When the sign-up sheet goes around for the girls who qualified for the state bowling team, Melanie Hannon grabs a pen.
The Maryvale junior has gone to the postseason competition in each of her first three years on the varsity, and it looks just as promising this year.
She made the All-Section team in her eighth- and ninth-grade years and last year was joined by her Maryvale teammates as they won sectionals. The Flyers finished seventh at states led by Hannon, who had the third-highest set with a 1,165.
Bowling has taken Hannon all over the country, but the annual state-wide high school event remains special. "It's fun to compete against the other sections," said Hannon. "Making states in eighth grade -- not a lot of people were expecting that, being so young. I think my average was only 180, but I performed really well at sectionals. In eighth grade, that really started it."
"It" being a string of impressive showings at some of the nation's top tournaments for high school bowlers.
She won the North Pointe Insurance High School Singles Tournament in Las Vegas against 240 other girls across the country, which earned her $15,000 toward college. The United States Bowling Congress named Hannon to the Dexter High School All-America Team, which came with a $1,000 scholarship. The Teen Masters, a singles event for high school bowlers, built a lane in Grand Central Station in New York City. She got $2,000 after finishing third.
"I put in a lot more time to really reach the next level. I'd like to bowl in college," said Hannon, who bowls in two leagues beside high school. "I'm pretty good under pressure and able to block things out."
Maryvale, winner of ECIC III last year at 10-0, is off to a 7-0 start. On Monday they picked up a 5-2 win over ECIC II leader Williamsville South. Six of seven are back from last year's state team: Hannon, freshman Morgan Walsh, sophomore Megan Koscinski, sophomore Jamie Michalewski, senior Jessica Schieb and senior Kayla Ryan.
"We have a shot here. We've had our moments this year and shown what we can do, but we haven't shown it consistently," said Maryvale coach Joe Hannon. "We're among the favorites, I'd say we're in the top three."
The Flyers are the defending champions of the Roy Sommer Memorial Tournament, scheduled this year for Feb. 5 at AMF Thruway Lanes. The event is considered a precursor to the sectionals.
Two-team race in NFL
Despite the loss of all-time NFL record holder Brianna Larson, North Tonawanda is off to a 10-1 start, with the lone loss coming to Niagara Falls a week ago. The defending Section VI Class A champion Lady Jacks have five bowlers among the NFL's top 11. Senior Hannah Mosher is second with a 199.31 average trailing only Lockport's Brittany Wright (199.42).
Mosher's 702 series is high for the league. Cassidy Powers is much improved after being tutored all last summer by Hall of Famer Doris Coburn. She's fifth in the NFL at 189.6 with highs of 254-643.
Mosher, Wright and Powers, along with Angelia Aquilina, Jen Hojnowski and Jill Philips helped lead NT to the title in the Festival of Lights Tournament in December. They have their eye on another tournament in February.
Niagara Falls and NT share the league lead with 10-1 records, having split their regular-season meetings. Niagara Falls won the Maryvale preseason tournament.
Senior Brooke Seiwell is currently third in the NFL in average with a 192.6. Eighth-grader Angela Gabriele rolled a 268 last week to kick her average up to 188. Seiwell and Megan Maurer are being recruited by NCCC.
Between the lanes
Williamsville South is 8-0 in ECIC II. The Billies' 4,229 pin total against rival Williamsville East was a school record. Senior Tricia Kent has the highest average in the division at 195.4 followed by freshman Haley Carroll (193.8). The collective average among the eight starters is 166.54.
"This team is the best I've ever had from top to bottom in the starting lineup," said coach Steve Delisanti. "We absolutely expect to compete for the Class B sectional title, and if it's a great day, maybe even the big prize of Section VI champion. There are some great teams out there and the competition is fierce, but anything can happen on one day of six team games."
Kent was one of four underclassmen who went to states last year as part of the All-Section team. She is joined by Amy Seybold (Fredonia), Emily Dillenburg (Forestville) and Alexis Wade (Lew-Port). The All-Section team finished fourth.
Amherst sits at 4-3 in ECIC II with a team dominated by sophomores. Marissa Moon has the highest average on the team with a 175.5, including a 623 set which came against league leader Williamsville South. Another sophomore, Taylor Balser, is second on the team in average with 146.
Depew eighth-grader Sara Snyder has a bright future. Her 181.3 average is third in ECIC III and first for the Wildcats. She's a dedicated bowler who competes in junior classic leagues and USBC scholarship tournaments.
It figured to be a long year for Sweet Home after its top three bowlers graduated and the team moved into ECIC I. Instead, the Panthers are 7-2 with three matches remaining. Junior Kathryn Rogemoser (187.1 avg.) and senior Kaitlyn Pietryzk (178 avg.) lead the way.
Cheektowaga is young with four sophomores and two freshmen among the top six, but they did manage to put a scare into Maryvale in a recent league match.
A consistent lineup void of any stars has Lancaster looking at a 7-1 record in ECIC I. Julie Dolegala (184.5) and Alyssa Schultz (182.5) are ranked among the top five averages in the league.
JFK is closing in on the ECIC IV title resting at 7-1. Nicole Pearce has the league's high set at 578 and average at 173.
Cheektowaga's Shelby Kirst leads all of the ECIC in high game with a 280.
Mount St. Mary won last week's All-Catholic Tournament after holding off runner-up Immaculata. Sacred Heart was the regular-season champion with 51.5 wins against 4.5 losses. The top bowler and MVP for the season was Brianna Fittry of Mount St. Mary with a 168 average. Sacred Heart's Katie Kaiser had the high game of the season with a 247. Miranda Chojecki of St. Mary's had the high series at 665.
Hutch-Tech and da Vinci lead Division I and II with 24-0 records in the Buffalo Public Schools. Taylor Ingram, Danielle Handley are the core of Tech's team. da Vinci junior Megan Fitzpatrick had a season-best 503 series last week at Voelkers.
NEXT WEEK: boys bowling.