Farewell to a great sports town

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

When I first was contacted by Greater Media Newspapers in 2002 and given the opportunity to join the new Brick Bulletin staff, I realized it might be a daunting but exciting challenge to establish coverage from scratch in a somewhat unfamiliar territory.

Warren Wolf Warren Wolf But it didn’t take long to realize this is a town with a rich sports legacy where finding and developing sports features would be easy. I would find that the stories write themselves and, as I often would say, “the well never runs dry” with great stories to tell.

In my 40 years in the newspaper field, this was an easy “beat” to cover because there were stories to find and story ideas shared by our faithful readers. My reputation of writing unique stories was realized by some who would say to me, “Yeah, and I’ve got a story for you for this week.”

Even for this week, there were enough ideas to fill two more issues in the weeks ahead. Sadly, that will not happen. This is the end of the line.

But I often was happy to hear from coaches and readers that they enjoyed picking up a paper where they never knew what to expect, which I consider the highest compliment. There were stories that not only filled scrapbooks for some but gave perspective to many.

In less than a decade, there were so many memorable stories to report of athletes and teams that reached goals that seem so difficult to achieve. Many cannot be measured in statistics.

I remember early in my coverage how legendary former Brick Township High School football coach Warren Wolf commented on how one of the players on his team made a “heck of a play.” I misread my handwritten notes as a “hell of a play” and wrote that. Perturbed, Wolf spoke to me afterward and demanded a correction, which he got, because he said he does not use that word in conversation. I went on to learn that he is a church-going man. He held true to that moment throughout my knowing him.

Despite his stature, Wolf always returned my phone calls, which I cannot say for too many coaches, who could learn a lesson from him.

I was asked to write the top 10 stories under my watch, which I find nearly impossible. So I decided on the 10 most memorable to me, a list that grew to 11, not necessarily in order of preference:

1. Former Brick Township High School All-State hockey star Jim Dowd wrapped up an illustrious 14-year NHL career that included his scoring a decisive goal for a Stanley Cup championship team in 1995. In his final season three years ago, he led the Philadelphia Flyers to the biggest turnaround of any NHL team that season, ending in the semifinals of the Stanley Cup. Along with two different radio shows where he lends his great insight, Dowd also continues raising funds for worthy causes with his Shoot for the Stars Foundation.

2. Vanderbilt and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore battled for the NCAA women’s bowling championship before a national television audience on April 14, 2007, in a showdown that also pitted two friends and high school first team All-State players from Brick on opposite sides and captivated the TV broadcasters. They were former Brick Memorial star Jessica Worsley at UMES and former Brick Township High School star Karen Grygiel at Vanderbilt, which won its first national team title in school history. Worsley, a junior, was named to the All-Tournament team. Grygiel, a sophomore, had a 195 average that season in 60 games, 36 of them over 200.

3. Steve Healing made the improbable comeback from two Tommy John surgeries to pitch Rutgers University to its last Big East Conference baseball title in the 2007 season with a thrilling 6-5 victory over the University of Connecticut in which he was carried off the field afterward. Healing made second team All-Big East.

4. DeAnne Hahn emerged into national prominence in the shot put and set school records that likely will stand for a long time in the shot put and discus after transferring to Brick Township High School in her sophomore year. Qualifying for the Meet of Champions for all six indoor and outdoor seasons, Hahn now is setting standards as one of the best ever in the hammer throw at the University of Minnesota. Let’s not forget Ryisha Boyd, an outstanding sprinter from Brick Township, and Andrew Brodeur, a regular Meet of Champions qualifier in cross country and distance running events, off to college careers at the University of Illinois and Duke University, respectively.

5. Former Brick Township pitching star Joe Testa was considered too short at 5 feet, 10 inches to fulfill a dream of playing baseball professionally or even to compete on an NCAA Division I level. But Testa set virtually every meaningful pitching record as a starter at Wagner College and signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Twins, where he worked his way up to the High A level, aptly pitching for the Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League in his first two seasons. He hopes to reach the Double- A level when training camp begins in a few weeks.

6. Brick Memorial’s girls soccer team accomplished a rarity in any sport — three state straight championships in 2002 to 2004. The program has become one of the standards by which many others around the state measure. Coach Bill Caruso has proudly established a tradition of excellence with a strongly supportive alumnae base, evident in last summer’s well-attended alumnae game. Fans can put the postseason tournaments on their schedules every year.

