Division’s Mitchell Tear had a 234 high game and said,...

Division’s Mitchell Tear had a 234 high game and said, “We didn’t do well but had a lot of fun” on Friday, March 10, 2023. Credit: Mark McGauley

SYRACUSE — Mitchell Tear completed Division’s season-long goal. The senior reached the state tournament just a year after placing second in the Nassau team championships.

The Blue Dragons finished ninth with 5,553 total pins at Strike ’N Spare Lanes. It wasn’t the result they hoped for, but the experience was unforgettable.

“We didn’t do well here but we had a lot of fun,” Tear said. “And that’s what we came to do. Coming here, we’re like, ‘If we’re going to do anything, let’s have fun.’ We’re not really expecting to win, but not disappointed.”

Tear placed 15th individually with a 1,264 total, an average of 210.67 and a high of 234 in his fifth game. In his eyes, it was the appropriate way for his six-year high school bowling career to end.

“I’ve been with these guys for five years now, six years now [for] some of them,” he said. “It’s really a great group of guys. I couldn’t be more happy to be with them. Even though we didn’t do what we wanted to do today, I’m glad it was with these guys.”

Longwood’s Ben Nordstrom shared similar sentiments about his teammates. He’s also graduating from a six-year high school bowling career on a high note. It was his one trip to the state tournament and his team finished sixth with 5,983 pins.

Nordstrom had the eighth- highest individual boys score with 1,298 and an average of 216.33. His top score was 246 in his third game.

The Lions were in fifth at the halftime break, and while coach Doug Dwyer pushed for a top- three finish, the gap was too large. Nordstrom didn’t bother paying attention to the standings. “We couldn’t focus on how far ahead they were,” he said. “We just had to focus on our own game. Making our spares, making good shots and really staying collected. You have to play your own game. You can’t play defense in bowling.’’

This was Dwyer’s second time at the state championships in 20 years coaching Longwood. He invited the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and their families to the tournament for the invaluable experience.

“Think about how many people you know that played high school sports and they never get to go to the playoffs,” Dwyer said. “Going to the state championships is something they’ll never forget.”

Nordstrom appreciated each moment leading up to and during the state championships. It was his favorite time of his six years for Longwood bowling.

“I loved this past month that we had,” he said. “As a team, being able to practice every day on a different shot with my teammates. It’s definitely a great feeling to see them more and more every day and be able to build a much stronger bond between the team. I love these guys.”

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