SOUTHINGTON — For some bowlers, perfection is never achieved. For Sean Buck, he attained bowling’s holy grail at the age of 13.
Buck, a seventh-grader at Southington’s Kennedy Middle School, bowled a perfect 300 on Saturday to become one of the youngest bowlers to achieve the sanctioned milestone. Buck rolled 12 strikes in a row during his weekly junior league at Lessard Lanes in Plainville to join the world’s elite group of bowlers.
The record for youngest bowler to roll a perfect game is held by Hannah Diem of Seminole, Fla., who hit 300 in 2013 at the age 9 years, 6 months. She broke the previous record of 10 years, 2 month set by Chaz Dennis of Columbus, Ohio, in 2006
“I never thought I’d achieve 300 at the age of 13,” Buck said. “I still can’t believe it. Some of the pros today struggle today to shoot 300 even though they are pros.”
Buck had never strung together more than six strikes in a row, so once he entered the later frames, he was in uncharted territory. But as he had done in the previous six frames, his two-handed style of rolling the ball down the lane hit the pocket flush and all 10 pins fell.
“I had to keep my composure. I had to just keep repeating the same system I was using in those previous frames,” Buck said. “(When I got to the 10th frame), I took a little longer. I didn’t want my emotions to take over. I didn’t want to rush.
“When I got 300, I was surprised. I just fell down and started crying.”
Buck carries a 180 league average and his previous high score was 258, set last year. On Saturday, perfection came during his third game of league play after games of 187 and 172. His three-game series of 659 was also a career best.
Buck wasn’t the only junior bowler to post Lessard Lanes’ highest games Saturday. Plainville High School junior Justin Giano, 15, had the lane’s highest junior series of 804 with games of 268, 279 and 257.
Both Buck and Giano are among the state’s top bowlers. Each qualified for last year’s Junior Gold national championships in Detroit, Michigan.
A year ago, Buck finished 45th in the Under-12 Division, while Giano was 115th in the U15 Division.
Both will compete in April’s state championships, where they will try to qualify for the Junior Gold National tournament in Las Vegas.