Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hot Starts

Just about two weeks into the season, the Big North is rolling at full force, and after a slow start, most of the results are pouring in at a reasonable clip.  There are a few exceptions, in case anyone is in a position to help out, and so I can explain why maybe a deserving team or bowler isn't listed below:

HCIAL has a spot for a public standing sheet, but hasn't updated yet.  Trying to secure it in another way.

Shore North A & Shore Central A normally send a copy weekly to be posted on the Shore Conference site but haven't done so yet.  Shore Central A is easily the most significant league without posted results (aside from what I've gathered from nj.com).

SEC Colonial has a public sheet, but the other divisions remain a total mystery to me.

So, here are the teams & individuals off to hot starts in 2017-18.  These were determined 100% by the raw numbers.

TEN BOYS TEAMS OFF TO HOT STARTS

1. East Brunswick
217.6 Game Average.  Not a typo. 23-1 against a rough GMC schedule. all 5 starters over 203, headed by Daniel Lenk's absurd 238 average.

2. Brick Memorial
206.5 Game Average. Four starters averaging over 210, led by John Boughton's 216.

3. Toms River South
206.3 Game Average.  Little separates BM & TRS, but they've taken a lead over the rest of their league.  Kevin DiBernardo's 217 is tops on the Indians.

4. Monroe
205.7 Game Average. Last year's postseason success story is for real.  Louis Folgore is really for real, averaging 228.

5. South Plainfield
204.8 Game Average. One of the biggest surprises in the state.  Angelo Salici has been great, firing at a 222 pace.

6. Woodbridge
203.3 Game Average.  Perhaps a bit under what we might've expected, but still fantastic, with James Stoveken rolling along at 220.

7. St. Rose
202.8 Game Average.  Limited information without a standing sheet or individual stats, but some huge match scores for the Roses.

8. North Brunswick
201.6 Game Average.  THE biggest surprise, as these guys were not on my radar preseason.  David Burrows has been awesome, averaging 221.

9. Manasquan
201.0 Game Average.  Only 2 matches recorded, but one was a huge true-5 3196.

10. Brick Township
200.9 Game Average. Shymanski & Masi are over 210, and this team is young.  Watch them get better all season.

also hot: St. Joseph-Metuchen, Morris Knolls, Seneca

TEN GIRLS TEAMS OFF TO HOT STARTS

1. Toms River North
184.0 Game Average.  Everything we expected from the Peters sisters, with Kamerin averaging 224 and Paige placing second in North Jersey Singles.

2. Brick Township
182.9 Game Average. Caylin Ryan's 206 average has the Dragons right near the top.

3. Brick Memorial
179.7 Game Average. As always, the Shore-South-A is just dominant.  Amanda Shelters' 214 average leads the way.

4. Warren Hills
172.4 Game Average. Katie Winch's 190 pace has helped the defending champs from dropping off too far after massive graduation losses.

5. Manchester Township
172.0 Game Average.  This deep and balanced team has been led by Theresa Bedaro and her 193 average.

6. Toms River South
167.9 Game Average.  Yet another SSA group, Natalie Swindell has led the Indians with a strong 190 average.

7. Lacey Township
165.3 Game Average.  Autumn Laird (183) helps Lacey again challenge Manchester for SSB bragging rights.

7.5. Ramsey
165.1 Game Average. Only one result (hence the half-rank), but it was a good one, with a 637 by Lindsay Pepper.

8. Teaneck
163.3 Game Average.  They're back, with another freshman (Shayma Jimenez) added into the mix, trying to dominate the Big North for another year.

9. East Brunswick
160.1 Game Average. Big surprise team here, led by a breakthrough season from Madison Steinbeck, who's averaging 193.

10. Mahwah
159.7 Game Average. Only two results, but good numbers; freshman Michaella Raab has not disappointed.

also hot: Woodbridge, Wayne Valley, Monroe

TEN BOYS OFF TO HOT STARTS
(HIGHEST OVERALL AVERAGES, MINIMUM 9 GAMES)

1. 236  Josh Lipko, Cherry Hill West
2. 235  Daniel Lenk, East Brunswick
3. 229  Evan Weinberg, Jonathan Dayton
4. 228  Louis Folgore, Monroe
5. 224  Rob Murray, Morris Knolls
6. 223  Angelo Salici, South Plainfield
7. 221  James Stoveken, Woodbridge
8. 221  Matthew Marletta, Morris Tech
9. 221  David Burrows, North Brunswick
10. 219  Sam Bortnick, East Brunswick
10. 219  Joey Steele, Sussex Tech

TEN GIRLS OFF TO HOT STARTS
(HIGHEST OVERALL AVERAGES, MINIMUM 9 GAMES)

1. 216  Kamerin Peters, Toms River North
2. 216  Amanda Shelters, Brick Memorial
3. 213  Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield
4. 210  Caylin Ryan, Brick Township
5. 209  Paige Peters, Toms River North
6. 206  Kiara Powell, Union
7. 203  Rhianna Smith, Hopatcong/Mt. Olive
8. 201  Katie Robb, Kingsway
9. 197  Eleni Feggulis, South River
10. 196  Victoria Stasicky, Monroe

overall average included conference matches and tournaments.  

RECENT HONOR SCORES

759  Louis Folgore, Monroe
744  Jordan Tse, Demarest
730  Daniel Lenk, East Brunswick
726  Evan Weinberg, Dayton
720  David Schuld, St. Rose
715  Kyle Oliveri, Toms River South
704  James Stoveken, Woodbridge
704  David Burrows, North Brunswick

739-611  Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield
707  Victoria Stasicky, Monroe
690  Kamerin Peters, Toms River North
656  Marissa Cosentini, Wayne Valley
630  Katie Winch, Warren Hills
609  Caylin Ryan, Brick Township
605  Cristy Sharkey, Brick Township
601  Margaux Lesser, Teaneck








Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Catching Up

Saturday's Tournaments
The South Jersey Singles was rescheduled to December 23, but the other two were far enough north to avoid the worst of the storm and went ahead.  The Wheeler (written up by nj.com) had a limited girls' field, and was won by Union Catholic, who doesn't technically have a girls team, since the Union County leagues are boys/co-ed only.  That's a shame, because the UC girls look pretty good, led by seniors Goldera Surles and Kaitlyn Lowey (608).

The boys' side was surprisingly competitive, with preseason #2 Woodbridge barely holding off a very strong Union team and their star Kiara Powell (girls high set of 659) by a 2909-2872 count.  No boys cracked 700, but Livingston's Michael Liu (699) and Evan Weinberg of Dayton (694) came awfully close.

