Nicole Karaman had fourth-highest series for Vikings in state Division II...

Nicole Karaman had fourth-highest series for Vikings in state Division II tournament after missing last two state events on Friday, March 11, 2022. Credit: Heather Ainsworth

SYRACUSE — Nicole Karaman threw her final ball of the day, turned around with a smile on her face and immediately embraced her teammates after walking off the lane.

It was a day years in the making for the Seaford senior as her team competed in Friday’s state Division II girls bowling tournament at Strike 'N Spare Lanes.

Even though the team fell short of the ultimate goal of winning a state title, finishing seventh with 4,127 pins, it was a day that Karaman and her team will always remember.

"This is the coolest experience ever," Karaman said. "I was supposed to be up here the past few years but it just never worked out. It’s been a long ride for me and these girls are like family to me. Being up here with them is insane."

Karaman had a six-game series of 1,109, fourth highest among all bowlers on the day, including a 215 in the second game and a 211 in the sixth game. Newark of Section V won the team championship with 5,385 pins.

In 2020 the Seaford team was on the bus heading to Syracuse for the championship but it was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year she broke her ankle a week before the county championship, which Clarke won to end Seaford’s three-year reign as champions.

"To keep our tradition going feels so good," Karaman said. "The pieces of the puzzle are fitting together and every year it feels better to be able to continue it."

Five of Seaford’s seven bowlers are freshman, only one of whom had experience bowling before this past summer, coach Scott Nastazio said.

"They love this sport," Nastazio said. "Most of them started bowling this year and to be here in their first year of bowling means we can only get better."

Kaitlyn Doerbecker, the team's other senior, bowled a high game of 133 in the fourth game. Freshman Joanna Bello had a high game of 164 in the fifth game and freshman Ava Caruso had a 159 in the first game.

"They have all improved so much and stepped up," Karaman said. "It’s crazy to see them going from bowling 50s to bowling 150s and higher. I love helping them every step of the way, it’s so much fun. Just to even get here is crazy."

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