The Corning boys bowling team is heading into the Section IV tournament on a massive tear.
After finishing third in the state last season, the team’s aspirations are higher than winning a sectional title, but the journey to get that point starts today.
“Our goal in the sectional meet is to win a sectional title,” Corning head coach Eric Kizis said. “That’s been the goal all season. We don’t think there’s any reason we can’t win a sectional title.”
Beyond a sectional title, Kizis has guaranteed his team is well equipped to handle the next challenge of state qualifiers.
"We will represent Section IV at states," said Kizis.
The Hawks have dominated the competition in the last two contests and throughout the season, including knocking down 3,440 pins as a team and capturing a Southern Tier Athletic Conference title Monday.
“This team is pretty confident,” said Kizis. “They’re confident in their shot making ability, they’re confident in picking their spares and they’re just there for one another to support each other. They are set up for success.”
Senior Derik Lisi finished second in the section with a 221.23 per game average and recently rolled a perfect game in the Hawks’ last regular season contest against Johnson City, but feels like there is another peak to reach.
“I try to keep the mindset of, ‘I still have things to achieve,’” said Lisi. “I shot a 300, I’ve been scoring really well, but you still have to have the mindset that you’re hungry to win and you can’t just settle.”
The rest of Lisi’s teammates are strong bowlers in their own right, as Corning boasts three of the top 10 bowlers in the section. Michael Hoffman-Belluci is fourth (212.62 average), Alex Chang is sixth (207.67), Tanner Kizis is ninth (203.3) and Corning’s fifth starter, Isiah Beschler, is 15th (198.47).
“We try not to get cocky and stay humble with what we do,” Lisi said. “Even if our opponents aren’t scoring well, we want to beat our personal selves.”
After earning a Southern Tier Athletic Conference title Monday, Corning has earned an automatic bid into state qualifiers next weekend, which will include six games added on to the three they shoot today at the Section IV meet.
Getting a leg up on the competition heading into state qualifiers is a key for the Hawks.
“Since these three games carry over into state qualifiers, it’s huge to have an advantage and be up 150 pins heading into those six games,” said Kizis. “It gives the kids a sense of comfort, so that would be big. With that being said, if we have a bad day, we feel like we can make them up.”
Bowling begins for the Section IV title today at 3 p.m. at Midway Lanes in Vestal.