Howell girls roll strikes with 30-0 start to season

Staff Writer

There is a reason why the Howell High School bowling teams, especially the girls, continue to win year after year.

“You have to have kids who are willing to work hard and they (this year’s teams) are willing to work hard,” coach Dave Clampffer said of the reason behind his program’s winning tradition.

Howell’s girls are running away with the Shore Conference B Central Division race this year and are well on their way to winning their 11th division title in the last 12 years.

After beating Jackson Liberty High School, 3-0, on Jan. 11, the Rebels improved to 30-0 and are seven games ahead of Jackson Liberty (23-7) in the race for the division crown. With five matches remaining, the Lions have a lot of ground to make up in a very short time. Howell sits in a commanding position.

Clampffer admitted that even he is surprised at how well the Revels are bowling this winter. He had a simple explanation for the team’s performance.

“Since the end of last season they have lived here (at Howell Lanes) and they came back better collectively,” he said. “It is the biggest off-season jump of any team (the Rebels have had) and its goes to their dedication. This is the deepest team I’ve had. We have not gone this deep into the season undefeated since the 2002 team” which won the NJSIAA state championship.

That is not comforting news for any team that is trying to catch the Rebels this season.

The Rebels have been in their own league this season. Their high scratch game of the season is 118 pins more than Jackson Liberty’s best game. The team’s best series, 2,863, is 304 pins better than Jackson Liberty.

Howell’s mainstays are seniors Shanna Kelly (194 average) and Kendall Patterson (179), juniors Leanne Reed (180) and Jamie Kelly (179), and sophomore Sara Van Nosdall (178). Shanna Kelly has rolled a high game of 263 and high series of 634. “Shanna comes through under pressure,” Clampffer said. “If you need a strike in the 10th frame, she’s the one you want.”

Shanna Kelly and Jamie Kelly (no relation) were named to the All-Tournament Team at the Fairleigh Dickinson Festival last month as Howell repeated as the team champion.

Junior Jen Schwartz (181) and sophomore Kristin Natoli (171) speak to how deep this team is, as they would be starters on any other squad. Their skills have allowed Clampffer to rest his starters without missing a strike.

On Jan. 20 at Howell Lanes, the Rebels will try to defend their Monmouth County championship.

Among the boys, Howell is also the defending champion. Although the Rebels (19-11) are in third place behind Jackson Memorial (23-7) and Freehold Township (22-8) in the division, Clampffer said the team is in its best form at this time and has a good chance to repeat as the county champion.

The Rebels won the Fairleigh Dickinson tournament and Frank Vitarelli was named to the All-Tournament Team.

Senior Jake Kaplan leads the Rebels in average at 211 and has a high game of 279. Max Stalter (198), a junior, and senior Vitarelli (197) are next in scoring average for Howell, followed by freshman Tyler Keefe (191) and junior Kyle Manick (183).

Freehold Township, which beat Jackson Memorial, 2-1, on Jan. 11 to pull within one game of the Jaguars in the division race, has a balanced team led by Pat Kilduff (197), Jason Stern (193) and Anthony Parrinella (192).

Angelo Traina (183) and Drew Ballester (185) complete a starting lineup which has seen a different bowler step up in each match. Ballester’s 624 series led the Patriots in their win over Jackson Memorial. That balance makes Freehold Township a contender for the Monmouth County crown.