Tuckerton Leader

Pinelands Bowling Squads Face Challenges as Season Begins

Dec 01, 2017

It’s no secret the Pinelands Regional girls bowling team competes in a really tough division. With Lacey, Manchester and Donovan Catholic often bringing excellent squads to Ocean Lanes for each match, the Shore Conference South B division is no joke.

Unfortunately, the Wildcats are not going to get much of a break again this season, especially after losing their top two bowlers – Shea Balmann and Bonnie Burton, whose averages combined for some 330 pins – from last year to graduation. But there’s always hope in the eyes of new coach James Becker.

“My expectation for the team is for it to be a very competitive team going forward,” said Becker, also the school’s veteran golf coach during the spring season. “I think we can be very competitive and may surprise a few teams this season. I believe we have the potential to become a very serious team during the next couple of years. We have a core nucleus that can help guide our very young team and make it competitive over the course of the season.”

For this season’s Wildcats, the ball starts rolling with senior Jessica Markowitz, the only starter back from last season’s fifth-place crew. From there, Becker is going to rely on some former JV players to start filling in the gaps within the starting lineup, including juniors Shaneen Kunder and Juleeanna Saccomagno.

“I will look to these girls for their leadership qualities and to help me lay the foundation to make this a competitive, yet fun, team for the years to come,” Becker said. “We have a very deep freshman group, with eight up-and-coming players. But our biggest impact will come from my senior and the two juniors.”

Of course, with ideally five players on the lane for varsity matches, the Wildcats will need at least a few of the freshmen entering the program to make somewhat of an impact right away. That crew includes Courtney Burns, Kaitlyn Edwards, Kennedy Heinrichs, Korral Mackiewicz, Julie Maistro, Quinn Moore and Lauren Tatro.

As for coach Paul Millar’s boys, it appears things may get off to a slow start.

“We’ve had a tough time getting players to come out for the team,” said Millar, whose squad faced a rebuilding season last year but also lost its top two players, Howard Laurance and Dylan Rochesky, to graduation. “We just started practicing this week, and it looks like I’m going to have to keep beating the hallways to try and get some more kids.”

For now, the Wildcats will go into their first match on Dec. 4 relying on a pair of returning players: juniors Liam Kinnevy, who last year routinely rolled in the mid-400s for a series, and Dylan McDowell. Beyond that, Millar will look to junior Mike Gresilo and Nick Carmona, as well as sophomore Ryan McGowan and freshman Dylan McGowan to record some decent scores throughout the season.

“I can’t expect too much right now,” he said. “We’ll see how the kids improve throughout the season and hope for the best.”

—  David Biggy

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