7. Sparked by state champion Steve Santos, with a 43-0 record at 152 pounds and off to a wrestling career at Columbia University, and Mike Morales, who went 40-2 at 130, Brick Memorial’s wrestling team won back-to-back NJSIAA Group IV titles, the toughest division in the state. Not to be overlooked was Brick Township High School’s team that won its first-ever Group III Central title behind 30-bout winner Ricky Bandejas at 112.

8. Legendary coach Warren Wolf concluded a career two seasons ago that likely will never be matched in New Jersey — 51 years at the same Brick Township High School where he started the football program and left with 361 coaching victories. He also started hockey there. His class and dignity in winning and losing has made him an exemplary figure among his colleagues. Wolf apparently will come out of a brief retirement to coach at Lakewood. Wolf wrote a book about the head coach under whom he served early in his coaching career at Memorial High School in West New York, titled “Joe Coviello: Master Mentor.” He also is completing an as-yet untitled book chronicling his 51 years with the Green Dragons football team.

9. Brick Memorial won its second state football sectional playoff title in six years in 2008, decisively beating Sayreville War Memorial High School. It also won the 2003 title behind tight end Garrett Graham, a projected third-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Graham concluded a career at the University of Wisconsin by helping the Badgers to a 20-14 victory over Miami in the Champs Sports Bowl. Graham had some great games on national TV but in this one, he fumbled away a 15-yard pass at Miami’s five-yard line. But it could not take away a great season in which he caught 51 passes for 624 yards and seven touchdowns. Also on that 2003 team was quarterback Chris James, who started for the past three seasons as quarterback at The College of New Jersey.

10. Brick Township girls bowling won three straight state titles and annexed a Group III championship last season. Brick Memorial boys won a Group IV title, its second in six years. All four bowling teams in town reaped many championships, from Shore Conference division to conference and state honors.

11. Brick youth baseball teams had memorable seasons. Two Brick National teams won state titles two summers ago, and a Brick American team won a state title this year. Sadly, Brick National’s program is suspended over financial auditing issues.

12. Bob Auriemma last season coached his 1,000th game for Brick Township High hockey – a lopsided victory where he has more than 600 victories and a treasure trove of Gordon cup and public school state titles. Auriemma, who played high school football at Memorial High School in West New York, took over the program started by Wolf in the late 1960s.

Also, not to be excluded: Brick cheerleading teams that have won national titles in recent years, and the Brick Dragons Pee Wees that saw their trip to the national finals come one game shy in the eastern regional finals after 13 wins.

In addition, former Brick Township High School quarterback Bill Winters set a number of career records, including passing yards, at Fairleigh Dickinson University- Florham Park. Jay Frank was named first team All-New Jersey Athletic Conference and was an all-region selection for The College of New Jersey’s basketball team after a superb career at Brick Memorial. Brick Memorial’s boys basketball team that won or shared three Shore Conference A South titles in the last five years, and its softball team that won an Ocean County Tournament title. Brick Hockey Club that had fifth-place finishers in the national championships in 2003 through 2005. Brick Mat Rats, a perennial Jersey Shore Junior Wrestling League contender, has had a legacy of success with individual state champions, including Jon Ghione last season, and powerhouse teams.

Certainly, there are countless memories and friends that have made the last eight years seem more like a lifetime. But the great experience has been too short. Now I know how Conan O’Brien feels.

Hockey club a good feeder for future H.S. stars

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

The Brick Township High School and Brick Memorial High School hockey teams are both enjoying good seasons. And the coaches of both teams credit the Brick Hockey Club for helping to prepare many of their players for the high school level.

Brick Township High School continued along its best start in recent memory, beating St. John Vianney, 2-1, on Jan. 22 to go to 11- 1-2. Connor Noonan scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period after Mike Auriemma tied it in the early minutes of the period. Ed Rafferty was steady in goal.

“We’re coming along and are back-checking well and covering well,” coach Bob Auriemma said. “I’m surprised with how well the team is playing together.”

Brick Memorial, meanwhile, won its sixth straight on Saturday night, 5-1, over Freehold Township to improve to 11-3. The Mustangs held a 2-1 lead after one period as Tyler Person scored the first of his two goals and Tom Lindquist put in the other. Mike Stopen and Anthony Lobianco scored in the second period to help increase the lead to 5-1. Kevin Talty remained steadfast in goal.

“I think we’re playing well as a team on both ends of the ice,” Brick Memorial coach Chip Bruce said. “Everyone is contributing. We have a lot of impact from our defense and goaltending.”

But when it comes down to it, the groundwork for the teams begins with the youth hockey program that stresses fundamentals.

“Most of the players on both teams, about 95 percent of them on Brick Township, have played for the Brick Hockey Club,” said Patrick Kearns, who began his first term as club president last fall.