FDU Coach Mike LoPresti's North Jersey Singles Classic didn't disappoint, with lots of big scores and good stories.  Both Vince (right here), and Greg Tartaglia of northjersey.com (right here) did great writeups, so I won't rehash the details, but I will list the top scores:

745 Francis Vitelli, North Hunterdon (#1 qualifier)
770 Johann Gamo, Clifton (unofficial, in 3 elimination rounds)
702 Ryan Monahan, Warren Hills (unofficial, in 3 elimination rounds)

767 Paige Peters, Toms River North (#1 qualifier)
754 Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield (#2 qualifier)
685 Rhianna Smith, Mt. Olive (#3 qualifier)
665 Gabrielle Capalad, Leonia
645 Kamerin Peters, Toms River North
613 Lindsay Pepper, Ramsey
606 Arielle Wallace, Hackensack
601 Kelcie Mannon, Warren Hills (unofficial, in 3 elimination games)


More Big Scores from the last few days

777  Jason Bilawsky, Woodbridge
757  Cameron LaPlant, JP Stevens (included a 300)
753  Matthew Marletta, Morris Tech
747  Daniel Lenk, East Brunswick
734  Spencer Fabe, Carteret
729  Brian McAdams, JP Stevens
727  Angelo Salici, South Plainfield
716  Jason Smith, Edison
715  Ryan McGuire, Indian Hills
714  Joe Banwer, Edison
700  Cameron Waldheim, Brick Memorial
(also a 300/691 from Jordan Tse of Demarest)

728-672  Amanda Shelters, Brick Memorial
707  Katie Robb, Kingsway
668  Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield
640  Caylin Ryan, Brick Township
637  Lindsay Pepper, Ramsey
633  Victoria Stasicky, Monroe
622  Marissa Cosentini, Wayne Valley
622  Theresa Bedaro, Manchester
621  Eleni Feggulis, South River
616  Emma Thies, Jefferson
609  Bridget Bolan, Monroe
604  Julianna Forbes, Brick Township

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Five Days of Honor Scores

Not a lot to write about just yet; the best girls teams are bowling like the best girls teams, East Brunswick boys will probably have to be broken up at some point as they score at an absolutely incredible pace.  Anyway, here's all the honor scores I've come across in the first five days of action

Boys 700s

766-737 Daniel Lenk, East Brunswick
735-706 Josh Lipko, Cherry Hill West
715-714 Armen Shamim, East Brunswick
748 Sam Bortnick, East Brunswick (included a 300 game)
733 Jayen Patel, Lenape
732 Steven Masi, Egg Harbor
709 Evan Weinberg, Jonathan Dayton
708 Shaun Boffard, South Plainfield
704 Angelo Salici, South Plainfield
704 Justin Biancamano, St. Joseph-Metuchen
702 Andrew Mai, East Brunswick
701 Mark Butler, Ocean Township
700 Joey Steele, Sussex Tech

Girls 600s

696-686-617 Kamerin Peters, Toms River North
670-645 Lanasia Neal, South Plainfield
649-635 Madison Steinbeck, East Brunswick
659-615 Caylin Ryan, Brick Township
644-603 Paige Peters, Toms River North
676 Eleni Feggulis, South River
672 Rhianna Smith, Hopatcong
643 Veronica Lewis, Brick Memorial
632 Laryssa Fiore, Colonia
623 Victoria Vucak, Paramus Catholic
620 Julia Kreider, South Hunterdon
617 Julianna Forbes, Brick Township
603 Kiara Powell, Union
602 Natalie Swindell, Toms River South
600 Olivia Ostrander, Warren Hills

So, who's missing?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Early Returns

Four days of action in the books, just a few notes.  We're looking at December 18 for the first rankings, I think.  Still short a lot of data and a half-dozen standing sheets.

TOURNAMENT ACTION

Three tournaments took place on Saturday, as far as I know.  The Tom Irwin Memorial Crusader Classic took place at Bowler City, and dybuk has his customary excellent write up here.  The South Plainfield boys more than justified my "keep an eye" designation, winning the event with an outstanding 3126 set.  West Milford's boys, who I didn't even cover preseason, were excellent as well, shooting 2907.  Pascack Valley & Indian Hills were good as expected (3rd & 5th respectively), and Mahwah was another nice surprise, sneaking into 4th.  The champs' Shaun Boffard (708) posted the day's only 700, with Andrew Finke of West Milford (697) and Angelo Salici of SP (696) just missing.

The unranked Mahwah girls were an even bigger surprise, taking out like six teams that I had on my preseason radar and shooting a solid 2381.  Perhaps we have this year's Teaneck?  The original Teaneck took 2nd, followed by Paramus Catholic, whose Victoria Vucak shot the only girls 600 (623),

Defending TOC champs East Brunswick rolled to a 90-pin victory over GMC-mates South Brunswick in the Bob James tournament at Strarthmore.  The big story to me was the impressive (2919) 3rd place finish for Morris Knolls, who is a true contender in the NJAC South. Tom McKeon of Keansburg just missed perfection with a 298, but I don't have full individual results.

On the girls side, Howell, edged Edison by just 13 pins to take the title, 2280-2267.

Preseason #1 Toms River North girls put together a huge 5-game Baker set to put away the Mustang Kickoff Classic at Ocean Lanes, with Brick Township, Manchester and Brick Memorial completing the top 4, all over 2650.

The Brick Township boys made a huge comeback in the Baker session to take their title as well, completing a 3084 set that outdistanced Brick Memorial and Toms River South, all over 3000, and St. Rose at 2896.

PRESEASON WHIFFS

I figured I'd entertain you with what look like my biggest omissions in each category at this early juncture. These are teams not on the preseason ranking page at all, and individuals not mentioned as all-state, returning stars, or up&coming.

BOYS TEAMS

North Brunswick
These guys came out of nowhere to open the GMC season 3-0/11.5-.5, shooting 2828, 3259 and 3043. Senior David Burrows has been outstanding, firing 677-630-673, with junior Gavin Lugo and freshman Zachary Leinwohl doing plenty of damage as well.

Seneca
Really good last year, but I though the graduation losses would hurt them a lot more than they did. 3059 set against Cherokee featured Eddie Cashwell, Cole Ludwikowski and Zachary Malcolm all over 650.

West Milford & Morris Knolls
Mentioned above; don't have any other results yet, but I'm looking forward to them.

Toms River East
It's always the Shore team you don't mention.  I had some questions about their depth, but they've looked great so far, led by Dennis Carrino and Ryan McIntire.

other surprises: Iselin Kennedy, Egg Harbor, Mahwah

GIRLS TEAMS

East Brunswick
Holy cow: four full sets in the books already and their game average is over 161, which would've been top 13 last year, despite a rough day at the James tournament. Madison Steinbeck and Sydney Ramos look like they want their senior season to be special.

Mahwah
It's one tournament, and I don't wanna go crazy, but they only averaged 138 last year and they blasted that by quite a bit behind freshman Michaella Raab.

