White takes 11th place at State Bowling

By on March 25, 2015
Ben White is shown with his coach Bill Bernstein.

Ben White (left) is shown with his coach, Bill Bernstein.

With two games left in the qualifying rounds of the PA State Bowling Championships last Friday, Warwick High School sophomore Ben White wasn’t where he wanted to be.

But thanks in large part to a 257 in the fourth of six games, his goals were still within reach.

Only the top five advanced to the stepladder finals and White found himself 10th with a score of 882. The fifth-place bowler &tstr; Ambridge’s Kenneth Flanagan &tstr; was just 47 pins in front of him.

“That 257 pulled (Ben) right back into the mix,” Warrior coach Bill Bernstein said. “We both knew it would take two more really strong games to give him a chance to crack the top five and make the stepladder. It just wasn’t in the cards for him today.”

White ended his run at States by rolling a 198 and 192, giving him an 11th-place finish with 1272 at Dutch Lanes. Greensburgh Salem’s Zach Heater claimed the fifth and final spot for the finals with a 1360, which was 88 pins in front of White.

“I think 11th in the State is definitely impressive,” Bernstein said. “I know Ben was a bit disappointed in his bowling Friday, but I was really proud of his efforts. I know Ben’s got the talent it takes to make a push for a State title. I think he believes it too. That’s what makes it tough when you don’t go all the way. You know you have what it takes and it just doesn’t happen that day.”

Things certainly started promising enough for the reigning L-L League and District Three champion. White’s opening game of 233 was the sixth-best in the field of 24 bowlers.

“Ben looked pretty solid in warm-up, so I was very optimistic about the day,” Bernstein said. “Starting with a great game like a 233 is certainly a boost to your confidence.”

Normally, that might have been good enough to place White even higher. But Armstrong’s Jared Shaner (256-299-299-279-226-258&tstr;1617) was bowling lights out en route to capturing the No. 1 seed going into the stepladder finals. Shaner went on to reach the championship match and rolled a 211-211 tie with Neshaminy’s David Moffitt before eventually suffering a 57-38 roll-off loss.

“I have a feeling that bowling with the leader all day long, who was just unbelievable, put a lot of unwanted pressure on Ben,” Bernstein said. “I knew he wouldn’t have to catch the leader &tstr; you only need to make up ground on the other bowlers trying to catch him. It’s just not always easy to tell a young bowler that.”

Unfortunately, White dropped off the pace a bit by bowling 204 and 188 in his next two games.

“I’m sure Ben knew where he stood after that first game,” Bernstein said. “And when his middle games weren’t where he wanted them to be, I’m sure he began feeling the pressure of falling behind. I reminded him that it’s a six-game series, not three. He responded well with a big 257 game.”

Hoping to build on that momentum in the final two games, it wasn’t meant to be.

“He had a pretty good attitude about it,” Bernstein said, “and realized he’s got time to get back there. We talked about already looking to next year and thinking about what it’s going to take to get back to that position again &tstr; and what he can do to help his team get there with him. It’s certainly not easy.”

In the big picture, the future looks bright for both White and his Warrior teammates.

“It’s still pretty amazing to me looking back at how well Ben bowled on some really big stages,” Bernstein said. “He was steady all season long in term of match play. And you could tell he did a lot of bowling during the off-season to get himself to a higher level. That work definitely paid off. Taking the League title, followed by the District Three title just a week later, was just amazing. He was definitely bowling the best of his year at the right moment. Our coaching staff talked often about how hard it is to do what he did. With all sports, even the best person or team in any given arena may not win that day. So to take two titles on back-to-back weekends is quite the accomplishment. I know Ben is looking forward to getting back to those championships again next year. With only being a sophomore, we are looking at a couple of seasons of Ben bowling at a high level. It should be fun to watch.”

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