Mike Weinert told his Sayreville War Memorial High School boys bowling team that if it won the NJSIAA Group III title Friday morning, he’d allow his seniors to douse him with a Gatorade bucket.
He added another carrot, promising his underclassmen the opportunity to soak him with another bucket if the Bombers followed it up by capturing the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.
“So,” Weinert said in the aftermath of Sayreville’s state championship, “I have a few baths coming to me when we get back to school.”
Indeed, the Bombers were able to soak in a pair of triumphs at Brunswick Zone Carolier Lanes. After capturing its fourth NJSIAA Group III crown in seven seasons with a 3152 set, Sayreville validated a campaign that included a GMC White Division title and a GMC Tournament championship by ousting Ewing and Jackson Memorial in the Tournament of Champions.
Sayreville swept Ewing, then rallied from one-match down twice in the T of C championship and prevailed over Jackson Memorial, 194-163, in the fifth and deciding set.
“It’s just special to see them accomplish this goal,” said Weinert, whose team also won the T of C in 2008 and ’09. “
The Bombers featured a balanced effort, as Mike Bernstein (611), Kevin Nettler (579), Mike Danchisko and A.J. Angotti (579) each came up big in front of anchor Jay Ciszewski, who bowled his sixth career 300-game en route to a whopping 795 set.
How hot was Ciszewski during the Group III session? Consider the tournament began promptly at 9:30 a.m., and the senior didn’t need to use his spare ball until 11:15 a.m. By then, he had rolled 18 consecutive strikes to help the Bombers cruise to the Group III crown win by 191 pins.
“To go out today with a 300, that was a goal I’ve been trying to accomplish for my four years here,” said Ciszewski, who barely missed out on a perfect game as he was ruled with a line violation on his 12th roll in clinching the GMCT team championship for the Bombers last week. “As anyone in the state of New Jersey knows by now, I actually had a foul and I dead-flushed it (the 12th ball). People don’t know if I fouled or not. I’m pretty sure I did.
“But to finally get one on the biggest stage, it was a goal to get it in the state finals. It was just an unbelievable feeling to have my teammates behind me.”
It wasn’t nearly as smooth in the Baker Format finals. After cruising past Group IV-champion Ewing in three games, the Bombers dropped the first and third games to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-five playoff.
But with their backs against the wall, the Bombers rolled eight straight strikes to prevail, 267-165, in the fourth game. In the deciding match, Sayreville marked in every frame except the last, when Ciszewski, in a display of true sportsmanship, purposely missed the 10-pin. With Jackson Memorial leaving two frames open, consecutive strikes by Nettler and Danchisko clinched Sayreville’s third T of C title since the state began playing down the Group champions in 2007.
“We won almost every major tournament we went to, won (Middlesex) County, won the sectional, won Group III and won the overall,” said Weinert, who dedicated the state championship to his father, Bob, who is battling cancer, and to Brunswick Zone of Hazlet for its generosity in equipping the Bombers. “Really, it’s the greatest season in school history.”