Ewing
Nearly always the best team in their league, and sometimes among the state's elite, this version of Ewing looks much improved including some good scores from Kayla Ricketts and Jazmyn Willis.

Woodbridge
3rd at the James and a strong 2355 in a dual meet on Tuesday.  Eliza Abreu started her GMC season off well with a big 579.

BOYS INDIVIDUALS

Josh Lipko, Senior, Cherry Hill West
Opened the season 735-706.  You have our attention, sir.

Armen Shamim, Sophomore, East Brunswick
We know how dangerous EB is, but Shamim's huge leap forward puts them on an even higher level. 714-624-715 to start the season.

Zachary Malcolm, Senior, Seneca
Mentioned before; shot a 2-game 438 at the Mustang before a 692 in the dual meet opener.

David MacGillivray, Junior, Barnegat
Strong 2-game 478 followed by a 635 in the first team match.

David Burrows, Senior, North Brunswick
220 average through 9 games.

Kevin DiBernardo, Sophomore, Toms River South
These guys never run out of talented bowlers: this one's averaging 218 through 9 games.

Nick Thies, Senior, Jefferson
632-668 start in the NJAC-North

GIRLS INDIVIDUALS

Julia Kreider, Senior, South Hunterdon
After averaging 141 last year, Kreider opened 2017-18 with 3 200's and a 620 set.

Eleni Feggulis, Junior, South River
A huge 676 on Monday puts her at 205 in the early GMC season.

Madison Steinbeck, Senior, East Brunswick
Rolling at a 190 clips through 9 games for the upstart Bears.

Victoria Johnson, Senior, Edison
Put up the second-high set at the James, and shot 539 in her first team match.

Victoria Smith, Senior, Manchester
Really should have just listed the whole team; put up a 2-game 395 at the Mustang.

There are others, to be sure.  As more data trickles in, we'll shout out to more kids and teams.







Friday, December 1, 2017

17-18 Preview: Girls Preseason Top 20

THE TOP 20 GIRLS BOWLING TEAMS IN NEW JERSEY (preseason)

1. Toms River North
After springing the upset in sectionals last year, the Mariners graduate to favorites.  Cassidy Syrdale, Mackenzie Dudas and Kennedy Pfeifer are all very good, Paige Peters is potentially the top freshman in the state (and one of the best bowlers, period), and they have last year's breakout superstar in Kamerin Peters.  It's been a while since the Brick schools didn't dominate Shore-South-A, but I think it's TRN's turn for a while.

2. Brick Township
Plenty of talent left for the Dragons after losing two starters: Caylin Ryan, Cristy Sharkey, Christina Gonzalez and individual TOC star Julianna Forbes give Brick a good chance to win every match and tournament they enter, and favorites to recapture the Group III title.

3. Brick Memorial
For the second year in a row, Brick Memorial lost three exceptionally good seniors.  And yet, here they are right near the top anyway.  Amanda Shelters is fantastic, and Rachel Katz and Veronica Lewis would anchor about 150 other teams. The Mustangs are very much still contenders.

4. Manchester
There's at most an eyelash separating #2 through #4.  Manchester returns the entire lineup from last year's SSB champs, and they're all strong: Theresa Bedaro, Mackenzie Weber, Kimberly Wolf and Victorias Shaw & Smith.  Wouldn't surprise me a bit for this team to improve even more and challenge for #1.

5. Warren Hills
The defending TOC champs lost 3 top-flight starters to graduation, but return an excellent top two in Katie Winch and Kelcie Mannon, as well as welcoming two talented freshmen in Samantha Irwin and Olivia Ostrander.

6. Toms River South
Natalie Swindell and Ciani Sanchez headline a strong group of returnees, and it looks like there's enough depth, headed by Jessica Ramirez, to make the Indians strong contenders.

7. Teaneck
A whole lot of talent returns for last year's surprise team: Margaux Lesser, Mia Aish, Gianni Caldazilla and Valeria Rosario make this the team to beat in the Big North and a darkhorse Group III pick.

8. Lacey
Took a hit when Claudia Schreier was lost to an injury, but Autumn Laird heads a team with plenty of experience and a shot at the Group II title.  Liz Schreier, Julia Muro and Samantha Trembley should also make huge contributions.

9. Holy Angels
2017's Group II state champs lost quite a bit, but Alexa Hernandez and Amelia Brunda are a strong top two, and this program has always come up with enough depth to be a contender.

10. Wayne Valley
Another perennial Big North contender remains strong, with the conference's top returning bowler in Marissa Cosentini and another top-flight bowler in Haley D'Alessandro

11. Monroe
My pick for the top team in the GMC is this squad, led by an emerging star in Bridget Bolan and with plenty of quality throughout the lineup, including Victoria Stasicky and Shannon Glynn.

12. Washington Township
I have a feeling this team may exceed this ranking.  Shannon & Patricia O'Neill look to be improving greatly and are joined by solid bowlers in Diana Chan and Jacklyn Welch.  Lots of potential here.

13. Colts Neck
State qualifiers a year ago, Colts Neck brings back their top two, underclassmen Morgan Gitlitz and Erica Dugan, who both have looked very good on the tournament circuit.

14. Ocean Township
Very few teams were hit as hard by graduation as the Shore Central A champs, but the cupboard is far from bare: Emma Sylvia and Maribella Ferraina are solid in the middle of the lineup, and Alexa Tieto could easily emerge as a star.

15. Edison
Ok, Edison was hit pretty hard by graduation, too. But Victoria Johnson, Samantha Osiadacz and Fabriane Jean-Denis are a very good core, and the program has been so good for so long that I just expect them to find a way to the top of the GMC.

16. Freehold Township
Won the sectional last year, and while they lost one of their top two, they bring back Victoria Parriello, who was very good, and Sarah Orensky, who's simply the best bowler in the Shore Conference Central.

17. Hackensack
They whole gang returns for one of the best in the Big North, including seniors Donna Lee Graham and Annie Quinn, as well as an exceptional talent in Arielle Wallace.

18. Central
This looks like a solid, balanced group, led by Liz McGee and Ally Dalton, who will put up strong numbers in an extremely tough conference.

19. Colonia
Lots of experience in the lineup for Colonia, and Laryssa Fiore could be one of the best in the GMC in 2018.

20. Southern
MacKenzie Olson leads another good Shore Conference team that would be near the top of nearly any other conference in the state.

FIVE TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Barnegat
Developing some depth at Barnegat, and they have a really good one in Alyssa Pilovsky.

Howell
Lost an impressive top two to graduation, but there's a lot of experience remaining that should result in a balanced, competitive lineup. Alexa Scranton and Gianna DeVeau are the top returnees.

Manasquan
Anna Foo is the top returning bowler for this Shore-Central-A contender.

Ramsey
Lindsay Pepper and Angela DiNallo return for last year's North Group I champs.

