Edison’s Leone, Johnson excel at bowling championships

By JIMMY ALLINDER Correspondent

 Runners from Monroe Township High School and Metuchen High School compete in the 800-meter race at the Greater Middlesex Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, which were held at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River.  SCOTT FRIEDMAN Runners from Monroe Township High School and Metuchen High School compete in the 800-meter race at the Greater Middlesex Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships, which were held at the John Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River. SCOTT FRIEDMAN TEDISON he top bowlers for the Edison High School boys and girls teams experienced marquee moments at the Greater Middlesex Conference’s (GMC) Individual Bowling Championships, held Jan. 15 at the Brunswick Zone-Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick.

Tom Leone captured the individual championship, as he rolled a 1,426 series to defeat South Brunswick High School’s Charles Zaabadick, 224-210, in the final stepladder elimination match. St. Joseph High School of Metuchen’s Rob Kostakos placed third in the competition and was eliminated in an earlier stepladder round.

Kayla Johnson, the No. 1 bowler for the Eagles’ girls team, nearly made it a double-victory for the Eagles, as she also earned the top spot by rolling a 1,372. However, Johnson lost in the stepladder finals, 217-186, to South Brunswick’s Amy Caruso.

Head coach Tracie Smith was thrilled by her bowlers’ performances, despite Johnson’s defeat.

“Both Kayla and Tom are extremely hard-working athletes who truly love [bowling] and want to excel at the sport,” she said. “Each entered our program already competent bowlers, and it has been my job to help them learn to control their emotions and ultimately attain the end result — win the GMC and states.”

Leone’s victory wasn’t unexpected, since the sophomore placed third in the GMCs a year ago and has emerged as one of the top bowlers in the state. As a freshman, Leone bowled a 300 in league competition and has rolled a 289 high game this season. The Eagles’ boys team is 6- 4-2 overall and competes in the Red Division, which features some of the strongest teams in the state.

In addition to Johnson’s runnerup medal in the GMCs, she has bowled a 287 high game this season for the Eagles’ girls, who are 10-1 in league competition.


Although graduating a core of nine quality swimmers, Bishop George Ahr High School’s girls team is looking to capture its fourth consecutive GMC title when the meet is held on Feb. 1 at the Raritan Bay YMCA in Perth Amboy.

The Trojans have registered a 5-0 record in dual meets and return some of the conference’s top swimmers. Junior Katrina Kuhn has the fifth best time in the state for the 100 freestyle with a 53.20 and is defending GMC champion in that event, in addition to the 100 backstroke.

Jessica Schmidt is another strong swimmer and the defending GMC 50 freestyle champion, as well as a key member on a number of relay teams, where Kuhn and Schmidt are joined by senior Danielle Fontaine and Alyssa D’Esposito. Among the Trojans’ newcomers are Emily Louie, Olivia Menture, Sophia Nogales, Shannon Pepe, and Celine Maligranda.

The Bishop Ahr boys are 1-2 in dual meets. But according to coach Amanda Miller, the Trojans are experiencing their best season in school history. Returning senior and captain John Lewandowski leads a small, but motivated, team of eight swimmers, she said.

Along with strong junior Patrick Osiadacz, sophomore Spencer Fontaine, and freshmen Kyle Printon and Noah Caruso, the team medaled in a number of events when it made its first appearance in the Pirate Invitational at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in December.

Miller recognizes that Bishop Ahr’s continued success in swimming, especially with the girls teams, has been a challenge because many competitors are members of club teams.

“A large percentage of our swimmers come from club teams,” she said. “But with time and financial constraints, the number has dropped in recent years. The advantage [Bishop Ahr] brings to the swimmers who choose to compete for the school is the [satisfaction] of contributing to the team’s success, in the pool and out.

“In addition to working on improving times and yardage in the pool, we have instituted a formalized ‘dry land’ training program, which we hope to expand in future years,” she continued. “Bishop Ahr athletes bring a supportive attitude to the pool because they need to be flexible with event assignments. Every swimmer must be willing to perform their best for the team, even when they aren’t swimming in their favorite or strongest event.”

Millers said the girls team is looking to repeat as GMC Red Division champions, capture the GMC Championships and return to the NJSIAA Meet of Champions for individual events and relays.


In her first season as head coach of the Metuchen High School girls basketball team, Pat Mayo maintains the goals are the same as with most programs, and that’s to do well in the conference tournament (GMC) and qualify for the state tournament (NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I).

At this point in the season, the Bulldogs are 6-6 and have dropped their last two contests. That means the games remaining until Feb. 8, the cutoff date to qualify for the state tournament, will be vitally important. Teams need a .500 or better record for automatic qualification. Although the NJSIAA does allow teams that are below .500 to fill out a sectional bracket, that’s not guaranteed.

On Jan. 27, the Bulldogs visited the Wardlaw-Hartridge School, and they will host Middlesex High School on Jan. 29. That game is followed by a visit to Spotswood High School on Jan. 31. A home game with Carteret High School is slated for Feb. 5, and the schedule concludes with road games at North Plainfield High School on Feb. 6 and John F. Kennedy Memorial High School on Feb. 8.

Mayo, the former coach at Piscataway Township High School, utilizes an eight-player rotation featuring senior Cassie Smith, who is averaging 30 points a game. The Bulldogs are patiently waiting for the return of transfer Katelynn Flaherty, who arrived from Point Pleasant Beach High School in early January but suffered an ankle injury in her first game in a Metuchen uniform against Mother Seton Regional High School.

According to Mayo, it’s a weekto week proposition as to when Flaherty returns, although the coach is confident she will be available when the GMC Tournament begins in two weeks. The state tournament starts on March 3. Flaherty averaged 30.8 and 5.8 assists a game at Point Pleasant Beach as a junior, and she will be headed to the University of Michigan on a scholarship following graduation.

Besides Flaherty and Smith, the other senior on the roster is Kira Taylor. The juniors are Kelly Streckfuss, Liane Cifrodelli and Kelly Eustace, with the sophomore contingent represented by Kelly Beck, Emily Buchanan, Alexa Craft-Zaletel and Katherine Chura. Brooke Bandola is a freshman.