Thursday, March 2, 2017

Season in Review - Girls All-State Teams

Criteria and such are listed on the boys all-state post.

NEW JERSEY GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BOWLING ALL-STATE TEAMS FOR 2017

FIRST TEAM

Lanasia Neal, Junior, South Plainfield
Lanasia Neal has near-perfect mechanics and is as smooth as anyone; she also has another level for tournaments.  Her 206 regular season average is great, but look at the tourneys: 2nd at North Jersey Singles, 1st at the James (675), 2nd at CJWC (657), 1st at GMC Singles (744-617).  After a decent morning at the TOC (622), she went to work, blowing out a 228-228-278=734 (highest of the afternoon) to lock down a spot in the top five.  Fearsome competitor with the talent to match.

Kamerin Peters, Freshman, Toms River North
It's hard to imagine another freshman has ever so completely dominated a high school sports season. Peters essentially tied for state high average, led her team's transformation from an also-ran to #5 in the state (and sectional champs), and lit up nearly every tournament she got near: Shore Conference singles (1st, 709), RWTI (2nd, 671), South Jersey Singles (2nd, 231 avg), South Sectionals (2nd, 697) Team States (1st, 722).  And the she went out and broke the state TOC scoring record with an unfathomable 773-730 before losing a squeaker to Aimee Sherman in the final. Amazing talent, amazing season, amazing future.

Lauren Potechin, Senior, Millburn
Under the radar as the only state-level girl in the entire SEC-Colonial, Potechin managed an excellent 209 average, 3rd highest in the state, as well as a 740 high series.  She only had three chances to compete against the girls: the Essex Individual (1st place, 671), the loaded North sectional (7th place, 626) and the State Individual TOC, where she fired 622-637 to finish 9th.

Katie Robb, Junior, Kingsway
Further evidence that an all-state bowler can come from anywhere, not just the most highly-ranked teams. Robb was worth the price of admission for any Kingsway match.  She led the Olympic conference by a lot with a 201 average, and dominated the Olympic tournament, shooting 504 through 2 games before being forced to leave early due to another commitment.  A strong 632 (7th at South sectionals) put her into the TOC, and Robb didn't miss her chance; a huge 279 single highlighted her 717-670 in qualifying and she wound up in fourth place in that amazing field.

Aimee Sherman, Senior, Jackson Memorial
Aside from wishing for more team success, the FDU-bound Sherman couldn't have asked for much more of a storybook ending to a fabulous career, which included a team state championship in 2015. She led the state in average at 215, took second at the Shore Individual (680), 5th at South Jersey Singles and 3rd at South Sectionals (688).  And in the last chapter of her time as a high school bowler she put up an incredible 750-730 to qualify second behind Peters, tossed the first perfect game in Girls TOC history, and took the state individual title. Not a bad way to go out.

Alize Stevenson, Senior, St. Mary's
Stevenson probably doesn't get the attention she deserves for such an outstanding career. She finished 2017 with a 206 average, bowling against the boys on an undermanned team.  She shot 646 at the Union County, won the North Jersey sectional with a 674, and fired 639-636 to finish 7th at the TOC, narrowly missing her third trip to the stepladder finals. On top of that, Stevenson is a lot of fun to watch, putting exceptional rotation and power on her shots.

SECOND TEAM

Jenn Ingulli, Senior, Ocean Township
The headline for Ingulli is her 208 average, 4th in New Jersey. She also finished 3rd at Monmouth, shot 615 at LB Wave, finished 9th at South Jersey Singles, finished 3rd at Central Sectionals (609), made the cut at TOC, and fired a 613 at team states, helping the #6 Spartans to a second place finish in Group II.

Michelle Dekowski, Senior, Linden
The Union-Watchung is a pretty good boys HS league; their best bowler in 2016-17 was Michelle Dekowski. The lefty completed her final season with a 207 average and a string of good tournament scores: 644 at CJWC (3rd), 622 at Wheeler (2nd), 660 at James (2nd) and a 613 for her co-ed team at Sectionals.

Julianna Forbes, Junior, Brick Township
You have to look past the 188 average; Forbes was dynamite in tournament action, including 4th at Shore Singles (604), 1st at Wheeler (631), 625 at RWTI, and 619 at CJWC. She was even better in the postseason: 4th at South Sectionals (685), 604 for #3 Brick Township at team states, and a fabulous showing at the TOC: 661-714 to qualify 4th and 715 during the stepladder, finishing 3rd in the state.