“No doubt about it, it’s definitely a feeder program for us and a number of high school programs in the area like Howell and CBA [Christian Brothers Academy],” Auriemma said. “They [Brick Hockey Club players] play at different places, and we wish they would all stay here. It’s a good developmental program. A lot of young kids get interested in hockey, and as soon as they join, it gets in their blood.”

Brick Memorial coach Bruce said a “number of boys have come out of the Brick Hockey Club, and now we have a mix playing for other clubs [too] among the older players. Some of the younger players played for the Brick Hockey Club. It [club hockey] allows players to keep up their skills on a year-round basis. The more they’re on ice, the better they’ll be.”

Brick Hockey Club is preparing for Hockey Across America, a nationwide event that drums up interest in club programs, which takes place on Jan. 30 and 31. Youngsters who have never played hockey before can join a current member of the club and come to the Ocean Ice Palace on Sunday to get a taste of it.

“It brings kids out to learn the game and to possibly join the program,” Kearns said.

The club also is in its third year with a Mite C program run by Alex DePalma that trains young children on the fundamentals with scrimmage games. There also is a Mites Under 8 travel team coached by Dan Rozell, one of 10 travel teams for a club that has a typical membership turnout of about 175 kids. That includes a Challenger program for specialneeds youth, which has grown to 25 strong in three seasons and “has taken some nice steps,” Kearns said.

Brick Hockey Club earlier this month hosted a team of 12-and-under players from the Ukraine who stayed for a week. Brick PAL opened up a classroom for them in the gym in what Kearns said was a “nice experience” for that team and the Brick fans. It was the first time Brick hosted an international team after putting up a team from Canada many years ago. “They can skate. They skate hard and hustle,” Kearns said after the Ukraine team beat a Brick squad, 4-0. “They have no game sense, but technically, they’re good on ice.”

Kearns said all of the teams “are doing reallywell”— from the Midget Major AA under 18 team coached by George Colwell, which just missed making the playoffs, to the Mite team. In recent years, three Brick Hockey Club teams have made the national tournament, finishing in fifth place in three successive seasons from 2003 through 2005.

Midget Minor AA under 16, coached by Bob Acropolis, is in fifth place in the state league standings. Midget Minor A is coached by Bob Auriemma Jr.

There also are two bantam teams. The BantamAis coached by Justin Ambrosia and is one game out of a playoff spot after winning a pair of games over the weekend over Princeton, 5- 1, and the Red Bank Generals, 5-0, to go to 10- 3-1 as Jake Lampisia and Thomas Wiedeman excelled in goal. Keith Dulbois coaches the Bantam B, which is in second place.

Todd Sabia coaches the Pee Wee A team. Squirt AA for 11 and under, coached by Ken Tierney, is in first place, and Squirt A coached by Fred Rozell is hovering around .500.

“It’s been a good year overall,” Kearns said.

BMHS wrestlers well prepared for Shore Conference tourney

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

D.J. Santos understands fully what it takes to be a champion and to bring talents to the highest level.Santos, a junior wrestling at 125 pounds, was an integral part of Brick Memorial High School’s drive to backto back NJSIAA Group IV championships. He saw his older brother Steve crown an unbeaten season with an individual state championship before continuing his endeavors this season at Columbia University. The Mustangs’ unbeaten senior Mike Morales, who suffered only two losses last season, won a state title as well.

The Mustangs head into the postseason, starting with the Shore Conference Tournament that began on Jan. 27 when the fifth-seeded Mustangs took on Marlboro High School in the opening round with the hope of competing in a second match that night in the semifinals. The winners collide on Saturday at Southern. The state sectionals follow on Feb. 8.

“The team is looking pretty good,” said Santos, as the Mustangs finished 12-2 in dual meets, including a 43-19 victory over Brick Township High School last week. The Mustangs won eight of the first 10 bouts that day, capped by pins by Bill Miller at 215 pounds in just 12 seconds and heavyweight Pal Schuster at 1:31. They also had encouraging victories over Randolph, 37-22, and Hanover Park, 40-21, after losses earlier in the month to Southern, 32-24, and Jackson Memorial, 36-19.

“Coming toward the end of the season, people start kicking it up,” Santos said. “Losing to Jackson and Southern helps us. We know what we have to do.”

That includes Santos, who brings a 15-3 record with six pins, second only to Morales at 16-0 with nine pins at 135 pounds. Right behind Santos are seniors Jake Vescovi at 130 and Bill Miller at 215, both 14-3. Senior Noel Reyes has lived up to the expectations surrounding him coming into the season with a 12-2 record at 140 pounds.

