Saratoga Springs wins first Section II Class A bowling title

SCHENECTADY — Saratoga Springs High School has had its share of standout bowlers through the years, headed by two-time Times Union boys’ bowling Athlete of the Year Hunter Chandler (2019-20), but the Blue Streaks had never won a sectional championship.

That changed Monday afternoon at Boulevard Bowl.

Junior Luke Rupp busted out with a career-high 777 triple in the morning block, and his Saratoga teammates rode that momentum for a 90-pin victory in the Section II Class A boys’ bowling championships.

“I anticipated us being top five,” Saratoga coach Rich Lofink said. “I honestly didn’t think we could win it. I thought we would be super competitive.

“There’s some really good bowling teams here. It’s nice that Luke threw 777, that carries a lot. Expectations were top five. That was my goal, to be honest.”

Buoyed by Rupp’s series, the Blue Streaks posted a 3,173 three-game block (211.5 average per game per player) in the morning, although perennial Class A powers Mohonasen (3,058), Niskayuna (3,044) and Columbia (3,013) were within striking distance , so to speak.

Saratoga started the afternoon with scores of 1,107 and 1,073 to open a 286-pin lead on second-place Columbia heading into the final game. The Streaks finished with only 861, but their 6,214 total easily outdistanced Columbia’s 6,124.

“We bowled great,” Lofink said. “We were trying to give it away at the end. The lanes were breaking down, but they were consistent. We made spares and we threw a lot of strikes in the beginning.”

In an unusual move, especially at the Class A level, Lofink brought only five bowlers for sectionals. Rupp finished with a 1,360 six-game score (226.7 average). Suburban Council Player of the Year Brady Jennings shot 1,272, Chris Youngs 1,260, Macallan Gagne 1,186 and Cameron Lehnert 1,136.

“After the Suburban Council (Tournament, in which Saratoga was 11th), I didn’t think we were going to win,” Rupp said, “but after the first set, I was like, ‘Oh, we have a really good chance or winning this.’ †

Shaker finished sixth in the team competition but had an individual highlight as Brady Schilling rolled a perfect game.

Saratoga will be the section’s large-school representative in the New York Public High School Athletic Association championships March 11-13 in Syracuse.

Also headed to Syracuse are the top six individuals (classes A, B and C) who are not on a team roster heading to states. Pending results of the Class B Tournament on Tuesday, the current top six are Aidan Goodwin (1,393) and Tyler Bogholtz (1,351) of Columbia, Kyle Smith (1,384) of Niskayuna, Steve Zarub (1,313) of Burnt Hills, Tyler Drexel (1,303 ) of Duanesburg, and Anthony Paradiso (1,295) of Fort Plain.

Pete Dougherty is a freelance writer.

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