Connetquot bowler Angelica Polcini stepped up to the approach line on Tuesday needing one final strike for a 300 game.
Instead of thinking about a shot for perfection, Polcini had other thoughts going through her head.
"I was singing [songs from the musical] "Hamilton"," she said. "It kind of gets my mind off [a 300 game] for a little. I don’t want to mess up."
She didn’t. The T-Birds senior recorded her 12th consecutive strike to finish with a 300 in Game 3 of a 694 series for Connetquot in its season-opening match against Floyd at Bowlero Sayville. (Polcini rolled her first 300 on a practice lane during a match as a freshman also at Sayville.)
"I was very nervous walking up to the lane before the last shot," said Polcini, who is Newsday’s Athlete of the Week. "I tried calming myself down by shaking my hands out."
What was her reaction after a dozen straight strikes?
"I was like, ‘Wow!,’ " she said. "I wasn’t expecting to bowl a 300 . . . I had such a mix of emotions — happy, shocked, surprised."
Connetquot does not have a girls bowling team, so Polcini and her sister Anna (now a freshman at LIU Post), tried out for the boys team in 2016. They both made the varsity for the 2016-17 season. (There are about a half-dozen girls who bowl on boys teams in Suffolk this year.)
"Honestly, I’m just one of the bowlers," said Polcini, who started bowling in a rec league in kindergarten. "I don’t care that I’m on the boys team. My teammates are always there to support me. They don’t treat me any differently."
For good reason. Polcini has bowled Connetquot’s top three individual game scores (300, 216, 215) so far this season.
"She’s super, super consistent," T-Birds coach Nick Sturtz said. "She has a traditional, straightforward approach and arm swing . . . I’m only there to help with her decision-making and regrouping. She throws a very consistent ball."
Polcini — who hasn’t decided on a college yet — is concentrating on this season, and why she’s enjoyed bowling for so long.
"I like that you have the potential to get better with every shot," said Polcini, who had a 180.2 average in 2020. "If you don’t do good, there’s always the next frame, where you can reset and do better."
Unfortunately, high school bowlers won’t have a chance to bowl in the state championships, which were canceled because of COVID-19 for a second straight season.
"When last season ended I thought, ‘This season , I want to get to states. I want to make it, and try my best,’ " she said. "Now that won’t happen, but there’s still [the Suffolk championship]. I want to do well, and I want the team to do well, too."