Madison Perry, Senior, Hawthorne
Aside from averaging 192 alongside her brother to lead Hawthorne to a very good season and sixth in State Group II, Perry built a strong tournament resume, winning the Passaic County (636), finishing 5th at sectionals (638) after shooting a big 660 to help her team finish 2nd at their sectionals.  Shot a strong 636 at the TOC, and finished in 13th.

Jaime Golden, Senior, Sparta
In addition to a strong regular season, averaging 197 and anchoring the Spartans boys team, Golden has a tournament distinction that no one else in NJ can match: in seven tournament series, she never failed to break 600. (To be fair, Neal only missed once, and it was 598).  630 at HWS, 605 at Wheeler (3rd), 604 at Girls sectionals, 657 at Boys sectionals, 649 at team states and 631-638 to finish 8th at TOC.  That's just impressive.

Jill Stuart, Senior, Brick Memorial
Stuart was lights out in the postseason, shooting 602 at sectionals, 619 (3rd overall) at team states, and a brilliant 673-670 to take 6th at the TOC.  Anchoring the #2 team in the state, she averaged 205 in conference play and shot 603 at Shore Singles, 634 at CJWC, and finished 8th at South Jersey Singles.

THIRD TEAM

Michelle Bello, Senior, Pennsauken

The stats say Bello averaged 182 in the regular season, but there's more than enough evidence to overrule that.  She won the Olympic tournament (612), won the Snowball tournament (4-game 888), won the incredibly deep South Sectional (731) and shot a huge 692 in the TOC first round before settling for 10th.

Jenna Henderson, senior, Warren Hills
Henderson was unquestionably the leader of the state's top team, shooting 614 at team states and performing brilliantly in the playoffs.  Earlier she had averaged 194 in Skyland matches, shot 620 at HWS, finished 5th (855 4game) at Snowball and won the individual title at CJWC (691)

Dana Henry, Senior, Ocean Township
Half of #6 OT's big two, Henry shot 600 at team states and finished the year with an average of 200. Her top tournament performances were 666 at the LB Wave tournament and a title at the deep and prestigious South Jersey Singles after beating Kamerin Peters in the final.

Kelcie Mannon, Freshman, Warren Hills
Possibly the state's second-best freshman, Mannon was in a great situation surrounded by upperclassmen on NJ's #1 team.  She came into her own late in the season, winning HWS (650) and Skyland (688) tournaments, finishing 4th at Sectionals (644) and 12th at the TOC (598-613), as well as ending up with a 195 conference average.

Samantha Salzone, Senior, Edison
Salzone averaged 189 as #8 Edison's top gun, finishing 5th at the Central Sectional (602), helping her team advance.  She shot 600 at Brick, made the cut at the state TOC with a 593, and was fantastic at the GMC singles tournament, posting 611-639 and finishing second to Neal.

Amanda Shelters, Sophomore, Brick Memorial
The leadoff bowler for the state's #3 team posted a strong 202 average, finished 5th at Brick (628), shot 602 at James and 634 at CJWC, and came in 8th at Shore Individual.  Individually, her season highlight may have been fourth at South Jersey Singles after shooting 256-216 to reach the semifinals.

