Christina Picicci isn’t quite sure how to account for her recent scoring surge at the bowling alley. All she knows is that something is different.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she said sheepishly.
Picicci, Free State High’s top girls bowler, rolled a career-high 636 series on Tuesday at the Free State Quad at Royal Crest Lanes. This comes on the heels of her first ever 600-series performance — a 610 during practice on Sunday.
“Everything just seems to be going my way,” said Picicci, whose previous best series in competition was a 524.
Oddly enough, Picicci’s all-time best on Tuesday occurred as a member of the junior varsity squad, where she helped lead the team to a first-place finish. It was senior Amelia Firns-Hubert’s 499 series that paced the varsity team.
As is Free State tradition, Firebirds coach Anita Carlson moved up all her seniors on senior day to bowl on varsity, and Picicci, a junior, moved down to JV. The girls team featured six seniors, while the boys squad had five seniors, plus junior Rob Wagner.
That didn’t lessen anybody’s enthusiasm for Picicci’s accomplishment.
“I am so proud because I’ve bowled with her since I was in fourth grade,” Firebird boys senior Joe Vannicola said. “Just to see her finally get her 600 is really good. ... It’s just like one of those mental things, that ‘OK, now that I’ve got a six, I can bowl a six again.’ Now that she’s broken that barrier, I just think there’s more to come.”
Vannicola was no slouch on the lanes, either. In fact, Vannicola was the only bowler to roll a better series than Picicci, as he bowled a 651 to lead the boys varsity team to a first-place finish as well.
Senior Winston Heilman contributed to that victory, taking full advantage of his first appearance on the varsity team. Heilman bowled the second best varsity series for the Firebirds with a 584. That included two 200 games.
After leaving two frames open to begin the meet, Heilman said his nerves finally dissipated.
“I settled in, found my spot where I needed to roll it,” Heilman said. “The team made me feel like I was part of varsity.”
Free State senior Andrew Schoneweis also put on an impressive performance. His final-game 236 proved to be the third-highest single game tally.
Junior Connor Kring, who subbed in on junior varsity for senior day, rolled a 605 series to lead the JV to first place.
As for Picicci, Carlson doesn’t plan on having her on JV again anytime soon.
“She’s ready to go,” Carlson said. “If she keeps bowling like this, she will definitely have a state berth.”