Bowlers off to good start

Anthony Buczynski got an unexpected Christmas gift of sorts from the JacksonMemorial High School boys varsity bowling team that he coaches — a solid start.

“I’m absolutely shocked,” the Jaguars’ veteran coach said. “We have freshmen and sophomores in the lineup, and I thought we would be a couple of games below .500. We’ve started better than anybody expected.”

Led by the 202 average of left-handed junior Jake Zanrzycki, bowling in the No. 3 spot in the lineup, the Jaguars went into the holiday break at 12-6 to peck away near the top of the Shore Conference B South Division. The Jaguars won the division for three straight years before seeing the string end three years ago.

“In tryouts, we had one kid averaging 200 and the rest were in the high 180s. It’s a remarkable turnaround,” said Buczynski. “I never saw anything like it.”

Leadoff bowler Mario Starace has only been bowling for two years but averages 196 and rolled a 253 high game. He is followed by junior Evan Rudenjak, averaging 191 in the No. 2 spot; Zanrzycki; freshman Mike Ormsby, who holds a 197 average at No. 4; and sophomore Luke Kane, who hits 192 pins a game at anchor.

Rob Lane, a senior, is the only bowler with four years of experience and averages 201 as a valuable reserve. Don Kane, a freshman, also is ready to go when he gets the call. success is “their ability to adjust to lane conditions and making spares. I tell the kids to move inside when the lanes dry out, and they do. They’re intelligent and make adjustments. They’re not the most talented group, but they listen.”

The Jackson Memorial girls likewise are off to a solid start this winter with a veteran lineup led by juniors Courtney Brown and captain Ashley Ormsby.

Brown clicks on 191 pins a game at the No. 3 spot and Ormsby averages 182.

“She keeps things under control and sets a good example for the girls,” Jaguars coach Carrie Scott said of Ormsby.

Their efforts have sparked the team to an 11-7 start and third place in the division, highlighted by a 2-1 victory over division leader Jackson Liberty.

“I think we are doing really well, considering our competition,” said Scott, who is now coaching her 30th season at the school.

All five starters from last season return, including senior Kaci Berns in the lead-off spot, junior Raven DeWitt at No. 2, and senior Sara Seich at No. 3, while freshman Sierra Palmer is a strong prospect. Scott said De- Witt, with a 134 average, is bowling “better than I thought she would.”

The Jaguars will return to action on Jan. 2 in the Toms River South tournament.

— Wayne Witkowski