In a few short years, the West Genesee girls bowling team has evolved from a fledgling unit to one that can stand right up with, and beat, the elite and established programs in Central New York.
That was quite evident during Sunday's Section III championship tournament at Stirke-N-Spare Lanes in Mattydale, where the Wildcats made a serious run at the team crown before settling for second place -- still a terrific performance.
All told, WG had a pinfall of 5,127, beating past champions like East Syracuse-Minoa and Liverpool and easily knocking off Baldwinsville (4,973) for the runner-up spot. Only Utica Proctor, with a total of 5,266, fared better.
The Wildcats had a modest start to the day, with an 821 that put them in eighth place in the field of 31. As the morning session went on, though, WG improved, to an 848 in the second game and an 882 in the third game.
By the halfway point, the Wildcats stood in third place, with 2,551, just 108 pins behind Proctor as ESM took in second place.
WG lost ground in the fourth game, putting up an 837 to Proctor's 903, but ESM stumbled to an 806, allowing the Wildcats to catch the Spartans for second place.
But when the Raiders shot an 804 total in the fifth game, the Wildcats used an 857 to cut the margin to 121 pins with one game left.
Knowing it needed something special to snatch the team crown, WG bowled well in the sixth and final game, matching its third-game total of 882. However, Proctor overcame a slow start and, with a 900, clinched the team championship.
WG's boys team will go to Utica's Pin-O-Rama this Sunday for its Section III tournament, which starts at 10 a.m.