Falcons fly high when it counts

Monroe’s boys bowling team tops JFK to tie for first place

By: James McKeever
   Monroe’s boys bowling team knew how important Tuesday’s match against J.F. Kennedy was long before the players stepped onto the lanes and Brunswick Zone Carolier.
   Trailing JFK by one game in the Greater Middlesex Conference White Division standings, the Falcons needed a victory to gain a share of first place. In the back of the Falcons’ minds was the memory of losing to JFK earlier this season.
   No problem this time. Monroe rose to the challenge and responded with a 3115 series — the best in school history — to defeat the Mustangs 3-1.
   "I said to the kids at the halfway point of the season, which was around the holidays, that if we wanted to share the division title that we were going to have to win out,"’ said Monroe coach George Packard. "We know Kennedy is probably going to win the rest of their matches. So that was our mind-set. We knew JFK was the team to beat."
   Monroe was extremely consistent, rolling1035-1043-1037 in the much-needed victory that gave them a 10-2 record (prior to Wednesday’s match against Middlesex and Thursday’s encounter with North Brunswick). Monroe has two losses in the division, to JFK and South Amboy. JFK has lost to South River and Monroe.
   Next week the Falcons finish up divisional play with matches against Middlesex, South River, Perth Amboy and Bishop Ahr.
   "We still have a lot of work to do," Packard said. "I told the guys to enjoy it (beating JFK) now because tomorrow we’re back to work again. We can’t take any opponent lightly."
   What made Tuesday’s victory even more satisfying was the overall quality of play. J.F. Kennedy stepped up its game as well, finishing with a 3067.
   "In the second game their throw-out score was a 213," Packard said. "JFK is real good and they bowled better than usual. The kids brought the best out of each other on both sides."
   The Falcons won the first game, 1035-982. Kennedy took game two, 1134-1043. Monroe won the final game, 1037-951.
   Eric Wysokowski produced big numbers, throwing 225-237-245 for a 707, pushing his average to 193.
   "Eric had no open frames all day," said Packard, whose team was ranked ninth in the state. "He had eight strikes in each game. We didn’t keep frames open. You have to make your spares when you’re going against a strong team like JFK."
   Freshman Gregg Puleio backed Wysokowski with a 655(226-222-207), raising his average to 194. T.J. Van Gorden leads the Falcons with a 203average after going 181-192-177 vs. Kennedy. After the match Nick Zirkel’s season log stood at 182,followed by Tim Seyfried’s 181, Bobby Stern’s 172 and Dan Trinkler’s 168.
   "We use all seven bowlers," said Packard. "We’re pretty balanced. If one of the guys bowls poorly the other guys step up. Everybody has been chipping in. It’s not a one-man show or a two-man show."
   Last Sunday Monroe rolled a 2900 to place eighth out of 46 teams in the Central Jersey Winter Classic. Had they bowled a 3115 like they did on Tuesday, the Falcons would have easily defeated tournament winner East Brunswick, which finished with 3027.
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   Packard’s girls team lost to J.F. Kennedy 4-0 on Tuesday as the Falcons’ record dipped to 6-7. Monroe knocked down 2126 pins (692-724-710). Robyn Grant led the team with a 460 series. Samantha Beyer recorded a 434.
   So far the season hasn’t gone as well as the Falcons would have liked.
   "They have their moments," Packard said. "They keep plugging away, however. I tell them to keep plugging away and something good has to happen.
   "We set a goal to get 2300 every game, but we keep getting that 2150. We’re falling 150 pins short. Do the math: If each player could get one extra mark per game for three games, there’s your 150 pins right there."