East Brunswick boys’ bowling team aims to accumulate titles

By Jimmy Allinder

The East Brunswick High School boys’ bowling team could successfully defend its Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division title if it defeated South Brunswick High School Jan. 10.

Securing the division crown, however, would only be the first step for what the Bears (7-0 division, 11-1 overall) hope will be another memorable season.

East Brunswick is defending the GMC and NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV team champion and would very much like to win those titles again. However, each tournament will present different and more difficult challenges.

The GMC Tournament Feb. 2-7 could see the Bears face a pair of outstanding teams from the White Division: defending Tournament of Champions and Central Jersey, Group III titlist Sayreville War Memorial High School (7-2) and perennial power Woodbridge High School (12-1). The Barrons handed the Bears their only dual-match loss Dec. 22 by a 3-1 margin. The first two rounds will be held at Majestic Lanes in North Brunswick and the semifinals and finals are at Woodbridge Lanes.

East Brunswick and Woodbridge could meet again in the state sectional tournament Feb. 11 at Majestic Lanes, but that will also include a broader and challenging field.

The Bears’ strength is their depth, with three regulars averaging over 200: junior Sam Bortnick (233), sophomore David Lenk (220) and senior James Reitano (201). East Brunswick has also received valuable contributions from senior Ethan Shamin (195), juniors Jack Deruvo (188) and Andrew Mai (178) and freshman Armen Shamin (185).

Bortnick’s résumé is includes a 300 game this year and a 797 high set. Lenk, last year’s eighth-place finisher in the GMC Individuals, has a rolled 748 and 702 series. Reitano has a 711 high series.

All of this paints an optimistic picture of bowling’s popularity at East Brunswick. However, Dan Spishock, who has been the boys’ and girls’ coach the past six seasons, said it’s become more difficult to field a winning program.

“Truthfully, there are less kids bowling these days,” Spishock said. “There seems to be less [lanes] to bowl on, so kids aren’t exposed to the game.

“However there are a number who’ve entered our program who come from families with bowlers, or they have a friend who bowls regularly.”

The girls’ team is 5-6 overall and 4-2 in the Red Division.

Leading the way in average is junior Madison Steinbeck (162), while senior Kate Ororato (160) and sophomore Alicia McLaughlin (151) have been mainstays in the lineup.

Other members of the team include senior Niral Patel (112), junior Sydney Ramos (123), and freshmen Catherine Attia, Manisha Parasarathy and Rishitha Annamanenni.

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