South Plainfield
Any team with Lanasia Neal is one to keep an eye on.  A little improvement from some underclassmen and this team could take off.

THREE MORE THAT MAY BREAK THROUGH

Eastern
Lost 2 fantastic seniors, but rebuilding around juniors Hailey Dadi, Cloe Lowell and Ryann Werner isn't a bad place to be.

North Brunswick
In this category because I just have no idea what the rest of the lineup will be, but Trinity Gray and Carly Lodise are a very good top two.

Ridgewood
5 girls with varsity experience give this Big North squad a chance to improve dramatically.



Thursday, November 30, 2017

17-18 Preview: Boys Preseason Top 20

Well, this is what we've been building up to. Boys today, girls tomorrow, then we finally get the season started for real.  By the way, thanks to whoever shared a link on Facebook: my hits went absolutely crazy the last few days and I hope you all keep checking back throughout the season.  Leave a comment or send me an email and let me know what you think.

I won't dive into the nuts and bolts of where I came up with these rankings, but this was a lot of work spread out between the end of last season and this week.  I can't pretend I'm sure I looked at every team with a legitimate argument, but I tried.  Probably made a few mistakes too. It won't take long for reality to show where I've succeeded and where I've failed, but if I've got something wrong about a bowler, please let me know.

note: I have made a couple of changes based on information I received after posting, but before the season started. That's why there's a tie at #20 as well.

THE TOP 20 BOYS BOWLING TEAMS IN NEW JERSEY (pre-season)

1. Brick Memorial
Absurd depth and talent mark the Mustangs as #1.  Look for huge years from Alec Hehir and John Boughton, with Michael Guzman, Andrew Varela and Cameron Waldheim all capable of putting up fantastic numbers in any given match. Shore South A is still a minefield- it may be even deeper than last year- but Memorial looks like an absolute powerhouse.  Again.

2. Woodbridge
Really, the Barrons are 1A.  These top two may jockey all season.  They lost some top talent from 2017, but James Stoveken is one of the very best around, and he'll be ably assisted by John Drost, Jason Bilawsky and Joseph Palmer, all of whom can average over 200.  Add in the impending arrival of transfer Giovanni Santiago in January and you have another powerhouse.  Again.

3. Toms River South
The Indians calling card last year was depth, and they still have it. Kyle Oliveri, Jimmy Breslin, Andrew Xiques and Kevin DiBernardo look like an intimidating top four, but TRS could get huge contributions from several others.

4. Brick Township
More depth. I see at least four that might average over 200: Kyle Chirichello, Nick Gross, Chris Shymanski and Steve Spirio.  If one or more jump up to the 210s, or if the seemingly endless pipeline comes up with another high average or two, the Dragons could challenge for the top spot.

5. East Brunswick
The defending TOC champs lost some quality competitors, but they return the very best top-two of any team in New Jersey in lefties Sam Bortnick and Daniel Lenk, plus a handful of very good bowlers like Jack Deruvo and Andrew Mai.

6. Jackson Liberty
Freshman Justin Bohn should have an immediate impact, and Brian Dalmar and Preston Williams look to be much improved, but the addition of transfer Gerard Chidichimo takes the Lions to an entirely new level.

7. Pascack Valley
Four Big North teams make the rankings, and the Indians look to be the strongest, returning four 190+ bowlers in Henry Tipping, Brian Biml, Scott Morris and Trevor Lauber.

8. Sussex Tech
Two-time defending Group II champs lost some talent, but the Mustangs bring back plenty, including one of the very best in Joey Steele, as well as Quinton Johnson and a rapidly-improving Pat Danielson.

9. Monroe
Last year's postseason miracle team will make another run at it behind a pair of juniors: Ryley McKiernan and budding superstar Louis Folgore, as well as one of last year's TOC heroes, Zac Waynor.

10. Ocean Township
Matt Redbord and Doug Rhoades are a pretty fearsome top two as well, and I think the kids behind them who looked good in limited action last year will develop enough to keep OT relevant statewide.

11. Fair Lawn
This could definitely be the Cutters' year: Jake & Tyler Nappi have proven ability, and Nick Greco is an emerging star. Look for a season-long battle with Wayne Hills in the Big North Independence.

12. Southern
There's more to Shore-South-A than the Bricks and TRS: Southern brings back four experienced bowlers with averages over 190: Jack Hudson, Steve Martin, Tom McCann and Jeff Wilkinson.

13. North Arlington
2017's NJIC-Meadowlands runnersup return their entire lineup: Eric McKenna, Brandon Barth, Liam Henkel and Kenny Bennett.

14. Wayne Hills
One of last year's pleasant postseason surprises, the Patriots feature 5 solid starters as well, including Tom Luchetta, Nick Kent, and a much-improved Dylan Heinold.

15. Howell
Four strong starters return from a team that did very well in tournaments last season, including Brian Garofano, Robbie Wetzel, Gus Horvath and Joe Inserra.

16. South Brunswick
Major Group IV contenders in 2017 lost some depth, but still have plenty of firepower in Noah Li, Nick Delacruz and Anthony Fama.

17. Montville
Some amazing seniors are gone this year, plenty of ability remains: Adam Gelvan and Ron Gorai were great in 2017, and promising freshman Ben Sherman should help keep them atop the NJAC South.

18. Lacey
The Shore South B favorites (and defending champs) return four staters: Nick Striffler, Clayton Humcke, John Truland and Brian Huebler.

19. Hudson Catholic
Last year's HCIAL runnersup look like the favorites in 2018, featuring the league's top bowler in Geoffrey Origenes and a very strong lineup including Jivan Persaud, James Pabilonia and Steven Beck.

(tie)20. St. Rose
An excellent top four in Jarrett Toth, Carter Vanderslice, Joe Chiusano and David Schuld make them a true contender in Group I.

(tie)20. Ridgewood
Matt Myers and Brian Skettini lead one of the rare Big North teams that may go a legit 5+ deep. Very dangerous tournament squad.

SIX TO KEEP AN EYE ON

Manasquan
Group I champs lost a ton, but Dylan Wolfe & Kyle Bauter are a strong cornerstone to build from.

Manchester
Kenny Burdge and Justin Villano head a young squad that just may get there a year ahead of schedule.

Neptune
Not sure I have the returnees exactly right, but I think Sean Magauran and Jesse Kifner are the best of a solid group; when Joey Ocello joins them in January they'll be able to compete with anyone.

St. Peter's Prep
Qualified for states in 2017 and return strong top 3 in Jared Ammugauan, Zack Oswald and Lynken Lanting.

South Plainfield
Angelo Salici is a star and Michael Menkin is very good; they'll be competitive in a tough GMC.

Toms River North
James Bolish, Robert Bartley and Josh Burns (the Killer B's?) head yet another top-flight team in the Shore-South-A.

