Jayden Tackett is honest.
Going in to last week’s district bowling tournament, he was fully aware of the opportunity the Wilmington High School boys bowling team had within its grasp.
After making state in 2020, the Hurricane was in good position for a return trip to Ohio’s biggest high school bowling stage.
However, 17 pins proved to be the difference between Wilmington going to Columbus as a team and staying home.
Everyone except Jayden Tackett, who qualified to state as an individual.
But the sophomore left-hander wasn’t overjoyed with the prospects of his season extending another week while his teammates were done.
“It sucks that my team didn’t make it because that’s all I wanted. I didn’t want to make it as an individual if we all didn’t (make it),” Tackett said.
Tackett will begin competition 10:45 a.m. Saturday in the OHSAA Division I State Boys Bowling Championship at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl. Tackett had a 702 series at district, finishing fourth among all bowlers.
Tackett began bowling full-time for the Hurricane this season, joining brother Jordan on the team. Both had 300 games, as did coach Dustin Brown in the span of a few weeks. Jayden was not able to attend the state tournament last season while Jordan and his 2020 teammates were competing. He was hopeful, make that determined, to have all of his bowling brethren with him in Columbus this season.
“The day before districts, my coaches and I had a talk and I told them I will make sure we get there (to state) some how. I did everything in my power and what my coach told me to do. We all just didn’t have the best day,” said Jayden. “My 300 this year was the biggest accomplishment until last week when I shot a high series that I never thought I could do and knowing I had a chance was amazing but as excited as I am to make it, I would have been more excited to experience it with my brother and all my teammates.”
Even though he is dejected, Tackett said he has to “get it out of my head that they’re not there and not let it bother me.”
That’s where Brown comes in.
“If (Monday’s) practice is any indicator, he will be focused and strong as an individual on Saturday,” WHS head coach Dustin Brown said. “He will still be able to have his brother there cheering him on. Royal Z has done an outstanding job at providing our sectional, district, and state patterns for our bowlers. It will be my job to keep Jayden calm, focused and excited throughout the day. We will also have more time to discuss changes and ball reactions in between frames because I will not need to focus on the other bowlers on our pair.”
Tackett said his goal is to make the state’s five bowler all-tournament team.
””My goal is not to try to over do anything or do anything spectacular, just get out there and do what I know I’m capable of because little things eventually turn in to big things and lead you to big dreams,” Tackett said. “I know it will be difficult but my standards are always high and I know I can do it and I won’t doubt myself. After state, however I do, it will definitely give me a boost for next season.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @wnjsports