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Saturday, December 31, 2016

State Rankings by Group

NJ.com does this with other sports, and I always click on it, so what the hell. Can't wait for competition to start again.

As most of you know, this year's Group assignments won't happen until sometime in late January. I plugged in this year's enrollment figures, so these Group rankings are based on PROJECTED Groups, based on last year's entries and this year's figures.  I'll note when this is a change from last year, and probably an instance or two where teams that didn't enter last year might be ranked.  There's also one spot where I threw up my hands 'cause I have no idea what'll happen.



1. Manasquan
2. Pompton Lakes
3. Hudson Catholic
4. North Arlington
5. Wallkill Valley
6. Keansburg
7. Bishop Ahr
8. Roselle Park
9. Hawthorne
10. Matawan
11. Hasbrouck Heights
12. Cinnaminson

note: St. Rose did not enter in 2016; if they enter in 2017, they'd be ranked #2.


1. Ocean Township
2. Lacey
3. Montville
4. St. Joseph (Metuchen)
5. Seneca
6. Sussex Tech
7. Lyndhurst
8. Iselin Kennedy
9. South Plainfield
10. Fort Lee
11. Neptune
12. Ewing


1. Woodbridge
2. Toms River South
3. Brick Township
4. Pascack Valley
5. Indian Hills
6. Sayreville
7. Monroe
8. Central
9. Warren Hills
10. Cherry Hill West
11. Edison
12. Morris Knolls

note: Indian Hills was Group IV in 2016, projected to drop to Group III this year if entering schools don't change


1. Shawnee
2. East Brunswick
3. Brick Memorial
4. Cherry Hill East
5. South Brunswick
6. Livingston
7. Old Bridge
8. Egg Harbor
9. Southern
10. Toms River North
11. Clifton
12. Ridgewood


1. Manasquan
2. Ramsey
3. Westwood
4. South River
5. Keyport
6. Donovan Catholic
7. South Hunterdon
8. New Egypt
9. DePaul
10. Maple Shade
11. Collingswood
12. Mother Seton


1. Manchester Township
2. Ocean Township
3. Lacey
4. Holy Angels**
5. South Plainfield
6. Carteret
7. Demarest
8. Paramus**
9. Barnegat
10. West Deptford
11. Indian Hills
12. Colonia

note: Lacey was in Group III in 2016, projected in Group II in 2017 if entering schools stay the same.
** If 2017 entries in the North are the same schools as 2016, Paramus & Holy Angels will tie for the last spot In GIII/first spot in GII. Both were Group II in 2016.  No clue how this gets resolved (if anyone knows, please tell me).  So I'm ranking them in both lists.


1. Brick Township
2. Warren Hills
3. Toms River South
4. Wayne Valley
5. Teaneck
6. Edison
7. Holy Angels**
8. Central
9. Paramus**
10. Paramus Catholic
11. Woodbridge
12. Gloucester Tech


1. Brick Memorial
2. Toms River North
3. Eastern
4. Freehold Township
5. Howell
6. Washington Township
7. Hackensack
8. South Brunswick
9. Franklin
10. Kearny
11. Cherry Hill West
12. East Brunswick

note: Freehold Township was Group III in 2016, projected for Group IV in 2017.
note: Southern did not enter in 2016.  If they were to enter in 2017, they would ranked #7 above.

Ok, that's it for now.  Nothing more until there are some matches to talk about.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Girls Rankings at the Break


1. Brick Memorial     (LW: 1, GA: 199)
2. Brick Township     (LW: 2, GA: 184)
3. Manchester Township     (LW: 4, GA: 177)
4. Ocean Townshp     (LW: 6, GA: 174)
5. Warren Hills     (LW: 3, GA: 176)
6. Toms River South     (LW: 5, GA: 171)
7. Toms River North     (LW: 7, GA: 167)
8. Wayne Valley     (LW: 10, GA: 173)
9. Teaneck      (LW: 9, GA: 172)
10. Edison      (LW: 8, GA: 164)
11. Eastern      (LW: 11, GA: 161)
12. Lacey      (LW: 13, GA: 161)
13. Holy Angels     (LW: 12, GA: 166)
14. Manasquan     (LW: 14, GA: 156)
15. Freehold Township     (LW: 15t, GA: 155)
16. South Plainfield     (LW: 19, GA: 156)
17. Howell      (LW: 15t, GA: 154)
18. Central      (LW: 17, GA: 151)
19. Carteret     (LW: unr, GA: 149)
20. Demarest     (LW: unr, GA: 151)

Not a whole lot of change, really.  #1 and #2 are pretty clear, but 3 through 5 is an open question, based for now on recent results. The Big North teams may jockey all season; I'll be very interested to see what they can do with 5 bowlers. Wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Edison, Eastern or Lacey take a jump forward very soon, as they all look to be improving over the last couple of weeks. Carteret's recent 2581 is a higher series than 8 of the teams ranked ahead of them have reached, so they've got a chance to move up if they can hit those heights again.

Top 20 breakdown: Skyland 1, Olympic 1, GMC 3, Big North 4, Shore.... 11.


Washington Township
Paramus Catholic

Washington Twp certainly hasn't bowled badly; their average has just slipped a bit under some other contenders. PC outscored #13 Holy Angels in a match last week (though AHA won the match 4-3) so they have it in them to make a run.Similarly, Woodbridge split a set with #16 South Plainfield. Barnegat is consistently solid; every set seems to be in the 2200s.  One breakout day could push them into the top 20. Paramus has looked good early, 18-3 in BN action, but we need a few more scores.


Gloucester Tech
North Brunswick

GT is another team that's been extremely consistently solid and just needs a breakout. Southern put up very good sets early in the season, as did North Brunswick; either is a good candidate to jump forward. Colonia is capable of putting up scores that fit in with teams ranked higher (2270 last week). Westwood's had a very successful program the last few years, winning sectional & state titles.  They got hit hard by graduation and had a tough start to the season, but they've made serious improvement and shot a very nice 4-bowler 1947 on Thursday.

Ok, no more rankings for a couple of weeks. We may take an irresponsibly early look at sectionals later this week.  Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boys Rankings at the Break

Find my long-winded rankings explanation here.  One other note: I don't believe in just taking the last set of rankings and moving teams a spot or two based on recent results.  I build the whole thing over again without looking at what I wrote last week.  I think that's a more honest way to do it, but it does sometimes result in a re-ordering that may seem kind of random. A lot of these teams are very, very close and any small tweak in how you look at it makes a difference. Doin' my best, here.


