300 squared at Section 1 bowling finals
CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. — Bowling has long been a weekend pastime for people across America. After all, virtually everyone can do it.
But not everyone can bowl a perfect game.
And that's what made Tuesday's Section 1 Bowling Finals at Cortlandt Lanes so special, as both Clarkstown's Jake Israel and Arlington's Patrick Talvi hit the milestone. It was a first for both bowlers in their careers, and the first time two bowlers have ever accomplished the feat at the Section 1 tournament.
“I got a 295 during practice last year so I knew I was capable of a game like that,” Talvi said. “It was such an incredible feeling though, and to know that so many people were focused on my game, it was awesome.”
Talvi’s 300 helped him qualify for the All-Section team, which competes at the state finals at Valley Bowling Center in Waverly, New York from March 3-4. Talvi bowled a 1343 over his six games and tied him for the overall individual lead with Yonkers’ Tristan Ruiz.
While Talvi was excited about his accomplishments, the day was bittersweet. Longtime Admirals bowling coach Robert Jacovino passed away just a day before the finals.
“With my coach passing away, and today being his birthday no less, we’d all like to think that this was for him,” Talvi said. “This was going to be his last year and he was going to retire. It was hard not to think about it, but we pulled together.”
Despite all the drama surrounding the individual perfect games, the drama surrounding the team championship may have been greater.
As of November, none of the Yonkers City Schools were going to compete in bowling this year due to the budget cuts in the city. At the last moment, the city’s school district put together a combined team. Bowlers from each city school tried out, and a team was formed.
Now, that team can call itself champions.
With bowlers from Yonkers Middle/High, Saunders and Roosevelt, the Yonkers bowling team was seeded 10th coming into the Section 1 finals. Yonkers held off a hard-charging North Rockland in the fifth and sixth games to win the crown. It’s the first team bowling championship for a Yonkers school.
“Nobody really knew who we were coming into today because we didn’t get to bowl in a really strong league,” Tristan Ruiz said. “We didn’t have great averages because we didn’t have great competition, but we came out strong today against some really good teams.”
Yonkers led after the morning session and increased its lead with a big game four. During the sixth and final game, the team left a few open frames and opened the door for either North Rockland or defending champions Clarkstown.
“All these boys pick each other up, no matter what,” Yonkers coach Maria Hadala said. “I told them to just worry about their own game, not what was happening in the lanes next to them. They controlled their own destiny.”
When it was all said and done, Yonkers finished with a grand total of 6,145 pins, 63 more than North Rockland, and 81 more than Clarkstown. Tappan Zee and Ketcham rounded out the top five. Yonkers was led by Ruiz, Robby Shine, Jake Kowaleski, Nick Poggiofalle, and Anthony Bowles.
Joining Salvi and Yonkers at the state championships will be five other individual bowlers. The top three season averages automatically qualified for states. East Ramapo’s Kyle Castorico finished with a Section 1-best 217.81 pins. He was followed by Mahopac’s Steven Fragano and Hen Hud’s Frank Mele.
The top three finishers at the sectional finals also qualified. Talvi, Shaun Conner from New Rochelle, and Walter Panas’ Vinny D’Addona came up with the big days to secure their berths. D’Addona felt the pressure of the tournament especially.
“I missed automatically qualifying by eighteen hundredths of a pin, and it was rough to know that,” D’Addona said. “I felt the pressure because I didn’t want to miss it by just one bowler today.”
D’Addona finished the morning session outside the Top 20, but finished with two of the strongest games of the day. In game five, he bowled a 245 to put him in contention for an all-section spot. In his sixth game, he sealed it with a 297.
“I kinda rushed that final shot, I wanted to get it over with,” D’Addona said. “I guess I was nervous, but I ended up with the highest (three-game) series of the day, so that was awesome.”
Email John Malone at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MSGV_Malone