They flip through the middle school pictures of themselves and can't stop laughing.
For Daniele Roca, Kristina Genova and Rebecca Gotterbarn, those old photos are a reminder of how much has changed in six years for the Sewanhaka District bowling trio.
"Back then, as little seventh-graders, we were going to with a bunch of seniors," said Gotterbarn, a Carey student. "It was intimidating; we felt like everyone was three feet taller than us."
Funny, now they're referred to as "The Big 3," and call each other D-Roc, Bruiser (Genova) and Muscles (Gotterbarn). They still are petite, but in those six years, the trio became giants in Nassau girls bowling.
That trip to the state tournament as seventh-graders, qualifying for the six-person All-Star team, was only the beginning. They did that three years in a row. And the three years that followed, a dynasty, as the Indians enjoyed undefeated regular seasons, capped with Nassau championships.
"You think back to when they made the team, these tiny kids, and I'm wondering, 'Will they develop into bowlers,'" coach Jay Hegi said. "They answered that right away."
Sewanhaka District took fourth in the state tournament yesterday at Babylon Lanes. Not the ending they had envisioned, though they remained cheerful. The legacy they established will hold.
Gotterbarn led Nassau with a 216.6 average this season. The second best average belonged to Genova (206.3), and behind her was Roca (202.3). Behind her was teammate Morgan Roth, a junior, who posted a career-best 200.7.
Genova had the tournament high series, leading Sewanhaka District to the title last month. The year before, it was Roca who starred, and the year before, Gotterbarn. And the girls wouldn't have had it any other way. "We root for each other, obviously, but we all want to beat the others," Roca said. "We bowl until our fingers bleed."
Chemistry, too, was a component. Despite attending different schools -- Genova goes to Sewanhaka and Roca to New Hyde Park -- "we became great teammates and even better friends," Genova said.
Over time, each of their personalities shined through. Roca, once quiet, became "the cool and stylish one," Gotterbarn said. Genova emerged as a vocal leader, "the team mom," they said. Gotterbarn, the self-described "geek of the group" became known for her crooning of Beyonce songs in competition and "goofy Snap Chat pictures," Roca said.
This six-year run, Hegi said, "couldn't have been a more pleasurable ride." One filled with plaques, laughs . . . and food fights.
"All of us coming together, we were really fortunate," Gotterbarn said. "Us being the same age, in the same district, we kind of struck gold."