Liam Sushko of Sewanhaka bowls during the state Division I...

Liam Sushko of Sewanhaka bowls during the state Division I boys bowling championship at AMF Strike N Spare Lanes in Syracuse, N.Y., on Sunday. Credit: Kayla Bartkowski

It took eight frames for Sewanhaka’s Liam Sushko to realize that he was in the midst of a special, dream-like moment.

It was Game 2 of the state Division I boys bowling  tournament in Syracuse, and Sushko was eight strikes deep as crowds and cheers rumbled louder with each roll. Five strikes later, that dream became reality as Sushko recorded a perfect 300 on March 10, earning the title of Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“I felt a lot of pressure, but I knew I had my team cheering for me whether I got it or not,” Sushko said.

Sushko is the first bowler from Sewanhaka to bowl a perfect game at the state championship, with the junior also adding games of 214 and 205 in Games 4 and 5, respectively. It was Sushko’s first-career 300 game, making the moment particularly magical.

“It’s going to stick with me, probably forever,” Sushko said.

Sushko ended the weekend with 1,286 pins, 86 more than he averaged during the season as Sewanhaka’s boys bowling squad placed fourth in the competition. Sewanhaka coach Jay Hegi didn’t interrupt his player as the perfect game was ongoing, but said he embraced Sushko afterward, sharing how proud he was.

“As a coach, you always tell your players to keep working hard, and the goal is to improve every day,” Hegi said. “He truly improved each day throughout the season. He never missed practice and made every shot count.”

Sushko also volunteers with Stars and Strikes, a special needs bowling league held on Saturdays in the fall, winter and spring. He initially joined to help out in search of hours of service for the National Honor Society. However, after working with the Levittown league for around two years Sushko is now a regular as he helps kids practice bowling.

“I already got my hours for the year, but I still go because I like to help,” Sushko said. “I just like watching them bowl. It’s fun.”

Sushko said he realized he can no longer raise his high game thanks to his 300 score, knowing that he’s hiked it as far as he can. But there’s a way to climb even higher via the joy of helping someone discover a passion, something Sushko does weekly.

In doing so, the magical joy of Sushko’s 300 and his bowling success carries on, with no end in sight.

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