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Alexa Messina closes Nassau bowling championships in winning fashion

Valley Stream District's Alexa Messina shows her form

Valley Stream District's Alexa Messina shows her form in Nassau Individual bowling championships/state qualifier on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 at Garden City Lanes. She won with a six-game score of 1,118. Credit: Richard T. Slattery

Alexa Messina had no clue.

The Valley Stream Central senior did not even know what place she was in at the halfway point of the Nassau Individual bowling championships at Garden City Lanes Saturday.

Messina, who led Nassau bowlers in the regular season with a 201.4 average, had a 530 after three games (176.7 average) and was tied for fifth place in the event.

“Was I really,” Messina asked. “I prefer not to know [which place I am in] during the match.”

Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss, at least for Messina, who finished her afternoon with games of 174, 205 and 209 to win the Nassau girls title with a six-game score of 1,118.

What sparked Messina over the final three games?

“I had no choice,” Messina said. “I had to do better.”

MacArthur’s Amanda DeLisi, who led the event after four games, finished second with a 1,042, and Hicksville’s Colleen Kingsepp was third (1,034). Carle Place’s Kristen Doherty, who had the 19th-best average (163.8) in Nassau during the regular season, was fourth (986). Bethpage’s Kathryn Backman, who was ranked 21st (162.6) in the county, finished fifth (980) and Wantagh’s Alyssa Augello placed sixth (978).

The top six bowlers will represent Nassau’s sectional team at the state tournament on March 4-5 at Rochester’s Gates Lanes.

Messina had wanted to go to states since her freshman year.

“It’s always been my goal,” Messina said. “Our district cut the bowling team when I was a 10th grader, so I only had a chance in 11th and 12th grades. It really hasn’t hit me yet that I’m going upstate.”

Mineola’s Macchiettos go 1st & 3rd. Tony Macchietto had one week to change his mindset about bowling.

He and the Mineola boys bowling team lost last Saturday in the Nassau team championship to Hewlett. Now, the Mustangs senior — who had a county-best, regular-season 230.1 average — had to think about himself in the boys individual championship.

“I usually work on my game for the team,” Machietto said. “This week, I had to focus on myself.”

Good try, Tony.

True. Macchietto did win the Nassau boys individual crown with a six-game series of 1,231. But Macchietto was still showing leadership (and brotherly love) when looking out for his younger brother, Phil, a talented seventh-grader who bowled all season on the varsity.

“Tony told me in between games, ‘Don’t worry about strikes, just keep making spares,’ ” Phil said.

Little brother listened. Phil, who attends Mineola Middle School, was impressive throughout the day and placed third (1,096).

Uniondale’s Leon Kessee, who just missed a trip upstate with a seventh-place finish last season, was the feel-good story of the tournament with a 1,152 series and a runner-up finish.

“This is all I thought about all year,” Kessee said. “I had to make myself mentally tougher.”

Clarke’s Willie Bedoya, who was ranked 24th in Nassau (200.1) during the regular season, was a pleasant surprise with a fourth-place finish (1,078). Bellmore-Merrick’s Sam Farber (Calhoun) was fifth (1,073) and MacArthur’s Dylan Hoffman placed sixth (1,072) to round out the Nassau sectional state boys team.

“Phil and I have been a good combination this season, and we should bring a lot to the [Nassau sectional] state team,” Tony Macchietto said. “Hopefully we bowl well.”

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