1. Woodbridge     (LW: 1, GA: 214)
2. Shawnee     (LW: 4, GA: 212)
3. East Brunswick     (LW: 3, GA: 209)
4. Brick Memorial     (LW: 2, GA: 210)
5. Toms River South     (LW: 6, GA: 205)
6. Manasquan     (LW: 5, GA: 202)
7. Ocean Township     (LW: 9, GA: 201)
8. Cherry Hill East     (LW: 11, GA: 200)
9. Brick Township     (LW: 7, GA: 199)
10. South Brunswick     (LW: 8, GA: 199)
11. Lacey     (LW: 14, GA: 195)
12. Pascack Valley     (LW: 12, GA: 197)
13. Indian Hills     (LW: 16, GA: 197)
14. Sayreville     (LW: un, GA: 194)
15. Montville     (LW: un, GA: 193)
16. St. Joseph - Metuchen     (LW: 18, GA: 194)
17. Seneca     (LW: 13, GA: 194)
18. Monroe     (LW: 17, GA: 196)
19. St. Rose     (LW: un, GA: 198)
20: Central     (LW: un, GA: 193)

Couldn't really be anyone else at #1 after that 3536 on Thursday. Shawnee has been more consistently excellent that the other contenders for #2, but clearly any one of the teams ranked 2-4 could shoot a monster number on any give day. TRS has been on fire lately with four sets of 3083 or better last week.

Cherry Hill East earned an improved ranking by averaging 207 over 2 matches last week.  Sayreville & Montville earned some mea culpas from me; their recent results make it clear that one or two subpar results earlier in the season shouldn't be held against them. St. Rose is still under small-sample-size alert, but their 2 recorded results are just too good to ignore.


Old Bridge
Pompton Lakes
Warren Hills
Sussex Tech

I jumped the gun on Livingston's ranking last week, which should reflect poorly on me and certainly not them: they're a really good team. Old Bridge, Warren Hills and Sussex Tech are all missing just one thing: consistency, while Pompton Lakes is in that 4-man team gray area.


Egg Harbor
Hudson Catholic
Toms River North
Iselin Kennedy
Toms River East

Egg Harbor isn't quite hitting the heights they did earlier, but we know the talent is there. Hudson Catholic averaged over 200 this week and looks to be trending up. JFK, TRN and TRE all have both tough tournament results and really excellent match scores on their resumes; TRE, for example, put up a huge 3154 but came in 12th in qualifying at RWTI the next day. Any of these five has the potential to make a big second half push.

Girls rankings coming tomorrow.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Huge Scores Mark the Last Few Days of 2016

Sorry for so much time between posts.  Anyone who's been trying to put in or get out information from nj.com the last few days probably has a good guess as to what took so long.  My hat's off to any coaches who managed to get match information into the system. Lots of teams that normally report full results only put in team scores... I get it.  So I'm probably missing more honor scores than usual.

Anyway, starting with the boys. #9 Ocean Township wrapped up a great first half with a 2-1 win over St. Rose, with a set of 3265 in which all five bowlers were between 617 & 697 (Brian Davis).  St. Rose looked pretty good too, finishing at 3037. In the Shore-South, #6 Toms River South continued their hot week with a 2-1 win over #7 Brick Township and a 3083 set.

Montville continues to dominate the NJAC South, shooting a 3100 (Erik Katterman's 733 led the way) against Delbarton and sitting at 49-0 after seven matches. Hudson Catholic and St. Peter's had a high-level, tightly contested match on Thursday, with St. Peter's winning 4-3 but HC outscoring them 3004-2986.

#16 Indian Hills put up a nice 4-man 2505 to pace the Big North on Thursday.  GMC contender #8 South Brunswick put up 3096 & 3113 on back-to-back days.

#11 Cherry Hill East continues to look great, firing 3137 behind Emerson Levy's 747 in a 3-1 win over Eastern, but it was their Olympic Conference rival, Shawnee, that made big headlines on Wednesday.

#4 Shawnee shot the moon with a true 5-man set of 3404.  Andrew Abbonizio (766), Chris Pagliuso (761) and Evan McNally (740) all went big, and along with teammates Tyler Gates and Nick Simonetti, the Renegades set a school series record, and put up the highest series in New Jersey this season.

That mark lasted about 24 hours.

On Thursday afternoon, GMC rivals #1 Woodbridge and #3 East Brunswick put on a perfomance for the ages. East Brunswick won game 1 1270 to 1211, which is amazing all by itself.  Woodbridge came back to win games 2 & 3, carding games of 1140 & 1185 (which included a James Stoveken 300).  When the dust settled, the Barrons had earned a 3-1 victory and posted a set of 3536, while East Brunswick couldn't have asked for more from their kids, who put up a season best 3376 in defeat.

Just from this match alone:

James Stoveken (W) 786
Jason Bilawsky (W) 709
Gabriel Navedo (W) 684
Kyle Bilawsky (W) 750
James Reitano (E) 696
Daniel Lenk (E) 689
Ethan Shamim (E) 639
Sam Bortnick (E) 673

Individual scores other than those listed above start with a fantastic 764 by Paramus Catholic freshman Louis Ferrante.  Others:

Cameron LaPlant, JP Stevens 751
Gerard Chidichimo, Old Bridge 712
David Mac Gillivray, Barnegat 720
Jordan Malizia, Brick Township 739

On the girls' side, #1 Brick Memorial (2938, 3-0 over #7 TRN) and #2 Brick Township (2804, 3-0 over #5 TRS) continue to do what they do - and what they're doing is distancing themselves further from the rest of the contenders, as Brick Township's game average is seven pins clear of third place Manchester Township.

#11 Eastern continues to climb, shooting 2493 in a 4-0 win over Cherry Hill East. #14 Manasquan used big sets from Anna Foo (609) and Sarah Smith (634) in their win over Wall. #13 Lacey may be capable of making a run at Shore-South-B leaders #4 Manchester; Lacey's 2642 on Thursday was 8 pins better than Manchester's very solid total (of course, they were against different opponents).

The top 3 Big North squads all looked good this week: #9 Teaneck put up 2122 in a win over Old Tappan on Wednesday, and #10 Wayne Valley and #12 Holy Angels had a great duel on Thursday: Angels took the points (with help from Tiffany Sucero's 623) 4-3, Valley had the better score, 2081-2054, . (All Big North team totals are for 4 bowlers)

The GMC was starting look like it might be a two-team battle between #8 Edison (8-0, 31-1), who posted 2571 in a win over JP Stevens, and #19 South Plainfield (8-1-1, 33-7) who rode Lanasia Neal's 660 to a 2482 set. But Carteret, who just missed the rankings last week, may have something to say about it. The Ramblers moved to 10-1, 40-4 with a big 2581 set, which is the highest regular-season series by any GMC team this season (though Edison scored higher in the James tournament).

