After rolling a 236 at the state championships last season and finishing the year with a 201.18 average, you wouldn’t figure that East Islip’s Julia Bocamazo would want to change much about the way she bowls.
But in her mind, there is always room for improvement.
Bocamazo has worked countless hours with personal bowling trainer Billy Papandrea at East Islip Lanes. When Papandrea recommended in September that Bocamazo use a 15-pound ball instead of her usual 14-pounder, Bocamazo began to notice an immediate difference.
“Switching to a heavier ball helped me throw the ball faster and improve my scores,” Bocamazo said. “I am now able to convert more spares and earn strikes at a higher rate.”
Bocamazo was rewarded for her hard work when she bowled a 300 in the third game of a 729 series on Dec. 13, her first in a match. Coincidentally, she rolled a 300 during a practice session with Papandrea just three days earlier.
The sophomore leads East Islip with a 221.92 average.
Additionally, three other East Islip bowlers are right around the 200 mark, which speaks volumes about the team’s depth this season. Junior Melissa Mavrich and sophomores Julianna Spina and Jenny Murphy are essential pieces to East Islip’s success.
“We might be young, but we are a very experienced and deep team,” East Islip coach Harold Cooley said. “Our goal right now is to try and win the league championship.”
So far East Islip is off to a promising start, winning its first four matches of the season.
One team that could stand in the way of East Islip’s hopes of a second straight county title is Middle Country.
Eighth-grader Hannah Skalacki, who made Newsday’s All-Long Island second team last year, is averaging 204.3 and already has bowled a 649 series. Meanwhile, juniors Allison Burfeindt and Julie Acosta will provide depth for a Middle Country team who is also 4-0.
Longwood will be a formidable team and will compete with Middle Country for a Suffolk League I title.
In what is a wide-open field in Nassau, a handful of teams have the potential to win a county title.
Syosset is led by senior Mackenzie Wagner and junior Rebecca Lee. Wagner, who will attend Molloy College on a bowling scholarship next year, rolled a 608 and 617 series in her team’s first two matches. Lee added a season-high game of 223 against Farmingdale on Dec. 8.
MacArthur is another contender behind the dynamic duo of Amanda DeLisi and Amanda Petrillo. DeLisi bowled a 230 high game in MacArthur’s opening match against Bellmore-Merrick and Petrillo shot an astonishing 705 series on Dec. 12 against Island Trees.
“With Petrillo and DeLisi returning, I am very excited about this season,” MacArthur coach Chris Leahy said. “We are looking to go undefeated and win our conference.”
Other teams that should be in the mix are Sewanhaka District, Valley Stream District and Hicksville.
Girls bowling powerhouse St. Dominic is in rebuilding mode after graduating nearly its entire team. That opens the door for Kellenberg, which appears to be the team to beat in CHSAA after starting the season 4-1. Daisha Howard has been a bright spot, shooting a 182 and a 173 in the team’s last two wins.
Katie Lopiccolo has been impressive for St. John the Baptist, bowling a 203 against St. Mary’s and a 175 against Holy Trinity. Speaking of Holy Trinity, senior Courtney Kopf will be heading to Molloy in the fall alongside Wagner from Syosset, and is the backbone of the Titans. St. Anthony’s is led by Francesca Rossi, who owns the highest average in the CHSAA with a 193.
“This year the league is very competitive with many strong bowlers.” Kellenberg coach Allyson Frisina said. “We are looking forward to having some close matches with the other teams in our league.”