By Jimmy Allinder
Except for boys and girls basketball, it’s Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Tournament time for winter sports, and that means a lot of activity at various venues throughout the county.
The GMC wrestling tournament was staged at Piscataway Township High School Jan. 29-31, and South Plainfield High School came away with the team title — its eighth consecutive championship. Bishop George Ahr High School finished in seventh place, Edison High School placed 13th and Metuchen High School and J.P. Stevens High School ended up 15th and 17th, respectively.
Edison junior Robert Cleary was selected the most outstanding wrestler in the lower weights after capturing the gold medal at 132 pounds. Cleary won his third consecutive GMC title and is defending district and region champion.
Bishop Ahr’s 220-pounder, Andrew Brazicki, was the other area wrestler to capture a gold medal.
The GMC boys and girls swimming meet, which was postponed from a week ago due snow, took place Jan. 29 and 30 at Raritan Valley YMCA in Perth Amboy.
Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen again dominated the boys side, while East Brunswick High School won its third consecutive girls crown. Metuchen had an impressive meet, placing second in the team standings.
The Falcons’ boys amassed 752 points to outdistance East Brunswick (595 points) for the team title. Metuchen was the other area team to place in the top six, finishing in fifth place with 243.50 points.
As far as individuals who won gold medals, the Falcons’ Sean Doran, Jonathan Baron, Michael Stanaway and Andrew Thompson captured the 200-yard medley relay in 1:40.79, while Tyler Catania finished the 200 freestyle first in 1:47.42.
Thompson was also victorious in the 200 individual medley in 1:59.01 and came away with the gold medal in the 500 freestyle in 4:55.02. The foursome of Philip Leuzkiewicz, Catania, Baron and Rodrick Perez won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:32.69, and Stanaway, Doran, Catania and Thompson combined to win the 400 freestyle relay.
Metuchen’s Michael Sparks won a gold medal in the 100 backstroke in 54.19.
In the girls meet, gold medals were won by Metuchen’s 200 medley relay team of Maggie O’Connell, Jamie Thomas, Macie Schaper and Julie Stankiewicz in a time of 1:56.19. Bishop Ahr’s Sarah Hardy won the 200 individual medley in 2:08.38. Stankiewicz won the 50 freestyle in 24.54; J.P. Stevens’ Jenna Yan captured the 100 breaststroke in 1:06.51; and Metuchen’s 400 freestyle relay team of Schaper, O’Connell, Kristina Lingell and Stankiewicz won in 3:44.26.
The NJSIAA boys and girls team tournaments began Feb. 1 at the home pools of the highest seeds. In Central Jersey Group C girls, Metuchen (seventh seed) visited Bernards High School (sixth seed), with the winner meeting Holmdel High School (third seed).
In the boys Non-Public A sectional, St. Joe’s (sixth seed) hosted St. Peter’s Preparatory School (seventh seed), with the winner to face St. Augustine Preparatory School (third seed).
The annual Joe Romer Bowling tournament featuring the top boys and girls teams in the GMC was held Jan. 30 in North Brunswick
The Edison girls bowling team captured the team title but had to battle through three rounds of elimination matches to emerge the victor. The Eagles defeated Monroe Township High School, 345-323, in the quarterfinals, North Brunswick Township High School, 337-320, in the semifinals and South Plainfield, 347-341, in the championship match.
In the boys portion, Edison finished eighth in the preliminaries and was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Sayreville War Memorial High School, 481-330.
Edison was awarded the top seed in the GMC girls bowling championships, which began with preliminary matches Feb. 1 in North Brunswick. The Eagles’ first match was the following day when they met the winner of Bishop Ahr and Old Bridge High School.
In the boys GMC Tournament, St. Joe’s was awarded the third seed and met the winner of the preliminary match between Perth Amboy High School and John F. Kennedy Memorial High School.
Other area teams seeded in the tournament are Edison (11th), which faced Colonia High School (eighth seed) in the first round; Bishop Ahr (16th seed), which met New Brunswick High School (17th seed); and J.P. Stevens (20th seed); which faced Piscataway (13th seed) in the preliminaries.
Both tournaments continued Feb. 3-5 with quarterfinal, semifinal and championship matches.
The drive continues for the J.P. Stevens girls basketball team (8-6) to finish with a winning record — the first time that would happen since 2007.
Following what was a winnable game against Colonia (3-10) Feb.1, the Hawks met Sayreville (12-4) Feb. 2 and follow two days later with a visit to Bishop Ahr (11-5). After a game with crosstown rival Edison (5-9) Feb. 5, J.P. Stevens closes out the regular season Feb. 9 by hosting South Plainfield (7-9), followed a tentative visit to South River High School (14-1) Feb. 23.
The Hawks will also compete in the GMC Tournament, which begins in two weeks, and the state tournament, which starts at the conclusion of that tournament.
“In order to end with a winning record, we are focusing on three goals every game: boxing out — we aren’t the biggest team — taking care of the ball and playing together,” Hawks head coach Amy Bonk said.
“We had some injuries the beginning of the season, but everybody is healthy now. We’re ready to do.”