Coming off a rather disappointing season, the South Hunterdon High School bowling team believes the only way it can go this year is up.
The Eagles only lost one two bowlers to graduation last year, Amanda Wengryn from a girls team that went 1-6, and Richard Roy from the boys team that finished the season winless.
“I think the most important thing is to not let it get to you,” South Hunterdon senior Lazarus Gonzales said of dealing with last season’s record. “It’s something that coach instills in us to make sure we’re looking forward and look at things how we can improve over time and hopefully have a better season this year.”
South Hunterdon returns most of its starters from last season, which can only help to bolster the team as it looks to improve. Last season the Eagles placed eighth at the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament, the girls placed fourth at the Skyland Conference Tournament and the boys team came in sixth.
“We’re senior heavy, starting four or five seniors, all have experience from last year,” seventh-year coach Dan Vorgity said. “I think with the boys we have shown improvement with how good they’ve been in practice, they definitely need more confidence and to continue to improve, if they do they can win some games this year.
“On the girls side, losing Amanda is big, she was such a good player and we don’t have someone to fill her shoes at this point but I have a lot of potential with players that have come along. The team goal is just to be competitive in all the matches and to improve, to see improvement over the course of the season.”
Sophomore Julia Kreider, who averaged 130 last season, and junior Ashlynne Bacorn (130) return and newcomer Storey Baldwin, a freshman, has been averaging over 100 in practice. Wengryn has also been showing up a practices as she’s been helping the team during the preseason.
On the boys side, five seniors return, including Gonzales, who averaged 170 last year but has been bowling in the 200s in practice, and Darrell Kreider also averages in the 170s.
With the experience the senior class brings, Gonzales believes they can be successful this year.
“I guess just the camaraderie is a great way to explain it,” Gonzales said of the team. “The cohesiveness we have and the bond we have, how we’re able to support each other when we’re playing and whether that be playing well or not playing well, we have a great support system.”
The Eagles open on Tuesday against Watchung Hills, and will look to show up against the likes of Immaculata, Bridgewater-Raritan, Franklin and Warren Hills.
“I think the biggest goal is to just go out and have fun,” Gonzales said. “That’s one of the biggest things that coach puts at the forefront, that we enjoy ourselves and not put too much pressure on ourselves but also find the balances to achieve and play in a positive manner.”
2015-16 TEAM NOTES
Seniors Tom Moeller (201), Eric Moeller (196) and Matt Resnick, along with juniors Matt Wing and Rob England return to a Panthers team that finished as Skyland Conference Tournament champs last season.
Seniors Andrew Hallam and Alex Wasserman along with sophomores Justin DeMartin and Thomas Mathers return for the boys team, while sophomore Jillian Dambres is returning to a girls team that went winless last season and graduated half the team. Sophomore Cheryl Lin will also return.
Returning seniors Jackie Mantell and Maria Torres, along with junior Carol Ann Mayer and sophomores Erin Hein, Sarah Clark, Sophia Castellani and Brie Frazer will look to lead the Blue Jays this season.
The Chiefs finished as Central Group IV champs last season, as well as finished as GMC Conference finalists and won the Joe Romer Memorial Baker Shoot-Out Tournament. Senior Demetria Bethel (212) who was a first team all-state, all-conference and all-division selection, returns as well as Alaysia Richardson (130).
Senior Thomas Novak (158) and sophomore Goldera Surles (183), who finished third at the Union County Tournament, return for the Vikings. Seniors Patrick Sesta and Eric Mack are newcomers with bowling experience, with Mack coming out of the Jersey Lanes youth program.
Senior Tavis Brunson (185), junior Alex Cohen (157) and sophomore Jason Glickstein (155) return to a Blue Devil team that fell just short in the NJSIAA Group IV sectionals and lost six seniors to graduation. Westfield returns eight bowlers, with seven new additions.
Staff Writer Lauren Knego: firstname.lastname@example.org