Stafford Leader Winter Sports Preview

Southern Regional Bowlers Face Several Challenges This Winter

Dec 14, 2018

It’s been awhile since the Southern Regional boys bowling team has been a contender for the Shore Conference South A division title. Sure, the Rams have had some excellent bowlers come through the system in recent years, but the difference has been several schools in the division have had killer squads.

Two years ago, Toms River North was the cream of the South A crop. Last year, Toms River South, Brick and Brick Memorial battled for the top spot. Meanwhile, the Rams had a rough go of it despite some solid talent in the lineup.

This winter, coach Anthony Salvatore’s group is facing another uphill challenge, with Toms River South again the wrecking crew it has been the past couple of seasons and Brick again fielding a tough team. The other challenge is developing younger bowlers to fill a void left behind by those who graduated in June.

“We lost eight seniors from last year,” Salvatore said. “We’re looking for some newcomers to the varsity lineup to step up and for our two seniors to bring along the younger bowlers.”

Last winter, the Rams were a veteran squad. This season, seniors Tom McCann, who averaged 199, and Nick Wilkinson, who averaged 170, are the most experienced guys left from that bunch, with junior R.J. Petrozzino returning to the lineup after a solid sophomore campaign a year ago, averaging 184.

Beyond that trio, Southern needs consistency at the front of the starting five, and Salvatore is looking to a handful of sophomores to fill whatever roles he needs filled on a daily basis – among them Nick Marano, Colin Wilkinson, Cole Johansen, Killian Horne and Anthony Ruttler – as well as a pair of freshmen, Joe Wilkinson and Frost Bacchus, as possible spot guys when one of the regulars is struggling.

So far, the Rams have gotten off to a decent start, going 7½-7½ through their first two weeks of play. On Dec. 7, Southern scored its second victory of the season, a 3-0 victory over Central Regional. The Rams outscored the Golden Eagles, 889-831, 966-862 and 977-668 to pull into the fourth position in the division.

Petrozzino led the way with a 174 and back-to-back games of 246 for a 666 series, while Nick Wilkinson fired games of 180, 205 and 159 for a 544 series, and Colin Wilkinson delivered games of 193, 164 and 167 for a 524 series. McCann tossed a 198 in the first game and a 237 in the third.

Prior to a pair of 2-1 losses, the Rams started off the season with a split – a 2½-½ win over Toms River East in their opener on Nov. 27, followed by a 3-0 loss to powerful Toms River South.

In the win over the Raiders, Nick Wilkinson was the frontrunner for the Rams, scoring games of 193, 194 and 204 for a 591 series, while McCann contributed games of 181, 181 and 202 for a 564 series. Petrozzino scored 187 and 203 during the last two games, while Colin Wilkinson delivered a 179 in the first game and Joe Wilkinson added a 180 in the first.

As for the Southern girls, coach Ed Costa’s Rams also have a mixture of experienced bowlers and some younger ones to bring up to speed for the varsity game.

“We’re going to compete to the best of our ability in a very strong division,” he said. “We’re going to strive for our personal best scores every match, as well as do our best in every tournament we participate in.”

After several seasons as one of the Rams’ better bowlers in the lineup, senior Mackenzie Olson will lead the way in her final season, joining classmates Reagan Hogan and Kat Camoosa as an experienced trio who will take the lead this winter. Brenna Cousins is the only junior on the squad, backed up by sophomores Jordon Rizzo, Isabella Kane, Christina Cibrorowski, Kayla Bender, Sophia Makowski and Kaitlyn Gonsalves, as well as freshman Riley Schoka.

So far, the Rams have struggled, getting out to a 2-13 start as of Dec. 7, following a 3-0 loss to Central in which Olson led Southern with a 564 series on the strength of 212, 177 and 175 games. Rizzo scored a 183 in the second game and a 191 in the third for a 500 series, while Cibrorowski fired games of 158 and 156 during the last two games for a 421 series.

The Southern girls started their season with a pair of 2-1 losses to Toms River East and Toms River South during the opening week. The Rams defeated the Raiders, 745-589, in their second game on Nov. 27, as Olson led with a 177, which followed a 155 in the first game. Rizzo and Cibrorowski tossed 150 and 154 games, respectively, during the second game.

Against the Indians on Nov. 30, the second game again was the big one, with the Rams coming away with a 739-719 win. Camoosa registered a 173, while Cibrorowski threw a 179 and Olson hit for a 146 during the second-game victory. Olson also fired a 185 in the first game.

David Biggy

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