Joseph Dolezal of Wheatley and Morgan Winchell of Sewanhaka pose...

Joseph Dolezal of Wheatley and Morgan Winchell of Sewanhaka pose for a portrait after the Nassau bowling individual championships and state qualifiers at AMF Garden City Lanes on Saturday. Credit: James Escher

Joseph Dolezal and Morgan Winchell have two things in common.

They both have a strong mentality, and now both can call themselves Nassau individual bowling champions.

Dolezal, a junior at Wheatley, threw a 1,265 six-game series to win the boys championship. Winchell, a freshman at Sewanhaka, rolled a 1,194 series to win the girls title at Garden City Lanes.

“My mental game has developed a lot since other tournaments,” Dolezal said. “I’m a golfer. I play a lot of golf. It’s really taught me, you have to be patient. There’s always a shot. You’re never out of it until it’s over. I definitely felt like my mental game was there today.”

Winchell, who was down 113 pins after the first two games to last season's individual champion Amanda Morris of East Meadow, rolled a 190 in Game 3 to enter the halfway point down 72 pins.

Winchell stepped away from the other competitors to focus and do her “own thing” — and it worked.

She rolled a 244 in Game 4, the highest score of the tournament amongst the girls, and added a 223 in Game 5 to take a 36-pin lead.

“I was just trying to keep my mental as good as possible,” Winchell said. “Last year, it was hard. I practiced more and got myself ready mentally.”

She claimed the championship after throwing five strikes and bowling a 191 in Game 6. By winning the title she secured a trip to the state championships on March 10-12 at Strike ’N Spare Lanes in Syracuse.

Sewanhaka head coach Jay Hegi has been to the state tournament for about two straight decades and will help Winchell prepare for her first time at the event.

“It’s going to be a great experience for her,” Hegi said. “She just missed last year. Enjoy the experience. You’re already a winner. The rest is icing on the cake.”

Morris (1,151), Division's Erica DeJesus (1,100), MacArthur teammates Holland Boder (1,034) and Johanna Finck (930) and Massapequa's Mackenzie Collin (929) will compete together with Winchell on the Nassau All-Star team at the state championships.

For Dolezal and Wheatley head coach Mindie Schwartz, it’ll be their first time at the state championships.

Schwartz has coached Dolezal for five years (since middle school), so she doesn’t think he should change his approach in Syracuse.

“Look at what his balls do when they hit the lane and make adjustments off of that,” Schwartz said of the game plan. “Bowling upstate is no different than bowling down here. Just trust your eyes and trust your judgment.”

Dolezal trailed after Game 4 but rolled a 229 in Game 5, his highest of the tournament, to move into first place. He rolled a 226 in Game 6 to secure the victory.

“I like to see where I am to know where I have to go, what I have to place, [what] I have to improve on,” Dolezal said. “But I try to stay in the present, play it like a marathon. I feel like last year I got ahead of myself too much.”

Clarke's Joe Carroll (1,212), Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK's Brandon Nanoo (1,207), East Meadow's Anthony Merrow (1,207), Mineola's Billy Grotheer (1,176) and Hicksville's Sean Kaim (1,171) will join Dolezal on the Nassau All-Star team that will compete a state championship next month.

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