The Ardsley girls’ bowling team wrapped up their season with a runner-up finish at the Lower Westchester Regional Tournament at Bowlerland in the Bronx on Feb. 24.

Mamaroneck was the winner with a total of 3362 pins, while the Panthers were second with 3336 and Irvington was third with 3295.

Nicole Griff led Ardsley in the tournament with a total of 850 pins over six games. Her high game was a 154. Liana Cabezas had a total of 772 pins that included a high game of 143. Sophia Mangone added a total of 694 — her best game being a 153.

Mangone, known for her prowess on the softball field as the first baseman for the defending state champions, began bowling this year.

“In fact, this was the only year I could have done bowling because I had been so busy in the past,” Mangone said. “I've always wanted to play on the bowling team; it just so happened that this year actually worked out for me.”

She continued, “I like to play this sport with my friends and I always have. Since I was younger, I would bowl with my family, so now that I had the chance to take the opportunity I decided to play.”

Meanwhile, Griff is a veteran bowler, spinning the ball down the lanes since she was 5 years old.

“I like that people don’t necessarily need to be very athletic to enjoy bowling,” Griff said. “I like it that people can play it leisurely, as well as competitively. In varsity bowling, I love that I am playing for my team, as well as individually.”

Mangone was “happily surprised” by the success of the team.

“I knew we were all talented players and that we had the potential,” she said. “I was very confident that we would do great because every practice we worked hard trying to exceed our highest scores.”

Griff expressed a similar sentiment. 

“I believed that if we put our mind to anything, we can achieve it,” Griff said. “We all tried out hardest and I knew we could place well in the competition.”

As the season progressed, the team grew closer and closer.

“Personally, I started later in the season and all the girls were really welcoming,” Mangone said. “Throughout the season, we started to become closer through practices and games. We would root each other on and were so happy for one another after getting spares, strikes, and getting high scores.”

Griff made sure that all the girls on the team felt they belonged.

“The girls that I didn’t know on the team were freshmen, so I was happy that I made them feel welcomed, as well as give them a few pointers along the way that increased their bowling skills,” Griff said. “I started to become very close to the other girls on the team and I still talk to them. What I love about high school sports is that, in addition to playing a sport, you are also making friendships and meeting people who you didn’t know before, which is very special.” 

Placing second is an accomplishment that Mangone is proud of — for herself and teammates.

“I remember we were falling a little behind and we were nervous that we weren't going to win second place,” she said, “but we dug deep and realized that we could do this, especially with the motivation from coach [Noreen] Degnan.”

“Although I didn’t come into the season expecting to place in the section, it was definitely a moment I will never forget,” Griff added. 

Griff was grateful they had the chance to compete.

“I was beyond excited that we were able to have a season,” she said. “With Covid and all the events going on right now, I definitely did not think we would have a season. When we found out we were going to have a shortened season, that didn’t stop me from being happy because I knew a shorter season was better than no season.”

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