UNION CITY – Mississinawa Valley senior Joe Teeter enters the state bowling tournament confident that he can contend for a state championship.
He didn’t always have that confidence, though. His father, who also is named Joe Teeter, said that new sense of confidence is why Joe was able to make it to state this season after falling just short the past two years.
“That’s really been one of his keys, being able to have confidence in himself and knowing the talent that he has,” said the elder Teeter, who also is the boys bowling coach at Mississinawa Valley. “You can’t just be a normal bowler and maintain that kind of high numbers. I know I certainly can’t.”
Joe began his high school career with an average game of 167.5 as a freshman. He then improved to average a 187.8 as a sophomore, a 187.9 as a junior and a 195.7 as a senior.
“I just look back at all my hard work and realized that practice, hard work and deification really pays off in the end,” Joe said.
Joe has recorded Mississinawa Valley’s best scores throughout his high school career and showed he’s one of the best in Southwest Ohio by qualifying for the Ohio High School Athletic Association district tournament his sophomore, junior and senior seasons.
Despite his success, confidence eluded him, which hurt him when competing in the OHSAA tournaments as his season ended the past two seasons in the district tournament.
“The past couple years I’ve been pretty close but just haven’t quite made it (to state),” Joe said.
This year Joe started to realize that he had ability and it wasn’t luck that was making him one of the area’s top bowlers.
“This year I’ve just watched myself progress and watched those perfect balls goes right in the pocket,” he said. “This year everything must have clicked, and I’ve been bowling 200s pretty much all year.”
With his new found confidence, Joe finished fourth in the sectional tournament with a three-game series of 668 and then rolled a 668 again at districts to finish sixth overall and qualify for state.
“I just told myself this is my best year, the best I’ve done,” Joe said. “I just went in with high confidence, and it all worked out for me, and I made it.”
Now Joe is set to compete in the Division II state bowling tournament at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl in Columbus.
“It’s always been his goal,” Coach Teeter said. “Certainly he wants to do very well down there at state. However he does he’s thrilled with that fact that he made it to state.”
Joe is the first Mississinawa Valley boy in school history to qualify for the state bowling tournament. He’s just the second MV bowler overall to make it to state, joining Quincy Warren who finished ninth in the Division II girls tournament in 2014.
At the state meet Joe said his first priority is to have stay calm and have fun. As a senior, he realizes he’ll never have this opportunity again so he wants to enjoy it, he said.
Secondly Joe wants to do the best he can, which could include a state championship if he bowls to his potential.
“I really do think I have a chance if I can go up there and stay calm and just roll the ball like I can,” he said.
Coach Teeter thinks Joe will do all right at the state meet, but regardless of how he does he has the support of the entire Mississinawa Valley community.
“The school is really excited,” Coach Teeter said. “They’re all behind him. They have all kinds of banners put up.”
The elder Teeter is among those who is proud of Joe, both as a coach and a parent.
“Any time your child does well you feel great about it,” Coach Teeter said. “And if you have the ability to coach your child it just makes it that much better.”
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4316. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.