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Budget cuts eliminate Valley Stream bowling

Valley Stream North's Maria Lucente.

Valley Stream North's Maria Lucente. (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

The Valley Stream school district will be without its boys and girls bowling teams this season due to budget cuts, Nassau bowling coordinator Eileen Shultis confirmed Wednesday.

The district's three high schools -- Valley Stream North, South and Central -- announced this fall the elimination of the varsity sport. The Nassau bowling season begins Dec. 2 and the cuts have left All-Long Islander Maria Lucente without a team.

"I had originally heard back in February at the bowling awards dinner that it might happen, but I was devastated when I found out it was official," said Lucente, whose 196.3 average was third best in Nassau last season.

"It feels like everything I've worked toward was just cancelled," she said. "It's extremely disappointing. I want to bowl in college and 11th grade is a critical year... I don't know if this will affect any possible scholarships."

Lucente was a member of the Section VIII team and competed in the Sectional All-Star Tournament last March in Syracuse. She has continued to bowl in local league and weekend tournaments.

"I was told by their athletic director [Scott Stueber] that Valley Stream wouldn't have teams this year because of budget issues," Shultis said. "It's a sad, unfortunate situation. The money comes from the taxpayers and we understand that something somewhere has to be cut. But I don't know how many people were aware that there's a person who could potentially get a college scholarship who might not be able to compete in her junior year."

Lucente's father, Joe, said that his daughter's "dream is being taken away from her" and he is "out of options." He said he will consider moving and enrolling his daughter in a different school district.

Baldwin High School's bowling programs, too, were in danger of being eliminated but was "saved a day before schedules were to be approved thanks to the owners at Baldwin Bowling Center," Shultis said.

Budget limitations brought about by superstorm Sandy would have cancelled the Bruins' season, but the Baldwin Bowling Center agreed to allow the school free use of its lanes.