It’s a sight that high school bowling watchers in the lower Hudson Valley are accustomed to seeing: The strikes, the spares, the cheers, the French braids, and eventually, the celebration.
North Rockland’s girls bowling team is a dynasty unlike any other.
The Red Raiders captured their 10th consecutive Section 1 championship at Fishkill Bowl on Monday, 620 pins ahead of second-place finisher Mahopac.
It wasn’t as dominating a performance as in years past, but it was dominating nonetheless. The Red Raiders had built up a 362-pin lead after three games heading into the lunch break, allowing coach Joanie Nelson to experiment with her lineup.
“It’s tough to be on North Rockland when we are strong, and it’s tough, sometimes, to make that starting lineup,” said Nelson, who has now led the Red Raiders to a sectional title in every season of the program’s existence. “I do try to mix it in and get other players in, even though I was committed to my four seniors.”
In appropriate fashion, seniors Nicole Talamini, Erica Novak, Erica Desch and Victoria Garcia — all of whom have stuck together on the varsity team since eighth grade — finished third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
The “Core Four,” as they have been dubbed, will look to lead North Rockland to the program’s first-ever state championship on March 1, when the Red Raiders travel to AMF Babylon Lanes.
“When we went to a tournament in Poughkeepsie, they said that was the state (pattern) and that was a really difficult shot for us,” said Talamini, who shot 1,205 for the six-game block on Monday. “Since we’ve bowled on it before, I think that we can really learn to adjust to it since we’re used to the pattern.”
The Section 1 individual all-star team, composed of the top three averages in the section and the top three finishers at the sectional tournament, will join North Rockland on Long Island. The all-stars bowl on March 2.
If a bowler is on both the high-average and high-series lists at sectionals — such as average leader and now two-time sectional champ Jeanna Brown of Mahopac — or if she is a member of the winning team, her spot is given to the next bowler in line.
Brown, who averaged 209.88 during the regular season, successfully defended her crown by shooting 1,288 for the six-game block. The junior was named Journal News Westchester/Putnam bowler of the year each of the last two seasons.
Joining Brown on Long Island will be teammate Kayla Mancusi, Katie Owens of Pearl River, Jasmine Berrios of Lakeland, Alicia Assalone of Arlington and Jessica Torres of Tappan Zee.