Maybe the biggest story on the girls side is that we've officially run out of superlatives to describe the performance by Toms River North freshman Kamerin Peters, who capped off the first half of her first season with a 258-268-237=763, bringing her average up to 218. "Wow" is all I've got.

Other 600s
Sarah Orensky, Freehold Township 622
Julianna Forbes, Brick Township 610
Victoria Gray, Brick Township 614
Amanda Shelters, Brick Memorial 634
Jillian Stuart, Brick Memorial 633
Sarah Pitcher, Brick Memorial 638
Kristen Benavente, Westwood 618
Shyann Hester, Franklin 617

Ok, that's it for the first half of 2016-17.  We'll have mid-season rankings at some point during the break.  Happy holidays to everyone, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Mid-week report

Lots of honor scores to list, but first some highlights from Monday & Tuesday.

#1 Brick Memorial kept it rolling (I should make a macro for that), improving to 21-0 in points and shooting 3103 behind Amanda Shelters (629), Victoria Bird (639) and Jillian Stuart (704).  #2 Brick Township had a great day themselves, totaling 2898 behind Emily Silber (623) and Caylin Ryan (639), but, well, Memorial.

Most of the rest of the top 10 were right around their averages, though #6 Ocean Township hit a new season high with 2806 in one of their two wins.  Dana Henry (641-608) and Jenn Ingulli (662-614) continue to impress.

Big North average leader, #10 Wayne Valley freshman Marissa Cosentini, fired 611 to lead her team to a 4-bowler 2129 and take hold of the best-team-in-conference mantle, at least for now.  Unranked GMC squad Colonia shot a season high 2270, so they may be one to watch.

One of my "keep an eye on" teams, West Deptford, shot a season-high 2330 and is trending up. Howell & Freehold, two teams so close in resume that I listed them as tied at #15 in NJ, played a predictably close match, with Howell winning 2-1, but Freehold taking the total wood moral victory 2342-2305. Should be fun to watch that Shore-Central-B battle all season.


Julianna Forbes, Brick Township 603
Aimee Sherman, Jackson Memorial 631
Katie Robb, Kingsway 659
Heather Melendez, South Plainfield 626
Laryssa Fiore, Colonia 624
Carla Hansen, Gloucester Tech 613
Emily Alvarez, South Brunswick 637
Amelia Brunda, Holy Angels 603
Kristen Kane, Paramus Catholic 642
Rhianna Smith, Hopatcong (boys team) 623

Several of the top-ranked boys teams had slightly subpar matches, so we'll let them turn the page.  An exception was #3 East Brunswick, with a 3090 Monday (Daniel Lenk 748) and 3117 Tuesday.  #7 Brick Township had a solid 3105 on Monday before dropping off on Monday (despite Jordan Maliza's 728).

#11 Cherry Hill East nearly got their season average back above 200 with their 3073 match. #18 St. Joseph (Metuchen) and #20 Sussex Tech each cracked 3000, and look to move up.

#6 Toms River South is having a great week.Tuesday they carded 3178, Monday a season-high 3349 (#2 in NJ for the season), and Saturday they won their Roll With the Indians tournament.  They also came in second in the RWTI.  Yes, two TRS teams entered, and they both reached the finals in a tournament that featured both Brick schools among others.  This is a frightening group.

I'm-not-bad-at-this department: "keep an eye on" teams Montville and Warren Hills each broke 3000 and have pulled their season averages up from early-season totals and each could be ranked now.

I'm-not-good-at-this department: I chose Jackson Memorial as a team to watch, but not Jackson Liberty.  All that happened is that Liberty went out Monday and hammered Memorial 3-0 / 2892-2564 behind Josh Bottieri's 722.

But the worst call I made was having Sayreville in the "just missed" section.  I go where the numbers take me most of the time, but this was predictable, as the Bombers have a lot of talent. They showed it on Monday, shooting a huge 3287 (highlighted by Chris DeOcampo's 717) that only four teams in the state have topped in 2016. They, uh, may be ranked next time.

Tyler Kohutanycz, South Brunswick 704
Kyle Chirichello, Brick Township 733
Rich Prozzo, Toms River South 710
Derek Lewandowski, Ridgefield Park 745
Austin Devereux, Manasquan 749
Nick Cilento, Pompton Lakes 749
Kyle Oliveri, Toms River South 731
Justin Malfitano, Toms River North 715
Anthony Fama, South Brunswick 715
Nathan Tombo, St. Joseph-Montvale 728

Thanks to all the coaches who responded to my email blast the last few days.  I received a lot of encouragement, a few corrections, many promises to pass along the link and several sets of tournament results I hadn't been able to locate on my own. Thanks to anyone who didn't respond, but took the time to check it out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Girls Rankings - December 20


1. Brick Memorial (nj.com preseason #5)
GA: 198.8    Simply amazing.  After losing not just three seniors, but seniors the quality of Tori Boughton, McKenna Collier and Misty Downs, and they just shrug and say, "Yeah, well, we've got 3 other kids that'll average 200.  Come beat us."  Anyway, James champs, RWTI playoff champs.  Most impressive stat might be 18-0 in Shore-South-A. Amanda Shelters, Victoria Bird, Jillian Stuart, Sarah Pitcher and Rachel Katz, all averaging at least 199. Own the top 5 series in the state. Simply the best until proven otherwise.

2. Brick Township (nj.com preseason #1)
GA: 182.7    Won the Wheeler and beat BM in RWTI qualifying.  Own the highest non-Brick Mem high series in NJ (2956). All five starters average between 173 and 190 (Victoria Gray). Perhaps not as consistently productive as last season (like BM, Brick Twp lost 3 starters to graduation), but the favorite in Group III and a threat to win the TOC.  Again.

3. Warren Hills (nj.com preseason #2)
GA: 180.0    Only 3 matches under their belt, but one was a doozy, posting 2908 last week. This is an experienced group that lost an all-stater from last year (Abby Laws) and simply replaced her with a freshman that's averaging 190 (Kelcie Mannon). Senior Jenna Henderson leads the way with a 195 mark early in conference play, but all five starters are over 171.

4. Manchester Township (nj.com preseason #3)
GA: 177.1    Another very consistent group - five starters between 172 & 192. The Hawks' last three outings have totaled 2778, 2774 and 2849. And it's a different star every day, as Theresa Bedaro, Kimberly Wolf & MacKenzie Weber have each shot over 640 in just the last week.

5. Toms River South (nj.com preseason #6)
GA: 173.7    It's not easy being in Shore-South A.  The #5 team in the state is firing 2600s all over the place, has a leader averaging 191 (Natalie Swindell) and five bowlers averaging 164+. They'd be dominating almost any other conference in the state, but in S-S-A, they're in third place.  The competition probably helps them, though; last year they upset Brick Township in sectionals, and I'm sure they plan to do it again.

