Bowling is woven deep into the fabric of the City of Tonawanda. It’s the kind of sport that reflects the hardworking, blue collar approach to life that resonates throughout the C.O.T.
It’s the kind of sport that families share through the generations.
When you consider all of that it’s no wonder at all that Tonawanda High School has a rich tradition of success and a program that never seems to have a down season.
“Tonawanda is a bowling town. It’s always been,” boys’ head coach Daryl Macro said. “Being here at the Tonawanda Bowling Center, it just shows the consistency and with the families, too. I’ve got families (on the teams). Older brothers and sisters who’ve got younger brothers and sisters, like a seventh grader Branden Simonds, the final Simonds and they’ve been around here for seven-eight years. It’s a family and it’s a bowling community and that does help.”
As the Warriors and Lady Warriors entered the 2016-17 season their goals are lofty ones and with good reason. With the seasons they are coming off of there is no reason to doubt that anything is possible.
In 2015-16, the boys’ and girls’ both the Section VI Class C champions and second place finishers in ECIC Division IV.
Focused from Day One, Tonawanda swept the championships at the Maryvale Bowling Boosters Pre-Season Tournament on Nov.28, with both teams taking first place.
Co-captains Marina McClure (632) and Dayna Daugherty (621) finished in the top two spots in the girls bracket, with Victoria Kurdziel coming in at the No.8 spot with a 575 series as the Lady Warriors toppled a total of 2,824 pins.
Freshman Jon Kurdziel (699), co-captain Aaron Simonds (651) and junior Colton Simonds (650) all had top 10 finishes for the boys’ en route to their win. Tonawanda mowed down 3,141 pins, beating out second place Orchard Park (2,996) by 145 pins.
“Our No.1 goal is to make states. To win states,” Macro said. “That’s obvious. You want to go to states and you want to win. It’s always been a team goal in a season. To go to states and win. If that comes up short we still fall back on our Class C championships. We feel like we’re the best small school in WNY. The goals are high for our team. We have the talent and we have the bowlers to do it.”
Aaron Simonds and fellow senior Adam Moore will serve as co-captains for the boys.
Macro feels these two veteran leaders are the perfect captains for the team for multiple reasons.
“They set the tone for the team as far as their composure,” Macro said. “That doesn’t mean that they have to be high score or high series. Setting a good example at practice, working with the kids and keeping everybody focused.”
Moore said that he knows it’s on the shoulders of he and Simonds to lead. “Me and Aaron are definitely laying down the law this year,” Moore said. “We’re not taking any unacceptable behavior. I think that definitely showed in the first tournament. We took it very seriously and we came out and got our goals.”
The rest of the Warriors lineup features junior Anthony D’Arrigo, sophomore Nathan Amenta, freshmen Tyler Wells and Matt Forsha, eighth grader Brian Stone and seventh grader Brendan Simonds.
“What I like about my team is it’s balanced,” Macro said.
The Lady Warriors, finishing just behind division winner Cheektowaga, did not lose anyone to graduation. So they fully expect the sky to be the ceiling this season.
“Coming into the season I was really excited because I didn’t lose anybody,” Lady Warriors coach Josh Barber said.
“I have a full returning team, which is really nice because they all have that (varsity) experience. We didn’t get off to the best start at the Maryvale Tournament, but they were able to turn it right around, fought themselves right back into it and ended up winning it. So it showed a lot of perseverance.”
Barber said that once again McClure and Daugherty have taken it upon themselves to be the vocal leaders the team needs and that he couldn’t be more pleased with both of them.
“Honestly, I think the tournament overall represents how the season could go because we might start off a little slow, with new girls and getting them comfortable,” Daugherty said. “But I think we’re gonna end it big and have a great season.”
Kelsey Pohzehl, Olivia Oravec, Kaylee Priest, Sarah Perez, Rebecca McClure, Melissa Large, Larissa Farrell, Amya Bishop and Emily Henderson complete the Lady Warriors roster.
“Our goals are high this year,” Barber said. “We’re going putting everything in this season. I’ve told them and I think that they already know that this is our year to make some noise.”