Jeffrey Jaurez shared before yesterday's Nassau championship tournament, via social media, that he wasn't concerned about his own performance or seeing his name in a newspaper headline. The senior already had accrued enough individual accolades. His sole focus, he wrote, was helping win the bowling championship East Meadow "should have won a long time ago."
The Jets fulfilled what Juarez posted. The superstar didn't star, but East Meadow owns the crown. After years of being tabbed the favorite, only to have regular-season dominance dissipate into disappointment, the Jets earned their first county title since 2006.
"This had been expected of us for years and we could never finish," said Juarez, an All-Long Islander in his sixth varsity season. "But this time we were clutch."
Better than that, actually. They were consistently excellent, leading from start to finish.
Senior Mike Siska rolled a 1,350 six-game series -- second best in the tournament -- and his sophomore brother, David Siska, shot a 1,336. Stephen Villani had a 1,287 and Juarez a 1,285. The Jets toppled 6,463 pins, finishing ahead of Hicksville (6,127) and MacArthur (5,961).
East Meadow will compete in the state tournament on March 1 at Babylon Lanes.
That the team thrived without Juarez on his A-game was testament to this team's collective talent and its mettle.
"There's been a weight on our shoulders, but I thought this group was more relaxed," Jets coach Andrew Ghirardi said. "We came out on fire with two big first games and just built off that momentum."
David Siska had a 267 in Game 1 as East Meadow opened with a 1,149 for an early 135-pin lead. Mike Siska's 265 helped them create a cushion in Game 4, and the Jets put up a 1,030 in the sixth to seal it.
"Once we got off to the good start, we started believing it's our year," Mike Siska said. "Ever since we lost to Farmingdale two years ago, by 24 pins, we've felt like we could win it all and that we should."
Division's Brandon Soedarmasto had a tournament-high 1,459. His team, last season, pulled an upset to win the championship, as did Farmingdale the year before. The surprise in this tournament was that were wasn't much of a surprise.
"The best part is how this happened," Juarez said, "how the team came through."
And how East Meadow, now, is the headline.
Sewanhaka District girls: 3-peat
The saying goes: Winners thrive off competition.
Well, Sewanhaka District has won a lot. And they certainly compete a lot -- in the state, in the county, in their league, within their team. And for Kristina Genova, within her own household.
Being a star bowler on a great team isn't quite enough when your twin brother is a star bowler on a great team.
The Indians dominated Saturday at Garden City Lanes, dropping 5,663 pins to capture a third consecutive Nassau championship, and finishing ahead of second-place Bethpage (5,286).
Kristina Genova's 1,329 series was the tournament's best, matching a feat accomplished by her teammates and close friends Rebecca Gotterbarn and Daniele Roca, respectively, the previous two years.
Oh, but there's a bonus point. Genova edged her brother, Nick, competing in the boys' tournament, by a single pin.
"We like to keep track of each other, except he pretends to forget when I do better," Genova said with a grin. To his credit, Nick was congratulatory and even lifted his sister up during her team's celebration. "I'll make sure he doesn't forget this."
What will most be remembered, though, is the Indians' dynasty -- led by seniors Gotterbarn, Roca and Genova -- and its run of three consecutive undefeated league seasons.
"It's a special group," coach Jay Hegi said. "As a parent, you get joy in watching your kids grow up, and as a coach, it's similar watching these girls, who've been on the team since seventh grade, improve and become the three best bowlers in the county."
And the emergence of junior Morgan Roth this season made the Big 3 a Fantastic Four, as the Indians' quartet had the top four regular-season averages in Nassau.
In keeping with that, Roca (1,176), Gotterbarn (1,144) and Roth (1,128) had the third, fourth and fifth best series in this tournament.
Genova's 268 and Roth's 215 helped Sewanhaka District post a 1,022 in Game 5, essentially securing the victory.
Kerro DeLisi rolled a 1,238 for third-place MacArthur and Hicksville's Stephanie Thilbourg shot a 1,105.
Nassau's boys and girls will compete in the county individual tournament on Feb. 8. The top six finishers will comprise the Section VIII all-star team that will compete in the state sectional championships.
"Kristina was amazing today and things like that, everyone being able to do so well, are what makes this team so awesome," Gotterbarn said. "It's always our goal [to win a championship] and when you do it, there's a sense of accomplishment."
Perhaps even more so for Genova, considering the bragging rights and all.