'm a senior so I wasn't going to let one game get me down. I made a couple of adjustments and went to my spare ball. I finished out the round to the best of my ability."
Thanks to his performance on Thursday, Hunt continued a family tradition of success in the sport of bowling. His sister Ashley finished 15th in the girls Division I State Bowling tournament two years ago, while his father Marty has 10 perfect games to his credit, including six sanctioned games in league play.