“I feel like my season is going pretty well,” Santos said. “I feel stronger than my opponents.”

Despite the lower seed, Santos feels that teams in the conference tournament are on the alert for the Mustangs coming off their prior success.

“Teams know who we are, what we do, how we wrestle,” he said. “There are kids on the team who have been on the two previous teams and kids who have been junior varsity wrestlers filling in and have to step it up. That’s the hardest part, and they’ve done that.”

He said that this team is a “lot different” from past ones.

“We had a great team last year, but we have the same kids, so we should be a lot better,” said Santos. “We are more mature and have trained more.”

He feels that just like with any top team, the key from here is bonus points off major decisions, technical falls, and especially pins.

“We have to get bonus points the way we should and wrestle tough and not give them up when our kids wrestle their studs, not get pinned,” Santos said.

It was Brick Memorial’s key to great seasons the past two years.

BMHS hockey team blasts rival Brick Twp., 6-1

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Anthony Lobianco remembers last season when Brick MemorialHigh School’s hockey team made it to the Handchen Cup finals and the NJSIAA Public School quarterfinals before losing in both.

Brick Township’s Brendan Dowd (3) tries to beat out Marlboro’s Nicholas Haase (26) for a face-off during home hockey game at the Ocean Ice Palace on Jan. 15. CHRIS KELLY staff Brick Township’s Brendan Dowd (3) tries to beat out Marlboro’s Nicholas Haase (26) for a face-off during home hockey game at the Ocean Ice Palace on Jan. 15. CHRIS KELLY staff “We got a taste of it and want more of it, another chance in the cup finals,” Lobianco said.

He’s been doing his part, with 21 goals on the first shift line with the Person twins — sophomores Adam and Tyler.

Lobianco’s hat trick, which included a crucial goal late in the second period, lifted the Mustangs to a 6-1 victory over rival Brick Township High School on Jan. 11 at Ocean Ice Palace.

“I thought we played a good defensive game when Brick got into our zone and Kevin [Talty, the goalkeeper] came up with a few key saves that could have saved the game,” said Brick Memorial coach Chip Bruce, whose 9-3 team has won four straight. It was the first loss for the Green Dragons.

“I think we played a very good game, a total team effort,” Bruce said. “Offensively and defensively, on both ends we did well. The boys played hard.”

Bruce credited the defense of Jason Franceschini and Tom Lindquist on the first shift and Colin Trevors and Kyle Huhn on the other as being instrumental in the victory. Brick Memorial had a 24-21 edge in shots.

Freshman Nicholas Auriemma scored off passes from Patrick Kearns and Connor Noonan to pull Brick Township to 2-1 in the second period. Lobianco then connected on a power play goal off Brick Township goalie Dylan Beaver. Franceschini, Tyler Person and Mike Stopin scored the other goals for Brick Memorial. Bruce called senior forward Stopin the team’s “unsung hero” for some timely goals he has scored of late.

Bruce said he was a “little surprised” at the margin of victory over Brick Township.

“Going into the third [period], we had momentum and didn’t let up,” he said.

“We had to back-check better and play better defense than we did against Brick Memorial,” Brick Township coach Bob Auriemma said. His team bounced back strongly last week with a pair of victories over Howell, 4-1, and Marlboro, 7-1, to go to 9-1-2 on the season. Matt Gumina, who leads the Green Dragons with 10 goals and 16 assists coming into the week, fired in a pair against Howell, and Mike Auriemma and Kearns scored the others.

Kearns had the hat trick against Marlboro, and Mike Auriemma has two while Brendan Dowd has a goal and three assists. Connor Noonan had three assists. With the goalies alternating, Ed Rafferty played against Howell, and Beaver was in goal against Marlboro for Brick Township.

As for Memorial, Lobianco said he “thought we’d be one of the better teams, but not like this. As a team, we’re talking more than last ear — a lot of communication and just getting along and playing for each other. We have to just keep moving, shooting and passing.”

Lobianco said he is doing his part.

“I’m having a quicker start than last year,” he said. “I’ve had more of an opportunity putting the puck in the net, and I’m not missing as usual.”

Lobianco and Bruce credit the Person twins for setting Lobianco up for many of his opportunities. They had five assists between them against Brick Township.

“I’m 5 feet 10 and they’re bigger than me, and they always look to me and tell me where to go. They’re big and body really well,” Lobianco said.

Brick Memorial was slated to play Toms River High School East on Monday. Brick Township was slated to play Nutley on Monday and host St. John Vianney on Friday.

