Frontier's Brandon Badaszewski is going to states again, and once again he'll have plenty of Falcons joining him.
That's the way he likes it.
The Falcons as a team proved their might in soaring all the way to the top during the grueling day that is the annual Section VI boys bowling tournament. Frontier captured its fourth team championship in six seasons, posting a solid first-place total of 5,601 pins Wednesday at Airport Lanes.
Led by overall winner Badaszewski's total of 1,248, the Falcons scored 911 or better as a team in five of their six games to finish 177 pins ahead of runner-up Orchard Park. Niagara Falls placed third among the Division I teams.
"We talk about having an emotional game plan in a tournament such as this. I think that's one of the reasons we're so successful," Frontier coach John Cordier said. "Being positive and strong emotionally is what we talk about over and over again. The kids are skilled enough that I don't have to worry about their bowling skills when we come to tournaments like this. It's at the end of the year. They're prepared that way physically, it's mentally being prepared and that's the biggest thing I would attribute to our success."
Unlike past seasons, this is also the first year all the sections in state will send a Division II (small schools) champion to the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Tournament.
The honor of being the first Section VI Division II champion went to Maryvale. The Class C champion crushed it finishing with 5,507 pins – second most in the tournament to Frontier. In past years, only the team that knocked over the most pins in the tournament, regardless of classification size, advanced to states.
The two champions and six individuals who comprise the All-Section VI team return to action March 10-11 in the NYSPHSAA Tournament at the OnCenter in Syracuse.
Frontier won for the first time since 2016. The Falcons did it with Badaszewski overcoming a bad opening game (162) with follow ups of 209-214-220-207-236. He edged Brian Stone of Tonawanda by 10 pins for first overall.
While being able to control emotions has been key for Frontier, knowing when to go into rah-rah mode also has been important for the crew that includes Matt Christiano, Connor Gates, Derek Host and Jacob Swinarski.
"After the second game in the first half we just started yelling whether it was a good shot or bad shot just to keep spirits up," Badaszewski said. "That's definitely what made us bowl better."
Badaszewski went to states as an individual last year but said it doesn't compare to going with his teammates.
So how about going as a team in the same year you win the tournament's individual championship?
"Winning as a team is definitely more exciting," said Badaszewski. "Finishing first just looks good but is not anything that it's made out to be. Finishing together is definitely the best part about it. Being able to win with your friends and get an accomplishment together is better."
Even though Badaszewski finished first overall, he will only bowl in the team portion of states because he's a member of a section championship outfit.
Same holds true for Maryvale bowlers who would've qualified as individuals if not for leading the Flyers to a crowning achievement in Division II. A crew that included Chris Jankowski, Ryan Lent, Braedon Suffoletta and Anthony Shaver finished ahead of Class D champion Frewsburg by 179 pins to make history. Jankowski and Lent finished top five overall with scores of 1,237 and 1,206.
"It feels great to set a standard for everyone else," said senior and co-captain Suffoletta. "It just feels nice to be able to go to states as a team. That's what I've always wanted to do."
Individuals who will make up the All-Section team that competes in states include Stone (1,238), Pioneer's Karson Hurlbutt (1,217), West Seneca West's Bryan Hill (1,198), Olmsted's Trae Torgerson (1,197), Orchard Park's Tom Klenke (1,193) and Niagara Falls' Nathan Papiernik (1,180). Stone and Hill were non-average-pool bowlers who earned their way into the state field by finishing in the top three overall. Klenke is going to states for the third time.
Story topics: Anthony Shaver/ Braedon Suffoletta/ Brandon Badaszewski/ Brian Stone/ Chris Jankowski/ Connor Gates/ Derek Host/ Frontier/ Jacob Swinarski./ Karson Hurlbutt/ Maryvale/ Matt Christiano/ Nathan Papiernik/ niagara falls/ Olmsted/ Pioneer/ Ryan Lent/ Section VI boys bowling/ Tom Klenke/ tonawanda/ Trae Torgerson/ West Seneca West Bryan Hill