6. Ocean Township (nj.com unranked)
GA: 172.9    Stats don't include Monday's 2806.  Clearly this is a squad threatening to move up.  Possibly the best top-two in New Jersey in Jenn Ingulli (averaging 210) and Dana Henry (averagin 203, won South Jersey Singles), the rest of the team is coming together, and Manchester has some competition in Group II.

7. Toms River North (nj.com unranked)
GA: 168.1    Last year, TRN averaged 151, didn't crack the top 10 in a tournament, and came in 3rd in sectionals, missing states.  Now they're #7.  What happened?  They just added a freshman that's leading the Shore Conference with a 212 average and a 699 series just yesterday.  Kamerin Peters is a difference maker. She has a couple of solid teammates, and the program has a bright future. And yes, that's six Shore Conference teams in the top 7.

8. Edison (nj.com preseason #4)
GA: 163.6    Very impressive in the James tournament, shooting 2706 to beat out Brick Twp for 2nd place.  Haven't quite fired on all cylinders since, but Samantha Salzone is averaging 186 and the Eagles are dominating the GMC.  They have time to figure out the rest.

9. Teaneck (nj.com unranked)
GA: 173.8    The best out-of-nowhere story this season, by far.  Last year, Teaneck averaged 128.  This year, they've added a very good transfer (Gianni Caldazilla), had a senior (Gail Kelly) make an incredible 40-pin average improvement, and added a pair of freshman (Mia Aish & Margaux Lesser) that average over 178. Best team in the Big North at this point. Won the Crusader tournament in their only 5-player effort, shooting 2477.

10. Wayne Valley (nj.com unranked)
GA: 171.8    Second in the Crusader and Teaneck's biggest threat for Big North supremacy. Freshman Marissa Cosentini leads the conference with a stellar 208 average and Claudine Rosca is off to a very good start in her senior year at 185.  One five-deep score, 2459, keeps them from being ranked higher.

11. Eastern     GA: 161.1
12. Holy Angels     GA: 165.6  (nj.com preseason #9)
13. Lacey     GA: 158.2
14. Manasquan     GA: 155.0
15t Freehold Township     GA: 155.9
15t Howell     GA: 155.9  (nj.com preseason #8)
Freehold & Howell both average 155.9.  Howell's high series is 2444, Freehold's is 2442.  In the same conference, in the same division.  They're even the same school district.  Ties are usually a copout, but this situation is just begging for it.

17. Central     GA: 152.2
18. Washington Township     GA: 152.4
19. South Plainfield     GA: 154.5  (nj.com preseason #10)
20. Southern     GA: 148.0

That's 12 Shore Conference teams in the top 20.  South Plainfield has perhaps the best bowler in the state in defending State Singles champ Lanasia Neal. And when she & Heather Melendez are on, they're close to top 10. Only five teams have topped Eastern's best effort of 2678.


Woodbridge (nj.com preseason #7)
North Brunswick
Gloucester Tech


Indian Hills
South Brunswick
West Deptford

Demarest, Indian Hills & Paramus have only 2 recorded matches (as of Sunday). West Deptford & South Brunswick have fired higher series than anybody else and could move up the ladder if they can hit those heights again.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Boys Rankings - December 19


1.       Woodbridge (nj.com preseason #2)
GA: 213.2   Won the Bob James & Wheeler tournaments. Bilawsky, Stoveken & Drost are a tremendous top 3, and they go 6 deep, as evidenced by Friday’s six-600 performance. GA is slightly below Brick Memorial, but Woodbridge dominated the one time both teams were at the same event.

2.       Brick Memorial (nj.com preseason #1)
GA: 214.0  3rd at Bob James, top qualifying score at RWTI. Five starters averaging over 200, led by Andrew Lazarchick’s huge 233.  16-2 in the toughest division in NJ.

3.       East Brunswick (nj.com preseason #8)
GA: 207.5   Second behind Woodbridge at the James.  Sam Bortnick is averaging 236 in GMC matches. Daniel Lenk’s at 220. They’ve shot as high as 3299.  They can roll with anybody.

4.       Shawnee (nj.com unranked)
GA: 208.9   Won the Olympic tournament, which included 2 other top 20 teams. Andrew Abbonizio started the season with an 800 and is still crushing. Chris Pagliuso is averaging over 225.  This team can put up some numbers, hitting a high of 3233.

5.       Manasquan (nj.com unranked)
GA: 204.8  Big leap forward for Austin Devereux, Kyle Bauter & company last week firing 3169, 3134 & 3217 (which qualified 2nd at RWTI).

6.       Toms River South (nj.com unranked)
GA: 201.2   Qualified 3rd at their tournament Saturday with 3167, off a 3177 on Thursday.  Chris Swindell leads the way with a 214 average in conference play.

7.       Brick Township (nj.com preseason #6)
GA: 198.8   Joran Maliza’s been phenomenal, averaging 228 after his 300/756 last week.  And they’re winning: 12-3 in Shore-South-A.  Slightly subpar tournament results keep them from ranking higher; my guess in that they’ll get there sooner or later.

8.       South Brunswick (nj.com unranked)
GA: 198.6   Another GMC squad.  It’s tough to shoot 3151 and lose, as SB did to East on Friday. They have at least four bowlers (Chan, Delacruz, Fama & Kohutanycz) capable of going big.  If they all fire at once, this is a scary group.

9.       Ocean Township (nj.com unranked)
GA: 199.9    Chasing Manasquan as best team in Shore-Central-A. Mathew Redbord leads the way with a 215 mark and the team’s pretty consistently around 3000.  Look forward to seeing how they do in a tournament setting.

10.   Livingston (nj.com unranked)
GA: 197.1   Not a lot of results here, but I was impressed with 3rd at the Wheeler (where scores were generally down) and a 3126 last week in a win over Seton Hall Prep.  Not 100% sure I’m right, but there’s a bunch of teams pretty tightly packed so certainty is not an option.

11.   Cherry Hill East    GA: 198.5
12.   Pascack Valley      GA: 197.8
13.   Seneca      GA: 196.8
14.   Lacey     GA: 194.8
15.   Egg Harbor     GA: 196.2
16.   Indian Hills     GA: 197.2   (nj.com preseason #9)
17.   Monroe     GA: 196.2
18.   St. Joseph (Metuchen)     GA: 194.1
19.   Old Bridge     GA: 193.1
20.   Sussex Tech     GA: 193.5    (nj.com preseason #4)

Indian Hills put up a ridiculous 4-man 2631, yes, but the followup, while very good, was under 200 average even at four bowlers.  I think they can move up, but can’t do it quite yet.  Pascack Valley’s in a similar boat, but they proved their 5-bowler chops by winning the Irwin tournament.  I’m probably underrating Sussex Tech.  They put up a subpar number on Friday while missing star Joey Steele. 

