With Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 classic “Total Eclipse of the Heart” blasting in the background, the Fair Haven boys bowling team found its groove during practice at the Rutland Bowlerama.
Just mere days away before Senior Day on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., the Slaters, led by coach Vern Seaver, are currently ranked second in the state, trailing Windsor by two total points. Seaver is proud of all ten of his players for their determination to succeed and have fun doing so.
“The way they compete and the way they all get along,” Seaver said. “We got a good group this year and everybody keeps everybody focused no matter who’s in or who isn’t. They are always cheering each other on.”
The Slater faithful certainly have reason to cheer for their bowlers, as four are ranked in the top 32 in the state, and nine in the top 100.
Seaver has been the head coach of the Fair Haven bowling team since the origination of the program in 2014.
After two years as a club team, Seaver led the Slaters to a state championship in its first year as a part of the Vermont Principals’ Association in 2017.
“In 2017, we won a state championship. We’re trying to get a second one,” Seaver added.
Carrying the torch for Fair Haven is senior Jacob Picklenok. Picklenok, ranked fifth in the state and averaging 192.1 points a game, has been the shoulder to lean on for the Slaters.
“He’s been very solid, he’s our senior leader,” Seaver said. “He keeps everybody on an even keel, and he’s my anchor bowler, so when we need a strike he goes and gets it.”
Picklenok takes great pride and privilege in being “the man” for Fair Haven.
“It means the world to me, I’m the captain of this team, I like to lead us to victory,” Picklenok said. “I like to be number one, you know?”
With great ferocity and precision, Picklenok whips his custom ball down the oily number 23 lane and records a strike. He is greeted with high-fives and compliments from his teammates who know he is Mr. Reliable. Picklenok’s highest game on the year was a 245, which ranks sixth in the state.
Knowing they will be bowling with home-court advantage for the next couple of weeks, as the Bowlerama hosts Fair Haven’s Senior Day, the Individual State Championship on Feb. 22 and the Team State Championship on Mar. 7, Picklenok is confident in his team’s ability to emerge victorious and with a bit of hardware.
“It means we should come out on top every time,” said a confident Picklenok. “We have the most experience here, there’s no reason why we can’t come out on top.”
Ranked eighth in the state is determined sophomore Nick Snide, who has had an immediate impact for the Slaters.
“I just like competing against people and it just feels good,” said a smiling Snide. “I’ve got two more years left and it just feels great to be out there.”
Snide is grateful for his short time so far with Seaver, as he has helped Snide fine-tune his game in the pursuit of a state championship.
“Coach has had a great impact on me, helped me through getting my spares up and doing high-low and stuff like that which helps my spare shooting,” Snide said. “He’s just a great coach to be with. ... It would be an honor just to have the championship, but it’s a helluva team this year just to have.”