By Vanessa Langdon
For Your Niskayuna
NISKAYUNA — A varsity bowling team led by freshman and sophomores made its presence known at the Class A sectionals on Feb. 9, finishing fourth in a field of 21 teams, far ahead of its 14th place showing a year earlier.
The team’s focus on goals allowed it to finish so strong.
“Just this year alone we have grown leaps and bounds,” coach Laura Favata said. “Just by setting goals we finished ninth in the Suburban Council tournament and then to finish fourth overall in sectionals just shows just by setting goals how far you can actually come.”
The team went into sectionals with the goal of coming in the top half after their less than satisfying 14th place finish last year.
“Our goal in sectionals was for everyone to average 180, it would have been a good day if we had bowled 2700 and we were at 2818 by the end of the morning — they absolutely surpassed that goal,” she said. “In the afternoon our only goal was to hit 2700 and they shot 2905.”
With such a young team, Favata is hopeful for the future.
“By setting reasonable goals and knowing and believing, working hard in the off-season, I think we’ll be a team to contend with in the near future,” she said.
Favata’s son, Dominick, was one of her top two bowlers for sectionals — he received a sectional patch for the high triple of the day and high single of the day.
“Every bowler bowls six games so he had the highest block of three games whether it was the morning or the afternoon and he shot 702 in the afternoon and his high game was 289 the highest in the whole section that day,” his mother said.
The sophomore wasn’t satisfied with his morning finish but was able to get back into the game in the afternoon.
“The first half I just bowled really bad, I got into my head,” the younger Favata said. “But in the afternoon I bowled really well and I got the high triple.”
The atmosphere at sectionals is what he believes allowed him to get out of his head and into the match.
“The second half we were all bowling more as a team rather than an individual so If I missed a shot I would cheer for someone else to pick it up which kept me in it.”
The team was vocal at sectionals — cheering each other on after each shot, something that was a new experience for the young team.
“We’re normally quiet and passive,” he said. “In the future we definitely plan on being louder.”
Favata has been the backbone of the young Niskayuna team, according to David Mennillo, whose grandson is on the team.
“He’s one of the most talented young bowlers in the area,” Mennillo said. “Dominick is a very talented bowler and the sky is the limit for him.”
Mennillo attends every practice and match that his job allows and sees the potential in the young team.
“I knew they had a chance to do well but I have to be honest we didn’t think they’d do this well,” Mennillo said of the sectionals finish. “It was special and it ended a nice season for the boys and I think it will springboard them to next year.”
The team will celebrate their sectionals finish at their team banquet in the beginning of March.
“Our focus as a team was very important where probably during the season we were probably more individually focused,” said the younger Favata. “So if we focus more as a team in the future we’ll definitely excel.”