Cherry Hill West
Pompton Lakes
Sayreville (nj.com preseason #3)
Wayne Hills

Jackson Memorial
North Bergen
St. Rose
Warren Hills
JM qualified 4th at RWTI and looked good doing it.  Montville’s had 2 3000 sets and is 35-0, but the game average is just a bit low to rank them just yet. North Bergen only has 1 result reported; same with St. Rose. Warren Hills followed up 2 ok scores with a huge 3140; more of that and they’ll be ranked soon.

How rankings are determined

Just a few notes on where the rankings come from, as we prepare for the first rankings of 2016-17.

First and foremost, the rankings are only as good as the data available.  Some conferences (Shore South, Big North, GMC) have great resources for finding results.  For many, I rely on what’s reported to nj.com, which is generally accurate but always incomplete.  Some conferences report very-little-to-nothing.  It’ll get better (especially Shore North-B, where I wait for the standing sheet to be posted in late December).  As of December 19, I have at least some average data on 224 teams out of about 240 (boys) and 140 of about 160 (girls), and I think I have all the genuine contenders covered.

The main sorting tool is what I refer to as “game average”.  It reduces all games bowled in competition, dual matches or tournaments, to the average game per bowler.  It puts 4-bowler conferences on equal footing, and gives us a number that means something to any bowling follower. As of December 19, there are six boys’ teams with game averages over 200, 28 at 190 or better, and 65 over 180.  These numbers are significant, useful, and predictive.

But not perfect.  We start with game average, but adjust for a few things.  Difference in conditions is subtle and hard to figure, but it’s unavoidable that some houses are bigger scoring than others.  I wish I had more data on this, but it’s something to keep in mind.  More explicitly, the rules are different across the state.  It’s easier to score higher for teams that bowl six & count five (GMC, Skyland) than it is for just a straight 5-bowler score.  Four-bowler teams are even trickier.  We judge teams on their strength as a five-bowler squad (because that’s how states is decided), so we have to account for the “missing” score.  Teams that have bowled in tournaments, or who have used at least five different bowlers during the season are easier to judge.  Unless there is obviously available strength at that fifth spot, we should adjust the GA of these teams down a little.

Tournament results are our best window into comparative strength.  Yes, anybody can have a bad day or be missing a key player, but a chance to see direct competition under the same conditions is very valuable.

Teams records, by themselves, are not especially useful.  The difference in quality from conference to conference is self-evidently massive.  An 8-7 team in the top ten while a 35-0 team is outside the top 25. Completely normal and justified.  Head-to-head results, however, are useful when comparing teams with similar overall stats.

Each week, we’ll rank the top 20 boys & girls teams.  After that will be 5 that “just missed”, listed by game average.  Also, there will be 5 teams to “keep an eye on”.  This is not necessarily the next 5; these may be teams with one outlier great result that might be a sign of things to come.  Might be a team with a couple of special bowlers that could be dangerous if they improve down-lineup.  Early in the season it will often be a team with good stats but very few data points.  It’s usually unfair to rank a team off only one good performance.

As always, if there’s something I’ve missed or a result I haven’t considered, please let me know, and share with whoever may be interested.

updated January 9, 2017 to include the following:

Teams performances can vary from week to week, match to match, for many reasons.  Performance levels will always vary, of course, and there are injuries, illnesses, and bowler unavailability for other reasons.  That will affect game average, and it's fair that the teams' actual performance is reflected in the actual numbers.

But there are two more problems with using game average as the basic ratings tool, in addition to those listed above (6/5 vs 5 vs 4, for example).  The first problem concerns depth and coaching philosophy.  A few teams run the same 5 (or 4, or 6) bowlers out  there for every single match.  Some sub only when forced to by circumstance, or when the match is a complete blowout.  Other coaches sub more liberally, either because the dropoff isn't huge, or several bowlers are in the same range and they're playing the hot hand, or because they have a system whereby all bowlers get some varsity experience.  To be clear, I think that's great and very good for the sport overall.  But it's hell on the stats.  A coach subbing out a 180 bowler to bring in a 150 bowler for a few games over the course of the season doesn't make much of a dent, but there are plenty of examples where the effect is more extreme and the stats notice.  This is unfortunate, because a team winning 2500 to 1700 instead of 2900 to 1700 has no real world effect and doesn't change the strength of the team in reality at all.

The other problem gets to the heart of what the rankings are supposed to be: are we evaluating how well the team has bowled so far this season, or assessing their strength heading into the postseason?  Ideally, we trying to balance the two. So to that end, I came up with another tool, the T5 rating, which is an attempt to approximate the strength of the team based on the averages of their top five bowlers (in most cases, their most likely tournament lineup).  

Unfortunately, the T5 is hell to figure because of the handful of conferences that don't have individual stats and nj.com's basic statistical unfriendliness to bowling.  So I did it once (in advance of 1-9-17 rankings), and I may do it again next month in advance of sectionals.  The variance between Game Average and T5 rating can be minuscule or massive; it was actually pretty interesting to a stat nerd like myself.  Teams that have missed a top bowler for significant time and those that have a lot of firepower but also sub frequently were most likely to have a much higher T5 than GA, but it was really all over the map.  Some 4-man teams went down a lot due to a lack of proven depth, some actually went up because they have five or six good bowlers but rarely let their top 4 bowl all 12 games.  The T5 ratings of 6/5 teams, relative to their GA, really show who's benefiting from the "drop one" rule.

Anyway, this is all very interesting to pretty much just me, but it seemed like if I was gonna start using a new stat, I should have an explanation someplace so here it is.  If I didn't make sense at some point and you want something clarified, just let me know (nobody will ever read this far).

Catching up

Catching up on results from the end of last week. Don't have the final Baker-playoff results (or individual scores) from the TRN tournament, just the initial 3-game totals.

Woodbridge boys.  Terrifying.  Six bowlers, six 600 series, James Stoveken 726.  Total? 3357, high in the state this year. South Brunswick & East Brunswick both shot the moon, with South (Chan Woo Ang 705) coming up just short of East 3-1 / 3227-3151.  Sam Bortnick put up a massive 300-793 for the winners.

Brick Memorial is consistent(ly great).  3231 in a win on Friday followed by 3233 in the TRN tournament Saturday.  Andrew Lazarchick cracked 7 again, with a 709 on Friday. Brick Township posted a solid 3168 on Friday as well.  How deep is Shore South A?  Central is 0-5 / 3-12, but capable of shooting 3014 (losing to Toms River East, who put up 3154.)

