The Saratoga Catholic Central boys bowling team, which won the school’s first section title, was comprised of front Row: Brandon Karam, Micaela Barbolt and LJ Lafiura; Back row:  Assistant Coach Susan Barbolt, Hayden Day, Timmy Barrett, Zach Niles and Coach Alphonse Lambert.
The Saratoga Catholic Central boys bowling team, which won the school’s first section title, was comprised of front Row: Brandon Karam, Micaela Barbolt and LJ Lafiura; Back row: Assistant Coach Susan Barbolt, Hayden Day, Timmy Barrett, Zach Niles and Coach Alphonse Lambert.

When having to decide between her team and individual glory, it was an easy decision for Micaela Barbolt.

The Saratoga Central Catholic junior is the only girl on the boys’ bowling team and had a choice whether to leave the team in-season to compete in the girls’ section and a spot in the state tournament or stay with her team and try to win the school’s first section title.

“It was an easy choice because the team was really good and everyone got a lot better,” Barbolt said. “So I kinda knew that going into sectionals we would have a good chance of winning.”

And Barbolt was a big part of the history-making win as Saratoga Central Catholic defeated Canajoharie and powerhouse Hoosick Falls in the Section II Class C/D tournament.

“We went to the sectionals and after the morning round we were in fourth place,” said bowling coach Phonsey Lambert, who is also the athletic director and long-time baseball coach. “And we get to the afternoon and we started bowling lights out and Micaela was instrumental in that push. She wound up having a 640 series in the P.M. and we wound up winning the section which was fantastic.

“She had to decide whether to do boys or girls and, instead of leaving her team, and individually she would have went to the states, she decided to stay with her team. And it all worked out and we wound up winning sectionals for the first time in school history.”

Barbolt is used to having success on the lanes. When she was a freshman, she starred on the girls’ bowling team at Saratoga Springs High School, making it all the way to the state tournament. But she was struggling to find her place at the large school outside of sports. 

Micaela’s mother, Susan, just happens to be a Spanish teacher at SCC and she approached Lambert about Micaela switching schools her sophomore year. 

“(Micaela) was kinda floundering at the larger public school, Saratoga Springs High School, and (her mother) felt as though she wanted a smaller atmosphere, smaller class rooms and a little bit more of a family-type setting for her daughter,” Lambert said.

Barbolt, finished this past season with a 216 average, raves about the more personal educational experience at SCC. 

“It’s smaller class sizes, which makes it easier to learn, (and having) a bond with your teachers,” Barbolt said. “And the bowling team was a lot better.”

She added bowling on the boys’ team has made her strive to be better.

“This year it’s a lot better for me to be on an all boys team because it gives me more competition to push myself to do better,” said Barbolt, who is already getting looks from colleges, including Division I Wichita State. “I think I have improved a lot starting last year and ending this season.”

As for next season, Barbolt will have another choice to make.

“I am going to give her that option (of staying with the team or bowling as an individual),” Lambert said. “I am probably going to steer her more to going to the girls’ section because she sacrificed for the team last year. I think she should be able to play for herself this coming year.”

Barbolt remains undecided: “Senior year, I think I am probably going to try to aim to going to the girls sectional but it could all change.”

One thing that won’t change is her success on the lanes.