HONORABLE MENTION

Emily Alvarez, Senior, South Brunswick
190 average, 10th at Sectionals (579), 4th at GMC Singles (623 in 2nd rd)
Theresa Bedaro, Sophomore, Manchester
186 average, 3rd at RWTI (671), 1st at Brick (720)
Victoria Bird, Senior, Brick Memorial
197 average, 6th at South Jersey Singles, 3rd at Shore Individual (618)
Deanna Calantoni, Senior, Woodbridge
187 average, 631 at James, 3rd at GMC Singles (598-596)
Clare Chaffer, Senior, Freehold Township
190 average, 576 at team states, 4th at Sectionals (607), 11th at TOC (588-635)
Marissa Cosentini, Freshman, Wayne Valley
188 average, 16th at Sectionals (581), 2nd at Crusader (611)
*Sarah Florence, Senior, Cedar Creek
604 in qualifying at South Jersey Singles, 8th at Sectionals (618), 15th at TOC (588 1st rd)
Madison Gibson, Senior, Howell
184 average, 2nd at Monmouth (584), 4-game 807 at Snowball, 625 at CJWC
Victoria Gray, Senior, Brick Township
189 average, 10th at Shore Singles, 1st at RWTI (693), 4th at Brick (632)
Kristen Kane, Senior, Paramus Catholic
184 average, 299-760 at Bergen County
Emily Mamunes, Senior, Northern Highlands
186 average, 6th at sectionals (635)
Laura Oliver, Senior, Central
190 average, 618 at Brick, 607 at RWTI, 6th at Sectionals (641), 4-game 823 at SJS
Sarah Orensky, Freshman, Freehold Township
190 average, 1st at Monmouth (634), 7th at Sectionals (588), 16th at TOC (593 1st rd)
Gabby Pangaro, Senior, Clifton
189 average, 2nd at Passaic County, 2nd at Sectionals (668), North Jersey Singles Champ
Sarah Pitcher, Senior, Brick Memorial
200 average, 4-game 823 at Snowball, 4-game 798 at SJS; season cut short by injury
Kiara Powell, Junior, Union
188 average, 613 at James, 629 at Union County
Danielle Quitola, Senior, Ridgefield Park
193 average, 1st at Crusader (613), 2nd at Bergen (618)
DorrieAnne Rizzo, Senior, Wallkill Valley
190 average, 569 at Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex (team 2nd)
Claudine Rosca, Senior, Wayne Valley
184 average, 18th at Sectionals (576), 17th at TOC (583 1st rd)
Caylin Ryan, Sophomore, Brick Township
195 average, 13th at Sectionals (581), 23rd at States, 12th at Shore Singles, 593 at RWTI
Rhianna Smith, Junior, Hopatcong
197 average included a pair of 700s, semifinalist at North Jersey Singles
Sara Smith, Senior, Manasquan
183 average, 9th at Sectionals (579), 20th at TOC (575), 3rd at South Jersey Singles (200 avg)
Tiffany Rose Sucero, Senior, Holy Angels
188 average, 625 at North Jersey Singles, 573 at Bergen, 589 at team states
Goldera Surles, Junior, Union Catholic
185 average, 570 in boys' sectionals, 3rd at girls' sectionals (649), 571 at TOC
Natalie Swindell, Junior, Toms River South
184 average, 605 at RWTI, 2nd at Brick (679)
Katie Winch, Junior, Warren Hills
180 average, 2nd at Skyland (656), 3rd at Snowball (4-game 872), 2nd at team states (652)


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Season in Review - Boys All-State Teams

My first set of all-state picks.  I'm nervous.  Okay, ground rules: we're picking six each on first, second, and third teams, and then 35 honorable mentions (girls will have 25).  If any bowlers without teams merit inclusion based on tournament performances (spoiler: they do), they will be included, but the team they're on will increase by one as well, so it doesn't cost someone else a spot; non-HS team bowlers are indicated by *.  All averages listed are for regular season only and are as accurate as I could get. I tried to take the entire season into account: regular season average, in-season tournament performance, scores at sectionals & team states, and performance at the individual TOC.

NEW JERSEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BOWLING ALL-STATE TEAMS FOR 2017

FIRST TEAM

Matthew Burzynski, Junior, Dickinson
Burzynski went through a brief slump in late January, and his averaged tumbled out of the top 10, settling at 220, but that was clearly just a temporary blip on an excellent season.  Burzynski was nothing short of brilliant, carrying a relatively undermanned Dickinson squad (with help from teammate Ray Ramos to be sure) to a sectional title and a strong 5th at states.  The lefty won the sectional with a 772, put up the highest set at team states with a 774, and opened the individual TOC with a 761 before finishing 8th.  Slump's over.

*Ryan Carlisi, Junior, Steinert
The Individual TOC isn't the be-all, end-all of the season (as you'll see), but if you win the title, given the crazy scoring that was going on, you get a spot on the first team with no further questions. Carlisi qualified for states with a solid 679 at sectionals and made the cut with a nice 710, then went on a fantastic run, shooting 787 in the afternoon and then 716 in three pressure-packed stepladder wins over three of the absolute best in the state.

Austin Devereux, Senior, Manasquan
Devereux led the #7 Warriors to a regular season title, averaging 228 (#3 in NJ), then he led them to a sectional title, shooting 772 (tops in Central), then he led them to a state title, shooting 701.  Along the way he picked up a fourth place at South Jersey Singles (averaging 243, with a 300 in the quarterfinals), 2nd at RWTI (736) and shot 715 at LB Wave.  Forced to skip the individual TOC due to a schedule issue, but what more could he have done to earn this spot?