Manasquan came in 2nd in the TRN prelims, posting 3217, and hammered PPB with a 3134 on Thursday.  That Thursday score was not posted for a couple of days, so I missed it on Friday and I missed getting to comment on the fact that in the same match Sarah Smith shot 300 for the 'Squan girls, Kyle Bauter did the same for the boys, finished at 300-689.  That's pretty cool.

Other 700s include:

Joshua Lipko, Cherry Hill West 716
Doug Pombo, Toms River East 732
Zak DuHaime, Wallkill Valley 717
Tom Smith, Pascack Valley 725

The Brick Township girls won the latest round of can-you-top-this in the battle for the top NJ score, non-Brick Memorial division.  With a 2956, the Dragons not only took back #2 in high series, they bested Memorial on the lanes (though Memorial came back to win in the Baker playoff). Manchester wasn't too far behind, carding 2778.

Memorial also defeated TRS 3-0 / 2998-2635 on Friday to move to 18-0 on the season in a division with 3 other top 10 teams.  That's amazing, really.  Victoria Bird (655) and Sarah Pitcher (638) led the way.

Two other 600s in Shore-South-A, Laura Oliver of Central with a 648 & Kamerin Peters of TRN with a 650.  Jamie Golden shot 622 for the Sparta boys' team.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Around NJ

Very happy to see the Big North scores start to fill in, and that's where we'll start. After a disappointing tenth place finish in the Irwin tournament, Indian Hills has asserted itself as the top team in the conference. Their latest effort was a massive four-man 2631 fueled by Jared Duncan's 226-279-279=784. David Grant of Fort Lee is vying to be the top individual bowler up north, firing 751 & 703 this week.

Kyle Bilawsky's 728 helped the Woodbridge train keep rolling along with a 3141 set against Colonia. Cherry Hill East continues to land right around 3000 every day, with a 3007 in a 3-1 win over Lenape. Peter Mattson of Old Bridge posted 705, but his team fell to Iselin Kennedy (and Frank Hindy's 701) 3046-2991.  The GMC is just crazy deep this year. Matthew Young of Eastern shot this week's other 700, finishing at 717.

Two teams made huge leaps forward with big scores.  Manasquan pushed their season game-average over 200 with a 3169 featuring 4 600s including Austin Devereux's 696, as well as defeating Ocean Township, who landed at 3061. The other team with a surprisingly big number was Warren Hills, who moved up 25 slots in game-average on the strength of the 3140 they shot in a win over Hunterdon Central.

The Warren Hills girls made a strong statement as well.  Led by Jenna Henderson (631) and Kelcie Mannon (607), last year's Group III runnerup shot past Manchester's 2849 from a few days ago with a huge 2908, taking over #2 in the state for a single series, and drawing into a virtual tie with Brick Township for #2 in the state by game-average.

Manchester didn't take the day off, either, as MacKenzie Weber's 670 helped propel them to another big total, this time 2774. Ocean Township improved to 12-0 in Shore Central-A with sets of 2612 & 2625 (led by Dana Henry at 610 & Jenn Ingulli at 617). Wayne Valley's making a case to be considered the top Big North team, with freshman Marissa Cosentini's 711 leading the way to a four-bowler 2263. Another squad to keep tabs on is Eastern, who flew 300 pins past their season best with an impressive 2678.

The biggest story on the girls' side this week, though, is the day Sarah Smith of Manasquan had on Thursday. Smith has had a solid start to her season, averaging 180 in conference play and placing third in a stacked field at the South Jersey Singles Classic.  But Thursday was something else, as she carded 300-226-217=743. Very impressive showing for the senior.

Other 600s include:

Kiara Powell, Union 626
Aimee Sheman, Jackson Memorial 668
Katie Robb, Kingsway 657
Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield 600
Gabby Pangaro, Clifton 618

Friday's action will be highlighted by Shore Conference South-A, and Saturday will feature a pair of important tournaments, Roll with the Indians at Ocean Lanes, and the Charlie Simon Baker Challenge at Majestic.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Highlights from December 12 & 13

Brick Memorial's girls team continues at their force-of-nature pace, shooting 3087 in a win over Southern, with Victoria Bird (634), Amanda Shelters (620) and Jillian Stuart (657) crushing the pins. All five starters are AVERAGING 199+. But another Shore Conference team made some noise on Monday.

Manchester Township is a top team every year, to be sure, but the 2016-17 version is making a real case to be considered the #2 overall team.  The Hawks are very solid top-to-bottom, with averages ranging from 193 to 168. On Monday, they put together their best performance of the year, and it was also the highest series by anyone other than Brick Memorial.  Led by Kimberly Wolf's 649, Manchester totaled a healthy 2849. Again dominating Shore South-B, this is clearly the state Group 2 favorite, definitely a team to watch in February.

If all the groups hold from last year, Manchester's top competition may be another SC squad, Ocean Township, who rolled a strong 2642 on Monday. In Big North action, Holy Angels made their regular season debut count with a 4-player 2087. Greater Middlesex Conference leader Edison improved to 6-0/24-0 with 2 series in the 2400s; having shot 2700 in a tournament earlier this moth, we know they're capable of being in the Group III mix.

Toms River North Freshman Kamerin Peters continued her torrid early-season pace with a 619.

On the boys' side, Brick Memorial's case for #1 got a little stronger, with a huge 3292 led by John Boughton's 703.  The other strong candidate, Woodbridge, fired 3153 & 3159 (led by James Stoveken's 726), but the latter match was actually a loss, as St. Joseph-Metuchen pulled off the upset with a big 3170, on the heels of a 3105 on Monday.

The GMC is neck-and-neck with the Shore Conference for strongest league in NJ.  Woodbridge & St. Joseph are joined by East Brunswick (3299 on Tuesday behind Sam Bortnick's 747), South Brunswick (3108 featuring Tyler Kohutanycz's 722), and Old Bridge (3148 in a tie against South Brunswick), as well as Monroe and Sayreville, both in the top-20 in game average.

The top Shore Conference squads (aside from Brick Memorial) include Manasquan, off a 2991 series on Monday, Brick Township, whose 3162 on Tuesday featured Jordan Maliza going 300/756, Ocean Township, one of only 5 schools averaging over 200, and Toms River South, who's not far behind.

Livingston announced its presence with authority on Monday, defeating Seton Hall Prep with a 3126, and Sussex Tech topped 3000 again, with a 3043 (Joey Steele 723) against Sparta. Montville took charge of the NJIC with a 7-0 win over Madison in which they shot 2991. Big North results are just starting to trickle in, hope to get to a few later in the week.

