“There is nothing there but me, the lane, the pins, and the ball”

Erica Cuciti shares her secrets towards bowling success


Wayne Hills alumni Talia Blakeslee

Erica Cuciti at her bowling match on 1.20.22

By Stephanie Tulpan, Staff Writer

Senior Erica Cuciti has made waves in the Wayne Hills Bowling community. As her fourth year as a varsity bowler, Erica holds an impressive high score of 257 out of a maximum of 300 and averages 182.9, and she has also been ranked fourth in the North Conference–all of North Jersey.

Erica sparked a particular interest in bowling after her parents signed her up for a bowling league the summer before going into fifth grade, and has played in leagues since. When her freshman year of high school came around, she made the decision to join the Wayne Hills Girls Bowling Team, although she felt discouraged as many people continuously discredited the sport.

Despite this, Erica joined the team having had four years prior experience. When it was time for her first match, she was timid. As a new member of the team, she felt like she was stepping out of her comfort zone into a new environment, although she felt welcomed almost immediately.

She said, “It felt nice to be appreciated and to know other people also wanted to be there and believed that [bowling] was a sport.” Erica felt invited, especially with all of the “high-fives” her teammates were giving her, and ended up pulling a 137, 188, and 192 to start off. Also that year, the Wayne Hills Girls Bowling Team won the county tournament for the first time since 2012, and placed first in state sectionals for the first time ever, which Erica said “was surreal since I contributed to that.” 

There is one bizarre thing about Erica’s bowling strategy that many people may not know: she uses bowling balls that weigh more than recommended for her body. Typically, females bowl with ten percent of their body weight, although Erica defies this by using a ball that weighs fourteen pounds. As she began to bowl more frequently, she grew stronger, and the bowling balls that she was using were soon too light.

From bowling ball sizes to throwing motions, the sport is fairly technical. In high school matches, there is strategy in terms of the order of bowlers, but in league, the individual aspects of each bowler matter more. While lined up on the lane, Erica goes through the motions of making sure she follows through, stays calm, bends her knees, and throws carefully. She vouched that one mess up can be the “difference between a strike and a nine.” 

Although Erica picked up the sport easily, she wants people to know that her success today came from years of practice. She admitted that her background in dancing allowed her to have good form while throwing the ball, although she also spent a lot of time practicing in leagues, entering tournaments, and taking advantage of free coaching. Being exposed to different alleys, oil patterns, and bowlers from other towns has pushed her to get better as time goes on and become more consistent.

Wayne Hills Girls Bowling coach Coach Rehberger has been coaching Erica for two years now and said that she was “Really really good last year, but she continues to get better as every season goes on.” As seen over the course of the past few years, Erica seems to impress her team more and more each season.

Erica’s senior season is quickly coming to an end and she will cherish her time as a bowler here at Wayne Hills, although she has come to the conclusion that she will most likely not be bowling in college. This is due to the little number of universities that have a women’s bowling team, and the even smaller number that have her major of choice. She expressed, “I would love to bowl in college, but I don’t see myself going further than college.” 

Despite this, her love for the sport has not lessened even the slightest. She still encourages people both inside and outside of the Wayne Hills community to not discredit the sport, as for some, like Erica, bowling has taught focus, strategy, teamwork, and courage in itself.