Southern Regional senior Jordan Rizzo makes her approach during the third frame of the second game on Feb. 20. (Photo by David Biggy)
For the past few years, Jordan Rizzo has enjoyed every part of her experience with the Southern Regional girls bowling team, and the bowling program in general. Fortunately, she and the other seniors in the program have been able to compete this winter, albeit for a limited time that is slated to end within a couple of weeks.
“It was pretty strange, going through this season with all the COVID stuff, but we’re getting through it,” said Rizzo after she rolled a 540 series during a Feb. 20 match against Toms River North, which pre-bowled its end of the contest because the Mariners’ schedule had been altered due to various factors connected to the pandemic. “At least we’re playing. As long as we were able to play, I was fine with whatever season we were going to have because it could have been worse. Bowling together with friends for four years has been great, just a lot of fun.”
Killian Horne, who’s headed to Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina to continue his baseball career in the fall, echoed Rizzo’s sentiment about simply enjoying the time he had with his teammates this winter.
“This group of guys is great,” said the senior, who tossed a 568 series to help the Rams defeat North, 2-1. “We have four seniors who have been together for a while now, and everybody’s just been taking things day by day, enjoying each day and thankful to have a season. This season could have been a disaster for us, but we’re still playing, and we’ll take whatever we can get out of it.”
Coach Tony Salvatore’s boys squad took having to play by itself a little easy Saturday afternoon, taking some time to build steam before managing to win the last two games, 970-861 and 887-810. The Rams lost the first game, 875-822, despite a 182 from Horne, a 180 from Collin Wilkinson and a 172 from Nick Marano.
During the second game, Southern received 202 scores from both Horne and Marano, while Andrew Christensen contributed a 199 and Mike Minardo provided a 188. In the third, the Rams started strong, but then hit a lull later in the game. Still, they held on behind a 191 from Marano, a 184 from Horne and a 182 from Minardo. Marano finished with a 565 series, while Collin Wilkinson registered a 523 series.
Southern Regional senior Killian Horne delivers a strike ball during the third game of the Rams’ victory over Toms River North on Feb. 20. (Photo by David Biggy)
“Normally, we’re playing sectional tournaments and ending the season right about now,” said Horne, who was part of the squad that won last year’s NJSIAA South Jersey sectional title. “Unfortunately, the state tournaments have been canceled this year, but it hasn’t changed much for us. We always want to bowl the best we can every year. This season isn’t as long as usual, but we’re still doing our best and having fun with it.”
Meanwhile, on the girls’ lanes, Rizzo started off with a huge 203 first game, while Kaitlyn Gonsalves threw a 185, Olivia Wilbert fired a 181, and Miranda Pielhau, a freshman who’s been bowling really well in recent weeks, delivered a 150. Unfortunately, coach Ed Costa’s crew fell short of the Mariners, 850-838.
That was the theme for the other two games as well – several Rams bowled well, but they fell a little short of eclipsing North’s team totals, dropping the second and third games, 851-792 and 856-761. Rizzo recorded a high game of 211 in the second game, while Wilbert followed with second and third games of identical 171 scores to end with a 523 series, and Gonsalves finished with a 171 and 162 for a 518 series.
“I’m going to miss everything about this,” said Rizzo, whose main goal was to hold at least a 160 average, which she has done thus far. “Bowling with the team, being around the coaches, Costa and Salvatore, and having fun every day … it’s been great. Even with this season the way it’s been, I couldn’t have asked for anything better these past four years.”
With the win, the boys’ team (17-10) remained in second place in the Shore Conference South A division, well behind Brick Memorial, which swept the Rams during back-to-back contests earlier in the week.
During Memorial’s 3-0 blitz of Southern on Feb. 18 – the Mustangs racked up 3,223 pins compared to the Rams’ 2,692 – Marano led the way with a 577 series after throwing games of 197, 183 and 197, while Horne tallied a 573 series that included games of 183, 180 and 210, and Joe Wilkinson managed a 559 series with games of 182, 172 and 205.
On Feb. 16, Marano again led the Rams with a 576 series, firing games of 190, 174 and 212, while Collin Wilkinson delivered a 525 series following games of 193, 177 and 155, and Joe Wilkinson recorded games of 176, 181 and 144 for a 501 series.
The girls’ squad (7-20) had a similar fate against the division-leading Mustangs, losing 3-0 contests on the same dates. During the Feb. 18 clash, Pielhau paced the Rams with a 559 series after tossing games of 199, 149 and 211, while Rizzo scored a 510 series behind games of 160, 180 and 170, and Wilbert ended with a 500 series after throwing a third game of 213.
On Feb. 16, Rizzo led the way with a 491 series, which included games of 170, 162 and 159, while Pielhau registered a 489 series following games of 153, 155 and 181. Wilbert tossed a 164 and 166 during the second and third games, respectively, and Gonsalves fired a high of 162 in the third game and Stephanie Giberson contributed a high of 165 in the first game.
Barnegat, Pinelands Squads
Have Rough Week
The Barnegat and Pinelands bowling teams didn’t have much success last week, as the Pinelands boys lost six straight against Manchester, while the Wildcat girls scored victory once against the Hawks, the Barnegat girls managed a pair of wins in six games against Brick, and the Barnegat boys were swept by the Green Dragons late in the week.
During a Feb. 20 loss to Manchester, Pinelands’ boys were led by Ethan Edwards’ 673 series following games of 223, 228 and 222, while Alex Ulrich added second and third games of 181 and 183, and Angelo Klein delivered a 190 in the second and 183 in the third. Edwards also fired games of 212, 242 and 219 during the 3-0 loss to the Hawks on Feb. 17.
As for the Barnegat boys, Joe Spagnola continued to stay hot, rolling a 638 series behind game scores of 234, 183 and 221 during a 3-0 loss to Brick on Feb. 20. Matt Xiques fired games of 177, 201 and 246 on the way to a 624 series, and Matt Hwang added a high of 202 in the second game.
The Barnegat girls (12-12) started with a pair of wins against Brick – 758-728 and 820-719 on Feb. 17 – but dropped the third game, 896-785, and all three on Feb. 20. In the first contest, Madison Kubicz was stellar, rolling games of 230, 222 and 171 for a 623 series, while Camryn White threw a high game of 182 in the third, Summer Burkle tossed a high of 178 in the third game, and Alexis Sugden delivered a 175 in the second game.
In the second clash with the Green Dragons, White and Kubicz started the day with scores of 211 and 201, respectively, and Sugden finished with a 201 third game, but the Bengals fell short in each game. Kubicz rolled second and third games of 181 and 179 to finish with a 561 series, and Sugden, who fired earlier games of 162 and 158, ended with a 521 series.
— David Biggy
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