Brick’s Jay Frank scores 1,000th career point at TCNJ

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Jay Frank reached an athletic milestone recently when he became the 21st player in The College of New Jersey men’s basketball history to score 1,000 points.

The senior shooting guard from Brick reached the mark with 2:56 left in the first half at New Jersey City University during a 66-60 overtime victory by sinking a free throw.

But he no longer puts offense or even his improving defense at the top of his priorities. Instead, his focus is keeping everyone involved in the equal-opportunity offense that has helped the 10-5 Lions reel off six straight victories. Frank has 1,053 career points.

“My points per game have gone down, but my defense has picked up. But mostly I’m happy we’re on a six-game win streak,” said Frank after the Lions knocked off Rutgers- Newark, 71-63, on Jan. 16. Frank scored 16 points but was more pleased that three other players also ended up in double-figure scoring.

“I’m happy with that,” he said. “The guys have followed me and I don’t feel I’m putting the scoring on my back. Pretty much everybody is chipping in.”

Although his scoring has simmered down from the 21.5 points per game that ranked him at the top of the New Jersey Athletic Conference in scoring a month ago, Frank has slipped only one spot to No. 2 among the conference scoring leaders at 16.7 ppg. His teammate and good friend Aaron Syvertsen is third in the conference in scoring, mostly from long range. Frank gets many of his points from short range shots and driving moves to the basket.

But the big joke around the Ewing Township campus before classes got into full swing on Jan. 19 this week is that the team is unbeaten in 2010, with all six victories coming after the holiday break. The surge, which started with a victory over Delaware Valley when Frank scored 20 points, includes going 3-2 in the conference.

“I wasn’t happy with the season until we won six in a row,” said Frank, a first team All- NJAC pick last season who last week was named The College of New Jersey male athlete of the week for the second time this school year. With the victory overRutgers-Newark, the team that knocked TCNJ out of the conference playoffs in the opening round last year, the Lions have equaled the win total of last year’s 10-15 record. Frank said he has not played on a TCNJ team that has won more than 12 games.

The Lions were slated to travel to Kean University on Wednesday and play host to Montclair State on Jan. 23. Both are conference games.

“This is great,” Frank said. “It will open everyone’s eyes up. We played our best game of the season in this latest game against Rutgers Newark where we were in control all the way. We were up 17 [points] at one point.”

Frank’s stat line includes 42 percent shooting from the floor, 16-for-44 shooting from three-point range and 55-for-68 shooting from the free throw line for 80 percent. He has a career foul-shooting success rate of 81 percent. Frank also has grabbed 4.9 rebounds a game and has 46 assists to go with his 47 turnovers and 33 steals.

“I was moved over [from the point to off guard] early this season so I could get an opportunity to get open more [for shots],” Frank said.

It came after the early-season struggles that included losses heading toward the holiday break to Rowan University by 84-64 and William Paterson by 78-46. Frank scored 10 points in the two games combined. The team also lost to NCAA Division I Davidson College, 90-49, where Frank scored 12 points.

“It was pretty bad, but we had two weeks after those losses and got rejuvenated with a week off and then a week of practice,” he said. “We’re really confident now. It’s not a two- or three-man show like early on. I don’t have to score, and it’s a lot easier on me.”

Frank also credits his faith, which ties in with his Christian ministry that includes a Bible study group he will resume leading for the spring semester.

“I thank God for this,” he said. “It’s my last year and I want to go out on a good note.”

Mustangs’ coach bowled over by team’s performance

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Brick Memorial High School’s bowling team has had some great performances and great seasons, including last year’s NJSIAA Group IV championship squad.

But veteran coach Mike Russomano said he never saw anything like his team’s performance when they repeated as champions in the 24th annual Brick Tournament at Ocean Lanes on Jan. 16 behind Dominick Romano.

Thirty-three boys teams competed.

“They did absolutely incredible, the best I’ve ever seen of my team,” Russomano said.

His team smashed a 3,573 total in the morning session, a number believed to be the highest in the state this season. Brick Township High School finished in second place in the tournament with 3,269 pins bowling in the afternoon session behind a 300 game from Matt Barros. The Green Dragons’ girls team won the team title.

“This year’s scores for my team are higher in league play than ever, averaging about 1,110 pins,” said Russomano, whose team leads Shore Conference A South at 34- 2, eight games ahead of Brick Township and Manchester.

Romano reeled off his highest series of the season, a 751, and rolled a 290 in his final game, both highs for the tournament. His previous highs this season were a 727 series and a 278 game.

“He was awesome all day long,” Russomano said of Romano, who also smacked games of 224 and 237.