Other 700s this week include:

Mike Curtis, New Egypt 731
Cameron LaPlant, JP Stevens 753
Kyle Schellberg, Dumont 709
Matt Gibney, Keansburg 749

Monday, December 12, 2016

Note about rankings

I mentioned a few days ago that I would have initial rankings today, but I've decided to put it off for a week for a simple reason: there's just not enough data. We've got legitimate top-10 teams for both boys and girls with only 1 or 2 matches recorded.  I don't want to be unfair to a team that had one really good day, one really bad day, was missing a top bowler, whatever.  Just as big a reason is that the Big North, which has some powerful teams, both boys and girls, has not yet begun conference play. This week, for exmpale, the Holy Angels girls face Hackensack and Immaculate Heart, and the Wayne Valley girls hit the lanes twice. We'll see the full Clifton boys lineup after watching two of their top bowlers perform wonderfully at the North Jersey singles.  By the end of this week, I should have enough information to at least make some educated guesses as to the top 20 teams in New Jersey.

Catching Up

Let's catch up on the action that's taken place over the last few days.

Saturday was the big day for singles tournaments.  Dybuk75 has a great writeup of the North Jersey version, won by Nick Greco of Fair Lawn and Gabby Pangaro of Clifton. And the ever-efficient Manchester township bowling program has a website for the South Jersey version, won by Matthew Stephens of Egg Harbor and Dana Henry of Ocean Township.

Some teams skipped the singles for team competition at the Warren Wheeler tournament, won by Woodbridge Boys and Brick Township Girls.

In regular season play, Woodbridge maintains their game-average lead, firing 3041 & 3188 in the days before their tournament win, but Brick Memorial is running them down, shooting 3069 & 3216 on the same days. East Brunswick (3005) had a subpar day, for them, but clearly remains a top team.

Monroe posted an impressive 3085 on Thursday - East Brunswick won't have an easy path to GMC supremacy. Sussex Tech looks again to be the class of Northwest Jersey, breaking the 3000 barrier with a 3005. Montville's had an up-and-down start to the season, but they still have talent as evidenced by the 3003 they carded on Thursday, led by Erik Katterman's 712.

You miss a day or two and the honor scores pile up.  Here's a great big list of 700s posted since Thursday.

Alec Hehir, Brick Memorial 704
Ethan Goldring, Watchung Hills 704
Jordan Shackleford, Westampton Tech 712
Stephen Cracchiolo, Colonia 702
Andrew Handel, Seton Hall Prep 705
Angelo Salici, South Plainfield 731
David Neil, Pompton Lakes 300-703
Matthew Burzynski, Dickinson 756
Andrew Lazarchick, Brick Memorial 740
Kyle Bilawsky, Woodbridge 713
John Drost, Woodbridge 724
Jason Smith, Edison 707
Francis Vitelli, North Hunterdon 706
Austin Devereux, Manasquan 706
Matthew Young, Eastern 733
Dylan Ryan, Keansburg 701
Kyle Schellberg, Dumont
Joe Paolillo, Clifton 748
Gerald Chidichimo, Old Bridge 714

Overall, the girls side is just as crowded with quality teams, but the #1 squad is even more clear.  Brick Memorial is off to a dominant start at 12-0 in conference play, their last two matches at 3004 and 3124 (which featured 4 series over 600).

Brick Township is the clear #2 at this point, shooting 2768 on Friday to go with their Wheeler win.  Beyond that is a little stickier, as a bunch of teams can point to quality results that merit consideration.  Toms River South shot 2581 and carries a game average over 173.  Warren Hills is right there with TRS at 173.  Manchester has shot 2659 & 2624 the last two times out. Toms River North posted 2634 on Thursday.  Teaneck, Edison and Wayne Valley have impressive early-season tournament results.  It's crowded.

The 600s have been flying also.

Aimee Sherman, Jackson Memorial 609-657
Clare Chaffer, Freehold Township 629
Sarah Pitcher, Brick Memorial 615-662-623
Amanda Shelters, Brick Memorial 632-622
Jillian Stuart, Brick Memorial 603-646
Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield 633-709-623
Victoria Brid, Brick Memorial 619
Kristen Benavente, Westwood 630
Julianna Forbes, Brick Township 631
Michelle Dekowski, Linden 622
Jamie Golden, Sparta 605
Kamerin Peters,Toms River North 720
Kristina Scimone, Eastern 637
Laura Oliver, Central 655
Jasmine Brodowski, Jackson Liberty 632
Sarah Florence, Cedar Creek 604
Kaityln Lowey, Union Catholic 298-667

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tuesday/Wednesday roundup

Just a few highlights from the last couple of days around New Jersey.

Amanda Shelters's 622 led Brick Memorial to an impressive 2943 in a 3-0 win over Toms River North (despite TRN's Kamerin Peters shooting 629).  Also in Shore-South-A, Brick Township got by Toms River South 2-1 / 2819-2675, party thanks to a 611 by Victoria Gray.

Warren Hills (#2 nj.com) finally started their season with an easy 7-0 win, totalling 2679, which puts them just barely ahead of Brick Township by Game Average.  It's early.  Warren Hills was led by FDU recruit Jenna Henderson's 630.

Edison continued as the class of the GMC with easy wins over North Brunswick and Colonia, the latter match featuring a 624 from Samantha Salzone.

The biggest number thrown by a NJ girl the last couple of days was a 649 from 2015 North Jersey singles champ Rhianna Smith, who bowls on a co-ed team for Hopatcong. Also breaking 600 was Trinity Gray of North Brunswick, with a 610.

The Brick Memorial boys put up a monster 3320 (1219 in game 1) in a win over TRN, fueled by 715 from Alec Hehir and 729 from Andrew Lazarchick. Shawnee continued their impressive early season with a 3221, topped by Aiden Cohen's 739.

East Brunswick is still in the mix as a top-5 team, as James Reitano's 711 led a 3194 team effort. Also in the GMC, Monroe posted 3009 in a 3-1 win over South Brunswick.

Egg Harbor is looking like a top 10 team, due in no small start to Matthew Stephens, who carded another 700 (707) on Tuesday. Freshman Anthony Mathis (712) is helping Cherry Hill East challenge for a high ranking as well.

John Wrobel of Morris Tech had a big day as well, with a 736.

Hoping to find results for the Big North tourament at some point.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tournament Notes

The first two big tournaments of the high school season took place over the weekend, and we've got some results to parse.

Dybuk75 did his usual great job breaking down the Tom Irwin Memorial Crusader Classic. Pascack Valley was a surprise on the boys' side; I'm sure most would have picked Montville as the favorite. Nick Cilento of Pompton Lakes and Kyle Schellberg of Dumont fired 700s for their teams.

