Brandon Guerin knew what the problems were, just not how to fix them. Maybe rolling a perfect game on consecutive days means he found some answers.
The Bay Shore boys bowling team senior said he had issues with hand position, balance and power in his shot, and with only two and a half years of experience in the sport, he needed help.
So he asked family friend Justin Ortiz for pointers in July and August, and transitioned to a private instructor in Julian Valdaro, a former Bay Shore High School bowler, soon afterwards.
Guerin proved to be a quick study, but has surprised even himself this year.
The basketball shooting guard, who turned lefthanded anchor bowler, rolled his first ever perfect game on Dec. 8 and did it again less than 24 hours later. He has a 231.5 average through his first 14 games — a dramatic improvement from the 211 he finished with last season — and leads Suffolk County with an 812 series.
“It’s an amazing feeling that I’m actually averaging that high,” Guerin said. “It’s definitely my approach that’s so much better. I worked on staying behind the ball more to get it to the pocket.
“I would fall off my shot too much so I wouldn’t deliver the amount of power I wanted. My balance is much better at the line . . . everything is finally just clicking for once.”
Guerin isn’t the only one hitting his stride.
Deer Park senior Adam Zimmerman, Newsday’s returning Long Island Bowler of the Year, has a 247.5 average through his first 15 games this season. He also rolled a 300 on Dec. 9 and is trending upwards after setting a Suffolk record last season with a 237.42 average.
“I personally try my best to ignore the score,” Zimmerman said of his perennial success. He instead shifted focus to his “progressively better” team, which he believes is strong enough to make the county championship outright instead of through the wild card like last season.
Sachem this season is a combination of Sachem North and Sachem East bowlers. Nick Caruana (240.3 average through 15 games) should give Zimmerman a challenge. Caruana, formerly of Sachem East, and new teammate Anthony Naujokas, an all-star from Sachem North, lead the team.
Division senior Brandon Soedarmasto led Nassau for the second year in a row last season with a 234 average, and is far from stagnant.
“It’s all or nothing right now,” he said. “This is my last season to define myself as a bowler in the high school season.”