“I felt good,” Romano said. “It probably was one of the bigger tournaments of the season, and we really wanted to win, and I tried my best, too. We gave it our all. I just really tried to focus and make sure I made all the spares, which gave our team a chance to win.

“After the first game, I felt I struggled a little, and in the second game I started picking it up, and that’s when I knew it would be a good day,”‘ he added. “That 2004 team was outstanding, and I hope we can do what they did. Just to be on the same [level] with them is great.”‘

Dominick Luongo was just 10 pins off that blistering pace and his 741, which was three pins better than his previous high series this season. Luongo finished it off with a 268 third game. Franklin DiGiacomo, who smashed a 300 game two weeks ago, chipped in a 731 series off a 277 opening game. With six bowlers allowed to compete and the lowest of the six scores dropped, Robert Sirks stepped into the lineup and came up with a 650 series and Brandon Barboza struggled with spares and splits at times, but salvaged a 644 series. Matt Clarke finished his 591 series with a 224.

DiGiacomo leads A South with a 224 average, with three teammates in the next four spots — Barboza at 222, Luongo at 221 and Clarke at 213. DiGiacomo upped that average on Jan. 14, with a sizzling 826 off games of 290, 278 and 258 as Brick Memorial swept Brick Township. Barboza contributed a 668 series.

As for Brick Township in the Brick Tournament, Matt Barros never appeared in danger of losing his bid for a perfecto midway through his 663 series. Joe Vescio was a study of consistency as his team-high 668 series came off games of 215, 255 and 218. T.J. Contino opened his 668 series with a 289 game.

“Every single shot was in the pocket,” coach Cara Lukosius said of Barros, who also rolled a 300 in practice early in the season. “He started his day with a 170, and I just looked at him and said, ‘You know what you need to do.’ He’s serious about his game and puts in a lot of work and has a personal coach. If anyone deserved it, he did. He has been erratic, and this comes at a good time.”

Brick Township has a big week, with a showdown against Manchester slated for Jan. 19 and a return match against Brick Memorial on Wednesday that starts the final third of the season, and a match against Toms River East on Friday.
The scores:
Brick Memorial “A”
Brandon Barboza 222-215-207, 644
Matt Clark 198-169-224, 591
Franklin DiGiacomo 277-238-216, 731
Robert Sirks 247-235-168, 650
Dominick Romano 224-237-290, 751
Domenick Luongo 244-229-268, 741
Team Total 1214-1154-1205, 3573
Brick Township “A”
Joe Vescio 215-255-218, 688

Doug Scelfo 197-204-171, 572
Matt Barros 170-300-193, 663
Nick Salerno 192-171-186, 549
John Boor 205-211-225, 641
T.J. Contino 289-177-202, 668
Team Total 1098-1147-1024, 3269
Brick Township “B”
Will Marcrie 163-258-209, 630
Zack Fernandez 180-167-176, 523
Alex Lam 144-121-202, 467
David Drobny 185-199-156, 540
Matt Fenley 222-187-172, 581
Team Total 894-932-915, 2741

Boys High Game

1. Matt Barros, Brick Township 300; 2. Joe Picone, Monsignor Donovan 296, 3. Dominick Romano, Brick Memorial 290

Boys High Series

1. Dominick Romano, Brick Memorial 751, 2. Domenick Luongo, Brick Memorial 741, 3. Mike Cardella, Manalapan 732

Standings

1. Brick Memorial “A,” 3573; 2. Brick Township “A,” 3269; 3. Eastern, 3204; 4. Manalapan, 3185; 5. Howell, 3173; 6. Sparta, 3141; 7. Roselle Catholic, 3121; 8. Jackson Liberty, 3116; 9. Toms River North, 3086; 10. Point Pleasant Borough, 3071; 11. Manchester, 3012; 12. Monsignor Donovan, 2994; 13. Brick Memorial “B,” 2989; 14.Toms River East, 2981; and 15. Keansburg, 2979.

BTHS girls looking to top last year’s bowling performance

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Freshman Sydney Scelfo has stepped right into a significant role for Brick Township High School’s girls bowling team.

And when she said she had to miss the Brick Tournament on Jan. 16 because of an important commitment to her main pursuit — a dance recital — it raised some concerns.

“She’s been dancing for her entire life, so she was committed to it,” Brick Township coach Linda Sarraf said of Scelfo, who is third on the team in average. “I was not sure how well we would perform, but sometimes you have to make a decision, and the girls understood that.”

Instead, Brick Township rallied around Kaitlyn Nardiello and Katarina Kiseli and won the 24th annual Brick Tournament for only the third time, the first since 2007, at Ocean Lanes. Brick Township finished third last year. Nardiello ended with the highest game and series, a 278 opening game and a 726 series.

