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By Brian Fees
Southern Tier Sports Report
SYRACUSE — When Emily Huntley found out she was second in the state she didn’t even truly believe it.

“I didn’t know where I was standing wise until I was done and everyone was telling me,” Huntley said. “I didn’t believe it honestly.

“Honestly, I didn’t believe it because a lot of the other girls I knew that were there, I didn’t believe I beat them. I still don’t believe it. But, it’s really nice to know I bowled the best I could to get myself to second place.”

Huntley shot a 1,326 for six games to take second. Eliana Occhino of Section 3 won at 1,364 in the individual portion of the NYSPHSAA Bowling Championships at Strike N' Spare Lanes.

Section 4 was third as a team at 6,269, just 15 pins behind Section 6 that won at 6,284.

After a slow start for Section 4, they shot 993 the first game, 147 pins back, they heated up.

“In the end of the second, beginning of the third, we really picked it up and then I don’t know what happened,” Huntley said. “Maybe more transition, but we started to fall again at the end of the third game.”

Huntley shot 206 and 214 for the first two games, then got hot the third game and had a 266. That was big for Huntley going into the second set of three games.

“It did (help), I knew if I did end up having a rough game I would still have that big game to pick me up and I would get back into it,” Huntley said.

For Huntley being at states a year ago helped with some of the nerves of states.

“Going into it I felt a little less stressed, honestly,” Huntley said. “Just because I knew who I was bowling with and I knew we would be in a good spot.

“It helped a lot because I knew how it was going to be and I knew what to expect. It helped with my worries and thoughts.”

Early on it took a little time to adjust to the lanes at Strike N’ Spare Lanes in Syracuse.

“They (the lanes) definitely reacted different than I expected,” Huntley said. “Which, honestly, it wasn’t hard. I just got into my head a little too much, but then I got out of it.”

The lanes were drier the second series of games, but the lane conditions didn’t seem to affect Huntley as much. As a left-handed bowler, she takes different approaches than the right-handers do.

“I do better on set lanes and if there were no leftie, because they (opposing teams) didn’t have any lefties, so if there were no lefties, that was kind of a set place for me.”

Overall Huntley thought both her, and the team bowled better than the actual score.

“I feel like I did better than my scores showed personally,” Huntley said. “Team wise, I feel like we did really good, but the same thing I feel like we did really good, but the same thing I feel like we did better than our scores showed.”

Huntley shot 206, 214 and 266 for 686 for the first three games, she then shot 189, 237 and 214 for the next three games, for 640 for the next three games for a total of 1326. She averaged 221.00 for the day. Only the top two finishers on the day averaged 220 and above.

Huntley’s 266 was tied for the second highest game on the day.

As a team Section 4 shot 993, 1,058 and 1,122 for a 3,173 for the first three games. They then shot 978, 1,083 and 1,035 for a 3,096 for the total of 6,269.

It was different, and fun, for Huntley bowling with the other Section 4 bowlers.

“It definitely was different, because obviously we have our different ways of bowling in matches, we all figured out how to bowl with each other, even though we all bowl differently.”

For Huntley the hard thing about states was knowing it’s her last time bowling for Horseheads.

“I think the main reason this was so saddening to me was the fact the people I bowled with for six years and Mr. Micknich, my coach for six years, it sucked realizing it was my last time with them, but at least it’s not my last time bowling overall.”

Huntley will continue her bowling in college at Alvernia.

“I’m really excited, I definitely could see better competition and see how much better I can get with the competition,” she said.

For Huntley a lot of the top bowlers she started bowling against in Section 4 graduated over the past few years and she became one of the upperclassmen. It will be different in college with more experienced bowlers that she can likely learn from.

“With schools around me, most of the really good people I would bowl against have graduates, so bowling against some of the girls who are just starting or are less experienced,” she said. “I think it will be really exciting (in college), maybe pick up some things they do that will help me.”

Alvernia just felt like the right fit for Huntley.

“There coach reached out to us during Junior Gold and we really enjoyed them and they are starting a new program,” Huntley said. “The coach was mentioning how she was getting some kids from junior gold. I plan on forensic sciences for my major and their forensic science program is really good, and since they have bowling, and my major, and not too far away it felt like the right fit.”

Huntley is excited to come in to a program that’s starting out and see what she can do.

“I hope I can help out the program a little bit, and if I do what I’ve been doing this season, maybe recruit more people, high school bowlers, to come to the team,” Huntley said.

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