SYRACUSE — When the Seaford boys bowling team struggled to get going in the early going during Sunday’s state Division II championship, they knew something needed to change.
The Vikings were in seventh place after the first three games, but following an hour lunch break, the team emerged with a completely different mentality.
“In the beginning of the day, we were in our own heads and thinking too much,” Seaford coach Berto Cerasi said. “The guys decided that they were going to stand up the whole time, pick each other up and not let anything else bother them.”
The Vikings blocked out the noise, turned up the intensity in the final three games and went on to place fifth at Strike ‘N Spare Lanes with a 5,697 pin total. Section II’s Lansingburgh was first with 6,213.
Max Pedone rolled a 216 in the final game of his senior season to finish with a six-game series of 1,202. Jonathan Saloman had a 234 in Game 5 of a 1,200 series and ended with three straight strikes in the 10th frame of Game 6.
“It was emotional because it was the last time I’m going to bowl, but it was the way I wanted to end,” Pedone said. “It’s probably the best year I have had bowling.”
Pedone increased his average by 13 pins from last season, improving from 177 to 190. He averaged 200 for the six games he bowled at states.
During the offseason, Saloman changed his non-traditional rolling method; he had been propelling the ball like a chest pass in basketball.
“I was practicing with my coach, who told me multiple times that I should start throwing underhand,” Saloman said. “During the summer I started doing underhand more and more and got better. When the season began, I went completely underhand, and started sparing.”
The Vikings had a Game 5 total of 1,094, the third-highest game of the event. Joseph Gallagher bowled the high-game of the day for Seaford in the fifth game with a 247.
“It was great to see the seniors have an excellent day,” an emotional Cerasi said. “They were a big part of building this program. When it comes to your seniors having a day like they did today, there’s no feeling. On the way home, it’s really going to hit me.”
Although he didn’t bowl his best, Chris Pupa played a crucial role in getting Seaford back on track. The junior had the sixth-best average (210) in Nassau during the regular season and threw a 1,040 series on Sunday.
“Not only did the team pick him up when he wasn’t doing well, Chris did a good job of picking up the team,” Cerasi said. “It was his idea to have everyone stand up and cheer. My proudest moment of the day was how Chris handled not bowling his average, and how he continued to motivate his team.”