The Mohonasen boys’ bowling team has a target on its back, but that doesn’t frighten coach Bob Tedesco Jr. or his talented and experienced Mighty Warriors.
The defending Section II champions are off to a solid 9-3 start, and they have a strong nucleus returning from last year’s powerhouse.
“We have four of our seven bowlers back, including three starters,” said Tedesco, who is also an outstanding bowler himself, and co-owner of Sportsman’s Bowl. “Unfortunately, all our guys are seniors this season. We’re going to be very young next year.”
Despite the Mighty Warriors’ strong early-season performances, they could be even better.
“Our three losses have been by a combined 80 pins. They’ve all been close, and they could have all gone either way. Hopefully, the early losses will lead to some late victories,” said Tedesco.
The averages of Mohonasen’s top players are impressive. Ernie Costello is averaging 233, followed by Tom Egan at 229 and Matt Fazzone at 225. Costello, Egan and Dom Bianchi, who is averaging about 215, were starters last year, with Fazzone the first bowler off the bench., Fazzone, who Tedesco said is having “an outstanding season,” has moved into the starting lineup.
Anthony Savini and Sean Sheldon are averaging 210 and 205, respectively.
Many of the Mighty Warriors are also among the premier junior bowlers in the Capital Region, and are among the leaders in the Gazette’s weekly junior roundup.
Tedesco said that every match his team plays brings out the best in the Mighty Warriors’ opponent.
“Everybody comes in with the intent of beating Mohonasen. We’re No. 1 on their list. Everyone wants to beat the defending champions,” he said.
Tedesco is a proactive coach who keeps an eye on how his bowlers are playing the lanes at all times.
“This crew has been with me for three years. They understand my philosophy,” he said. “They listen to me, and do what I tell them to do. I have a few keys, like balance and timing. I want all my bowlers to stay in balance, and not to get ahead of themselves. The other thing I stress is not to let their adrenaline get out of control. There are a lot of highs and lows in a high school match, and you can’t let your emotions get the best of you.”
Tedesco also stresses fundamentals. Spare shooting is central to his philosophy, but making the correct adjustments on the lanes is equally important.
“You have to stay ahead of the moves on the lanes,” he said. “I try to get our guys to make the right moves before the lanes change on them. They have to stay aware. They’ve bought in to what I’ve been telling them. When I tell them to move, they do it. I’m usually talking to the guys at all times. If a match is not close, I’ll let the kids go and see if they’ve learned anything, but if the match is close, I’ll help them by telling them where to move on the lanes.”
Although Tedesco enjoys hooking the ball in his own game, he doesn’t try to change the way his students roll the ball.
“I really stress to the kids that it doesn’t matter if they throw the ball straight, hook it or are somewhere in between,” he said. “I tell them to adapt to what they do best, and don’t try to be somebody else. You can be successful as long as you repeat the way you release the ball over and over again.”
STRIKES & SPARES
– Despite rumors to the contrary, the annual Joe Donato Scratch Singles Tournament will be back. Darrell Coonrad won last year’s event in a thrilling finish over regional pro Ray Cyr. The finals are tentatively scheduled for March 22 at Sportsman’s Bowl. More information on the tournament and its numerous qualifiers will follow in the next couple of weeks. Tournament director Tom Donato, co-manager at Redwood Lanes, said top prize will still be $4,000.
– The next Western Diner Northern Bowlers Association stop will be Jan. 18 at 10 a.m. at Towne Bowling Academy. The field will be limited to 80 bowlers. If bowlers want to make a reservation, they can call Karl Bieber at 368-5539. Bowlers should plan on getting to the lanes early. There will be $400 added to the prize fund.
– The Karl Wolf & Warren Guernsey Pro Shop U.S. Qualifying Open, originally scheduled for Saturday at Uncle Sam Lanes and Sunday at Ballston Spa Tippy Lanes, has been switched to Jan. 25 at Spare Time Latham at 5:30 p.m. and Jan. 30 at Ballston Spa Tippy Lanes at 7 p.m. The field for the first round will be limited to 48 bowlers on a first-come, first-served basis. Entry fee will be $85. The format will be eight games across eight pairs of lanes. After eight games, the top eight bowlers advance to the finals. They will compete in round-robin match play, with 30 bonus pins awarded for a win and 15 bonus pins given for a tie. Pins will carry over from qualifying. First place will be $1,000 guaranteed, along with a paid entry into the 66th U.S. Open, which will be held March 29-April 5 at Brunswick Zone Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick, N.J. Call Jeff Segel (439-7268) or Marv Sontz (439-2224) for reservations.