Erik Kattermann, Senior, Montville
Kattermann was the unquestioned superpower behind the state's #12 team, leading the Mustangs to a perfect record in a good league with the state's #2 average, 229.  In tournament play, he shot the 2nd highest game at CJWC and put on a show at the Morris County championships, posting 300/813.  In a low-scoring environment at North 2 sectionals, he took the title easily, shooting 713. We can let an off day at the TOC slide with that resume.

Andrew Lazarchick, Senior, Brick Memorial
Despite missing out on both TOC events, the argument that Lazarchick is the best HS bowler in the state is not unsound.  He led the state's #4 team to a regular-season title in the toughest league in the state with a New Jersey-best 232 average, and won the state's toughest conference tournament with a 690 in a house where a whole lot of good bowlers struggled.  Lazarchick was first at RWTI (744), and second at CJWC (757), and averaged over 220 on his off tournament days.  Brilliant career for the lefty, who will continue at McKendree.

Matthew Stephens, Senior, Egg Harbor
Maybe the first thing you notice about his Stephens is that he's a skinny kid who throws the ball funny - a two handed backup ball.  But very quickly you notice what's important: that nobody strings strikes like he does.  His average was around 224 (incomplete info), but he got it rolling at the South Jersey singles, winning his second straight title after going 675-797 in qualifying.  He finished 3rd at the South Sectional (732) and then broke the state tournament qualifying record with an amazing 771-835 before becoming Carlisi's final victim.  Just an excellent career.

James Stoveken, Sophomore, Woodbridge
Well, maybe Stoveken can strike like Stephens. James had the best overall postseason of anyone: 729 at Sectionals, 760 at team states, 761-812 at Individual TOC before finishing 3rd.  Earlier, Stoveken was 2nd at James (738), first at CJWC (768) and 2nd at GMC (694-678) and put up a league-best 226 average for the state's #3 team. He throws two-handed with exceptional power, has 6 high school 300s to his name, and he's only a sophomore.

SECOND TEAM

Andrew Abbonizio, Senior, Shawnee
Abbonizio shot 804 on Opening Day, and went on to an excellent 222 regular season average for #2 Shawnee.  Had a strong Olympic tournament, shooting 677, and really came alive for his team in the postseason, besting a great field at the South Sectional with a 757 and shooting a marvelous 731 at team states.

Cameron LaPlant, Sophomore, JP Stevens
His team struggled in the loaded GMC, but the tenth-grader accomplished an awful lot individually, including averaging 217, shooting 300 in December, and blowing through the stepladder to win the GMC individual championship after 652-682 in qualifying.  LaPlant scored second place at Central Sectionals with an awesome 765, and shot 707 at the TOC to make the cut, finishing in 16th.

Anthony Mathis, Freshman, Cherry Hill East
The clear choice for Freshman of the Year, Mathis was strong at the Olympic, 663, and led CHE to a great regular season with a 219 average.  He didn't let up in the postseason either, shooting 711 at Sectionals to help #9 CHE earn a TOC berth, put up 675 at team states, and was very impressive at the individual TOC, firing 737-684 for 7th place.  Bright future for this guy.

Chris Pagliuso, Senior, Shawnee
This is another case of an off-day at sectionals not being enough to knock down an incredible season.  Pagliuso averaged 228 for the #2 team in the state, finished 2nd at the Olympic (687), 3rd at South Jersey Singles, and went big when his team needed it the most, carding a 738 at Team States.  He and Abbonizio were the top 1-2 combination in the state, so it's fitting that they're here together.

Kyle Schellberg, Senior, Dumont
Schellberg didn't have the highest average in the Big North, nor did he bowl for the best team or finish highest at states.  But I think he may have had the best season.  His 216 average was excellent, he tossed a 300 game, and he showed up at every single tournament: 661 at Bergen County, 1st at Crusader (709), a huge 749 in North Jersey singles qualifying, 3rd at sectionals (694) and finished a strong 12th at TOC (704-670).

Evan Weinberg, Junior, Jonathan Dayton
Weinberg put up a strong 222 average in a conference that doesn't yield many high scores, but missed the Union County event, where he was the defending champion.  No matter, the postseason presented plenty of opportunity for the tall righty: 4th at sectionals with 668, 671 at team states, and a monster 738-717 to make the TOC stepladder, finishing fourth.

