Barons looking for a third consecutive state title


After a third-place finish at the Joe Romer Memorial Tournament at Brunswick Zone over the weekend, the Woodbridge High School girls bowling team will resume play today against Old Bridge. Today’s action will also be at Brunswick Zone in North Brunswick.

Woodbridge heads into this week currently 9-0- 3 on the season and looking to tie up any loose ends before its quest to capture its third straight state title. Last year’s team was quite simply dominant. By season’s end, the Barons, led byAmanda Small, added a GreaterMiddlesex Conference Red Division title, a state sectional title, a Group III title and a Tournament of Champions title to their ever-expanding trophy case.

With Small currently bowling for Fairleigh Dickinson University, Woodbridge has struggled at times this season. While their male counterparts took home titles earlier in the year at the Bishop Ahr andWestfield Tournaments, the Lady Barons settled for 10th- and fifth-place finishes in those respective tournaments.

“We placed pretty well and it proves we are a contender,” Woodbridge head coach Mike Yannazzo said. “We just need to play better down the stretch and be in top form by the time the GMC Tournament comes at the beginning of February.”

Like their male counterparts, the Lady Barons have already locked up the Red Division title and have proven to improve throughout the season. Its three draws came against top-notch competition in the form of East Brunswick, South Brunswick and Carteret. In its second meeting against East Brunswick and South Brunswick, Woodbridge avenged the ties with wins.

“This shows me that we have improved,” Yannazzo said. “I think we have a shot at a third state title if our top four bowlers all perform well.”

This season the Barons have been led by senior captain Nicole Caggiano. Caggiano leads all GMC bowlers with a 211 average. Last season Caggiano finished second in the league in average and has increased thatmark by nine pins this season.

“She really has the desire to win the average title,” Yannazzo said. “She’s been looking very good.”

Caggiano’s bid to take home the GMC individual title for a fourth straight year fell short when she finished in eighth place earlier this year.

“Shewon titles her first three years- something no area bowler has ever accomplished,” Yannazzo said. “We’ll need her to bowl at a high level as it nears crunch time.”

Fellow senior Ashley Scesney is maintaining a 191 average while Melissa Huntley enters this week with a 188 average. Senior Kellie Kocher, another member of last year’s title team, is performing well with a 176 average.

“We also have a pair of really good juniors that have seen a lot of varsity time,” Yannazzo said. “Jessica DiSilvestro and Christina Brady are both firsttime bowlers and doing reallywell. Jessica has a 164 average and Christina is at 140. Jessica has been alternating with Meghan Tlucinski in the fifth spot. Meghan has been doing a nice job and has a 160 average.”

DiSilvestro and Brady have been used in the sixth spot, along with senior Amanda Schneider and sophomores Miranda Lishman and Diana Teluk.

“Miranda andDiana are still young and learning,” Yannazzo said. “I’mwaiting for themto arrive. We’re trying to build the team up for a nice run at the end of the season.”