“It felt amazing,” Nardiello said. “The team kept cheering me on, and they relaxed me. Playing in my home surroundings made me feel great.”

Kiseli followed with a 629 series off a 237 opening game as Brick Township led from start to finish with a 2,930 series that was 18 pins ahead of Manchester. Brick Memorial was third with 2,837 pins as Johna DeMont led the way with 203 and 235 games in a 610 series, and Kelly Nicosia had a 586 series that started with a 217 game and ended with a 197.

It was the second tournament victory, with the team also winning the Westfield Tournament back in early December.

“I thought they did absolutely fantastic,” Sarraf said. “I’m thrilled. They started off exceptionally well, better than you’d consider with a couple of girls we had with us who had not been on the varsity roster, and they all did well. Considering we were missing one of our very strong bowlers, I can’t be anything but pleased.”

Brick Township has the three top bowlers in Shore Conference A South, which it leads by one game over Manchester coming into this week. Nardiello leads the way at 204, followed by Kiseli at 201 and Scelfo at 200.

“Our team is actually stronger than last year,” Nardiello said. “That includes me, too. I’m more consistent.”

The Green Dragons won the NJSIAA Group III championship last year.

Nardiello praised Bri Krause, a junior who has played a few games, and Emily Robertson, a sophomore who has seen spot action. They contributed to the title with regulars Ashley Lane, who finished off her 589 series with games of 215 and 197, and Madison Lukosius, who saved her best game for last when her 195 picked up her series to a 517.

“Bri and Emily made a lot of spares,” Nardiello said. “They bowled well. And Katarina has that power shot in the pocket. Winning this has helped us get ready for the big tournaments at the end and shows us what we need to work on.”
The scores:
Brick Township
Kaitlyn Nardiello 278-234-214, 726
Ashley Lane 177-215-197, 589
Madison Lukosius 170-152-195, 517
Briann Krause 132-148-140, 420
Emily Robertson/Jillian Olsen 177-152-
95, 424
Katarina Kiseli 237-191-201, 629
Team Total 1039-944-947, 2930
Brick Memorial
Kelly Nicosia 217-172-197, 586
Amanda Romano 137-162-127, 426
Kirsten Mazurek 209-157-178, 544
Johna DeMont 203-235-172, 610
Corinne Maher 170-212-181, 563
Jordyn DeMont 173-169-187, 529
Team Total 972-950-915, 2837

Girls High Game

1. Kaitlyn Nardiello, Brick Township, 278; 2. Nicole Chanin, Sparta, 258; 3. Jackie Martin, Jackson Liberty, 247; and Chloe Krumeich, Manchester, 247.

Girls High Series

1. Kaitlyn Nardiello, Brick Township, 726; 2. Victoria DiGiamo, Freehold Township, 644; 3. Chloe Krumeich, Manchester, 635.

Team standings:

1. Brick Township, 2930; 2. Manchester, 2912; 3. Brick Memorial, 2837; 4. Jackson Liberty, 2731; 5. Howell, 2729; 6. Toms River South, 2544; 7. Jackson Memorial, 2530; 8. Monsignor Donovan, 2514; 9. Pinelands, 2495; 10. Keyport, 2379; 11. Freehold Township, 2344; 12. Toms River East, 2342; 13. Central Regional, 2296; 14. Toms River North, 2288; 15. Southern Regional, 2171.

Mat Rats I grapplers still unbeaten heading into War at the Shore

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Brick Recreation Mat Rats wrestlers are heading into the heart of their schedule in the Jersey Shore Junior League and will host the War at the Shore starting at 9 a.m. on Jan. 30 at Veterans Memorial Middle School.

Along with defending champion Brick Mat Rats I, the tournament includes Mat Rats II, Old Bridge, Paulsboro, Kittatinny, and Roselle Park. Toms River has given a tentative commitment, leaving an opening for one more team.

“It looks pretty good,” said Pete Anderson, one of the coaches for Mat Rats I that has five wrestlers who still are unbeaten. “With the other teams coming down, Kittatinny and Paulsboro always enter a strong team. And Roselle Park is never a slouch, either. They’re always in the running. I think we should do well in that tournament.”

Two weeks later, Mat Rats I will compete in the Jersey Shore Junior team tournament and the following week in the individuals tournament at Long Branch.

