SCHENECTADY — After winning its first-ever Section II Class A bowling crown a year ago, the Guilderland boys’ team finished a disappointing third at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championship last March. It didn’t take long for the Dutchmen to plan some redemption.
Led by freshman Lauren Buess’ 1,310 six-game block, Guilderland won its second consecutive Class A title Monday at Boulevard Bowl and earned a return trip to the states by capturing the large-school championship with a pinfall of 5,990.
The small-school champion will be determined Tuesday after the Class B tournament is held. Class C champion Hoosick Falls currently leads the small-school standings.
“We have some unfinished business,” said Guilderland's Andrew Apollo, who carries a 213 average and tossed a 702 triple in the afternoon session for a six-game block of 1,267. He opened the afternoon session with a 287 game “We finished third [60 pins behind the champions] in the states last year, and we’ve been practicing six or seven days a week trying to get back there.
"The key today was staying in the same place. If you went to far right on the lanes, the ball wouldn’t come back, and if you went too far inside, the ball would take off. You had to stay around the second arrow.”
Guilderland coach Lou Marino agreed. “This is the kind of pattern where you couldn’t swing the ball too much,” he said. “Most of our bowlers are down-and-in bowlers. We only have one guy, Tommy Durand, who likes to swing it a lot, and he made some adjustments for today in order to keep it straighter. Our team was 13-2 during the regular season, and we finished strong.
Our lineup is full of seniors, except for Lauren. Four of our bowlers return from the team that went to the states last year. These kids practiced almost every day of the week, and when I left practice, they would stay and continue to bowl. These kids are phenomenal. You couldn’t ask any more from them.”
Manny DBella (1,173) and Kyle Mastrangelo (1,153) were other key contributors for Guilderland.
Buess, the only girl on the boys’ team who was bowling in her first sectional tournament, said she was a bundle of nerves, early but quickly got rid of the butterflies.
“Coming over on the bus, I was very nervous. I didn’t want to let the team down,” she said. “It was difficult, but after the first couple of games, I settled down. Once the lanes broke down, it was important for you to make the right moves with your target and your feet, and then stay there.”
Shenendehowa finished second to Guilderland with 5,783 pins, and South Glens Falls (5,711) was third.
Pending the outcome of the Class B championship, the All-Section team, which also earns a berth in the state tournament, includes A.J. Hurlburt (1,289) of Hoosick Falls, Mike Westfall (1,285) of Shenendehowa, Josh Kalwasinski (1,285) of Mechanicville, Jahlil Young (1,258) of Albany, Hunter Chandler (1,246) of Saratoga Springs and Jarrett Morris (1,246) of South Glens Falls.
Team scores: Guilderland, 5,990, Shenendehowa 5,783, South Glens Falls 5,711, Columbia 5,688, Albany 5,657, Niskayuna 5,605, South Colonie, 5,578, Shaker 5,383, Saratoga Springs 5,375, Amsterdam 5,300, Gloversville 5,280, Mohonasen 5,183, Queensbury 5,113, Averill Park 5,080, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 4,955, Ballston Spa 4,907, Schenectady, 4,854, Bethlehem 4,850, CBA 4,695, Troy 4,522.