Poughkeepsie Bowler Kyle Duncan Makes States

POUGHKEEPSIE – Kyle Duncan’s goal for this weekend is simple:

“I just want to basically make this school proud,” said the Poughkeepsie High School sophomore who will compete at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Boys Bowling Championships in Syracuse.

While making states is an accomplishment for any bowler, Duncan’s achievement is especially significant as he is the first bowler from Poughkeepsie to compete in the NYSPHSAA event.

Duncan earned that right on Valentine’s Day at the Section 1 tournament in Fishkill when he – as the first Poughkeepsie bowler to compete in that meet – rolled a 1,266 six-game series. Six individuals from the section qualified for states, three based on season average and three, including Duncan, on their scores at sectionals.

He also garnered another distinction this week, as he was named Poughkeepsie’s Athlete of the Month for February.

Duncan called the performance “certainly my best day.” After finishing the season with a 183 per-game average, he averaged 211 for sectionals. Along the way, he rolled the best game of his career, a 253.

“I went totally nuts,” said Duncan, who is seen above in a courtesy photo from Patrick Oehler of the Poughkeepsie Journal. “I was getting 200 right after 200. Once I was done with the fourth game, I had another 200, I already felt confident I was going to make it to states.”

Duncan has been bowling since the age of 4, when his grandfather, William Webb, introduced him to the game. Webb encouraged him to just have fun without stressing the outcome. Duncan said he’s since taught himself the finer points.

The sophomore has a two-handed release, throwing a wide hook to the right, letting the ball naturally come back to the center of the lane with the hope of colliding with the first and third pins.

The bowling program at Poughkeepsie is young but growing. Coach Nashan Anderson said the team had just four players last year, which made it difficult to win as five bowlers start each match. This year there were 22 participants and Anderson said Duncan – in his first year on the team himself – is their leader.

“He really sets the tone for the rest of the team, they look up to him,” the high school English teacher said, noting Duncan also won the league’s sportsmanship award. “He coaches them, like, ‘Hey, do this, try this.’ He’s a great motivator. He really is our star all-around. Not just bowling, but all-around. He’s a great student, he’s a great person, he’s a great leader and he’s a great bowler. That’s very rare. He’s a great kid.”

Duncan said the team is close, often going on weekends to bowl recreationally. Anderson said Duncan’s qualifying for states has motivated other players to say they want to do the same next year. Separate from individual accolades, though, Duncan said the goal next will be to win as a team.

“I expect good things for us next year,” he said.

States comes first. AMF Strike N Spare Lanes in Syracuse will host the tournament, with the team competition Friday, March 8, followed by individual play Saturday and Sunday.
While he’s evolved as a bowler since those early days as a 4-year-old, Duncan’s approach to the weekend echoes the lessons of his grandfather:

“Just have fun,” he said. “I don’t want to overthink it and get overwhelmed. I just want to go up there and do as good as I can.”

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