Sewanhaka’s Morgan Winchell, right, had a 1,305 six-game series to...

Sewanhaka’s Morgan Winchell, right, had a 1,305 six-game series to capture her second Nassau title. Credit: Neil Miller

For Sewanhaka’s Morgan Winchell, the sport of bowling runs in her blood, and family is what keeps her winning.

“My dad has been bowling since he was a little kid, and I basically got all of my skills from watching him,” Winchell said. “I was surrounded by bowling all my life, so as time went on, I was able to grow a passion for it.”

Winchell decided to join Sewanhaka’s varsity bowling team as a seventh grader, and coach Jay Hegi said her talent was clear from the start.

“I could see how much potential she had back then,” Hegi said. “She’s a very intelligent bowler, she really understands the sport. I knew she was special.”

As a ninth grader, Winchell began to see success on the lanes. She won the Nassau individual championship, earning her a position on the All-Star team at the state championship.

“It felt incredible,” Winchell said. “I remember getting there and shaking because of how nervous I was.”

What’s better than being crowned champion once? Winning twice.

On Feb. 14, Winchell bowled a 1,305 over six games, becoming a back-to-back Nassau champion.

“I had a pretty good feeling she was going to win again,” Hegi said. “Last year she really battled it out until the end, but once you get that one win under your belt, you gain that confidence that pushes you further.”

Although she felt pressure going into the match as the reigning champion, she says it was her family’s support that calmed her nerves.

“My family’s a big part of my bowling,” the sophomore said. “Having them cheering behind me really hypes me up and keeps me going.”

"She has incredible family support," Hegi said. "They are at every game cheering her on, and I think that goes a long way for her."

She will head to Syracuse on March 9 with five other girls to compete on the Nassau all-star team for the second year in a row, and her family will be there watching.

“I cannot wait to get back there,” she said. “I’m really confident in our team this year, and I’m just super excited.”

Last season, Nassau finished seventh, and although Winchell hopes to improve this time around, she’s more focused on the experience and having fun with her teammates.

“Of course, the goal is to win,” she said. “But as long as we try our best and have as much fun as possible as a team, that’s all I can really hope for.”

With two more years on the team, Hegi says that Winchell’s future in bowling looks bright.

“I see her just progressively getting better,” Hegi said. “I see her getting a bowling scholarship, definitely.”

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