FORT SMITH – After both the Benton boys and girls bowling teams finished second to Cabot in the 7A/6A Central conference tournament, Benton went to Bowling World in Fort Smith for the 7A/6A State Tournament on Monday. The Panther girls took third place and the boys fourth, while Cabot boys and girls took first in state as well. Bentonville came in second for the girls, and Fayetteville and Mountain Home were the teams before the Benton boys.
“We went up there the day before and bowled to try and get a feel for the lanes,” Benton Coach Brandy Chumley said. “We felt good about it going into it. We just weren’t consistent like we needed to be to compete for the first and second spots. I think we’re very capable of competing with them.”
Senior Shay Daniels bowled a 505 series (164, 169, 172) to earn all-state honors for the Benton girls and the Childers brothers, senior Nathan and freshman Brandon, earned all-state as well. Brandon topped his older brother bowling a 672 series (227, 253, 192) and Nathan bowled a 655 (174, 236, 245). Fayetteville’s Bryant Ezell bowled an 806 series (69 pins higher than second place) for first place in boys’ individual, and Cabot’s Shelby Smith bowled a 648 (14 pins higher than second) for first in girls.
“Nathan and Shay both being seniors, they knew they had to pick it up and I’m proud of both of them that they did,” Chumley said.
All-Conference freshman Jenny McFarland was next for Benton, bowling a 496 (195, 125, 176), sophomore Sabrina Meadows (467 – 147, 149, 171), junior Stacy Cooper (433 – 172, 147, 114), and senior Jenna James (431 – 160, 146, 125). Felicia Mathews bowled two games (131, 179) and junior Ashley Wills bowled a 106.
For the boys, sophomore Hunter Lacy also bowled a 600 series, finishing with a 603 (188, 191, 224), senior Caleb Terry had a 565 (203, 202, 160), freshman Sam Eddington (483 – 178, 168, 137), freshman Harrison Ballard bowled two games (157, 164) and senior Jonathan Dixon bowled a 167.
Though Benton may have expected better in this year’s state, the team will be returning plenty of young talent next year, now with State Tournament experience.
“We are very young,” Chumley said. “Now with them finishing up with State, seeing what it’s like and seeing where we need to be, I think they’re kind of geared up to step it up a little bit. I feel good about and I think they do too. I think they know that they can get there, they just have to put effort into it.”