Every pin left standing can feel like the difference between winning and losing when there’s a county championship on the line.
Syosset’s Mackenzie Wagner knew that from her experiences and used it to her advantage Saturday, reminding herself to focus on the long haul and make progress throughout six games. She ended in first place with a 1,134 total at the Nassau individual bowling championships at Garden City Lanes.
Most popular sports stories
“I realized this was my time and I needed to do it for myself, Wagner said. “I felt like I had it.”
Wagner came into the second half of the day in fifth place with a 527 after three games, 28 pins behind the leader. She moved up to second after a 193 in Game 4 and took first after Game 5 with a 195 and 915 total. She held onto that lead with her highest score, a 219 in Game 6, to defeat Farmingdale’s Christie Warmingham who had a 1,114 total. She attributed her rise to steady confidence.
“The first game I did not shoot anywhere near where I wanted to shoot,” Wagner said. “And I kind of just had to realize that it’s not one game, it’s six games.”
After Wagner started the day by forcing herself to stay calm and focused, she ended it without too much worrying.
“It kind of got to the point where it was either I’m going to do it or I’m not,” Wagner said. “And I really wanted it.”
The lanes used an oil pattern known as “beaten path” that will be used at the state championship in Cheektowaga, N.Y. on March 5, girls coordinator Eileen Shultis said. It’s a more difficult pattern than the type used by bowling centers during the regular season.
That didn’t have much of an effect on Farmingdale’s Richard Valentine, who won the boys side by leading from the second game until the end, ending with a 1,315 total over Hicksville’s John Soderlund’s 1,279.
“It wasn’t really that big of a deal, but it definitely made it a little bit harder,” Valentine said.
Valentine bowled 276 in the third game for his highest score and said he didn’t expect to lead the pack over the majority of six games, but his feelings don’t make a difference when it comes time to perform.
“Whatever I feel when I’m bowling I kind of just drop it right at the lane,” Valentine said. “I never let anything like that affect my game ever.”
He’s got a state championship appearance waiting.
“I’m just looking forward,” Valentine said.