CINCINNATI — The Elder High School bowling team was still on cloud nine early Thursday afternoon after winning the program’s first-ever district title Wednesday.
Wednesday's tournament at Beaver Vu Bowl in Beavercreek was the first district title since the Elder program started during the 2000-01 school year. This is the Panthers’ third state tournament appearance after being there in 2007 and ’08.
“It was incredible,” Elder coach Dave Sievers said. “It was very emotional for all of us. We had a lot of parents up there and fans.”
Elder advanced to the Division I boys’ state tournament March 8-9 at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus.
“We couldn’t have done any of this without all the support from our parents and coaches,” said junior Cameron Brocker, who finished 15th overall. “We are looking forward to this opportunity. This season has been outstanding.”
Other Division I boys’ individual qualifiers included district champion and Oak Hills junior Chase Francisco along with La Salle sophomore Nolan Blessing, Middletown sophomore Ethan Rowe and West Clermont sophomore Evan Williams.
The Panthers fittingly clinched the district title Wednesday when junior Ethan Boyers threw a strike in the eighth frame. The team captain missed a portion of the season with a wrist injury in late December but was able to return this postseason.
“When he came back, I didn’t let the other guys know but I let him know that (Elder won the tournament),” Sievers said. “He was just very emotional. It’s a unique opportunity for him.”
Elder’s high-scoring pace set the Panthers in unchartered territory as a team for a postseason tournament.
The Panthers’ overall score of 4,518 was also the second all-time highest team score in the Southwest District tournament, according to Sievers. Beavercreek holds the record with 4,606 set in 2018.
"Going to the state for me and for the rest of the guys is just indescribable," Boyers said.
After placing third at Colerain Bowl sectional tournament last week, the Panthers were eager to give a strong effort this week. A very intense practice Tuesday night at Western Bowl set the tone for Wednesday.
“I think they knew they could get through sectionals so they weren’t pushing as much,” Sievers said. “They knew yesterday was something they had to really work hard for. So I think the difference in intensity from last week to this week was the key to us winning.”
Brocker had the team high with 672. Senior Jacob Hickey was No. 30 with a 631. Junior Ryan Kaffenberger had 599. Junior Jaxon Tuerck had 474. Boyers had 441.
Brocker said the team has excellent chemistry and it showed in the Panthers’ confidence Wednesday. Sievers said the key will be to remain healthy as the Panthers resume practice March 4.
The Elder bowling program won't soon forget this winter.
"This season, especially for me, has been a complete test of everything I have worked at and will probably be one of my most memorable moments of all time," Boyers said.