THIRD TEAM

Sam Bortnick, Junior, East Brunswick
The lefty anchored the #1 team in New Jersey all season, averaging 224 and finding tournament success at the GMC (677), the CJWC (3rd place, 712) and sectionals (682), as well as posting 300/793 in December.  His most valuable contribution may have been at states, tying for the team high set and anchoring the Bears in the Baker playoffs, where he was nearly perfect.

Nick Cilento, Senior, Pompton Lakes
The 2015 individual champ finished his great career with a 224 regular season average, a regular season 300 game, 2nd place at the Bergen (697), 2nd place at the Crusader (707) and a 656 in helping #15 Pompton Lakes finish 2nd in the state in Group I.

Jared Duncan, Senior, Indian Hills
Led the #17 Braves with a big 218 average, and really shined at sectionals, finishing 2nd with a 702 set.  At the individual TOC, Duncan was fantastic in the morning session, carding a whopping 773 series before ultimately finishing ninth.

David Grant, Senior, Fort Lee
At the TOC, Grant was amazing, firing 60 clean frames and sets of 780 & 668 to finish 6th, just a handful of pins off the stepladder.  In the regular season, he led the entire Big North with a fantastic 223 average.

Jordan Malizia, Senior, Brick Township
Malizia had a brilliant regular season, shooting a 300 game, finishing second in the shore conference and T-3rd in the state with an outstanding 228 average.  Tournament highlights include a 686 at the James and 3rd at the Shore Conference individual championships.

Joe Ocello, Sophomore, St. Rose
Robbed of the first month of his season by NJ transfer rules, Ocello made up for lost time in a hurry, shooting a 300 game, a 799 series (different day) and carrying a 226 average.  He finished 2nd at the Shore Individual and just missed states with a 658 at sectionals before a last second reprieve gave him a chance.  He took advantage, finishing 14th after shooting 716 in the opening round.

