While Section VI individual girls bowling champion Sarah D’Angelo of Clarence was still kind of in a state of disbelief after the awards presentation, a veteran Orchard Park crew was right where it expected at Airport Lanes following the tournament.
Enjoying life at the top.
The Quakers achieved their season-long goal of defending their Section VI Division I team championship. They repeated in without a doubt fashion Wednesday – amassing a total of 5,959 pins.
OP pounced early and never looked back, finishing the first two games with team pin totals of 999 and 1,041. Senior Paige Bartosz, last year’s overall individual champion and one of five returning starters, led Orchard Park with a 1,275 series – including a high game of 290 to kick off the afternoon session. Classmate Sara Radt finished with 1,248, Olivia Dauer had 1,174, Emily Brock 1,168 and Alexis Klenke 1,094.
Each bowled 580 or better during three-game sets during the morning portion of bowling.
Now the Quakers have another shot at battling for the one title that eluded them last year.
“We just set goals for ourselves and once we set goals we just went above and beyond it,” said Radt, who blames herself for leaving two pins in her first game as the reason OP didn’t post opening 1,000 or better sets. “I was a little upset ... but getting that 1,041 showed us we could keep pushing ourselves. If we could shoot a 1,041 we can (consistently) shoot in the 900s (per game as a team).”
“Having a second chance (at states) is crazy,” Bartosz said.
The Section VI Division I (large schools) and Division II (small schools) team champions, and top six finishers based on criteria comprising the all-Section VI team advance to the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association tournament March 8-10 at Strike N’ Spares in Syracuse.
Dunkirk captured the Section VI Division II title with 5,560 pins.
D’Angelo, the Red Devils sophomore who came in with a 204 average, did better than that in compiling a triumphant pinfall total of 1,301. She bowled games of 223, 217, 221, 223, 189 and 228. Frontier’s Makenzie Yesis followed with a 1,293.
D’Angelo’s goal was to qualify for states. But doing it as the champion ...
“I’m pretty shocked, but I’m very excited,” said D’Angelo, who placed first in the Maryvale Tournament earlier this season. “It’s so tough (to win). The lane conditions are extremely hard plus you have all these amazing bowlers.”
Joining D’Angelo and Yesis at states as members of the all-section team are Tonawanda’s Melissa Large (1,274), Depew’s Rachel Wagner (1,244), Allegany/Limestone’s Cameron Spring (1,224) and Kenmore East eighth-grader Kaelynn Weber (1,193).
Orchard Park placed second to Long Island’s Middle Country by 175 pins last year.
It’s something that has gnawed at the Quakers all season even if lane conditions are traditionally tougher at the state tournament. With a chance to get back, they seized the day by finishing 566 pins ahead of runner-up Niagara Falls.
OP started fast and never let its foot off the gas, averaging 993 per game as a team. The Quakers even broke 900 in the last game (901) with title pretty much unofficially won.
“Determination and teamwork, these girls are definitely a team,” said OP coach Kim Caligiuri, who missed last year’s sectionals with the flu. “They all brought their game today. They all worked well.”
Dunkirk made history with claiming its first sectional title, as the highest the Marauders had ever finished prior to Wednesday was third, according to coach Donna Kubera. Olivia Corbett led Dunkirk with 1,217.
Other members of the Marauders include Mariah Glowniak, Rachel Glowniak, Hannah Ellman, Makayla Pasierb, Taylor Skelly and Isabella Berger.
The Marauders look to follow in Cheektowaga’s footsteps. Cheektowaga won the Division II state title last year.
“It’s just a great honor to get there with the group of girls that I have,” Kubera said.