Niagara Gazette —
It's tough to stay at the top in high school sports. Graduations and very, very limited recruiting keep talent pools pretty equal, making it difficult to maintain any sort of dominance in a league, let alone in a Section or at the state level.
That apparently doesn't matter to Niagara Frontier League bowling, where a quick look at the widespread returning talent and youth likely means good things for the future of what has historically been one of Western New York's top leagues.
Local teams will take to the lanes for the first time this season at 3:30 p.m. today in the NFL Kickoff Tournament at Island Lanes. The tournament will mark the start of the year for the defending girls state champions (Niagara Falls), the defending Section VI boys champions (Niagara-Wheatfield) and last year's Section VI Class B boys champs (Lewiston-Porter).
"The NFL has historically been one of the toughest leagues in the area," N-W coach John Boutet said. "When you go through that schedule, it really sets you up well for success at the end of the year."
Both Wolverine teams had good seasons last year, with the girls winning states for the first time in over a decade and the boys finishing a game out of first place in the NFL.
While the girls team lost last year's top bowler Brooke Seiwel and fellow graduated senior Megan Maurer — both of whom are bowling at Niagara County Community College — they return two top-3 finishers from last year's state tournament in junior Haley Johnson and freshman Angela Gabriele.
The team doesn't lack experience, with four returning juniors (Johnson, Justine Lansberry, Staci Biondi and Kaylee Narkiewicz) and two freshman who bowled on the varsity team last year (Gabriele and Nina Bianco).