The St. Anthony’s boys and girls bowling teams had been in a bit of a championship drought in the CHSAA. The boys last won the league title in 1994, while the girls last captured the crown in 2007.
It was only fitting that both programs ended their drought just minutes apart Thursday night at Wantagh Lanes.
Dominic Forte rolled a 202 in Game 2 and a 221 in Game 3 of a 567 series to lead St. Anthony’s to a 7-2 win over Chaminade, and Elizabeth Gallant bowled a 180 in Game 2 and a 183 in Game 3 of a 493 series for the Friars in their 5-4 victory over St. Dominic. The boys finished about 10 minutes before the girls and walked over a few lanes after their celebration to cheer on their classmates.
"The people in this program are truly amazing," Gallant said. "Coming back to the team after you make a good shot and seeing all the smiles and all the cheers, is just a great feeling."
"When people walk into St. Anthony’s they are going to see that plaque for 2022 on the wall and it’s just really special," Forte said.
The girls won by a total of 28 pins after falling 11 pins short to Kellenberg in last season’s final.
"To win this championship by pins is kind of like a redemption from last year," coach Deborah Fahey said. "I asked a lot of these girls today. They showed up and they wanted it."
The boys did not get off to a strong start and dropped the first two match points. Coach Chuck Menzer delivered a strong message to his team after a disappointing first game.
"I gave them a little bit of a football speech. I told the guys that we had to rise to the challenge," Menzer said. "The match was still in front of us at that time, but it was a very poor start. The energy wasn’t there and it was about waking them up. They fought back and we took it away."
Giacomo Marziliano tossed a 557 series for the boys (12-2) and Abby Moore added a 433 series for the girls (9-1). Jess Barayuga had a high game of 174 in Game 2 of a 488 series for St. Dominic (12-2) and Mike Callinan rolled a 212 in Game 3 of a 567 series for Chaminade (11-4).
"When I took the team over four years ago, we went 1-11 and got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs," Menzer said. "These kids came to work every day to get better. We set out to get the one seed, we got it. We set out to be as competitive as possible in the playoffs and be in every single match and compete to the very end and that’s what they did."
"These girls are best buds. They’re always together in school, they’re studying together and are always cheering each other on," Fahey said. "The boys have supported us, and we have supported the boys. So even though it’s two separate teams, we are just a big family. It’s a wonderful experience."