SYRACUSE - The Corning Hawks bowling team rolled to a third place finish and the best showing in the program’s history in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association State Championships held Sunday at the OnCenter in Syracuse, N.Y.

Corning finished with a grand six-game total of 5,413 pins, East Islip of Section XI took second with a 5,567 total and North Rockland of Section I placed first with 5,855 total pins.

“I am so proud of these kids,” Corning head coach Eric Kizis said. “This season has been an absolute grind for these kids. The improvements this team made from the start of the season to now is phenomenal. Once they won Sectionals, they made it a mission to medal at states and they did just that.”

The third place finish at states was preceded by a 10th place finish in 2014 and a sixth place finish in 2015. The sustained success of the program comes down to the amount of time put into their craft.

“I think the kids take it seriously,” said Kizis. “I think they want to be successful. They work really hard. They spend the time, anything I ask them to do, they do it. We want to do this again next year."

Derik Lisi paced the Hawks with a fifth overall finish with scores of 223, 150, 205, 211, 208 and 181 on the day for a 1,178 six-game total and a 196.33 average.

"As an individual I threw the ball very well all day," said Lisi. "After game one of each set the lanes began to breakdown. I made some wrong moves which hurt me in the long run, but overall extremely happy about another top-5 finish at the state level."

Lisi also won his second sportsmanship award in as many years, something that he didn't take for granted.

"This award truly means more than state championship medal or any kind of reward I could’ve received," Lisi said. Because being a high school athlete is all about representing your school and who you are as a person."

Michael Hoffman Bellucci took eighth overall with a 1,138 score with games of  212, 188, 185, 177, 160 and 216.

“Michael had a huge day,” said Kizis. “He’s a sophomore and to come in the top eight on the day is remarkable. His growth this year has been exponential.”

The team's’ lone senior, Hunter Crouch, finished 13th with a total score of 1,107.

“Hunter stepped up amazingly,” Kizis said. “He shot bad the first game - a 152 - we had a conversation and he turned it around after that. He was a huge part of our success.”

Tanner Kizis had a 212 game and Alex Chang added a 198 game for the Hawks.

“The venue was absolutely amazing, one that these kids may never experience again,” Kizis said. “It was a wonderful thing to be a part of and I really appreciate the effort these kids put forth this year.”

For the future prospects of the Hawks, only losing one senior, Kizis and the squad are betting on having another crack at the state tournament next season.

“If our kids dedicate the time this summer and fall to work on their weaknesses,” Kizis said. “I think we’ll be the team to beat next year. They’ve upped the ante on themselves this year after finishing third this season. I would gamble that you’ll see us there (at states) next season.”

Lisi echoed his coach's confidence and plan.

"Next season I expectt another run at states," said Lisi. "This off-season is going to be much more of a committment by each member of the team if we want to compete with North Rockland."