Bowling for a sectional title is loaded with pressure for high school youngsters.
“I barely got to bed last night,” said Hoosick Falls sophomore Joey Wolfrum after he shot a six-game total of 1,367 to help his Panthers win the Section II Class C-D title Friday at Boulevard Bowl. “Last year, I had trouble breathing.”
Hoosick Falls led the Wasaren League most of the season, but lost a big match to Granville recently. Then, the Panthers finished second to Schuylerville in the league tournament.
But Hoosick Falls made up for those defeats in the biggest tournament of the year.
“I’d rather win sectionals than the league title,” said Wolfrum.
Hoosick Falls coach Bob Lang said his team’s hard work paid off.
“We led the Southern Division with two matches to go, and then we split Schuylerville before losing to Granville, 3-1, in our final match. We ended up losing our division by a half-point. It was a tough loss, but I’m proud of the way my kids reacted after the loss. In the league tournament, Schuylerville beat us by 78 pins, but we bowled well, and Schuylerville is a good team. This [sectional] tournament will make this season for us. A sectional win is the biggest of them all.”
Senior left-hander Corey Callahan added a 1,247, Jake Colliano rifled a 1,240 and Chris Pelletier contributed a 1,222 for the Panthers (6,147), who beat Schuyilerville (5,802) by 345 pins.
“Our kids put a lot of time into their games,” said Lang. “They bowl Saturday mornings and then come back and bowl Saturday afternoons at Barbecue Recreation. The owner, Jack Fitzsimmons, lets them bowl there for free. Five of my kids went to the Dick Ritger camps. They are very serious about their game.”
The Panthers got off to a slow start when Callahan, the anchor bowler, couldn’t get the right feel.
“In the morning block, my thumb kept swelling up. I couldn’t get out of the ball,” he said. “I iced it down at the break, and I finally was able to put more hand in the ball.”
Callahan was a member of the last Hoosick Falls team to win a C-D title two years ago.
“I’ve come a long way since then, as far as being nervous,” he said. “I’m pretty confident now. You’ve got to be smooth. The smoother, the better.”
“We’ve got a lot of support, and we’ve got a great following from the parents,” said Lang. “On the away matches, we’ve got more people in the crowd from Hoosick Falls than the home team does. The parents are the reason we can send the kids to the bowling camps. We run fund-raisers to help defray the costs, but we couldn’t do it without the parents.”
Wolfrum had the high triple of the day with a 750. Nick Yung (698) of Middleburgh was second and Zack Dames (692) of Schuylerville was third.
The current Section II boys’ team consists of Wolfrum, Dames (1,361), Yung (1,326), Nolan Reese (1,279) of Fort Plain, Dean Smith (1,270) of Mechanicville and Bo Baker (1,249) of Fort Plain.
Only the top six bowlers, outside of the overall boys’ champion, go to the state tournament, which will be held March 6-7 in Rochester.
The boys’ Class A tournament will be held Monday at Boulevard, and the boys’ Class B event is set for Tuesday at Boulevard.
Team scores: Hoosick Falls 6,144, Schuylerville 5,802, Middleburgh 5,762, Mechanicville 5621, Watervliet 5,604, Granville 5,551, Fort Plain 5,527, Mayfield 5,520, Hoosic Valley 5,499, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 5,318, Chatham 5,274, Canajoharie 5,266, Coxsackie-Athens 5,255, Voorheesville 5,254, Rensselaer 5,194, Fort Edward 5,081, Lake George 5,073, Waterford-Halfoon 4,940, Stlilwater 4,926, Duanesburg 4,894, Corinth 21, Fonda-Fultonville 4,737, Schoharie 4,566, Schenectady Christian 4,117, Whitehall 3,831.
Top triples: JoeyWolfrum (Hoosick Falls) 750, Nick Yung (Middleburgh) 698, Zack Dames (Schuylerville) 692. Top singles: Mike Albrecht (Granville) 278, Tom Bee (Mechanicville) 267, Zack Shufelt (Mechanicville) 266.
All-section team: Joey Wolfrum (Hoosick Falls) 1,367, Zach Dames (Schuylerville) 1,361, Nick Yung (Middleburgh) 1,326, Nolan Reese (Fort Plain) 1,279, Dean Smith (Mechanicville) 1,270, Bo Barker (Fort Plain) 1,249.