THREE MORE THAT MAY BREAK THROUGH

Edison
Jason Smith, Wyatt Buchany and Joseph Banwer form the core of another solid GMC team.

Indian Hills

May not dominate the Big North again, but with firepower like Ryan McGuire and Jack Miller coming back, I won't bet against them, either.

St. Joseph's-Metuchen
John Hoban, Justin Biancamano & John Reggio return to defend their sectional title.



Wednesday, November 29, 2017

17-18 Preview: Projected Sectional Favorites

Here are my irresponsibly early projections for the favorites in each of the 32 sectional tournaments that will take place in February.  The vast majority of these are based on objective analysis, but there are one or two that are basically guesses that will make me look stupid before too long.  If you really care, you can extrapolate some of my preseason rankings from this a day early, too.

Please note: this is based on my own projection of what group each team will be in come sectional season. (My full group change projections went up in the "other stuff" post.)  This, as we all know, can easily change based on what schools do or do not enter the sectional tournament.  I'll note the predicted group changes as they affect the favorites as we go.  For entertainment purposes only, as they say.

BOYS NORTH 1A

I - North Arlington
II - Ridgefield Park
III - Pascack Valley
IV - Fair Lawn

Ridgefield Park drops from Group III to Group II.  Fair Lawn vs. Ridgewood may be the marquee matchup here.

BOYS NORTH 1B

I - Hudson Catholic
II - Sussex Tech
III - Wayne Hills
IV - St. Peter's Prep

Dickinson (IV to III) and Hopatcong (III to IV) swap places and each have a chance to advance.

BOYS NORTH II

I - Jonathan Dayton
II - Montville
III - Warren Hills
IV - Livingston

Caldwell drops from II to I, Linden up from III to IV.  Graduation hit this section very hard, and I have less confidence here than in any of the other 7.  Could be wide open.

BOYS CENTRAL

I - St. Rose
II - Ocean Township
III - Woodbridge
IV - East Brunswick

This is the biggest group change I'm forecasting: defending state champs Monroe jump from III to IV and must face defending TOC champ East Brunswick at sectionals, with Howell & South Brunswick also involved.  This may be the 2018 Group of Death.

BOYS SOUTH

I - Maple Shade
II - Jackson Liberty
III - Toms River South
IV - Brick Memorial

Jackson Liberty drops from Group III (TRS and Brick Twp) to Group II, which gives them a better shot at advancing, though far from a lock.

GIRLS NORTH

I - Ramsey
II - Holy Angels
III - Warren Hills
IV - Hackensack

Hackensack moves from brutal group III (WH, Teaneck, Wayne Valley) to become clear favorites at Group IV.

GIRLS CENTRAL

I - Manasquan
II - Colts Neck
III - Edison
IV - Monroe

Just like the boys, Monroe's girls jump to Group IV.  Colts Neck, Ocean Twp, Colonia & South Plainfield make Group II very competitive. Edison vs. Freehold Township is a coin flip, really.

GIRLS SOUTH

I - Collingswood
II - Manchester Township
III - Brick Township
IV - Toms River North

All four of these are very, very tight, with Brick Memorial and Washington Twp (IV), TRS and Central (III), Lacey (II) and a host of Group I schools in the mix.



Tuesday, November 28, 2017

17-18 Preview: Other Stars & Other Stuff

UNAFFILIATED STARS

There are a handful of high school bowlers in New Jersey that deserve a preview mention despite not having a high school team to be a part of, including our defending boys individual champion.  There are several more very good high school-age bowlers out there, but I'm limiting myself to those that have competed in NJSIAA events.  If there are any more that belong and plan to enter this year, please let me know.

Ryan Carlisi, Senior, Steinert
The 2017 champ hasn't slowed down a bit since February, putting up impressive league scores.  He's definitely a threat to return at states.

Mark Friedman, Senior, Cedar Creek
Second place in the loaded South Jersey sectional in 2017 with a huge 738.

Lauren Marks, Junior, Parsippany
Qualified for individual states in 2017 in a brutal North Jersey sectional field.

Justin Pavlik, Senior, Ridge
Scored a terrific 300/761 in the Central sectional and made the cut at states with a 695 set.

Paige Piombino, Senior, West Morris Central
Finished 2017 with a 187 league average and a runnerup finish in the Morris County tournament.

Francis Vitelli, Junior, North Hunterdon
Second in South Jersey singles, second at Skyland Conference, made the cut at Junior Gold U20 and is the points leader in the NJ JBT.

JERSEY KIDS IN COLLEGE

Figured I'd check out the college ranks and see where the seniors we covered last year ended up.  Women have a huge advantage with bowling as an NCAA sport, of course, and because of the status of nearly all men's teams as "club sports" (despite the very competitive nature of their seasons), it's hard to find rosters, so this is just the girls.  I'm pretty much 100% sure that I'm missing a handful, so help me out here.

Alabama State - Alize Stevenson, St. Mary's
Belmont Abbey - Tori Bird, Brick Memorial; Touri Holmes, Edison
Caldwell - Gabby Pangaro, Clifton; Madison Perry, Hawthorne
Chestnut Hill - Madison Gibson, Howell; Laura Oliver, Central, Kristina Scimone, Eastern
Fairleigh Dickinson - Aimee Sherman, Jackson Memorial; Jenna Henderson, Warren Hills
Felician - Jenn Ingulli, Ocean Township
Franklin Pierce - Deanne Calantoni, Woodbridge
Kutztown - Jaime Golden, Sparta; Dana Henry, Ocean Township, Dorrie-Ann Rizzo, Wallkill Valley
Long Island University - Sarah Florence, Cedar Creek
Madaille - Carla Hansen, Gloucester Tech
Mount Aloysius - Michelle Bello, Pennsauken
New Jersey City - Shea Balmann, Pinelands; Valerie Moore, Old Bridge
Pikeville - Michelle Dekowski, Linden
Sam Houston State - Haley Connelly, Raritan
Vanderbilt - Lauren Potechin, Millburn
Wilmington - Clare Chaffer, Freehold Township; Leah Henry, Cumberland

That's 25 girls from the class of '17 (plus whoever I'm missing) on rosters.  Seems like a pretty good number to me.  Best of luck to all the Jersey girl freshmen (and the 60 or so older girls, too.)

GROUP CHANGES

By looking at the new NJSIAA enrollment figures, I have my PROJECTED groupings for the 2018 sectionals.  These are based on last year's entries, so any change in the entry list can change the groups at the margins; this is far, far from certain.