– The Vince Bonanni Doubles No-Tap tournament will be held Sunday at Redwood Lanes at 1 p.m. Handicap will be 100 percent of 230. Entry fee is $40.
– Schenectady native Dan White, who lives in Agawam, Mass., won the New Year’s Day Open at Saratoga Strike Zone. He earned $2,500 by knocking off Dustin Paupst of Glenville in the finals.
– Robin Fredenburgh of Burnt Hills and Craig Taylor of Rotterdam won Sunday’s TV finals at Boulevard Bowl for the Huck Finn Mixed Doubles. They eliminated the Schenectady duo of Don Cross and Tina Blake.
– Qualifying for the next Northeast Bowling Proprietors of New York/Huck Finn Handicap Bowling Show is under way, and continues through Jan. 18. Bowlers with an average of 220 or less can qualify by using their scores from regular league play. Handicaps are based on 100 percent of the difference between a bowler’s average and 220. Entry fee is $10. One in eight bowlers from each participating house will cash and advance to the next round of the tournament, which will have individual match-play eliminations. The TV finals will be taped at Spare time East Greenbush at 4 p.m. Feb. 22 and will be broadcast March 1 on WXXA Fox23. Contact Bill Wray at 878-9641 for more information.
– The Troy Bowling Association will hold its first Plastic Ball Tournament Jan. 24 at Hometown Lanes at 1 p.m. The non-sanctioned scratch event is open to all bowlers in the Capital Region. Entry fee is $22. Bowlers will roll three games across three pairs of lanes. No sanded balls will be allowed, and no ball cleaners will be allowed. Accepted balls are the Brunswick T Zone, Ebonite Maxims, Columbia White & Blue Dots, and AMF Boogie Balls. Applications are available at troynyba.org.
– Green Island Lanes will host the 34th annual Troy Bowling Association 700 Club Tournament Feb. 14. There will be a 10:30 a.m. and a 1:30 p.m. squad. Each squad will be three games. The top eight bowlers from each squad will roll a stepladder to determine the winner from each squad. The squad winners will roll off against each other for the title. Squads are limited to the first 64 bowlers. Entry fee is $25. Call tournament director Mike Hodlik for reservations at 326-4238.
– The 30th annual Confusion Bowling Tournament will be held Jan. 24-25 at Boulevard Bowl. First prize will be $1,500 for the winning team.
– Dan White, Taylor, Scott Rogers and Ryan Gahan advanced to the TV finals at last Sunday’s Huck Finn “Capital Region Bowling Show” qualifier at Sportsman’s Bowl.
– Towne Bowling Academy’s Adult-Youth league begins Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. Cost is $25 per two-person team per week. The season ends in April, and includes a trip to a New York Yankees game (two tickets to the game, plus bus transportation). Call Towne at 355-3939 to register or for more information.
– The third annual Good Day & Alzheimer’s Fundraising Tournament will be held Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. at Redwood Lanes. Entry fee per four-person team is 100. Top prize will be $400. A ziti and meatball dinner will follow bowling. Call 869-3581 for more information.
– Mark Roth, Johnny Petraglia and Wendy Macpherson were elected to the United States Bowling Congress Hall of Fame in the superior performance category. Roth won 34 times on the PBA Tour and has two PBA Senior Tour victories. Petraglia won 14 times on the PBA Tour and six times on the PBA Senior Tour, while Macpherson captured 20 Professional Women’s Bowling Association championships.
– Rich Jerome Jr. of Baltimore became the 12th bowler to post a perfect 900 triple. He previously had 10 perfect games. The last person to roll a USBC-sanctioned 900 series was P.J. Geisfeldt on Dec. 23, 2006.
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