Photo courtesy-John Rathbun Section 3
It was the royal treatment for the New York Mills Boys Varsity Bowling team Friday night as they were escorted back to New York Mills High School with lights and sirens after capturing the sectional Class C title hours earlier in Mattydale, New York.
For this close-knit group of boys this sectional championship represents years of hard work and dedication that caps off a perfect ending to a remarkable season.
A season that started when last year’s second place finish at the sectional playoffs left unfinished business on the table and lanes for each and every player.
After falling just a few pins short last season the boys worked harder at their craft to prove not only to themselves but to the legions of Marauders fans that success on the hardwood is not limited just to the basketball team.
This year’s squad was led by a strong group of both upper and underclassman who contributed in the team’s success. Senior captain Shawn Kula and co-captain Rich Barney along with junior co-captain Kyle Brittell were the backbone that provided solid, core leadership as well as dominating performances necessary to make a successful run throughout the season.
In addition, seniors Bryan Diskin, Ryon Lupia and Owen Moffett along with juniors Austin Mijka, Joe Topa and eighth grader Rob Kinville all contributed with strong performances throughout the campaign.
Adding to the team’s success was a confident crop of junior varsity bowlers that included Andy Edwards, Ryan Kain and Tyler Kinster.
The New York Mills team put together an impressive performance in its sectional matchup after trailing Little Falls after the first set with Notre Dame closely behind the Marauders rallied.
Senior captain Shawn Kula jumped out to a fast start in the first three games of competition leading the first half of scoring.
Junior Kyle Brittell also had the hot hand when he knocked down strike after strike as the Mills looked to build a lead.
Following the first break in action the competition was trailing closely behind, however the Marauders saw their opportunity and quickly pounced and started to dominate down the stretch.
Entering the baker format of the competition in which teams select five players to bowl together to make one game whereas player one bowl frames 1 and 6; player two bowls frames 2 and 7 and so on, coach Zebrowski chose Richard Barney, Kyle Brittell, Bryan Diskin, Robert Kinville and anchor Shawn Kula to represent the Mills.
Kula wasted no time showing what he was after on this magical night for the Marauders when he picked up 32 strikes in the course of 60 frames.
After the wax on the lanes dried it was the New York Mills Marauders who came out on top as sectional champions outdueling second place finisher Little Falls and the third spot going to Notre Dame High School.
Senior Shaun Kula said, “This sectional title is by far one of the greatest experiences I have ever had…we had to overcome injuries (referring to senior Ryon Lupia who was not able to play due to a hand injury) and mount a comeback…we never stopped fighting.” Kula spoke of his performance saying, “I felt great today – I came in with a purpose and everyone contributed and participated, it was a great team effort.” Kula reflected on his senior year, “since last year when we finished second we had unfinished business and knew we had to finish what we started – this is a great way to cap off my senior year.”
Senior co-captain Richard Barney also reflected on the road that led to this sectional title adding, “We have been with Coach Zebrowski for four years and every year we got a little step closer to a sectional title and then last year we were right there – we were beat out by a small margin and it was tough to swallow but we fought our way back this year and there was no turning back. It is really a great feeling, a great experience, we are ecstatic and once it was over it was hard to believe we were champions!”
Kyle Brittell, the team’s junior co-captain attributed the success of this year’s team not only from a standpoint of wins, losses and accolades but also from a standpoint of the friendships that have been formed. “This win is very important in many aspects not only for the guys on this team but for our coach and the entire New York Mills Marauders family.” Brittell added, “This team is so close-knit that you get so close that you give it your best effort to succeed and win for each other.” “Everyone here is more than a teammate to each other – we are a family – very good friends outside of school and this lineup has been together for over two years now.”
Brittell also attributed his team’s success to his coach, “Zeb does everything for us, he teaches and prepares us for every situation but above all he is one of the nicest people I have ever met and he will do anything for you.”
In catching up with Coach Zebrowski it was obvious the impression he has left on his players as unscripted during our unannounced telephone interview several of the Mills players made their way to the coach’s home to celebrate their accomplishments with him.
Coach Zebrowski is clearly very fond of his players as well, as he mentioned that “It really means a lot to get this win for the kids, they are such a great bunch of kids, a good team who really gives a lot of effort…and it is obviously good for the program but I am really happy and proud for the boys.” Zebrowski, a professional bowler himself as well as a coach at the college level adds, “This is something that the kids can enjoy and will talk about for a long time and will stay with them forever.
In over 28 seasons at New York Mills and 14-15 sectional titles he mentioned that he certainly will enjoy this but more importantly to him is that “Many of these players as well as players from the past will come back when they graduate and say hello…its always good to see them come back.”
So to Coach Zebrowski and the New York Mills Boys Bowling team we congratulate you on a magical run to a sectional crown!
David Zebrowski -coach