SYRACUSE — Despite a steady dose of flurries on Saturday, it’s still unclear which fell more frequently – snowflakes or bowling pins. It was closer than one might think.
The Frontier boys finished fifth with 6,102 pins and the Sweet Home girls finished seventh with 5,213 pins for Section VI at the New York State Bowling Championships at Strike N’ Spare Lanes in Syracuse.
For the boys, South Colonie won its second state title in three years with 6,511 pins while Middle Country won for girls with 6,053 pins.
“The atmosphere is more intense and more exciting than anything I’ve experienced in all my years of high school athletics,” said Frontier coach John Cordier.
“For the kids to come out and perform the way they did for the first time here, it was satisfying to see. The team can take some pride that they got here and that they competed once they got here.”
The Falcons started off slowly in their opening three games but ramped things up in during their last three, anchored by junior Chad Mee, who scored a 279 in his fifth game.
Mee’s performance was tied for second best at the competition and if not for a pesky 10 pin in the second frame it would have been perfect.
“I wanted a perfect game but couldn’t make it happen,” Mee said.
Every bowler reacts differently after releasing the ball. Some pump their fists, some stare until all the pins are down, while others wave their arms and direct the ball down the lane a la Carlton Fisk.
Mee is fairly casual, whipping the ball back almost over his head and releasing it with precision, only to return to the bench completely calm and matter-of-fact.
“You don’t really get nervous,” he said. “You kind of just feed off the energy and make shot after shot. You don’t even know what you’re doing, you don’t even think, you just keep bowling.”
For Sweet Home, states were a chance to get its feet wet and gain some much needed experience. In the opening round, the Panthers were paired up with eventual state champion Middle Country from Section IX.
“We got put up against a buzz saw in that team from Long Island, they really showed our team a few things,” Sweet Home coach Jim Russo said. “It kind of takes the wind out of your sails a little bit when you’re bowling against them.”
“Sometimes it’s intimidating because the team you could be playing against has a lot of fans that can kind of distract you,” said sophomore Diamond Carter. “But it motivated us a little bit today.”
Carter led Sweet Home, averaging a 205 over her six games totaling 1,233 pins with a high game of 235. The Panthers have all but one player returning next year, including Carter, who will look to be one of the best players in the section.
“We’re such a young team, we only have one senior and all the rest are coming back so we think we’re going to be good for a while to come,” said Russo. “Whether we ever make it make to sectionals remains to be seen but we’re going to try.”