FULTON — After placing first and second at the Section III shootout competition on Feb. 13, Fulton’s Lexi Ingersoll and Mitch Donaldson both qualified for the New York State Bowling Championship Tournament.
The preparation for states, however, might have be stretched longer after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced the indefinite postponing of all winter championships due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19.
The state tournament for bowling was scheduled to be at the AMF Strike-N-Spare Lanes in Mattydale this weekend. Executive Director Robert Zayas confirmed the postponing Thursday afternoon.
Luckily for Ingersoll and Donaldson, training hasn’t been boring since the pair has been friends for a while.
Both bowlers have been part of the team for four years, despite Ingersol being a sophomore and Donaldson being a junior.
“They’re friends in school. They’ve been friends for a long time,” Coach Mike Perry said. “They have that experience behind them and have the bond of being together for so long.”
Ingersoll averaged a 662 per set during the regular season, and a 207 during individual games. Her highest set score came early in the season on Dec. 4 in a match at Liverpool, totaling a 728 (226, 268, 234). The game score of 268 was also her highest game score of the season.
She was named first-team All-League in the Salt City Athletic Conference and served as a captain for the second season for the Red Raiders.
If the state tournament does eventually happen, it would be Ingersoll’s fourth appearance in as many years. Last season, she averaged a 193 in the six-game series at states, helping Section III place seventh in the tournament.
“I’m excited to go back yet another time. I’m very excited because I have a really good team this year,” Ingersoll said. “I’m hoping to take home a title for Section III.”
During the shootout, Ingersoll averaged a 225 en route to her victory knocking down a total of 1,350 pins in the six-game series.
“That was my second time having to qualify through the shootout, and that was my second time winning the shootout,” she said. “I’m glad that I was fortunate enough to win both times I’ve gone.”
Perry added that Ingersoll is sometimes like a second coach on the team.
“She just wants to help everybody. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of the girls or one of the boys,” Perry said. “If I’m helping with someone else, she’ll step up. It’s great to have her on the team with her experience.”
During the regular season, Donaldson averaged a 221 during his games and a set average of 664. His highest set score came on Dec. 10 at Central Square, shooting a 768 (257, 267, 244) in the three games. On Jan. 17, Donaldson was 13 pins away from a perfect game, bowling a 287 against Cicero-North Syracuse.
Donaldson was also named to the first-team All-League in the SCAC. This would’ve been his first state tournament.
“You don’t know what to expect until you get there. Some days it might be crazy and the ball isn’t hooking at all, and others it might be the opposite,” he said. “Just learning from these past weeks of training, it’s definitely going to help with my average and where I’ll place next year.”
His second-place finish in the Section III shootout came down to the last four pins, averaging a 232 in the six-game series knocking down a total of 1,395 pins.
“Consistency was the main part (of the shootout),” Donaldson said. “It all came down to who was the best of the best.”
Donaldson improved a lot in between his sophomore and junior year, increasing his average score by close to 30 pins, Perry mentioned.
“(Donaldson) also is an employee of the bowling center. Not only is he working there, but he just seems to be there all the time,” he said. “He puts in the hard work every day.”
Perry added that both players have a mindset that is always about improving, even when it comes down to the most basic skills.
“They just want to bowl and get better. It’s not me having to push them at all,” he said. “They want to win. They want to be the best they can be.”
With the state tournament’s fate up in the air, Perry has been able to take the time to make sure his student-athletes are not only excelling on the lanes, but in the classroom as well, making sure “they are set for whatever their plans are after high school.”
“That’s my goal as a teacher,” he said. “From the bowling aspect, I hope they can get a scholarship that will help them with whatever it is they’re going to pursue after high school.”