A year ago the Niagara Falls boys bowling team won the NFL Kickoff Tournament. However that early season success didn’t necessarily carry on through the rest of the season. The boys finished in 4th place overall with an 8-6 record. This year the team is ready to put 2015-16 behind them and focus on a league title.
They will have some key ingredients returning to help carry the load. Senior Matt Bellavia, sophomore Nathan Papiernik, freshman Trevor Watts and junior Cortez Bradberry are four bowlers returning that should be counted on to lead the Wolverines. “With all of our starters returning, we hope to compete for the NFL Title and make a run at the Section VI title” head coach Ed Ventry said.
Four of the five starters are 10th graders or younger. They also have an 8th grader in Brian Templeton who is returning for his second season. Along with Watts, the two youngsters will have pivotal roles in 2016-17 and will be relied upon if they are to make a late season run.
The Lady Wolverines are used to winning. They’ve won five consecutive NFL Championships. Their top returning bowlers are sophomore Aleigha Gray and freshman McKenzie Gilmore. Angela Gabriele is gone. When she graduated last spring she left as the most decorated bowler in all of Section VI, for both male and female. She played a huge part in the success they’ve had the past five seasons.
The Lady Wolverines finished in 1st place overall with a 12-1-1 record. They’ll have to contend with key losses in the lineup but Coach Ventry (who coaches the girl’s team as well) says they’ll have to build the program up again. Finishing in the top half of the NFL is one of the goals this season.
Although young, Ventry believes the team can still compete and be a factor in the NFL even though they won’t be considered a favorite. Carly Washcalus returns for a second season, as an 8th grader. Bryanna Watts, Trevor’s younger sister, finished tryouts last week with the 2nd highest average. She is in 7th grade. “We look forward to growing as the year goes on and we expect to be much better in February than we are today” Ventry said. Gabrielle is irreplaceable but “we feel we can rebuild around young ladies like McKenzie, Aleigha and Bryanna.
Both the boys and girls teams practice at the Bowl-O-Drome on Pine Ave. in Niagara Falls. The NFL Kickoff tournament will be held Tuesday, November 29th at Mallwitz’s Island Lanes in Grand Island.
For a schedule of games and scores visit www.nflbowling.com