ALTON - Alton High senior bowler Ben Mitchell got his 2022-23 season off to a great start on Nov. 12 with a six-game series of 1,301, which allowed him to finish fifth in the individual standings in helping the Redbirds finish seventh in the Gold Division of the Zach LeCuyer Invitational tournament at Camelot Bowl in Collinsville.
Mitchell shot a three-game total of 655 in the qualifying round, then followed up with a 646 in the second round to finish with his 1,301 series, which featured a high game of 248 in the final game en route to his fifth-place showing in the tournament. He's been one of the best bowlers on the team for his four years for the Redbirds and is a very hard worker both on and off the lanes.
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For his efforts in helping the Redbirds become one of the better teams in the area, Mitchell has been named an Auto Butler male Athlete of the Month.
Mitchell, who bowls for head coach Dave Meyer, felt very good about his overall performance during his interview that followed the tournament.
"Feeling pretty good about it," Mitchell said. "Lane conditions towards the end were kind of rough, the beginning started out pretty good, shooting 655 at the beginning. Not quite sure what I shot toward the end, but I'll take whatever result we can get."
A top-ten finish for both himself and the Redbirds isn't a bad way to get the season started, either.
Mitchell is feeling very optimistic about his senior season for Alton, as well as the team's chances.
"I'm liking what I'm seeing so far," Mitchell said. "We have a couple of good freshmen that are up right now. Brayden Buchanan's one of them; he's being super lights out right now. Two of our juniors are doing really good, Sam Ottwell and Roman Cross, two really lights-out guys, just helping carry the team and push the team to where we need to be."
Mitchell's goals for himself and the team are very straightforward.
"Win as many competitions and tournaments as we can," Mitchell said.
Needless to say, the biggest goal for the Redbirds is to qualify for the IHSA state tournament on Jan. 27-28 at St. Clair Bowl in O'Fallon, the only state tournament held in Southern Illinois.
"Absolutely!," Mitchell said with emphasis.
As far as it being Mitchell's final season with the Redbirds, he'll carry great memories of his time with the team and he's also guided by a very simple philosophy.
"Carry everything," Mitchell said. "Live everything. Try to stay in the moment as much as you can, because you only get to do this for a certain amount of time. Cherish the time you get to spend with your best friends and bowl up a storm."