“I thought someone would beat us,” said 11-year-old Josh Ross.
He was wrong.
Despite one of the youngest lineups in the field, Sportsman’s No. 2 rode its home-lane advantage and a tournament-best 720 triple from Zach Porter to win the inaugural Gazette Junior Team Bowling Championship Sunday at Sportsman’s Bowl.
Sportsman’s No. 2 finished with a 2,424 total, helped by 336 pins of handicap. The winning team earned trophies and took possession of the Hal Buell Cup, named for the late Gazette bowling columnist. His son, Bill, also a former bowling writer at the Gazette, made the trophy presentation.
The tournament format called for each four-person team to include bowlers from the majors, juniors and preps division. There had to be at least one girl on each team. Handicap was based on a 720 team average.
Porter, a 17-year-old with a 218 average in the majors division at Sportsman’s Bowl, anchored a team that included 13-year-old Elizabeth Ross, 10-year-old Katie Adamec and Josh Ross. Adamec bowls in the prep division, while both Ross bowlers are juniors.
“I was just trying to keep everyone calm,” said Porter. “Sometimes, the younger bowlers get a little nervous. I’ve bowled in a lot of tournaments, but this was kind of new to the rest of my team.”
Porter is already a veteran of 13 years in the junior program at Sportsman’s, and he is usually among the leaders in the weekly Gazette junior bowling roundup.
“The shot was just about the way it normally is for us during our regular junior program,” he said.
Porter’s 268 finale sealed the win for his team, but he couldn’t have done it without strong support from the Ross family, who averaged 143 and 139, respectively. Adamec, the Ross’ cousin, carries a 103 average.
“My dad is a good bowling coach,” said Josh Ross, whose father, Ray, is the longtime coach at Schenectady County Community College. “He’s the one who taught me how to bowl.”
“When my dad coaches us, he’s both our father and our coach,” added Elizabeth Ross. “This was a lot of fun.”
“I’ve been bowling for about four or five years,” said Adamec. “I love bowling. I used to bowl just on weekends, but now I also bowl in the Rock-N-Bowls.”
Several teams that competed didn’t have at least one prep bowler and weren’t eligible to win the trophy, despite some outstanding scores.
Tori Burkins of Del Lanes was the top individual for the girls with a 257-696. Other top individuals among the boys were Zach Valentina (268-687) and Justin Carl (269-678), both of Sunset Recreation.
Handicap Division — Sportsman’s No. 2, 2,424 (Zach Porter 720, Elizabeth Ross 482, Josh Ross 477, Katie Adamec 409); Sportsman’s No. 4 2,341 (Todd Brandt 627, Kyle Van Blarcom 468, Nina Serafini 401, Isabelle
Serafini 365); Towne Bowling Academy 2,339 (Brandon Wolf 659, Ronnie Zadrozny 598, Kalyn Taber 576, Cassius Boyd 498); Rolling Greens No. 1 2,332 (Ryan Bekkering 564, Troy Gapcynski 528, Sydni Gapczynski 477, Lucas McKenzie 439); Sportsman’s
No. 3 2,313 (Jamie Gradoni 636, Dante Albanese 496, Eric Mannato 374, Paige Meschon 357); Boulevard No. 1 2,305 (Matt Gonzales 641, Lauren Liberatore 583, Tyler Wilson 479, Chris Salamone 464); Rolling Greens
No. 2 2,241 (Anthony Gray 540, April Buechner 394, Quintin Johnson 300, Nick Auspelmyer 293); Sportsman’s No. 1 2,190 (Christian Chiarito 529, Aiden Deitz 479, Madeline Petarske 469, Anthony Hayward 278); Boulevard No. 2 2,183 (Victoria
Giaquinto 638, Ryan Karabin 619, Ray Saemans 303, Lauren Soulia 302); Rolling Greens No. 3 2,123 (Danyon Zloch 387,
Brody Jaquays 356, Michele Van Wormer 345, Eddie Van Wormer 252); Burnt Hills Lanes, inc. (DNB).
Scratch Division — Sunset No. 4 2,500 (Zack Valentina 687, Amanda Chrzanowski 647, Kenny Livengood 642, Natalya Porcello 620); Sunset No. 1 2,476 (Justin Carl 678, Ricky Rovelli 651, Nick Shaw 591, Sam Hart 556); Del Lanes 2,454; (Tori Burkins 696, Jordan Crandall 650, Tyler Lemke 624, Melanie Lemke 484); Sunset No. 2 2,275 (Andrew Bennett 653, Charles Moeske 618, Tiera Golum 570, Cassidhe Whalen 434); Sunset No. 3 1,900 (Jaret Benedetto 473, Avery McKay 539, Caitlyn Kelly 465, Alexa Jackson 433).