Area bowlers on a roll entering postseason
Before this week, the best series that Cassie Berry had ever shot was around a 620.
The idea of shooting a 700 series wasn't something that was even on her mind. At least it wasn't until Thursday afternoon.
The Notre Dame junior from Towanda started off her day with a 264 during their match against Waverly, and she followed it up with a 244 game.
Somewhere in the middle of that second game she started to sense something special was happening.
"Probably the middle of the second game I started to think about it," she said. "I had 264 the first game and in the middle of the second game I thought something might happen."
What happened was the highest series that anyone has found documented in the IAC, a 765 game, which concluded with a 257 to round out the series.
"I never even thought of it," Berry said of shooting 700. "I thought maybe it would happen next year."
With one big series Berry went from a good bowler, to a bowler everyone at the state qualifier will be keeping an eye on.
"It kind of makes me nervous," she said after shooting a 613 at the IAC Championships on Saturday. "There's a lot more pressure after that."
While there is now more pressure, there is also added confidence for Berry.
"It means a lot," she said. "It makes me realize what I can do."
And, what Berry hopes she can do is make it to the state meet.
"I know I have to go and shoot good," she said of next week's state qualifier. "I just have to keep my head in it and bowl good."
Making it to the state qualifier last year was the first step, now Berry is ready to take another big step.
"Last year really made things a lot easier," she said. "After being at the state qualifier last year, that helps me."
Watching some of the scores the boys put up this year, including Alex Sherman of Barton shooting a 300 and an 800 series this year, Berry was happy to put the girls on the map.
"The girls haven't gotten a lot this year," she said.
And, while she matched Sherman as the top series in the league this year, she's hoping the two of them also match each other in getting to states.
"Hopefully it's me and Alex making it to states," she said.
A SERIES TO REMEMBER FOR POTUCEK
Right from the start Tioga's Chris Potucek could not miss on Tuesday night.
Bowling against Edison the Tioga star started out with six straight strikes in the first game. After a spare in the seventh Potucek struck out to end with a 279 game.
As big as the first game was, it was just the opening act for what Potucek had in store.
The second game began with 11 straight strikes and only a nine pin on the final shot separated Potucek from a 300 game. However, nothing was going to stop Potucek from his first 800 series.
"I have never been at 570 for two games," Potucek said. "I knew if I could get there I had a big chance at 800, and that's what I was trying to do."
Potucek hopes that what he did on Tuesday is something he can duplicate at the state qualifier.
"I know I can shoot that score now," he said. "Hopefully I can do that again and get myself and the team to states."
For Potucek the goal is to get the team to states and beating defending two-time state qualifier champion Waverly last week showed what Tioga could do.
"It's a big boost," he said. "Especially because of the rivalry we have with Waverly in every sport. It was big, but we have to remember it was just another match."
While that win was nice and the 800 series was special, Potucek knows what matters is the state qualifier.
"It's a huge goal to try and get to states," he said. "I've been battling for it for four years. I want to make it as an individual or a team, but especially as a team."
Over the years Potucek has had plenty of experience at the state qualifiers, but he's always come up just short.
"The last four years I've been there and last year I missed it by 11 pins," he said. "I just have to keep my head in the game."
HOPING FOR A THREE-PEAT
Two straight years the Waverly Wolverines have left the state qualifier as champions, earning a spot in the state meets.
However, a lot has changed this year.
There are a lot of new faces, and a lot of familiar faces have graduate.
One face that remains is Mason Beard and he knows there is a lot on his shoulders this year.
"There is a lot of pressure," he said. "I always have had a few guys to look up to and this year there's a lot more on me. There is a lot more pressure, but I like it."
While the names have changed at Waverly, Beard knows that the expectations remain the same.
"Mr. G (coach Pete Girolamo) always says we are not losing people, we are reloading," Beard said. "We have won two years in a row and everyone knows we are trying to get our third. We still have the talent to win it, we just have to bowl well."
It's easy to start wondering what other teams are doing, but Beard knows that he needs to focus on himself and the Waverly Wolverines.
"I catch myself sometimes looking at other people's scores," he said. "There are some people who have thrown some very good scores and I look at what some other teams have done, but I know I shouldn't do that. We still are capable of bowling well and we have to do that."
On Saturday the Wolverines topped the field by 198 pins at the IAC Championships and Beard knows that's a good sign.
"It's a good confidence booster for us to win," he said. "But, we didn't have to win it today. It's nice to win, and it's good to get a good score, but we need to bowl well at the qualifier."
The one thing Beard knows that he did need on Saturday was the high-series of 764 he shot.
"It helps me, it really helps me to throw a good score like that," he said. "I have been in a little bit of a slump and that is a big help."