HONORABLE MENTION

Kyle Bilawsky, Senior, Woodbridge
217 average, 1st at James (751) and Brick (743), 677 at team states
Jacob Boris, Senior, Seneca
216 average, 5th at Snowball (4game 900), 684 at Olympic, 661 at Sectionals, 669 at team states
John Boughton, Sophomore, Brick Memorial
210 average, 3rd at James (711), 1st at Snowball (4game 997), 4game 884 at SJS, 709 at CJWC
Kenny Burdge, Freshman, Manchester
209 average, 5th at Sectionals (727), 5th at Shore (657) 670 at RWTI, 649 at CJWC
Joseph Chrobak, Senior, St. Joseph-Metuchen
210 average, 655 at Sectionals, 689 at team states
Chris DeOcampo, Senior, Sayreville
213 average, 645 at James, 4th at GMC (671 1st rd)
Ryan Donohue, Senior, Lyndhurst
223 average, 3rd at Crusader (674), 695 at Bergen (2nd half)
Colin Dromgoole, Senior, Caldwell
224 average, 7th at sectionals (653), 3rd at Essex County
Zak DuHaime, Senior, Wallkill Valley
215 average, 640 at H/W/S
Louis Folgore, Sophomore, Monroe
219 average, 668-668-676 on 3 different postseason days at Bowlero
Matt Gibney, Senior, Keansburg
221 average, 692 at LB Wave, 4-game 878 at South Jersey Singles
Nick Greco, Sophomore, Fair Lawn
210 average, 658 at Bergen (2nd half), 648 at Sectionals, 15th at TOC (687-655)
Alec Hehir, Junior, Brick Memorial
213 average, 5th at Brick (675), 664 at CJWC, 4-game 873 at SJS
Dan Kenny, Sophomore, Maple Shade
218 average, 682 at team states
Tyler Kohutanycz, Senior, South Brunswick
206 average, 705 at James, 4-game 889 at SJS, 638 at GMC, 623 at team states
Eric Lawson, Junior, Warren Hills
211 average, 5th at sectionals (659), 25th at TOC (667), 641 at CJWC, 4-game 859 at Snowball
Daniel Lenk, Sophomore, East Brunswick
216 average, 5th at GMC (680 first rd), 659 at James, 644 at team states
Emerson Levy, Senior, Cherry Hill East
213 average, 628 at Sectionals, 4-game 869 at Snowball
Derek Lewandowski, Junior, Ridgefield Park
218 average, 689 at Bergen (2nd half), 674 at Crusader, 8th at sectionals (642)
Michael Liu, Freshmam, Livingston
209 average, 2nd at Wheeler (683), 680 at Essex, 619 at team states
Ryan McGuire, Junior, Indian Hills
206 average, 659 at Bergen, 5th at Sectionals (664), 21st at TOC (679), 629 at team states
Jon Mormando, Senior, Indian Hills
212 average, 697 at team states
Robert Murray, Junior, Morris Knolls
209 average, 6th at Sectionals (657), 17th at TOC (716 in first round)
Steven Nicholsen, Senior, Jackson Memorial
209 average, 7th at Sectionals (714), 5th at TOC (728-752)
Kyle Oliveri, Junior, Toms River South
214 average, 651 at RWTI, 4th at Brick (694), 4-game 888 at Snowball
*Justin Pavlik, Junior, Ridge
3rd at Sectionals (761), 18th at TOC (695 1st round)
Jason Pesce, Senior, Egg Harbor
208 average, 11th at Sectionals (695), 19th at TOC (684)
Ray Ramos, Junior, Dickinson
209 average, 4th at Sectionals (688), 20th at TOC (682), 646 at team states
Matt Redbord, Junior, Ocean Township
217 average, 694 at CJWC, 9th at sectionals (682)
Angelo Salici, Junior, South Plainfield
215 average, 3rd at GMC (708-642), 4-game 871 at SJS, 652 at sectionals
Jordan Shackleford, Senior, Westampton Tech
213 average, 668 at Sectionals, 10th at Individual TOC (699-694)
Joey Steele, Sophomore, Sussex Tech
213 average, 9th at sectionals (645), 668 at Individual TOC
Chris Swindell, Senior, Toms River South
213 average, 6th at Sectionals (716), 9th at SJS (225 avg), 706 at CJWC, 4game 895 at Snowball
Luis Torres, Freshman, Roselle
213 average, 1st at Union County Individual (666)
*Francis Vitelli, Sophomore, North Hunterdon
2nd at Skyland (690), 2nd at South Jersey Singles (6 games, 227 average)
Matthew Young, Senior, Eastern
223 average, 5th at South Jersey Singles, 665 at Sectionals
Tim Zayac, Senior, Sussex Tech
213 average, 2nd at Sectionals (712), 702 at Team States

There are at least 40, and probably more, bowlers that averaged over 200 and did not make this list.  There's an awful lot of talent in New Jersey.  I had to draw the line somewhere.  I welcome comments and emails if you think I screwed up somewhere or flat missed somebody, as long as we keep it civil.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Season in Review - Girls Final Rankings

I stressed about final rankings in the boys' post, no need to repeat. The bright side: the girls cooperated with expectations to the point that doing this was a cakewalk compared to the boys.

THE TOP 20 GIRLS BOWLING TEAMS IN NEW JERSEY 
FOR THE 2017-18 SEASON

1. WARREN HILLS
TOC champ, State Group III champ, North Group III champ
Brick Memorial's full season numbers are still considerably better, but Warren Hills outscored their rivals each of the three times both teams were at the same event, and put up the state's highest sectional score to boot.  Undefeated in Skyland Conference, broke 3000 at conference tournament, won CJWC, took Group III at states by over 300 pins, and went 6-1 in Baker games to take the TOC.  Each of the starters, Jenna Henderson, Katie Winch, Kelcie Mannon, Jessica Yerance and Elizabeth Hudock, made huge contributions at one time or another.  After finishing second at States the last two years, this was a well-earned victory at the end of a dream season for the Blue Streaks and coach Greg Rottengen (who also coached the WH boys to a sectional title).

2. BRICK MEMORIAL
State Group IV champ, South Group IV runnerup
Avenged sectional loss at states despite missing one of their best, senior Sarah Pitcher. 196 season GA easily the best in New Jersey.  Undefeated in matches in Shore South A, 1st or 2nd (among NJ teams) in each of nine tournaments. Shore tournament champs, Brick champs, Bob James champs.  A deep, powerful team including three bowlers besides Pitcher that averaged 197+: Amanda Shelters, Jillian Stuart and Victoria Bird.

