BENTON – After one of the best seasons in Benton High School history, which included a gold medal in the 5A State Tournament helping the Panthers to their first state title, Benton senior Seth Morgan has been named the Wendy’s Player of the Year in bowling.
“It really means a lot because I went through a lot during my early high school bowling years because I had to completely move schools and leave everything that I knew just to go bowl at Benton,” Morgan said of the Wendy’s honor. “After that dedication that I had, I feel honored.”
Morgan won the gold medal with game of 237, 205 and a day’s best 289 in his final game for a 731 series to help the Panthers surpass runner-up Siloam Springs 4,163 - 4,103 in total pins.
“That was pretty huge,” Morgan said of his 289. “I can’t believe I did something like that. I’ve actually shot 289 five times during the last two months of high school.”
Morgan started bowling in sixth grade and started his high school bowling career as a sophomore at Benton. Morgan explained that he took an alternate route to his bowling success.
“A lot of people say you can get really, really good by being coached or by having people telling you what to do,” he said. “Throughout my years of bowling, I’ve never been taught. I found that pretty unique because it’s pretty rare to find that. Just learning experiences. I use the technique of two hands and the power of my mind behind it. It’s a huge mental game.”
Earning All-State his junior and senior seasons, Morgan helped the Panthers win the conference tournament two straight years, including a silver medal this past year with a 637 series, but fell short of state his junior year before coming back to lead the squad to the state title his final year.
“Just the feeling of winning conference twice and coming back and winning state the second year was huge,” he said. “That’s in a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It was insane. I didn’t really make my team perform. It was more of everybody came together. We had certain phrases, certain attitudes, certain things we would do before every match. One of the most important ones was, ‘In and out, get it done.’ Most of us got that on the inside our state rings. It was a team effort. We all just had the same mindset.”
Benton bowling Coach Brandy Chumley, who was named the Bowling Coach of the Year for the second time, said Morgan was definitely the leader of the Panthers.
“Seth was the leader on the team,” Chumley said. “Everybody just respects him. He’s a good guy and a really good bowler. The other kids looked up to him. He was kind of our rally person as far as getting everybody on the same page and working hard. They would meet at the bowling alley on their own time.
“With his heart and his desire and wanting to win, especially being so close the last few years, we owe a lot to Seth.”
Morgan was planning to turn pro immediately out of high school, but will put those plans on hold for the time being.
“I’ve always wanted to not really go to school and just bowl for the rest of my life, just go pro and go to a technical school,” he said. “I’ve been pretty smart in school, finished with a 3.76 (GPA) and I’m headed to a four-year private college. I got accepted and got a bowling scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University. I plan on doing four years and getting and degree in marketing and business.”