Not only did Tonawanda’s Melissa Large and Dunkirk’s Makayla Pasierb experience perfection on the lanes for the first time in their lives, but the standout bowlers rode the wave of positive energy that followed and scooped up Section VI championships.
Meanwhile, Lancaster celebrated the 20th anniversary of its last Section VI girls bowling championship by winning its first crown since 2000.
AMF Airport Lanes was the rocking place to be Thursday as the Section VI Bowling Championship Tournament concluded with the women, led by Large and Pasierb, putting on quite the show.
Large and Pasierb each bowled the only 300 games of the girls tournament, with Large riding her perfecto to medalist honors and her second straight bid to the state tournament. Large finished with a championship-winning total of 1,409 pins – seven pins ahead of runner-up Pasierb.
“There were a few lucky shots in there,” Large said of her 300 game. “Some pins just fell in my favor. It feels amazing, especially to be able to do it at sectionals my senior year.”
Pasierb may not have finished first, but she achieved her goal of helping defending state champion Dunkirk repeat as Section VI Division II champion. The Marauders did that by pulling away during the afternoon shift from second-place Tonawanda 5,892-5,722.
“It means the world to me … because my team and I really wanted to make it back to states,” said Pasierb, who bowled 300 in the middle game of her afternoon set. “It was an amazing feeling. Kind of unexplainable.”
Lancaster captured the Section VI Division I crown with a pinfall of 6,137 behind a solid team effort led by Mattingly Selk’s six-game set of 1,338. Niagara Falls placed second with 5,891.
“I’m really excited that we won and that it was our year to do it,” Selk said.
The Division I and II champions along with the six individuals who made the All-Section Team return to action March 13-15 in the New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association Tournament at Strike N Spare Lanes in Syracuse.
The All-Section Team consists of Large, West Seneca West’s Kendyll Jaskier (1,345), Cleveland Hill’s Brooke Seifert (1,281), Alden’s Sydney Skimmer (1252), Niagara Falls' Mckenzie Gilmore (1,249) and City Honors’ Emily Bombardier (1,229).
Section team champs by classification were Lancaster (Class A), Sweet Home (Class B), Dunkirk (Class C) and Forestville (Class D).
Large almost achieved 300 greatness earlier this season. However, when she lined up for her first shot on the 10th frame with shaky and sweaty hands, the run ended with a final score of 286. During her second of six games Thursday, the same thing started happening again. She combated the sweats with a small portable fan. The shaky hands – that’s where the atmosphere provided comfort.
“A lot of people were cheering me on from the seventh frame on,” she said. “I think it kept me going.”
Pasierb flirted with a 300 last weekend, settling for a 276. There was no denying her Thursday, as the junior said she was relaxed and composed. She was motivated to succeed for the seniors on the Marauders, who wanted to return to the state event. Dunkirk coach Donna Kubera said the 300 provided the spark her team needed to pull away Tonawanda.
“It brought us up today,” Kubera said. “My girls they’re such a total team package. They’re such a close group. They’ll do anything for each other.”
Returning starter Rachel Glowiak rolled a 1,216, with Olivia Corbett chipping in with a 1,128 and Mariah Glowiak a 1,112. Taylor Skelly (1,034) filled in for normal starter Summer Clark, who’s out with appendicitis.
Selk, who is named after New York Yankees great Don Mattingly, wasn’t the only Lancaster bowler to have a nice day for a Legends team that won its division with a flawless record. Deanna Kosmoski rolled a 1,312, Delaney Horbett finished with a 1,253, Janelle Pezzimenti a 1,135 and Maura Noonan 1,099.
“They’ve been working so hard for this,” 14th-year Lancaster coach Karen Teichmann said. “The girls have been incredible and did a great job today.”