After sitting atop the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division for the past three seasons, the Carteret High School girls bowling team is up for the challenge of making it four straight.
The Ramblers lost its top bowler in Alexis Policastro, who was named All-Conference as well as to the All-White Division team last season, and Cryssi Golino, who was also selected to the All-White Division team. But all is not lost for Carteret, a team that returns a number of starters from last year’s squad that finished 14-2-1 and has a few newcomers who could make an impact.
“We’re happy, the kids are great but thinking about this season I knew it was like, ok, we’re going to try and compete for a division title like last year but I knew it was going to be a fight for the division,” Carteret coach Len Masse said. “We have kids, they’re older they’re not all underclassmen, but they’re young in a sense that they’re new to bowling. We expect them to compete for starting roles. I’ve seen improvement, some have been bowling in summer leagues, they’re excited, it looks good, the numbers are probably going to go down but we’re going to be competitive.”
The Ramblers have three top returners in senior Gabrielle Morales, a GMC Tournament finalist, and juniors Allison Russell and Shelby Kappes. As a sophomore Russell was named to the All-White Division team after averaging 152 last year. Morales averaged a 153 while Kappes averaged 134. According to Masse all three have been bowling in the offseason and have returned ready to help lead the team.
“The loss of top-average players over the last two years leaves us with a significant challenge,” Masse said. “We need improvement from returning players and contributions from the entire roster. It’s different because we’re not going to have the big bowlers taking charge, they all have to chip in as a unit to get where we need to be, where it’s 160 or 170 to be competitive. I just want them to bowl and have fun.”
Sophomore Ashley Espy and junior Nicole Zorrilla are expected to play a role this season, while seniors Aiyana Bedoya and Angelica Vergara will help make an impact in their second year on varsity. Sophomore MaryKate Lukasiuk, freshman Syliva Houedenou and sophomore Fantasia Norman will round out the roster.
“We’re looking good, I don’t think any team is prefect, we have the things we have to work on and we’re going to work on it and see what the season has to offer,” Morales said.
After falling short in its quest for the NJSIAA Central Group II title last year, which was won by rival South Plainfield, the Ramblers hope to reboot, be competitive and of course have some fun this season.
“I think there is a little bit of pressure but I think if we all come together and help one another and just have fun,” Morales said. “At the end of the day if we don’t win it’s not a big deal, as long as I’m having fun with my team.”
According to Morales, the Ramblers will have some extra motivation this year as the team will be playing for their former coach, Charles Simon, who recently passed away. The Carteret/Old Bridge Baker Challenge has been renamed The Charles A. Simon Baker Challenge, which will be held Dec. 19.
“That’s going to push me and some of the other girls further to just kind of do it on his behalf,” said Morales, who had Baker has a coach for three years. “He was always there for us and having it in the back of our heads is going to push us even more.”
Carteret opens its season on Tuesday with a match against Monroe.
2015-16 Tournament Schedule
Dec. 5: Bishop Ahr Tournament
Dec. 12: Westfield Tournament
Dec. 19: The Charles A. Simon Baker Challenge
Jan. 2: Brick Tournament
Jan. 9: Central Jersey Winter Classic
Jan. 13: GMC Individual Qualifying
Jan. 15: GMC Individual Finals
Jan. 16: Woodbridge Classic
Jan. 23: Joe Romer Tournament
Feb. 1: GMC Preliminary Round
Feb. 2: GMC 1st Round
Feb. 3: GMC 2nd Round
Feb. 4: GMC Semifinals
Feb. 5: GMC Finals
Feb. 6: NJSIAA Girls Sectional
Feb. 12: NJSIAA Girls T of C
Feb. 13: NJSIAA Boys Sectional
Feb. 17: NJSIAA Individual Finals
Feb. 19: NJSIAA Boys T of C
GMC 2014-15 SEASON REVIEW
(includes overall records, division standings, head-to-head results and results of non-division matches from John Canova’s website)
2015-16 TEAM NOTES
Sophomore Laryssa Fiore (144) is the top returning bowler for a Patriots squad that finished 6-9-1 last year.
Senior Ashley Figueroa, a two-time GMC Individual finalist, returns after averaging 177 last year for an East Brunswick team that finished 8-5-3 last year. Junior Kate Onorato also returns after averaging 153 as a sophomore. Freshman Alicia McLaughlin (130 average) will look to make an immediate impact.
After finishing 17-3 and finishing second in the Baker Challenge, the Eagles will try and replace three top seniors lost to graduation. Junior Samantha Salzone returns after averaging 175 and finishing 19th in the GMC. Seniors Abby Buchany (160) and Stephanie Kawall (146), junior Touri Holmes (161) and sophomore Tori Johnson (142) will make dependable contributions as well.
Junior Jagathi Kalluru (123.6) and senior Charitha Aineri (110) will look to bolster a Hawks squad that finished 6-10-1 last year.
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.
Senior Elizabeth Ruffe (184) returns after finishing 11th at the GMC Individual Tournament and being named All Red Division as the Raiders finished as GMC Champions and the Central Group III champs.
Senior Gabriella Navallo (155) and sophomore Stephanie Sanders (140) will look to lead a Knights team that finished 2-14 last season. Freshman Haven Traverzo looks to be a strong addition as she averaged a 180 during tryouts.
Junior Alyssa Kennedy along with seniors Kayla Marte and Dee Pratts return as the Panthers lost a number of players to graduation. Myra Perez, Sarah Kennedy, Amy Gomez and Noelia Velez look to contribute as well.
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).
Mary Kate Kersting, who averaged 185 last year, should be amongst the best bowlers at the conference and state levels. Erin Simon (175) and Tiffany Glowacki (170) will also make an impact for the Bombers, who finished 6-10 last year.
The Vikings return only two varsity bowlers from last year’s team that finished 16-1-3, finished first in the GMC Red Division and took third at the GMC Tournament. Junior Emily Alvarez (161) and senior Catherine Sawicki (149) along with a host of newcomers will look to return South Brunswick to the top.
Junior Melissa Santos returns after averaging 122 last year and helping the Rams finish second in the Blue Division and third in Central Group III.
Senior Tyler Karpinecz returns after averaging 196 last season as well as placed first at the Woodbridge Holiday Singles Tournament, third in the GMC Individual Tournament and 23rd in the state individual finals. Junior Deanna Calantoni (180) took third high game and first high series at the Westfield Tournament, placed second at the Woodbridge Holiday Singles Tournament, seventh at the GMC Individual finals and placed eighth at the state individual finals.
GMC BOWLING HISTORY (from John Canova’s website)