CHAMPION - Champion bowler Dan Simmons said one part of the 2012 state bowling tournament was great, while another part was the exact opposite.
Last year, Simmons, then a sophomore, was the top individual bowler in the state, bowling a 702 three-game series, earning him All-Ohio honors and the individual state bowling title.
However, Simmons was there with the rest of the Golden Flashes team, who fell seven pins short of advancing to the championship bracket of the state tournament.
"You can pick those pins up with one ball," Simmons said. "Bowling how I did was great, I'd love for that to happen again."
The number seven has motivated the Flashes this year and has fueled them to their second straight state tournament, which will take place Saturday at Wayne Webb's Columbus Bowl.
"It was really everyone's fault," junior Justin Cox said. "We all know a ball we could have made to pick those pins up."
While all of the returning state bowlers could quickly say what shot they could have thrown that would have allowed them to advance, they know now they need to focus on Saturday's tournament and advancing farther than they did in 2012.
The first thing the Flashes know they have going for them is the fear of the unknown is now a non-factor. Every bowler except sophomore David Yenchocic bowled in last year's state tournament.
"They've told me it's packed," Yenchocic said, who has a 199 average on the team this year. "They just said it's packed and very intense."
Even with the Champion bowlers knowing what to expect - a full house with cameras everywhere and bleachers lining the length of the alley - they do realize they need to make sure they are in their zone.
"We just need to keep our nevers calm and bowl the best we can," junior Zach Zigmont said. "Being there before though will definitely help us."
Going into the tournament, the Flashes' averages are strong enough to pace them in the individual games. Cox leads the team with a 218 average, followed by Simmons with a 215 and Zigmont with a 214. Jared Gould is next with a 211 followed by lone senior Eric Ferraro with a 211. But the Flashes aren't worried about the individual games, they know all of their concentration needs to go into the baker games.
"Baker games, absolutely, is what we need to focus on" Zigmont said. "We have to concentrate. We just have to relax and throw our balls. The mind is the worst enemy."
With all that said, and all the practice now out of the way, the Flashes only now have one thing left to do.
"We want to win," Cox said.