Hankey wins individual title as Wahconah takes team crown at state bowling championships

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GREAT BARRINGTON — Tom Hankey Jr has played on Team USA and won bowling championships all over the country. Still, as he wraps up his high school career and readies to join the team at Webber International University, there was something still to be done in the Berkshires.

Bowling on his home turf at Cove Lanes in Great Barrington over the weekend, Hankey sealed an electric career at Monument Mountain by claiming the 2018 State Individual Championship.

It was a big weekend for the Berkshires on the whole, as Wahconah's team kept the state trophy in the county for yet another year.

The Warriors, who won the Division B title a year ago, had to get by Central Massachusetts power Worcester Tech — who knocked off undefeated Berkshire champions McCann Tech — to solidify the top spot Saturday. Wahconah is led by one senior, Brandon Aveyard, along with underclassmen Tiffany Oakes, Elliot Tribble, Austin Doyle, Amber Wood and Alex White.

"The kids were a little intimidated by a team that beat McCann, but they were really set in their minds to try and beat these guys," said Wahconah coach Shawn Wood. "I told them to take a deep breath and said 'you know you can beat these guys, you took McCann to seven games. These guys caught them on a bad day and now it's on you guys to put your heads together and do your best."

Wahconah had lost to McCann in a thrilling seven-game series a week prior in the county championship. After Worcester bounced the Hornets, though, it was a best-of-three that needed only two games. The Warriors secured a three-pin victory in the first, only adding to the confidence that blossomed into a 233-169 drubbing to seal the state title.

McCann placed third and Hankey's Spartans were fourth. In the B Division, Sabis took first prize over runner-up Mount Everett.

"I think that B title gave them a lot of confidence this year," said Wood, who's squad won the B title in 2017. "They'd been there and understood what they needed to do. They worked hard for it. They actually got together and starter practicing on their own before the high school season started."

White had a monster weekend for the Warriors, and backed it up with a third-place finish individually. He took home MVP honors for his work in getting Wahconah over the hump Saturday in the team competition.

"Alex is one of our better bowlers. He rises to the occasion a lot when we need strikes and everything," Wood said. "Once the team gets going, he gets them pumped up pretty good."

Sunday was the individual competition, which Hankey has thrived in throughout his career, albeit mostly outside the high school league. This time, though, there was no stopping him as he wore his Monument maroon.

Despite qualifying in second behind local rival Brandon Vallone of McCann, Hankey posted a pair of scorching games, amassing 276 and 234 pins to knock off Vallone. Vallone had entered as the state leader with over 1,000 pins in the qualifying round.

Berkshire County was narrowly robbed of sweeping the weekend, as defending state champion Lynsey Aldam of Taconic took the top qualifying spot in the girls competition, but was edged out by Worcester Tech's Lexia Stolakis. Drury's Aleasia Yeaton was third. Aldam, who bowls out of Kens in Pittsfield and smoked the competition to a 2017 state title, will bowl next year at Lindenwood University in Missouri.

High School Nationals will be in Chicago in June.


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