While PV was a surprise, Teaneck winning the girls tournament was a shock. Last year's squad only carried a 129 game average and wasn't really a factor in the Bergen County tournament (finishing 15th) or sectionals (shooting 1872).  Incredible improvement, and a team to watch this season. Wayne Valley is strong again this year and Holy Angels is right behind.

Teaneck's emergence means something else, too.  Nothing is official until we see which teams enter the sectional tournament, but based on new enrollment figures and last year's entries, it looks like Teaneck, Wayne Valley, Paramus Catholic & Holy Angels are all going to be in North Group III this year, and they'll be joined by State #2 Warren Hills.  The top 5 teams in all of North Jersey may be competing for just 2 spots at the TOC.

Danielle Quitola of Ridgefield Park and Wayne Valley freshman Marissa Cosentini scored the only girls 600s.

The Bob James (formerly Bishop Ahr) tournament hasn't gotten a writeup in the press that I've seen, but the full results are public thanks to the ever-efficient Shore Bowling site on Weebly.

The dominant Woodbridge boys were more than 150 pins clear of the field, shooting 3309, while East Brunswick, Brick Memorial (who was missing star Andrew Lazarchick), Brick Township and Edison completed the top 5.

Kyle Bilawsky (751) and James Stoveken (738) of Woodbridge, Brick Memorial's John Boughton (711) and South Brunswick's Tyler Kohutanycz (705) cracked 700s during the event.

On the girls side, Brick Memorial won, which surprised exactly no one.  Edison running a close second, 160 pins clear of Brick Township?  That was a surprise.  Group III could be lots of fun at state tournament time.

Lost of girls 600s to list at the James:

Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield 675
Michelle Dekowski, Linden 660
Heather Melendez, South Plainfield 635
Deanna Calatoni, Woodbridge 631
Madison Steinbeck, East Brunswick 624
Trinity Gray, North Brunswick 620
Kiara Powell, Union 613
Amanda Shelters, Brick Memorial 602

Okay, back to regular matches for a few days (unless I get Big North tournament results).  Next Saturday, December 10, we'll have the Warren Wheeler tournament at Jersey Lanes, and both the North Jersey and South Jersey singles championships to talk about.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Around the state on Monday

Fairly quiet Monday in NJ high school bowling. We'll start with the girls.

Manchester shot a very solid 2700, with all 5 bowlers between 500 & 573. They may not have a superstar (though one could certainly emerge), but they're going to be a consistently tough opponent and are clearly a top-5 team again.

Elsewhere in the Shore Conference, Ocean Township's first effort of the season shows them very, very strong up top.  Jenn Ingulli (626) and Dana Henry (629) led the way to a team 2493.  Freehold Township also looked good in their first match, shooting 2442 in a win over Jackson Liberty.

Last year's state singles champion, Lanasia Neal of South Plainfield, led the state with a 637.

On the boys' side, Woodbridge continued their early-season dominance with a 3220 in a 4-0 win over New Brunswick. Kyle Bilawsky led the team with a 709.

East Brunswick had their second impressive showing, shooting 3133 in a 4-0 win over JP Stevens (Sam Bortnick's 700 led East), but the win was overshadowed by Stevens' Cameron LaPlant, who scored a 300 game and a 753 series.

Shawnee (3123) and Ocean Township (3065) were the other teams to break 3000, while Maple Shade's Dan Kenny (709) and Dayton's Evan Weinberg (706) had the other top series.

Rankings are starting to take some shape.  2/3 of boys teams and a little over half of girls teams have reported results.  The Big North and Skyland conferences should get going this week, and hopefully we'll get some tournament results (especially Bob James) and some more league standing sheets will go public.  We're only as good as the information available.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Early Season Statements

The 2016-17 high school season is only 3 days old, but one boys team and one girls team have stepped forward to proclaim themselves the ones to beat.

On the boys' side, Woodbridge (#2 by nj.com) took on Sayreville (#3), and while Sayreville bowled well (3003), the Woodbridge bowlers dominated.  Kyle Bilawsky led the way with a 300/708, but most impressive was the fact that FOUR Woodbridge bowlers shot at least 649.  That kind of depth should serve them well all season.

Brick Memorial's boys were selected preseason #1 by nj.com, and they're certainly a contender.  They defeated nj.com #6 Brick Township 3-0 Friday, behind Andrew Lazarchick's 728.

Elsewhere, Daniel Whelan of Iselin Kennedy made it two solid 7's to start the season, with a 736.

On the girls' side, the headliner Friday, as it so often is, was Brick Memorial vs. Brick Township. Victoria Bird (649), Sarah Pitcher (655) and Jillian Stuart (614) left no doubt as to this year's favorite, leading Memorial to a 3-0/2998-2627 win.

Another Shore matchup saw Toms River South (#6 nj.com) narrowly defeat Toms River North 2-1/2540-2467.  TRS will certainly contend in Group 3 again this year, but just as significantly, this match saw the debut of TRN's Kamerin Peters.  The accomplished Freshman began her high school career with a very solid 646.

Edison (#4 nj.com) and Woodbridge (#7 nj.com) girls' teams also opened with wins, but with lower totals than we might expect from top ten teams, so we may see a rankings shakeup very soon (my first rankings will come out December 12.)

Woodbridge boys and Brick Memorial girls proved the dual meet wins were no fluke on Saturday, as each team also won the Bob James Classic at Caroli... Bowlero.  Will never get used to that.  Anyway, hope to see full results of the Bob James soon.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Opening day

The 2016-17 New Jersey high school bowling season is off and running, and opening day had a few great performances.

Shawnee easily had the top team and individual scores of the day, riding Andrew Abbonizio's 268-257-279=804 to a team series of 3233. South Brunswick also scored well, posting 3139. East Brunswick is the only team in nj.com's preseason rankings (#8) to debut Thursday, and they did well, shooting 3071.

Other reported 700s include:

Jacob Boris (Seneca) 704
Trey Zagi (Ewing) 730
Matthew Stephens (Egg Harbor) 741
Daniel Lenk (East Brunswick) 702
Daniel Whelan (Iselin Kennedy) 730
Anthony Mathis (Cherry Hill East) 716

Things were a little quieter on the girls' side. No 600s that I've noticed.  The top team performance was Manchester Township's 2618 in a win over Barnegat, which serves notice that they're a state contender yet again this year. South Plainfield (preseason #10 by nj.com) fired 2494, which is good enough to justify their ranking.

Of course, the girls season doesn't really start until Brick Township faces Brick Memorial for the first time, which is scheduled for tomorrow.  The two Brick schools are #1 and #2 pretty much every year, but both squads lost a lot to graduation, so it's a question of who can re-load more effectively.  Nj.com has Township as #1 and Memorial as #5, but I think they've got it backwards, as Memorial's pipeline seems stronger at this point in time.  We'll start to find out tomorrow.