The Seabreeze girls bowling team topped its district win with a state championship trophy on Thursday, Nov. 4, at the Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center in Orlando, earning bragging rights as the first team in school history to win a state bowling title.
Bowling commenced with the crack of pins dropping on 32 lanes as the Florida High School Athletic Association tournament opened Tuesday, Nov. 2. Going into their first matches, the Seabreeze girls – Sofia Allem, Kara Beissel, Breanna Hess, Madison Kuenning and Stacey Spaulding – were the No. 2 seed, while the boys were No. 14.
The Sandcrab girls soundly defeated Jacksonville Sandalwood, 3-0, and followed that with another 3-0 win over Flagler Palm Coast. FPC progressed in the consolation bracket, narrowly losing in the final round to Bell Creek Academy, 3-2.
“We were hoping we would get a chance to play them in the final,” FPC's Madelynn Oliva said. “We grew up bowling on league together every Saturday. We are like family.”
Seabreeze faced Bell Creek in the final. The Sancrabs crushed the Panthers in the first game, 221-175. But after four games, Bell Creek had tied the match, 2-2.
Spaulding helped shift the momentum in the final game by picking up strikes and making crucial spares, and Beissel threw the winning strike to clinch the championship with a 3-2 win.
“I knew starting the season the girls should be in the final. They have the talent,” Seabreeze coach Paul Shuler said. “We were losing big time on that third game, and my girls just came right back. The momentum shifted in our favor and they nailed it. I knew they had the potential to be number one, and now they are.”
The boys team was eliminated after falling to Apopka in a close 3-2 contest and then to Eau Gallie in the consolation bracket.
“What it really boiled down to was executing shots,” boys’ team captain Spencer Mosher said. “The game is 90% mental and 10% physical. As long as you trust yourself, that’s what gets you to the championship 100%. At the end of the day, they are still young. I’m really excited for them next year.”
Mosher went on to compete in the individual boys' matches, while Allem competed in the girls' matches, facing FPC's Oliva. Both Seabreeze bowler were defeated in the first round as Oliva went on to finish fourth in the individual bracket.
“I knew they had the potential to be number one and now they are.”
PAUL SHULER, Seabreeze bowling coach
Allem’s dad introduced her to the sport two years ago and it stuck. She now bowls almost every day and would love to bowl in college.
“Honestly, I couldn’t have gotten here without my teammates,” Allem said. “They’ve supported me through the whole entire season. They’ve cheered me up and cheered me on through the whole thing.”
Sophomore Beissel was also introduced to bowling by her father, but she was four years old.
Brian Beissel owns a pro shop and runs a training center at Ormond Lanes. He and his daughter travel to tournaments together and most recently attended a clinic in Houston where she trained with “the godfather of bowling,” Fred Borden, who was named the head coach of team USA in 1989.
Kara Beissel remains the ballast for the Sandcrabs, usually scoring the high game and series, which she did during districts.
“I am really proud of her,” Brian Beissel said. “She’s my girl.”