A return appearance made all the difference for the Noblesville High School bowling team.
Noblesville finished fourth in the state in 2019 but returned to win the Indiana High School Bowling state championship for boys by beating Terre Haute South 394 to 359 in the two-game final Feb. 2 at Anderson’s Championship Lanes.
Noblesville was seeded first in the stepladder finals so only had to win one match. Noblesville had two girls on the team because the school does not have a girls team.
“The major difference is, after our hearts got broken last year and making state but getting fourth, we were cut out of the show because we lost the first match and there was no video of us,” junior Noah Tannenbaum said. “That was a chip on our shoulder for this year. We limited our mistakes and picked up our spares.”
The state finals uses a Baker format where each bowler bowls two frames.
Tannenbaum won his first match in the stepladder and then finished third.
“One of my coaches (Jamie Elliott) was talking me through it, keeping my mind off it, and I just went up and threw the best shots I could,” said Tannenbaum, who averaged 198 in the regular season.
Junior Nathan Smith averaged 237, the highest average in the state during the regular season.
“We came up short because we didn’t have the experience to bowl in front of the camera,” Smith said. “Coming in this year, (we knew) we were strong enough and had a shot at winning and actually ended up first. We took that experience from last year and I got the job done.”
His sister, senior Taylor Smith, captured the regional girls singles title and placed 14th in the state individual girls portion. She averaged 182 during the season.
“I had a little dry spell at the beginning of the season but practiced hard and figured out what I was doing (wrong),” she said. “It was a good thing I did because it was right around sectionals.”
Taylor Smith was on the Noblesville girls team, which finished third in the state her freshman season. But there weren’t enough girls to fill a team the next season.
“I really wanted a state title, and for my senior year, we finally did it,” Taylor said.
Senior James Sutton was second on the team with a 221 average.
“I knew we had the talent and knew we had one of the better teams in the state, so I knew we had a chance to win state,” Sutton said.
Other team members averages were Drew Elliott, 202; McKinley Brooks, 201; Taylor Smith, 182; and Lena Tarzwell, 153.
Tom Tarzwell is the head coach but said Doug Smith, father of Nathan and Taylor, and Jamie Elliott are effectively co-coaches.
“We put in a lot of hard work and really worked on picking up spares,” Tarzwell said of the team’s success. “Last year when we finished fourth in state, we were leaving pins that we’re killing us.”