From left, Nick Walker (Sachem), Seth Knipe (Longwood), Tim Smith...

From left, Nick Walker (Sachem), Seth Knipe (Longwood), Tim Smith (West Islip), Kieran Carney (Commack), Stephen Russel (Central Islip) and Matthew Sundberg (East Islip) pose at the state bowling championship in Syracuse, N.Y. on Saturday. Credit: Newsday/Gene Morris

SYRACUSE — Matthew Sundberg couldn’t have gotten off to a better start Saturday at the state bowling championship at Strike ‘N Spare Lanes.

The East Islip eighth grader, bowling alongside five seniors as a part of the Suffolk All-Star team, came out of the gate with strike after strike and didn’t stop until he finished off his second 300 game of the season.

"I was very, very impressed," coach Doug Dwyer said. "I figured the lights, the big show, it might get to him but he came right out and rolled a 300 which is an insane way to start your state career. Knowing how good he is and he’s only in eighth grade it’s great because we can have him back for four more years."

Sundberg’s 300 helped the Suffolk team put up the highest single game score of the day on the way to finishing second overall behind the All-Star team from Section V. Suffolk had a six-game total of 6,676, finishing 34 pins behind.

"I wasn’t really nervous," Sundberg said. "It was just great that I was able to come up here and get a chance to bowl with all these guys."

Sundberg wasn’t the only Suffolk bowler to put up a big score in the first game. West Islip’s Tim Smith rolled a 268, Stephen Russell of Central Islip had a 261 and Kieran Carney of Commack had a 245.

"We came out and had a 1,296 and it was absolutely awesome but to try and keep that pace was impossible," Dwyer said. "Game three hurt us — we got lost in the transition and the breakdown of the lane at the end of game two and the beginning of game three and it cost us."

Russell’s first game was his best of the day. His 1,427 six-game series was the second highest in the championship.

"It really meant a lot to me to be a senior and to come out here and compete with these guys," Russell said. "They’re the best in the state but it was still heartbreaking to lose by 34 pins."

Carney’s 1,360 series was fourth overall and Smith’s 1,317 was ninth best.

"It was amazing to be here with this kind of crowd," Smith said. "It was actually more than my expectations and we had a chance to get the win."

Longwood's Seth Knipe chipped in with a high game of 256 in the final game and Nick Walker of Sachem added a 222 in the first game.

The Nassau All-Star team also showed that they are among the best in the state, finishing fifth overall with a six-game total of 6,358 pins.

They were led by Mineola’s Philp Macchietto and Seth Braum of Wantagh.

Macchietto bowled the fifth highest game of the tournament when he rolled a 278 in the third game of a 1,282 series and Braum had the eighth highest series with 1,326, including a 276 in the fourth game.

"We missed out for the past two years and we were supposed to be teammates on the team the last few years," Macchietto said. "I’m just glad that COVID is going down so we were able to bowl together."

"I loved the atmosphere and the environment," Braum said. "I think we came up here and we had a chance and did the best we could and I’m beyond proud of this team. This was one of the most fun weekends ever."

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