Amanda Morris may only be 15, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming one of the best youth female bowlers in Nassau County. The East Meadow High School sophomore had the best per-game average in the county this season, 210.4.
Bowling consistently since 2019, Amanda continues to work to hone her skills. She’s been on the high school varsity team since seventh grade, and bowls in other leagues almost daily. She bowled a perfect 300 game in league action in 2021.
“It was actually my dad that got me into bowling,” Amanda said. “One of my friends needed a fourth person for our league on Saturday morning, and my dad asked me if I wanted to do it. I was kind of unsure, but I said yes, and then I started bowling and I really fell in love with it.”
Her scores qualified her for the All County individual championships for three consecutive years. As a freshman last year, she won the title. This year, at the championships at AMF Garden City Lanes on Feb. 11, she continued to be a fierce competitor finishing second with a score of 1,151.
“It was a little stressful because I had a lot of pressure that I put on myself,” Amanda said. “I feel like I did the best that I could. The shot, transition wise, I just need to get better at that.
“I could’ve gotten dead last today, but I would still be excited to bowl tomorrow.”
Amanda had never competed much in sports before she picked up bowling. When she realized she was a good bowler — and enjoyed it — she stuck with it.
“I found out that it was something that I really enjoyed and I wasn’t terrible at it,” she said. “This was a sport that I found and after I noticed I was pretty good at it, I started to like it more and more and I thought like, ‘hey, could I do this more than once a week?’
“The more passionate I became, the more dedicated I’ve become, and I see my average just grow and my desire to bowl, grow.”
She bowls with a 15-pound bowling ball. She brought six of her arsenal of 18 balls to the county championships because each does something different. Her first ball, though, was eight pounds and was galaxy colored with sparkles.
Her mother, Jennifer, attends every practice and every tournament. “I never expected to be with her at bowling alleys six to seven days a week,” Jennifer joked. “If bowling is canceled because of no school or what have you, she will literally ask me to take her down the block so she can throw a few, and throwing a few for my daughter is like 10 games in a row.”
East Meadow bowling coach Vinny Mascia said Amanda is the most talented female bowler that he’s seen in his 24 years of coaching.
“She came up as a seventh-grader, shy, really to herself, and just loved bowling right from the beginning,” Mascia said. “She’s very, very special. This is something that’s pretty unique.”
Amanda said that she was surprised by all of the different factors that go into bowling. “I could sit here for days and talk about all the little things that people who don’t bowl, don’t know about,” she said. “Like all these oil patterns, about bowling ball cores or cover stocks, about pin access, and I’ve learned so much from so many people.”
She credits her success to the support she gets from her friends and family. She’s met several people throughout the competitive bowling community and some fellow bowlers have really stuck with her, like brothers Phil and Tony Macchietto from Mineola.
“I met them in Indianapolis in 2021 at the Junior Gold Championships,” Amanda explained. “I used to always watch Phil, who’s 19, bowl and was amazed by his bowling.”
Now, she said, they come to a lot of her bowling events to show their support.
“Neither of my parents bowl, but they’re always just there to support me and they’ve learned some things from Phil and Tony about what to do and what to say,” she said. “We’ve just become like one big family — my game would not be where it was without them.”
Amanda doesn’t just excel at bowling. She is a talented percussionist and student. “She’s an amazing musician,” Jennifer said. “She’s involved in almost every single music program in school. It’s unbelievable just how dedicated to her music she is, and she is a straight A student in all AP classes.”
With two years of high school remaining, Amanda has time to raise her average. Her goal is a 215 average next year. Beyond high school, she wants to go to a college with a Division I bowling program and ultimately bowl professionally.
“I’ve loved all of the friendships that I’ve gained from bowling and the family that I’ve been surrounded by,” Amanda said. “My dedication also keeps me going. Once I start something, I need to finish it.”