This is how they roll

Colonie Central High School girls bowling team practice

By Casey Normile

For most people bowling is a hobby. A way to hang with friends, a reason to hit up the snack bar.

For a handful of local high schools, though, bowling is a sport. Columbia, Lansingburgh, Niskayuna, Schenectady, and RCS are among the local schools that have teams.

But the best of the bunch could be Colonie Central High School. The girls and boys bowling teams there have combined for three state championships (and one state runner-up) over the past three seasons.

And they don't even get a pep rally.

colonie_high_school_bowling_girls_team.jpg

"We have an amazing bowling league," says Paul Grugin, who's coached the girls varsity team for the past ten years, of the high school. "I think we're the only Section II school to ever win state."

Stopping by one of the girls team's practice recently, the tone is playful -- there's joking -- but it really is practice. There's a lot of focus on form. Grugin explains it's not just talent that's made Colonie successful, "It's that every girl loves this game." And they're willing to put in the work.

"Sometimes when I get home from bowling at night, I think, 'I really want to go bowling,'" says Amanda Gabriel. She's a junior and has been on the team for three years, but has been playing since the 5th grade. Her season average is 170.

Most of these girls have been playing since childhood and come from bowling families. Amanda Chrzanowski, 13, has been playing since she was eight years old. Her grandfather taught her mom, her mom taught her, and now she's a middle schooler on the high school varsity team. Her average this season: 194.

colonie_high_school_bowling_girls_coaching.jpg

The girls have practice four days a week, matches twice a week, and most come in Saturdays and Sundays for extra practice and a travel league. That means most of them spend six days a week bowling at Sunset Lanes on Central Ave.

And these girls aren't using rentals. They have uniforms, the shoes, and anywhere from two to five bowling balls. One ball for weight, one for spares, and a few that depend on how much oil is on the lane. This is more than a hobby.

"Of course bowling is a sport. I mean, it's not as physically demanding as football, but I still go home sore. We work on our form, we practice all the time," says Cassidhe Whalen, a senior who has been bowling since middle school. And the school is supportive -- there are banners outside the school touting the championships. It's just that bowling doesn't have quite the profile of some other sports. Says Whalen: "If anyone bugs me about it I say, 'Well, we win state championships, does the football team?'"

colonie_high_school_bowling_girls_team_lane.jpg

And just like other sports, there's the possibility of college scholarships. Because in some states -- especially in the south -- colleges and universities are serious about their bowling programs. "I've already had two girls from previous years receive full scholarships to Arkansas State for bowling," Grugin says. "And I have at least four girls now that could get a full ride to school."

That's still a ways off. There's the current season to focus on first. So far, the Colonie girls team is undefeated.

"They're young, but they're fully capable and they've got the talent to go to state again this year," says Grugin.

Comments

A Lansingburgh student scored a perfect game yesterday.

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Where the wild things aren't... yet

The reported mountain lion sightings near Cambridge in Washington County recently is a familiar story. [Post-Star] Mountain lions? Here? In 2011 The US Fish and... (more)

Figuring Sh!t Out with Amy Biancolli

Amy Biancolli is a self-described mom, ink-stained wretch, and survivor of suicides. We would describe her as a gifted and thoughtful writer with an ability... (more)

In a brewery (not so) far, far away

Lucasfilm -- you know, the production company behind Star Wars -- is challenging a trademark application from Syracuse's Empire Brewing Co. over a beer called... (more)

What's up in the Neighborhood

Among the topics in this most recent spin around the Capital Region's online neighborhood: Ladder No. 1, a different ridge, Chatham, the Walkway over the... (more)

Talking about talking about movies

One of the events at the currently-in-progress Film Columbia that caught our eye is this panel on Saturday about film criticism -- and its lineup:... (more)

Recent Comments

... Let's also lower the city speed limit to 25 while we're at it. Maybe then these morons will not go 45 miles an hour down Washington Avenue. Why should cities surrender themselves to the automobile and automobile drivers? - the very forces that killed cities to begin with. ...

Drawing: Postmodern Jukebox at Troy Music Hall

...has 58 comments, most recently from Ro

Where to sell old gold and silver?

...has 8 comments, most recently from SteveO

Albany Common Council passes red light camera ordinance: comments, votes, thoughts

...has 29 comments, most recently from Joe A

Help fixing wedding photos?

...has 11 comments, most recently from SB

St. Vincent at Upstate Concert Hall

...has 8 comments, most recently from KatherineSass