Natural ability and hard work earned Aidan Abraham of Hopwood a state bowling championship.

“I was happy and surprised,’’ smiled Aidan, who recently came in first place in boys under 10 division of the Pepsi Youth State Championships in affiliation with the Pennsylvania State United States Bowling Congress.

Aidan, who is 10 and a member of Manor Lanes Junior League at Manor Lanes in Hopwood, competed at the state tournament May 11-12 in Beaver Falls. Aidan won with a combined score of 448 after bowling three games. He is being awarded $955 in college scholarship money.

A fourth-grade student at Hutchinson Elementary, which is part of the Laurel Highlands School District, Aidan is a son of Jason and Jennifer Abraham.

“He’s put a lot of time into bowling. I’m really proud of him. It’s a big accomplishment,’’ said Jennifer.

“I was proud to see him overcome his fear and have a good time,’’ said Jason. “He did really well.’’

“That’s a big win,’’ said Tyler Show, Manor Lanes owner. “That will be hard to top for a while.’’

This was Aidan’s second try at a state title, having first qualified two years ago. He placed ninth in his division at that time.

Aidan said he wasn’t sure how difficult the competition was this year, explaining youths of different ages bowl throughout six different rounds.

“They don’t tell you who’s in your age group,’’ Aidan explained.

Aidan bowled the first round of the two-day tournament, and the Abrahams went home to wait for the news of how he did.

“We sweated it out for the next five rounds,’’ said Jennifer, explaining they found out about Aidan’s win when the results were posted online.

Aidan began bowling with his family for fun. Manor Lanes asked him to join their league in 2015 when they saw he didn’t use bumpers to keep the ball from going into the gutter.

Manor Lanes Junior League, which has about 40 members this year, is divided into teams of mixed ages. Aidan is a team captain. The league, which Show said has been gaining membership in recent years, plays Saturdays from September through April.

Aidan placed first in the Manor Lanes league in 2015-16 and was the champion for District 3, which covers southwestern Pennsylvania, in 2016 and 2018. He placed third in the district qualifying round in April to advance to the state competition.

Jennifer noted Aidan enjoys the science of bowling and has a natural talent.

If there’s a secret to his winning, could it be the way he bowls?

“Aidan doesn’t use finger holes,’’ explained Jennifer. “He has a unique method of twirling the ball. It’s very deliberate. He knows what he’s doing.’’

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