3. BRICK TOWNSHIP
State Group III runerup, South Group III champ
Clearly the third strongest team in the state, just had the misfortune to be in the same Group as #1 and same conference & division as #2.  Won Wheeler, top qualifiers at RWTI, 3rd at James, CJWC and Shore.  Shot as high as 2956 in regular season.  Led by senior Victoria Gray and two underclassmen, Caylin Ryan (195 avg) and Julianna Forbes (3rd at Individual TOC).

4. HOLY ANGELS
TOC runnerup, State Group II champ, North Group II champ
I had this team underrated all year.  While their GA never quite reached the heights (finished 8th at 169), they were building depth and peaking at tournament season, taking the state title by an impressive 100 pin margin.  Third at the season-opening Crusader, and dominant at the Bergen and in Big North regular season (16-0 / 102-10). Tiffany Sucero and Alexa Hernandez were the biggest stars, but this team was always more successful than a look at the numbers might indicate.

5. TOMS RIVER NORTH
State Group IV runnerup, South Group IV champ
Pulled off the upset of the postseason in defeating Brick Memorial for the sectional crown, and made a serious run at repeating the act at states.  The Mariners' growth over the season was a great story, and when Cassidy Syrdale and her teammates started joining Kamerin Peters' big scores, they were as big a threat as anyone.  Not great tournament results until the last two, the ones that mattered the most: TRN had the second highest sectional score in the state and fourth highest total at states.

6. OCEAN TOWNSHIP
State Group II runnerup, Central Group II champ
Thoroughly throttled Shore Central A (45-0), Ocean Twp was one of  the top-scoring teams all season, finished fourth in GA.  Jenn Ingulli and Dana Henry bowled like stars all year, leading their team to wins at the LB Wave and the Monmouth and fourth in a crazy-deep field at CJWS.  When impressively improved Alexa Tieto joined them with big scores, this team could fire with anyone.  Top overall score at the Central regional, but came up just short at states.  Very strong season.

7. MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP
State Group II third place, South Group II runnerup
When you consider their youth (all underclassmen) and the fact that their top bowlers averaged 186-182-178, the Hawks had a really amazing season, hanging in the top five nearly the whole time.  Manchester is used to titles, we understand, but a 42-3 regular season and several strong tournament performances in a "rebuilding" year?  Fantastic.  And the result of the rebuild will no doubt be one of 2018's best teams, as Theresa Bedaro, Kimberly Wolf and Mackenzie Weber all seem more than capable of making a jump to another level.

8. EDISON
State Group III third place, Central Group III runnerup
At the end of the day, the Eagles were just a bit behind Brick & Warren Hills in firepower, but this team had a tremendous season, dominating the GMC as few have ever done (16-0 regular season), and, as I've remarked several times, showing up and putting up a strong number every single match.  These girls were a machine.  Samantha Salzone grew into a star, runnerup at GMC individual and making the cut at TOC, and Touri Holmes finished off a very solid career.

9. TOMS RIVER SOUTH
State Group III fourth place, South Group III runnerup
Another team where a look at the averages doesn't tell the real story.  This team took a lot of lumps in Shore South A and a tough tournament slate, and it was unlikely that one of their starters would go out and shoot 650 to carry them, so instead, every single bowler produced nearly every day, and they were still beating their averages at sectionals and states, breaking 2500 in each.  Natalie Swindell led with a 184 average, but showed the ability to make a big jump in 2018.

10. TEANECK
State Group III sixth place, North Group III runnerup
With all due respect to Warren Hills, Teaneck was the best team story of 2017-18, coming from absolutely nowhere to wreck the Big North conference  (16-0 / 108-4), post a GA over 170, win the Crusader and put a legitimate scare into the #1 team at sectionals. Teaneck's top two averages belong to freshmen Margaux Lesser and Mia Aish, so they're gonna be around for a while, too.  By the way, that's five Group III teams in the top ten.

11. LACEY 
State Group II sixth place, South Group II champs
I think all writers, even at the bowling-blog level, look for narratives.  Lacey sure provided a great one, with its constant chase of Manchester, and I had fun with it.  Lacey finally captured the white whale, pulling off the upset to win a well-deserved sectional title.  They also finished with a strong 166.5 GA, threw a four-game set as high as 2764, and bring back the entire starting lineup next year: Autumn Laird and Liz Schreier may be heading a top-five team next December.

