In news that will surprise few, East Islip is again the favorite among Suffolk girls bowling teams. The Big Red Machine churns out elite bowlers each year without fail. The Lady Redmen return with a loaded roster led by Tara Ernst (203 average) and Nancy Baione (192). Sophomore Lena Sorrentino led Long Island with a 215.2 average and this year could challenge the record of 218.4, held by former teammate Ali Martin.
Middle Country, however, is the reigning county champion after upsetting East Islip in the county tournament and coming within 47 pins of a state title. Middle Country returns Melissa Sherwin and Kelly Skalacki, who, along with up-and-comers Sarah Harley and Eva Meyer, should keep the Cougarines in contention.
Longwood, third in the county meet, has a talented young group led by Brianna Meyer (187) and Kylie Spillett. Islip lost its best two bowlers but will remain competitive with Lori Greenblatt and Angelina Macaluso. Patchogue-Medford, the 2008 champion, should contend with Zulfiye Bademci. Commack has talent, led by Alana Norotsky and Jackie Castelli. Sachem North, with all-star Kathryn Rivera (193), North Babylon, with Abigail Casale, and Comsewogue, with Deanna Clark, will all be in the mix.
Division is the team to beat in Nassau, having gone undefeated the last two years. The Blue Dragons are led by Erica Schneider (195), Michelle Fitzpatrick (190) and Colleen O'Neil (185).
But not far behind, if at all, is Sewanhaka District. The Indians placed second in the counties and the best bowlers were eighth-graders. Danielle Roca, Rebecca Gotterbarn and Kristina Genova have improved greatly, coach Jay Hegi said. Juniors Amanda Estevez and Gerilynn Ross will provide "veteran" leadership.
Hicksville, behind All-County senior Alyssa Hesse and Kaycie Gamblin, is a contender. As is Clarke, which had the fourth-highest team average. The Rams are led by Brooke Wood, Carlie Mendoza and Jessica Spindell. East Meadow, with Erica Tuthill, and Wantagh will compete.
In the CHSAA, Holy Trinity rolled to an undefeated season and returns six seniors, including Jennifer O'Connor and twins Angela and Jen Valveri.
Kellenberg, which reached the final, features stars Monica Weitekamp and Ashley Simpson, and talented sophomore Mary-Catherine Zehnder. St. John the Baptist, a semifinalist, is led by Madison Gervasi and Katelynn Coon. Sacred Heart, in its third year, and St. Anthony's could be sleepers.