Greensburg Salem’s White captures WPIBL singles title

Thursday, February 21, 2019 | 8:03 PM

In addition to battling fatigue and a field of 90 other bowlers, Greensburg Salem’s Mattie Mae White said she typically finds herself combating nerves in championship-level events.

On Thursday at the WPIBL girls singles championships at Sims Lanes in Beaver Falls, White overcame all three challenges to earn first place, distinguishing herself as this year’s champion.

“It feels really good. I’ve been working really hard, and to finally see that hard work pay off, it feels good. I always qualify for these things, or make the cut, but then my nerves get to me and hold me back,” White said.

“I wanted to win really bad, and my confidence was building, and that pushed me to win. It was really nice to get through it and not let my nerves or anything else beat me.”

White set herself apart from the field repeatedly throughout the competition, earning the first overall seed after bowling a three-game series of 600 in the qualifying round. From there, the junior topped Butler’s Reegan Malis, 205 to 158, to advance to the finals, where she bested Norwin’s Rachel Lundy, 209 to 192, for the WPIBL crown.

“I’ve been bowling since I was 8, and this has always been a goal. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still nervous even though it’s over. But I stayed focused and kept my eyes on the prize,” White said.

The Golden Lions’ bowler separated herself from Lundy in the finals thanks to a turkey that she stretched into a four-bagger in frames five through eight.

Lundy said she was disappointed she didn’t win in her final year at the WPIBL championships. The Norwin senior, who won the title as a freshman, bowled the second-highest score of the day with a 224 during the qualifying round. In that series, she finished with a 582 to put her in second place.

“I’m kind of bummed because it’s my last year, and I wanted to win it for my senior season. Mattie led all day, and I wasn’t surprised she won. She’s a great bowler. The finals went well for me. It was my first clean game all day, so I’m proud of that,” Lundy said.

“But Mattie deserved it. We’ve bowled against each other for years; she’s a friend, so I’m happy for her. I’m bummed, but she deserves it.”

In Lundy’s semifinal round, she defeated East Allegheny’s Abbe Bostedo, 201 to 157.

Bostedo jumped from 24th in last season’s individual championships to a berth in the semifinal round this year. The junior said the difference was her ability to adjust to the endurance needed while bowling five games in a short period of time.

“It’s one game at a time, definitely. When you get to this point, you’re bowling at a competitive level in probably 20 or 30 games a week. You figure out how to make your adjustments in order to win,” Bostedo said.

“I went out there and did my best, and at the end of the day, third place out of 91 girls isn’t bad. I’ll take that.”

Butler’s Lydia Flanagan and Reegan Malis also reached the stepladder playoffs, along with McKeesport’s Mary Cohen, who won a roll-off against Freeport’s Jackie Clark and Plum’s Brianna Pilyih.

The top 40 finishers advances to the Western Regionals on March 8 at North Versailles Bowl.

“This is my third year being here, so that experience really helps,” White said. “I’ve been working hard, working on my technique and I see it paying off. So, I can’t wait to go to regionals and get another chance to do my best.”

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