SCHENECTADY — The Mohonasen girls’ bowling team heard the cheers from the South Colonie fans a few lanes to their left, and the Mighty Warriors knew the perennial champion Garnet Raiders were making a run.
But despite struggling in the first two games of the afternoon block, youthful Mohonasen regrouped physically and mentally to pull away for the Section II Class A bowling championship Thursday at Boulevard Bowl. Mohonasen, which finished with a pinfall of 5,424, ended up winning by 224 pins over runner-up Columbia (5,220), while Colonie struggled in the final game and finished fourth with 5,154 pins.
Mohonasen will represent the area as the large school champion in the new two-tiered system at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships next month. Lansingburgh, the Class B titlist with 5,149 pins, won the small-school crown and also is headed to the states.
“Yes. I’m very excited,” said Mackenzie Simmons, who led the Mighty Warriors with a 634 triple in the morning and a six-game block of 1,179. “During lunch, we were very hyped, and after lunch, we had some difficulty with the lanes. But the last game, we pulled in one of our best players [Isabella Serafini with a 191], and we got it.”
Simmons admitted that the Mighty Warriors were concerned about Colonie’s surge during the first two games of the afternoon block, when they chipped their deficit down to only 120 pins.
“We were checking on Colonie a lot,” she said. “They are our nemesis. We were pretty confident with a 15-1 ranking we had in our earlier matches this year, but we were a little worried.”
Senior Liz Ross, the Mighty Warriors’ anchor bowler and the daughter of Schenectady County Community College head coach Ray Ross, struggled as most of the lefthanders did Thursday.
“For me personally, my ball speed was really too high for the condition. I was having trouble getting my ball into the pocket,” she said.
“We were worried about Colonie. We were bowling really tight. By the third game, we had nothing to lose. We let it all go and bowled the way we know how. It feels amazing. I just really wanted our team to go to states at least once while I was here,” Ross added.
Other key bowlers for Mohonasen were Katie Adamec (1,151) and Amber Lupi (1,048).
John Dennis, coach of the team for the last 26 years, was proud the Mighty Warriors will compete in the state tournament during their last season as members of the Suburban Council.
“We going to try to turn it around and represent the section as well as we can and see if we can bring back the gold,” he said. “It was 2013 when we last went to the states. We only have two seniors on the team, Elizabeth Ross and Isabella Serafini, but we also have a great bunch of ninth and 10th graders.”
Dennis said the Mighty Warriors had to settle down in the afternoon block in order to win the title. “We knew we had that big lead at the lunch break, but I didn’t say anything to them. I just wanted to feed them,” he said with a laugh. “We struggled with two really bad games after the lunch break, but then we put it all back together in the third game. All they needed to do was fill frames.”
Lansingburgh coach Tony Faraci loves the new system that will allow Section II to send two teams to the states
“I’ll tell you that I think everyone enjoys the change. The old system hurt the Class B and Class C teams. This will be the first time that the Lansingburgh girls are going to the states,” he said.
Lansingburgh was paced by Katie Lynch, who will be making her fourth straight trip to the state tournament. “She was going either way,” Feraci said. “But it’s great that she can finally go with her team. She is a three-time MVP of the Colonial Council.”
“This is so amazing,” Lynch said. “We almost went to the states two years ago, but I missed a 9-pin, and we didn’t go. I felt so bad. Even though I’ve been to the states before, I’m so glad I’ll be going with my team this time.”
Lynch rolled triples of 702 and 618 for a 1,320 block to lead the Knights. Hannah Jacobs added a 1,059 block.
Named to the All-Section II team that also earned a berth to the state tournament were Melanie Lemke (1,170) and Sierra Glass (1,163) of Bethlehem, Carolyne Shultis of Middleburgh
(1,152), Sarah Steele of Columbia (1,100), Sarah Polomaine of Schenectady (1,094) and Shealynn Peckowitz of South Colonie (1,082).
Class A – Mohonasen 5,424, Columbia 5,220, Bethlehem 5,159, South Colonie 5,154, Schenectady 4,654, Saratoga Springs 4,533, Averill Park 4,297, Ballston Spa 4,222, Niskayuna 4,180.
Class B – Lansingburgh 5,149, Cohoes 4,886, Cobleskill-Richmondville 4,116, Schalmont 4,116, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 3,829, Fonda-Fultonville 3,191.
Class C – Middleburgh 4,750, Schoharie 4,284, Maple Hill 4,255, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 3,981, Fort Plain 3,956, Duanesburg 3,692, Canajoharie 3,603, Mechanicville 3,559, Mayfield 3,500, OESJ 2,534.