12. (TIE) HOWELL
State Group IV third place, Central Group IV champs
12. (TIE) FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP
State Group III fifth place, Central Group III champs
We all kinda knew this was going to happen, right?  Same school district, GA within half a pin.  Freehold took the regular season 36-9 to 35-10.  Howell finished higher at the county and conference tournaments.  Each won their sectional, Freehold scoring higher.   Each was just off the pace at states, Howell scoring higher.  Postseason pin totals: Howell 5021, Freehold 5042. Each has a clear pair of very talented leaders: Clare Chaffer and Sarah Orensky at Freehold, Amanda Dorner and Madison Gibson at Howell. Flip a coin, if you like, but this has been a legitimate tie all season long.

14. WAYNE VALLEY
North Group III 3rd place
The first of the hard-luck teams from sectionals, stuck in a spot where they had to beat a state top-10 team just to qualify for states.  Wayne Valley did well, shooting 2533, but Group III was just brutal this year.  They still had a great season, winning the Passaic County title, second at the Crusader, and going 80-4 (only points allowed were in a 3-4 loss to Holy Angels) in conference play before a couple of post-sectional matches.  Better news: three of their top four return next year, including average leader Marissa Cosentini (188), who had a phenomenal freshman year.

15. EASTERN
South Group IV 3rd place
Speaking of hard luck, asking even a team as talented as Eastern to beat either Brick Memorial or TRN is a tall order.  I'm not a conference historian, but Anna Hileman and Kristina Scimone must graduate as one of the most successful one-two combinations in Olympic history, making states as juniors and finishing off their careers as regular-season and tournament conference champs, and the #15 team in New Jersey.

16. MONROE
Central Group III 3rd place
Another victim of the Group III talent swarm, please know that this Monroe team was very, very strong all season.  They went undefeated in conference play, 14-0 / 53-3, and made it stick by winning the GMC team tournament, defeating Edison in the finals.  Monroe's 159.6 GA was 14th in the state and they went as high as 2632 in the regular season, and 2716 in the GMC finals. And they did it all without a single bowler averaging over 180; Bridget Bolan is a good bet to change that stat in 2018.

17. WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
South Group IV 4th place
Another squad with a strong regular season (10-1 / 40-4), solid numbers (157.1 GA) and an impressive season-high: 2632.  While they didn't perform as well as they would have liked at sectionals, this team started three sophomores (Patricia O'Neill, Shannon O'Neill and Diana Chan) that averaged over 160, which marks them as a team to watch very closely in 2017-18.

18. PARAMUS CATHOLIC
North Group III 4th place
PC's 157.9 GA is significantly higher than anyone else not ranked ahead of them.  Join that with second place at the Bergen, fourth at the Crusader and a solid performance at sectionals, and I think it's clear I was underrating them all season.  Went 68-23 against a brutal Big North schedule (3 matches against AHA & Teaneck).  Kristen Kane put an exclamation point on her excellent career with 299/760 at the Bergen.

19. WESTWOOD
State Group I champs, North Group I runnerup
I should have known better than to underestimate Kristen Benavente and Coach Daniel Rattacasa.  The Cardinals shook off a tough start that included ninth at the Crusader, and ran a wave of team-wide improvement all the way to another state title.  Benavente finished off the most successful career in program history, including winning two state titles, by firing a 592 at states to lead her team to the win. Yes, I believe in the regular season, and I believe in the overall stats, but a team that wins a state title is wholly deserving of a spot in the top 20.

20. CARTERET
State Group I runnerup, Central Group I champs
This could have gone a number of ways, but Carteret was the closest to a state title among the contenders for #20, and probably had the best regular season as well, going 15-3 / 60-12 in the GMC. With no true "star" to rely on (Ashley Espy led the team at 162), this was a team that needed everybody to fire to win, and they did it successfully all season long, coming up just 45 pins short of a state championship.

THE NEXT TEN (ALPHABETICALLY)

Bergen Tech (North Group IV champs)
Central Regional
Colts Neck (Central Group II runnerup)
Demarest (North Group II runnerup)
Gloucester Tech
North Brunswick
Paramus
Ramsey (State Group I 3rd place, North Group I champs)
Southern
Woodbridge

SPECIAL MENTION OF TEAMS THAT MADE STATES

Matawan (Central Group I runnerup)
Kearny (North Group IV runnerup)
East Brunswick (Central Group IV runnerup)
Donovan Catholic (South Group I champs)
Collingswood (South Group I runnerup)