Mat Rats I remained unbeaten at 10-0 on Saturday by sweeping Marlboro, 78-26, and Old Bridge, 78-21, as Dan Rackliffe at 76 pounds and Rob Ruggiero at 130 each had two pins to remain unbeaten. Also with two pins were Jon Ghione (68), Kyle Wojtaszek (90) and Brian Matthews (106). Other unbeaten wrestlers who each had one pin amid their two victorious matches were Joe Ghione at 95 pounds, Cliff Ruggiero at 122 and heavyweight Nick Zbranak.

Brothers Carmine and Kyle Marino, 52 pounds and 72 pounds, respectively, also each had a pin and a winning decision on the day. Brian Alexander (56) and Nick Costa (150) each won two decisions.

“Mat Rats I and II from the middle to the top weights looks strong,” Anderson said. “From 76 pounds up, especially 95 [pounds] to heavyweights, have been the high point all year for them.”

Mat Rats II under coaches Jay Sherry and Tom Donovan split its matches, beating Old Bridge, 61-33, and losing to Marlboro, 54-36, to slip to 7-4. Dominick Spampanato led the way with two pins at 130 pounds. Dean Sherry won his two bouts via pin and major decision to remain unbeaten at 95 pounds. Dante Vega included a pin in his two victories at 140 pounds.

Also going 2-0 on the day were John Strich (52), Sean DeCoursey (64) and Eric Romano (76). MatRats III, competing in the Jersey Shore Junior League’s B Division, dropped both ends of its double-dual meet, falling to Long Branch, 75-27, and Shore, 63-27, although heavyweight Justin Szuba pinned both of his opponents. Matt Schleifer at 76 pounds and Nick Pollara at 100 each had a pin and a winning decision, and Matt Wardlaw at 56 pounds won a pair of decisions.

Mat Rats I and II play host to Toms River and Lacey on Jan. 23 in Jersey Shore Junior League action starting at 9 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Middle School.

BMHS grapplers fall to Jackson Memorial, 36-19

BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Staff Writer

Devin Biscaha, a District 21 runner-up and fourthplace finisher in Region 6 last year, was ready for his most important challenge at 152 pounds for Jackson Memorial High School’s wrestling team.

 

Brick Memorial High School’s Mike Morales (bottom) grapples with Jackson Memorial High School’s James Opdyke in their 145-pound match on Jan. 9 in Jackson. More photos at www.gmnews.com. JEFF GRANIT staff Brick Memorial High School’s Mike Morales (bottom) grapples with Jackson Memorial High School’s James Opdyke in their 145-pound match on Jan. 9 in Jackson. More photos at www.gmnews.com. JEFF GRANIT staff “He’s been very tough this year and been battling through an injury and doing a great job,” said Jackson Memorial wrestling coach Doug Winstanley, after Biscaha scored a first-period takedown and a third-period reversal to beat Alex Guarino, 4-0, in their 152-pound bout.

The win clinched the Jaguars’ 36-19 victory over two-time defending NJSIAA Group IV champion Brick Memorial on Jan. 9 at Jackson.

Dallas Winston, an unbeaten sophomore, won his sixth bout via pin to start off the evening at 171, and Drew Murphy pulled out a 4-2 overtime victory over Brian McCrossan at 189 as Jackson Memorial won six of its first seven bouts, a streak disrupted by a pin when Brick Memorial 215-pounder Bill Miller won by a pin at 3:08.

That eventually brought up the lighter weights, as freshmen Brian Hamann (103), who is 8-3, and Spencer Young (119), who is 8-2 on the season, and Mike Shupin (112) won by major decisions for Jackson Memorial, before D.J. Santos led a Brick Memorial comeback at 125 pounds with a 10-5 decision over Brad Royle. Santos is 10-3.

Jackson’s B.J. Young, a senior who is Spencer’s older brother, got a big win that slowed Brick Memorial’s comeback when he handed Jake Vescovi his second loss in only 13 outings at 135 pounds.

Unbeaten defending state champion Mike Morales of Brick Memorial won an 11-2 major decision over James Updyke for his 12th victory to cut Jackson Memorial’s lead to 28-19 and set the scene for Biscaha.

Brick Township High School, meanwhile, slipped to 1-3 on the season when it lost to Toms River High School South, 35-30. Evan Tarver won by technical fall at 215 pounds, and heavyweight Justin Aeling got a pin in the final two bouts to lift Toms River South (4-1) in a Shore Conference A South match.

Brick Township had taken a 28-24 lead when Dan Brennan (160) won by decision, Vic Rivera (171) got a pin, and Jesse Lyon (189) pulled out an overtime victory.

Ricky Bandejas (119) got a pin in :48 to raise his record to 8-1, while Connor Brennan remained unbeaten in 10 bouts at 140.