As a freshman, Northern Lebanon’s Aliza Shirk lost to Paige Boyd of Cedar Crest by a mere pin in the finals of the 2019 Lancaster-Lebanon League girls bowling championships.
Shirk hasn’t lost in the league tournament since.
On Wednesday, the senior’s streak continued as she recorded the second-most pins heading into the stepladder competition, following her opening round of six games at Clearview Lanes.
Two matches later, Shirk won her third straight L-L championship, topping Lancaster Catholic senior Isabella Folts 191-119 in the final.
Pulling off a three-peat after narrowly falling as a freshman was something Shirk never dreamed of. Such success has affectionately earned her the nickname “queen” by her fellow bowlers.
“The next year, I came in here with a positive mindset, thinking, make your spares, make as great of shots as you can and the outcome will be there,” she said. “Since then, it’s been pretty good. I am not sure where (queen) came from, but I appreciate it.”
Overcoming a rare miss in the fifth frame and a split in the sixth, Shirk, who will bowl at Mount St. Mary’s University next season, rallied for the title.
“I was having a few problems with my hand position and a few tape issues, but I just tried to fight through the best I can and do what I could,” she said.
It was a tough ending to a great day for Folts, who had the top score of 1,175 pins heading into the ladder, earning her byes all the way to the finals.
“I feel like I definitely bowled to my fullest potential and I am proud of what I did,” said Folts. “In my previous years, I haven’t really done anything at these types of tournaments, so to make it this far, I am really happy with how I did. The last game was not the best, but I am just happy to be here.”
Prior to the finals, Shirk defeated McCaskey’s Julee Getz 195-178 in the semifinal.
After winning three previous matches, Getz fought valiantly against the champ. She even converted the 5-7 split in the ninth frame before another split got her in the 10th.
“I fought my hardest, but I put all my energy into the tied match. I was honored to go against the queen, Aliza, but she deserves it.”
Getz was referring to her previous match, when she and Lacey Slaymaker of Penn Manor tied at 214, after a split in the 10th, forced the duo to roll an additional two frames to determine a winner.
The tie was not only a first for Getz, but also the first time it has happened at the league championships.
“It was very nerve-wracking. I decided to go first so she had all the pressure, but I’ve never had that happen. There was pressure both ways,” she said. “I had to fight my way up here. The experience was fun.”
Getz defeated Penn Manor’s Eva Brubaker 142-130 to advance to face Slaymaker.
Slaymaker, who was sixth after the opening games, climbed her way to fourth place after a 166-164 win against Alaina Telenko of Elizabethtown.
In the end, Shirk used both her experience and pressure to win once again.
“When you come in, you kind of have that target on your back that everyone has eyes on you and it puts a little extra stress on you,” she said. “But having that experience also helps tremendously because you have just got to keep your head in it.”