Making decisions is nothing new for Olivia DeCitise, but the one she had to make in March was tough.
DeCitise, a junior at Troy High, competed on the boys’ bowling team because the school does not offer varsity sports on the girls’ side. When the Section II championships came around, she had to figure out whether to compete in the boys’ tournament with her team or the girls’ event as an individual.
After averaging 213 on the boys’ suburban board, she opted to play the women’s sections in hopes of making it to the state tournament, which she did. DeCitise finished fifth in the United States, capping a season that earned him the Times Union Bowling Athlete of the Year.
“I always play for my team,” DeCitise (pronounced dee-SEE-tis) mentioned. “I felt selfish because we could have played very well together as a team, but my coach said to me, ‘You are more important than the team. You do what you have to do. “
DeCitise’s average ranked fifth among all Suburban Council bowlers. She said her teammates always made her feel welcome, but some opponents were wary of the 5-foot-7 southpaw.
“My players (accept me),” she said. “Not the boys I play against. It’s like, ‘Ew, it’s a girl. I will beat her,” and I end up beating them.
She has been beating competitors for years in more than one sport. DeCitise is the star pitcher for the Troy softball team. She pitched a no-hitter on April 25 against Albany and struck out 27 earlier this month in a 12-inning loss to Burnt Hills.
DeCitise, who started bowling and softball at age 5, says her favorite sport was the one she played back then.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.
In fact, she added, playing one sport can help the other, especially with the similarity of sneaky movement.
“It definitely helps with softball,” DeCitise said. “Throwing a 15-pound (bowling) ball is very different from an eight-ounce ball.”
An honor roll student since sixth grade, DeCitise isn’t sure what sport she’ll pursue in college. University of Nebraska coach Paul Klempa saw his bowl earlier this season at Saratoga Springs – “It’s my dream school,” she said – while other schools contacted her about softball.
Olivia DeCitise, Jr., Troy: Carried 213 on average in the Suburban Council boys league. Played in women’s sections and qualified for the state team, placing fifth. First-team all-star last year.
Leigha Henkel, Sr., Hoosic Valley: Made the state team for the third straight year, posting the second-highest Division II tournament score with 1,326. Averaged 202.
Madison Robbins, Sr., Bethlehem: Suburban Council Bowler of the Year. Made Division II state team, placing fourth in individual standings with 1,325. 197 average.
Jaidyn Rose, Sr., Middleburgh: Posted a high score in the Section II tournament with 1,359. Times Union Women’s Bowling Athlete of the Year as a junior. On average 200.
Cameryn Shultes, Sr. Middleburgh: Along with Rose, provided a punch for the Division II Class C champion. Western Athletic Conference MVP. League top average 203.
Fountain Meg, Mohonasen: The freshman coach led the Warriors to the Class A Division II championship and a fifth-place finish in the state tournament.
Amy Chrzanowski, Jr., Colony
Cierra Gabriel, Fr., Colombia
Riley Hayes, Sr., Hoosick Falls
Madyson Jones, Jr., Mohonasen
Jocelyn Smith, So., Glens Falls
Pete Dougherty is a freelance writer. He can be contacted at [email protected]