BOYS NORTH 1A
Park Ridge/Emerson down from II to I
Ridgefield Park down from III to II
St. Joseph-Montvale up from II to III
Queen of Peace (GI) closed

BOYS NORTH IB
Hopatcong up from III to IV
Dickinson down from IV to III
Wallkill Valley down from II to I
Harrison up from I to II

BOYS NORTH II
Phillipsburg (new program) in at IV
Linden down from IV to III
Nutley down from III to II
Caldwell down from II to I

BOYS CENTRAL
Monroe up from III to IV
Watchung Hills down from IV to III
Long Branch up from II to III
Middletown North down from III to II

BOYS SOUTH
Burlington Township up from II to III
Jackson Liberty down from III to II

GIRLS NORTH
Hackensack up from III to IV
Kearny down from IV to III
Phillipsburg (new program) in at III

GIRLS CENTRAL
Monroe up from III to IV
Watchung Hills down from IV to III

GIRLS SOUTH
Burlington Township up from II to III
Jackson Liberty down from III to II

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE BLOG IN '17-'18

The rankings I hope to continue weekly, starting in late December, and all the postseason previews and all-state picks should return.  I probably won't be able to write quite as many regular season updates as last year, unless the score-reporting situation gets a lot better, but I'll do what I can.

I'm ambivalent about the high averages lists, to say the least.  On the one hand, until the all-state lists came out, the top averages posts were by far the most popular on the blog. On the other hand, those numbers are dirty.  At the risk of getting on the wrong side of a few folks, I'm going to explain why.

Using players' conference averages as a basic evaluating tool is problematic for any number of reasons.  Some bowlers get to bowl every single conference game in the same center, while others have to score in two, three, maybe six different places.  Some centers are, of course, much higher scoring than others.  It is extremely probable that there are some bowlers averaging under 210 that, if they got to bowl the same schedule as someone at the top, might average well over 220.  Then we have kids who may average high in-conference but struggle in tournaments and vice-versa.  There's really no way to resolve any of these inherent problems, so I try to acknowledge them and present the data as is.

But there's one other thing that skews the numbers and it's completely avoidable.  Without mentioning any conferences, or teams, and definitely without mentioning any bowlers, there is a practice out there to replace a bowler mid-game when he's struggling and not count the game against his average.  There may be a handful of times when this practice is done to try to win the team point: I think that's legitimate.  But done exclusively to protect a player's average, this practice is, in my opinion, dishonest and it undermines the credibility of every player average involved.  In such a short season (40-60 games), if you have a 200 average bowler and yank him a half-dozen times where he would have shot 150, you bump his average 7 pins.  That's a significant change, and I'm disturbed by both the resulting questionable rankings, and the message it sends both the bowler who got the boost and the bowlers he's now undeservedly ranked above.

To be clear, this practice is, apparently, legal.  I'd love to ask all coaches to stop, but I'm sure that's naive.  I'd ask the NJSIAA to consider stepping in and outlawing the practice; what do you think would happen if a wrestling coach were allowed to pull his star whenever he got behind in the 3rd period, so that he'd be undefeated when districts started?  But the NJSIAA will not consider anything unless the complaint comes from coaches or athletic directors.  I could stop doing the averages list altogether, but that's a baby/bathwater situation, I think, and the majority of the kids on the list aren't affected by these maneuvers. So all I can do is this: if you're reading this and you agree with me, tell your coaches and ADs.  There's no reason we can't get this changed.

Ok, off my soapbox.  A few more preview posts including preseason rankings and then Friday we'll finally get some pins flying around New Jersey.





Sunday, November 26, 2017

17-18 Preview: Up & Coming Stars - Girls

As with the boys, this is an unscientific sampling of underclassmen that didn't make an all-state team or honorable mention last year, but have a chance to be a big part of this year's conversation.  The girls underclassmen, however, tend to run in packs, so there are several joint entries with recognition for a pair of bowlers from the same team.

Mia Aish & Margaux Lesser, Sophomores, Teaneck
The biggest part of Teaneck's huge team turnaround in 2017 was this pair of freshmen, who averaged 175 & 181 respectively and are among the best returning bowlers in the Big North conference.

Jasmine Brodowski, Junior, Jackson Liberty
Finished 3rd at the Brick, qualified for individual states and averaged over 200 at South Jersey Singles, and looks to still be improving.

Bridget Bolan, Junior, Monroe
Closed 2017 on a brilliant second half run, with five conference 600s.  Should be one of a handful of top bowlers in the GMC.

Gabrielle Capalad, Junior, Leonia
I don't write about the NJIC-Patriot division much, and I missed this bowler all last year: my apologies. She averaged 173 and put up a 655 set as a sophomore.

Morgan Gitlitz, Sophomore & Erica Dugan, Junior, Colts Neck
The engine behind Colts Neck's strong run at sectionals, both bowlers have been very active in off-season tournaments and have a change to be one of the stronger duos in the state.

Christina Gonzalez & Cristy Sharkey, Juniors, Brick Township
Each of these Juniors, who averaged 175 & 176 respectively in conference matches, will play a key role in trying to return the Dragons to the top spot in Group III.

Samantha Irwin & Olivia Ostrander, Freshmen, Warren Hills
Defending champs lost 3 seniors with 10 years of varsity experience, but these two talented freshmen will help replace that production, with each capable of averaging over 170.

Veronica Lewis, Junior, Brick Memorial
Posted a solid 184 conference average in 2017 on a very deep Mustangs squad; should be a key part of the 2018 team's attempt to stay at the top.

Paige Peters, Freshman, Toms River North
Her sister took the sport by storm last year; now it's Paige's turn.  She has every bit the talent, experience & resume, too, including making the national match play finals at Junior Gold.

Michaella Raab, Freshman, Mahwah
Averaging 170 in the highly competitive Stan Niemec travel league and looks to be one of the stronger Big North girls from day one.

Alexa Tieto, Junior, Ocean Township
She may have started the year in the shadow of OT's 2 fantastic seniors, but by the end of the season she had elevated her average to 180 and won the Central sectional individual title.

Arielle Wallace, Junior, Hackensack
2017's 176 average is belied by an armful of good tournament scores, and she's currently lighting up the Stan Niemec league, so watch for a very big year.

Friday, November 24, 2017

17-18 Preview: Up & Coming Stars - Boys

This is an unscientific sampling of underclassmen that didn't make an all-state team or honorable mention last year, but have a chance to be a big part of this year's conversation.  As always, if you think there's someone worthy of consideration that I missed, especially incoming freshmen, please let me know in the comments or drop me an email at jerseyorangebowling@gmail.com

Justin Bohn, Freshman, Jackson Liberty
The son of hall of famer Parker Bohn III has been terrorizing local, regional and national tournaments for several years and I wouldn't expect him to slow down any time soon.

Trevor Deliantis, Junior, Becton
Second with a 206 average in the NJIC-Meadowlands as a sophomore, he's been the top bowler on Lodi's travel league entry this season.

