Strong start has Hempfield bowlers looking forward to postseason

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Tuesday, February 1, 2022 | 9:17 AM


It has been quite a year thus far for the bowlers of Hempfield.

The boys team is off to a tremendous start at 7-1 while the girls team is a surprising 4-4 in the Section 4 Southeast division.

Second-year coach Dre Mincucci is happy with his team’s performance thus far.

Mincucci was an assistant at Hempfield for two seasons prior to becoming head coach and has more than 25 years of youth coaching experience.

Mincucci enjoys his time as a youth coach as well as bowling in a league himself. But there is something special about those who bowl at the high school level for Mincucci.

“There is nothing like the excitement of high school bowling,” he said. “The way the kids support each other and cheer their teammates on is something to see.”

The 2021-22 bowling season has been a positive one for the Spartans, especially on the girls side where experience was limited entering the year.

“The season is going pretty well, the girls are a big surprise,” Mincucci said. “There was only one girl, Cassandra Bromke, who had any experience bowling varsity for the high school. She keeps the other girls focused.”

Bromke, a senior, leads the girls team in average at 162.6, which is good enough for ninth in the section.

But sophomores Natalie Drexler (127.67 average) and Sarah Leasure (106.93) have helped contribute to the team’s success, as have senior Delphine Vandael and freshman Brooke Hess.

“All of the girls have surprised us since they are all underclassmen and have no experience bowling on the varsity team beside Cassandra,” Mincucci said. “They go out and give their best effort. That’s all we can ask for.”

The Spartans girls find themselves in the middle of the section standings with two tough teams ahead of them in Penn-Trafford and Greensburg Salem.

The boys team is in a battle for the section title with Greensburg Salem and Latrobe. Dom Vallano is Hempfield’s top performer and is ranked fourth in the section with a 214.94 average.

“Vallano and Vincent Mincucci are the leaders as they have been bowling together with varsity for the last four years,” Mincucci said. “My juniors, Ryan Schuck and Blake Naeger, have given the team added leadership.”

Schuck and Naeger both have averages over 200. Schuck ranks sixth in the section at 209.06, while Naeger is eighth at 204.92. Mincucci also has an impressive average at 195.21.

“It’s always nice to see our kids in these positions. It shows their dedication and will to help the team and themselves in the goal to make it to regionals and then states,” Mincucci said.

The Spartans have gotten help from others on the squad, as well.

Freshman Josh Cayer rolled his first game of the season in Week 7 and scored a 193. Cam Elder, another freshman, has a 185 average. Seniors Calvin Funnell and Kolbe Roscoe each carry averages in the 170’s.

Mincucci hopes regular season accomplishments translate to postseason successes. However, with what the Spartans have already done this season, it would be icing on the cake.

“(We want) to have a strong finish and advance to the playoffs for both team competition and singles competition,” Mincucci said. “I am very proud of what they have accomplished as individuals and as a team this year.”

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