TICONDEROGA - The Ticonderoga girls bowling team will be venturing into uncharted territory next week.
The Sentinels will represent Section VII at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association championships in Rochester March 6-8.
Ti earned a berth at the state championships by winning its first-ever Section VII title.
"It's been a great year," Coach Donna patnode said. "Everyone kept telling me Ti was the team to beat this season, but I'm a bowler and I know never to take anything for granted. I knew we had the talent to win, we just had to get the job done."
The Sentinels include four seniors - Kylie O'Connor, Mara Haskell, Megan McDonough and Noelle Bessett- and an eighth grader - Jordan McKee.
"Three of the girls (O'Connor, Haskell and McDonough) have been bowling together since they were in ninth grade," Patnode said. "Noelle (Bessett) really stepped up this year and Jordan (McKee) was a nice surprise. She fit right it. It helped that the other girls were very mature and welcoming."
Ticonderoga posted a 52-12 record in the regular season, winning the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference championship.
Regular season bowling is scored using handicaps. The section tournament was scratch bowling.
That didn't matter as Ticonderoga dominated the section tourney, winning by 479 pins.
"We did very well, but I held my breath until the fifth of the six games," said Patnode, who is in her seventh year as coach.
O'Connor led the Sentinels this season with a 176 average. McKee averaged 157, McDonough 156, Haskell 150 and Bessett 133.
The state tournament will be a major challenge for Ticonderoga.
"We'll be going up against girls who are 200 (average) bowlers," Patnode said. 'We're a small school in a small section, we don't see bowlers like this very often.
"We're going out there (Rochester) to enjoy the experience," she continued. "We want to have fun. If we bowl well, that's even better."
O'Connor went to the state championships each of the last two years as an individual qualifier. In 1008 she finished 13th in the state.