NORTH BRUNSWICK – It took her four long years but Kayla Johnson finally achieved one of her biggest goals.
The Edison senior defeated Tori Boughton of Brick Memorial by a score of 183-171 in the stepladder final of the NJSIAA Girls Bowling Individual Tournament at Carolier Lanes on Wednesday.
“It’s unreal I can’t believe this is happening,” Johnson said. “I wanted this for so long I can’t even speak, it’s crazy.”
Wednesday was Johnson’s last opportunity to secure the individual title before starting college next fall and she took full advantage of that opportunity.
“This is definitely the icing on the cake,” Johnson said. “I’ve qualified for three years and it’s great to win something I’ve been working on for ten years, it’s always been a dream.”
Johnson started the afternoon on a torrid pace notching a 682 in the first round, the best score in the qualifying round. She then followed up the qualifying round with a 601 and secured a first seed in the stepladder final.
“Starting off hot was definitely really important because going into the second round I had a 20 pin lead,” Johnson said. “Seeing I had to go against the Brick girls I knew I had to keep up the pace. “I’m happy where I ended up.”
Before the stepladder final, Johnson felt the need to change balls. Whether if it was fate or not, the move proved to be well timed.
“I switched to a whole different ball in the last round,” Johnson said. “I hadn’t used my Hysteria all day but something told me to use it so I whipped it out and it worked.”
Johnson was unflappable on the lanes and her calm demeanor may have had more of an affect than most would think.
“We came in with a game plan of staying relaxed,” Edison head coach Tracie Smith said. “She sometimes has the tendency of going quickly up there so I wanted her to take her time in between each throw to truly know she was ready to go.”
Like any good coach, Smith had confidence in her bowler despite some difficulties on the way.
“Kayla is just a strong bowler and has been since freshman year,” Smith said. “She had been struggling the last couple weeks in the GMC, she finished second and she didn’t want that she wanted first. This is great for her.”
With the win, Smith, like Johnson, experienced her first individual tournament win. She echoed her senior’s elation.
“I’m thrilled that Kayla was able to do this for herself, her family and her school.”
Deanna Calantoni of Woodbridge also placed in the top 10, finishing eighth with 1234 pins.
South Plainfield’s Rebecca Armand and South Brunswick’s Amy Caruso also finished in the top 18 thus making it to the second round. Armand placed in 14th with a 1203 and Caruso finished in 15th with 1198 pins.
For the boys, Rahway’s Darius Singletary placed eighth with a 1301 and Woodbridge’s Kyle Bilawsky finished 17th with 1214 pins.
Staff writer Daniel LoGiudice: email@example.com
Finalists: 1-Gregory Tack (Immaculata) 1455; 2-Greg Khan (Bergenfield) 1379; 3-Nick Cilento (Pompton Lakes,) 1369; 4-Kyle Schellberg (Dumont) 1340; 5-Andrew Lazarchick (Brick Memorial) 1,335; 6-Daijon Smith (Lyndhurst) 1329; 7-Erik Kattermann (Montville) 1312; 8-Darius Singletary (Rahway) 1301; 9-Jordan Lopez (Lyndhurst) 1300; 10-Matt Frei-Funk (Lenape) 1295; 11-Zak Watson (Jefferson) 1,283; 12-Marcus Regino (Seton Hall Prep) 1278; 13-Ryan Donohue (Lyndhurst) 1244; 14-Josh Spiegel (Wayne Valley) 1219; 15-Dean Klimek (Lenape) 1216; 16-Jimmy Gramiak (Roselle Catholic) 1215; 17-Kyle Bilawsky (Woodbridge) 1214; 18-Jeremy Scott (West Milford) 1213.
Stepladder final: 5-Lazarchick d. 4-Schellberg 243-224; 3-Cilento d. 5-Lazarchick 235-211; 3-Cilento d. 2-Khan 187-185; 2-Cilento d. 1-Tack 238-214.
Finalists: 1-Kayla Johnson (Edison) 1283; 2-Alize Stevenson (St. Mary) 1281; 3-Tori Boughton (Brick Memorial) 1273; 4-McKenna Collier (Brick Memorial) 1269; 5-Brianna Smith (Hopatcong) 1260; 6-Vicky Spirio (Brick Township) 1255; 7-Nicole Aumack (Brick Township) 1249; 8-Deanna Calantoni (Woodbridge) 1234: 9-Jenna Henderson (Warren Hills) 1234; 10-Jessie Garzio (Ewing) 1229; 11-Jamie Golden (Sparta) 1212; 12-Sinoda Cook (Linden) 1212; 13-Alexis Policastro (Carteret) 1210; 14-Rebecca Armand (South Plainfield) 1203; 15-Amy Caruso, (South Brunswick) 1198; 16-Alexa Asta (Jackson Memorial) 1182; 17-Brianna MacLeod (Brick Township) 1157; 18-Maddie Miller (West Deptford) 1079.
Stepladder final: 4-Collier d. 5-Smith 173-173 (59-38); 3-Boughton d. 4-Collier; 3-Boughton d. 2-Stevenson (235-223); 1-Johnson d. 3- Boughton 183-171.