Victory is nothing new to the Hicksville High School varsity girls bowling team. After all, the Comets have won their conference three years in a row. This year, it was Colleen Kingsepp, a junior player, with new-found confidence, who helped roll the team to victory.
The varsity girls bowling team won its Nassau Conference at AMF East Meadow Lanes in East Meadow on Jan. 17 with 10 overall wins, and one loss during the season. The Hicksville team beat all the powerhouse teams overall in the conference, including its biggest competitor—Herricks.
“The anchor player from Herricks is a really great bowler and has a lot of talent, but she puts me in such a competitive mindset,” Kingsepp said. In Kingsepp’s opinion, the rival team “is more carefree, while we take things a little more seriously on the lanes.”
Kingsepp’s coach, John Bertuzzi, uses Herricks as inspiration to motivate his team. “There was one time Colleen wasn’t bowling too well, and [Herricks] was bowling a different team and they were just finished,” Bertuzzi said. “So I looked over and I [said] ‘she just bowled 194 this game, what are you going to do.’ That’s all I said to her, and she came out and bowled over 200 and beat that score.”
That type of push from Bertuzzi motivates Kingsepp to bowl better, however it wasn’t until last year that Kingsepp experienced a defining moment that led her to take bowling even more seriously. “I always knew that I loved bowling,” Kingsepp said. “Last year when I made it to states for the first time, I realized that I was good enough to bowl with the top bowlers that were averaging over 200. It really implanted the idea that I was good enough to get into college bowling.”
Kingsepp began bowling at the age of five because her family loved to bowl, especially her two older brothers. “My brothers bowled, and going to their matches influenced me more,” Kingsepp said. When Kingsepp made it to states in 2016, she realized that she could compete at a higher level.
Kingsepp said her biggest achievement was winning the conference last year with her team. “It was really encouraging and sentimental,” Kingsepp said. “I felt like we could do it because we are such a great team and we are so well connected.”
For the season, Kingsepp’s bowling average was a 180.7 and her highest game was a 227. The members of the team—which includes Rachel DeJesus, Aileen Small, Jocabeth Arevalo, Annie Do, Nicole Titko, Jenifer Urbina, Elizabeth Ulloa, Alison Ventura-Cueva, Dafne Rubio, Katherine Davila Navarrete, Michelle Herrera and Akaansha Kundra—are very supportive of each other. Unlike other traditional sports like soccer or football, not many people come out to support the bowling team, so they have to rely on each other. Betruzzi loves motivating his team: “hey, I will take it any way I can,” Bertuzzi said. Bertuzzi took a picture of a quote he saw in an office building, which read, “confidence is contagious, and so is lack of confidence.”
Hicksville’s bowling team is looking forward to its next season starting in November. As for Kingsepp, she is beginning to look at colleges now that her senior year is approaching. Kingsepp is looking for a school with biology/biochemistry, because she may want to be a doctor, but a school will not pass her test if it doesn’t have the one thing she loves, bowling.