One look at Julianna Spina and she seems like your typical 15-year-old high schooler. But put a bowling ball in the sophomore’s hands and look out.
“I was pumped today,” said Spina, who was emotional after every spare and strike. “I felt very motivated to win.”
That’s what East Islip girls bowlers usually do when it comes to county championships: win.
Spina rolled a 236 in Games 4 and 6 of an impressive 1,372 series to help East Islip capture back-to-back Suffolk championships Saturday at a packed Sayville Lanes.
The Redmen had a six-game score of 6,486, followed by Middle Country (6,260), Commack (6,115), Longwood (5,853) and Smithtown (5,644), which rounded out the top five.
East Islip’s Julia Bocamazo had a 1,293 series, followed by Melissa Mavrich (1,281), Lauren Christie (1,265) and Jenny Murphy (1,224). Amanda Kreush bowled a 972 in the final five games, after Natalie Mavrich had a 153 Game 1.
It’s little surprise that the Redmen advance to the state tournament March 4-5 in Rochester. Three of the top eight girls Suffolk bowlers by average, and five of the top 14, were from East Islip.
“The girls are just looking to keep our tradition going,” said East Islip coach Harold Cooley, whose program has won three of the last four county titles. “Every year it gets harder and harder, because everyone keeps improving.”
Speaking of improving, consider Spina, who was East Islip’s fourth-best bowler by average during the regular season, but bowled a six-game championship and team-best series of 1,372. Spina’s series number is even more impressive considering that the best boys bowler for East Islip was her brother, James, who had a 1,366 series (six pins less than Julianna).
Senior Vinny Altman missed one pin on his 12th and final throw of Game 3 and ended with a 299 high game and a 1,356 series, as East Islip captured the boys Suffolk title.
Redmen senior Matthew Waldron added a 1,344 series, and Justin Orobello had a 1,327. Anthony Valente had a 912 in four games, and freshman Sonny Pico added a 425 in two games for East Islip (6,730). Middle Country was second (6,512) followed by Longwood (6,397), Commack (6,335) and Lindenhurst (6,287).
Individually, Longwood senior James Dunn was the top boys bowler with a 1,466 series, including a 257 in Game 6. But the day belonged to East Islip.
“I don’t know if other teams thought we could win [the title], but, obviously, we knew we could win it,” James Spina said. “Once we got the lead, I knew we wouldn’t lose.”
He was right. East Islip sat in first place after a 1,214 opening game and never faltered.
“This is just amazing that in my first year as a starter we won counties and now send two of our seniors to states,” Valente said. “I couldn’t feel any better.”