MALONE – After lengthy discussions and remote learning periods, high school bowling is set to begin this month in northern Franklin County.
Brushton-Moira, Chateaugay and Franklin Academy are moving forward with a new plan to compete during the pandemic.
Franklin Academy and Chateaugay will be competing at Lucky Strike Lanes in Malone, while Brushton-Moira will compete at Big D’s Bowling in Moira.
“We’ve done a lot of prep here at the bowling alley itself to get everything ready,” said Jeremy Bonville, the owner of Big D’s Bowling.
Bonville serves as the head coach of Brushton-Moira’s bowling teams, and the program is in just its second year. Between all the accommodations and modifications, as well as the new virtual format, the pandemic has complicated things during the program’s infancy.
“It’s still new to us and now we’re changing stuff already,” Bonville said. “Being so new, it’s not easy.”
The three schools will be using a virtual bowling format in which teams bowl from separate facilities and report their scores. The season will consist of 10 matches, and each of the three schools will face one another five times each.
Tupper Lake was also trying to field a bowling team prior to a COVID-19 outbreak. If Tupper Lake creates a team, the schedule will be rearranged and the same number of matches will be played.
In the past, schools bowled eight matches before traveling to Plattsburgh for non-league play. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the three schools may see a somewhat-full bowling season.
The roster sizes will fluctuate. Franklin Academy with 12 players on the boys and girls teams each, Chateaugay with eight each and Brushton-Moira with at least six each.
Matches at Lucky Strike Lanes will see three boys on lanes one and two, three boys on lanes three and four, three girls on lanes five and six, three girls on lanes seven and eight and extra bowlers taking up lanes nine and 10. Big D’s Bowling utilizes eight lanes.
All night leagues are running normally with COVID rule modifications. Barriers will be set up between each lane, while seating has been taken out and tables moved back. Food and beverage services must be done at tables and masks on at all times unless eating or drinking.
All tryouts will begin next week.
Per New York State Public High School Athletic Association guidelines, there will be no spectators permitted, but athletic directors are working on a way to broadcast matches to families at home.
“It’s definitely a new kind of season,” Bonville said.
There also won’t be a sectional championship, but the league record will crown the Section 10 champion.
Senior day recognition is also being planned.