Kyle Chirichello, Sophmore, Brick Township
Was one of the top freshmen in New Jersey last year, with a 206 Shore-South-A average and a 2nd place finish at the Brick Tournament

Johann Gamo, Junior, Clifton
Had a pretty good argument for all-state consideration last year after averaging 208 in-conference and shooting big numbers at North Jersey Singles and the Passaic County tournament.

Michael Guzman, Junior, Brick Memorial
The Mustangs have so much talent hat sometimes a very good bowler like Guzman gets overlooked, which would be a mistake: 205 conference average in 2017 and 7 tournaments averaging over 200

Tom Luchetta, Sophomore, Wayne Hills
Joined the Patriots' starting lineup late, but made his presence felt with the best frosh average in the the Big North at 203.

Joseph Mahoney, Freshman, Park Ridge
They call him "Hammer", apparently, and he's been lighting up the Stan Niemec travel league.in advance of his first high school season.

Thomas McKeon, Junior, Keansburg
Struggled a bit in 2017, but an excellent bounce-back candidate to return to the form he showed as a freshman, when he averaged over 210.

Eric McKenna, Junior, North Arlington
Possibly Deliantis's top competition in the NJICM, he had a near-identical 206 average and heads a team with enough talent to take over as well.

Ryan McIntire, Junior, Toms River East
Averaged over 209 in Shore Conference matches as a sophomore.  TRE has enough firepower on paper to make some noise in Shore South A this year.

Geoffrey Origenes, Junior, Hudson Catholic
Secured both the high average (207) and high series in the HCIAL as a sophomore, and leads a team capable of dominating their league yet again.

Chris Shymanski, Junior, Brick Township
Buried a bit on a deep Dragons squad despite a 205 average, his league numbers mark him as a big threat in 2018.

Andrew Xiques, Junior, Toms River South
Showed well in limited opportunity last year, as TRS was one of the deepest teams in recent memory, and looks more than capabale of a big jump in 2018.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

17-18 Preview: 20 Returning Stars - Girls

The "returning stars" list is comprised of any bowler not on the preseason all-state list who made one of the all-state teams last year, or made honorable mention, plus a few returning seniors of note.


Theresa Bedaro, Junior, Manchester
Marissa Cosentini, Sophomore, Wayne Valley
Jillian Dambres, Senior, Hunterdon Central
Laryssa Fiore, Senior, Colonia
Trinity Gray, Senior, North Brunswick
Alexa Hernandez, Senior, Holy Angels
Rachel Katz, Senior, Brick Memorial
Autumn Laird, Senior, Lacey
Kelcie Mannon, Sophomore, Warren Hills
Sarah Orensky, Sophomore, Freehold Township
Kiara Powell, Senior, Union
Caylin Ryan, Junior, Brick Township
Ciari Sanchez, Senior, Toms River South
Elizabeth Schreier, Senior, Lacey
Goldera Surles, Senior, Union Catholic
Natalie Swindell, Senior, Toms River South
Victoria Vucak, Senior, Paramus Catholic
MacKenzie Weber, Senior, Manchester
Katie Winch, Senior, Warren Hills
Kimberly Wolf, Senior, Manchester




Monday, November 20, 2017

17-18 Preview: 26 Returning Stars - Boys

The "returning stars" list is comprised of any bowler not on the preseason all-state list who made one of the all-state teams last year, or made honorable mention, plus a few returning seniors of note.

Jared Ammugauan, Senior, St. Peter's
John Boughton, Junior, Brick Memorial
Kenny Burdge, Sophomore, Manchester
Gerard Chidichimo, Senior, Jackson Liberty
John Drost, Senior, Woodbridge
Louis Folgore, Junior, Monroe
Nick Greco, Junior, Fair Lawn
Nick Gross, Senior, Brick Township
Aaron Heimall, Senior, Roselle Park
Alec Hehir, Senior, Brick Memorial
Dan Kenny, Junior, Maple Shade
Justin Korman, Senior, Manalapan
Cameron LaPlant, Junior, JP Stevens
Eric Lawson, Senior, Warren Hills
Daniel Lenk, Junior, East Brunswick
Derek Lewandowski, Senior, Ridgefield Park
Michael Liu, Sophomore, Livingston
Ryan McGuire, Senior, Indian Hills
Robert Murray, Senior, Morris Knolls
Kyle Oliveri, Senior, Toms River South
Ray Ramos, Senior, Dickinson
Matt Redbord, Senior, Ocean Township
Angelo Salici, Senior, South Plainfield
Joey Steele, Senior, Sussex Tech
Nick Striffler, Senior, Lacey
Luis Torres, Sophomore, Roselle




Friday, November 17, 2017

17-18 Preseason All-State Team

Lots of returning talent coming back; none of these names should come as much of a surprise to anyone. Just a note: I decided that freshmen shouldn't be on this list before ever throwing a shot at the high school level, even though there are 1 or 2 out there that probably merit inclusion.  We'll get to them later on the preview calendar.

PRESEASON BOYS ALL-STATE TEAM

Sam Bortnick, Senior, East Brunswick
If the only bowling I'd ever seen Bortnick do was the job he did as anchor in the TOC last year, leading his team to a championship, that might be enough for this spot.  Throw in two full seasons averaging over 220 and it's a no-brainer.

Matt Burzynski, Senior, Dickinson
After averaging 220 in the regular season, the lefty tore up the postseason, carding sets of 772-774-761 over sectionals, team states and individuals, and helping carry his team to a strong 5th place at states.

Anthony Mathis, Sophomore, Cherry Hill East
Just a freshman in 2016-17, Mathis burst on the scene with a huge 219 average and shot 711 to lead his team to the state finals in an impossibly tough sectional. Just missed the stepladder at individuals with a big 734-684.

Joey Ocello, Junior, Neptune
After a fantastic sophomore season that included a 300 game, a 799 series, a 226 average and a runnerup finish in the Shore Singles event, Ocello spent the offseason crushing tournaments, and beating over 1000 competitors in the National Junior Gold U-20 division despite being one of the youngest in the event.

James Stoveken, Junior, Woodbridge
The national career leader in high school 300 games is only halfway through his career, and the idea that he might get even better is more than a little scary.  Stoveken averaged 226 in conference games, won the GMC tournament and the Central Jersey Winter Classic and his four postseason series were 729-760-761-812.  These two-handers are here to stay, huh?

Evan Weinberg, Senior, Jonathan Dayton
Weinberg's been a top flight talent since before he started high school, and he keeps getting better.  In 2017, he raised his average 12 pins to 222, put up good numbers for his team in the postseason (668-671), and made the final stepladder after shooting 738-717 at individuals.

PRESEASON GIRLS ALL-STATE TEAM

Four of the five girls who made the individual stepladder in 2017 are back.  Could be quite a few big scores on the girls' side this year.

Julianna Forbes, Senior, Brick Township
Simply a fantastic tournament bowler, winning the Wheeler, firing 685 at sectionals and 661-714 at individuals as well as winning two stepladder matches.  Forbes' regular season average dipped a bit from her sophomore season, but there's no denying her talent or her presence on this team.

Lanasia Neal, Senior, South Plainfield
One of the best careers in recent memory will end with a victory tour in 2018.  After winning the individual championship in 2016, Neal shot an afternoon 734 to make it back to the stepladder in 2017.  She also had the high series at the James, came in second in North Jersey Singles, averaged 206 in the GMC and won the conference tournament.

Kamerin Peters, Sophomore, Toms River North
After as dominant a freshman season as we've ever seen, including a 215 average and a postseason of 697-722-773-730, what could Peters do for an encore?  Over the summer, she finished 18th in a field of 327 of the best U15 girls in the country, missing the match play finals by just 6 pins.

Katie Robb, Senior, Kingsway
One of the strongest performers in the state for a couple of years, averaging 198 & 201 the last two, Robb really made everyone take notice at individual states, posting 717-670 and a fourth place finish. Showed well at Junior Gold, missing the cut by just 86 pins and besting hundreds of older girls.

Rhianna Smith, Senior, Hopatcong/Mt. Olive
There's no doubt Smith is one of New Jersey's best.  A fluid lefty with strong mechanics, she's made the individual stepladder twice (2015 & 2016), and averaged 197 last season with a handful of 700s, not to mention an excellent tournament track record in non-HS events.

Amanda Shelters, Junior, Brick Memorial
Has already forged a fine career, averaging over 200 and being part of a state championship team, but Shelters really proved her tournament chops at Junior Gold, making the U20 cut after averaging over 186 over 4 days on 4 different sport patterns. Memorial lost 3 more seniors this year; don't be surprised to see Shelters take a huge leap forward.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

aaaand we're back.

Today marks the beginning of tryouts and practices for the entirety of New Jersey high school bowling, and I, for one, am pretty excited.

We have 14 high school bowlers returning who made one of my all-state teams, as well as 29 who were listed as honorable mentions.  A bunch of kids were impressive in tournaments over the off-season: Junior Bowlers Tour (New Jersey and Pennsylvania), Central Jersey Junior Girls Challenge, and the national Junior Gold finals in Cleveland back in July.  There's a world of talent here.

I sent out an email blast to every coach in my address book looking to pick up some information about this year's squads, and to make some suggestions & requests for the future, and I've heard back from several (thanks!), but I'll renew the request here and include parents: new bowlers I might not know about, anyone who's made a major improvement, coaching changes, transfers - anything that can help make my rankings fair and accurate is appreciated.  Just as importantly, I want to encourage every single league, conference and division to have a public-facing standings sheet as well as reporting results to nj.com.  Many do, and they're awesome (especially those on leaguesecretary.com), but there are several major bowling conferences that don't have, for instance, player averages available. No other sport seems to conspire to hide their results quite like bowling.  Let's end that.

Another thing that's been hard to find is a listing of in-season tournaments.  I assume that these are communicated between coaches and ADs throughout the state, and that's fine, but a public listing would be great.  The Shore Conference affiliated tournaments are listed on their site (link), so any coaches looking for a tournament should check it out. And any tournament results sent along to me would be great, too.

Anyway, I've been trying to collect as much information as possible before the season starts for real on December 2, working on preseason all-state teams, a list of returning stars, a sampling of up & coming bowlers (including some impact freshmen) and a reasonable guess at a preseason top 20 for both boys and girls.  These will be posted over the next few weeks.

But first, I need to talk about Greg.

My original intention when starting this blog was to remain mostly anonymous, but my own technical stupidity put my name on everything from the jump.  As a result, many, if not most, of you know that my kid bowls for Warren Hills.  We at Warren Hills lost a big part of our family when longtime coach Greg Rottengen passed away in August.  He was 74.

I'd known Greg for about 25 years - first as a competitor when we bowled against each other in leagues in the 90s, then as a coach when he worked a bit with my daughter during Saturday morning leagues at Oakwood Lanes, and finally as a highly successful coach at the high school level.  I didn't know that he taught science for 35 years, or that he had been in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. It was always all about the bowling.

After the age of 50 (and a lifetime of bowling) Greg became a PBA member, competing in many regional and senior events, earned his way into the Morris County Bowling hall of fame with his on-lane performance.and he worked to become a silver-level USBC-certified coach.  Personally, I think the coaching was the high point.  

Decades of bowling experience, technical expertise and an extensive teaching background made him an ideal coach for the kids at Oakwood Lanes.  While Oakwood is the home of Warren Hills bowling, it's also a regional center, and the youth program draws kids from a huge area.  Over the years, Greg worked, at least a little, with kids from Warren Hills, Phillipsburg, Belvidere, Warren Tech, Hackettstown, North Warren, West Morris Central, Sparta, Morris Tech, Immaculata, Voorhees, North Hunterdon, Hunterdon Central and Mount Olive. Probably more.

His work as Warren Hills' head coach was extraordinary.  In a sport dominated by Shore Conference, GMC and Olympic Conference squads, we had this little oasis of excellence at the only bowling program in Warren County.  Greg did exactly what we all say we want from coaches - he was flexible enough to coach each bowler a little differently: laying back when necessary, getting very technical when it was warranted, laying down discipline if the situation demanded it, and being an absolute goofball when the team needed to loosen up.  Greg was named North Jersey or state coach of the year at least four times. In the process, he produced dozens of excellent bowlers, including future college bowlers, all-conference & all-area selections, and a smattering of all-staters. I'm hesitant to start listing names because I'll leave out a whole bunch, but Darren Flynn, Michele DeVries, John Mercurio, Ben & Abby Laws, Justin Walker, Jessica Yerance, Aaron Argondizzo, Elizabeth Hudock, Greg Ryback, Lauren Scholes, Mike Handley, Jenna Henderson, Bobby Collins, Sammie Pearson, Brian Duke, Ryan Stephany, Darryl Price and current seniors Eric Lawson, Avante Wilson and Katie Winch have all made their mark.  Anyway, it was always the team that mattered most, and Warren Hills won 9 sectional championships under Greg, including both the boys and girls teams the past two years, and he finally reached the mountaintop when the 2017 girls won the state Group 3 title and the Tournament of Champions.

The bowling program had a small memorial get-together before school started, and more than two dozen past, present and future Blue Streaks came together to remember Greg; even more attended the memorial at the funeral home.  He meant a lot to the program, and to the kids, and will be missed terribly.

During this most recent run of success for the Warren Hills program, Greg expressed several times how impressed he was with the sustained talent level on the team, that new freshmen kept entering the program ready to contribute, and that the younger kids just keep getting better.  He said more than once how lucky he was to be a part of a program like this.

We were even luckier to have had him.

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)