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Strikes and Spares All Day

First Boys Bowling Winning GMC Season since 2017
Boys Bowling is awarded the high game award at the Edison Township Classic on December 9th, 2023

For the first time in six years, the Edison boys bowling team has a winning GMC record. After years of building, the team finished third place in the division.

It was somewhat of a tale of two seasons. The team went 8–3, and ended up dropping five of the last six matches. Much like their NFL counterparts of the same name, the Edison Eagles’ back half of the season wasn’t great. The first series of the year was against the eventual division champs, North Brunswick. Missing captain John Re ‘25, the team started strong, averaging 849 pins per game. Freshman Joel Rodriguez ‘27 bowled 184, 157, and 222.

“My first-ever game for EHS was a bit nerve-racking. I ended up shooting my high game and felt confident in myself,” said Rodriguez.

Unfortunately, the effort fell short, as the Raiders went undefeated in the division. However, Edison took the loss personally and did not look back.

Early Season Success
St. Thomas Aquinas, South River, J.P. Stevens, and Colonia were lined up to face an Eagles team that had gone 3–16 and 5–10–1 in their past two seasons and were 0–1 at the time. Edison grabbed those low expectations and drilled them through the heads of their opponents. The result: four straight wins. They made quick work of the undermanned Trojans, went off against South River (total of 2,838 pins), edged out their crosstown rivals, and took care of business against the Patriots.

“Before the season, we came in with high expectations, and we hit them with such a young and hungry roster,” said Re.

“When I bowled the 577 series against South River, I remember the whole team was upbeat that day…and when the team is upbeat, we win,” said Captain James Stavenick ‘25.

“Against JP, we knew it was a big rivalry game, so we had to ball out,” said first-year bowler Dylan Librizzi ‘25.

Edison now faced a bit of a daunting stretch: Old Bridge, JFK, and St. Joe’s. Old Bridge was reeling with a record of 1–5 after dealing with a harsh schedule, and the Eagles continued their strong play in the game; however, the Knights turned it up and took down the scorching-hot Edison team. The Eagles, refusing to take their feet off the pedal, quickly moved on from the loss against a talented team. They bowled their best series of the season and blew out the Mustangs to improve to a record of 5–2.

Next up…St. Joes. Their other-sport equivalents are franchises like the Boston Celtics, New York Yankees, and Alabama Crimson Tide…dominant. They have gone 40–0 since 2022 and 158–29–4 in the past decade, simply a level above everyone else.

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  • TJ Trobliger ‘26, goes for the spare to help the boys defeat their opponent Colonia.

  • Boys Captain John Re ‘25 finishes off the team-high game of the year for the boys against St. Joe’s.

  • Boys Captain John Re ‘25 tries to will his team back with a strike from the anchor position

  • Boys Captain James Stavenick ‘25 delivers a strike to seal the game win against Carteret at the Edison Township Classic.

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“St. Joe’s is an interesting roster, filled up and down with multiple superstars, and they’re cool people to have in the sport of bowling,” said Re.

So yeah, Edison took a loss, but that did nothing against their powerful momentum. Senior Orlando Leon ‘24 had a series for the ages, as he dropped a career-high 267 (perfect through the first seven frames).

“I just kind of went with the flow and it all came natural,” said Leon.

Dominance Continues
Edison was now matched up against Middlesex, and the pressure was on between two comparable teams facing off midseason. Edison won each of the first two games by 100 pins, so a win felt likely barring a total collapse. As pressure eased off, the team had its worst game of the day, while Middlesex had its best. The boys huddled up around Head Coach Smith and Coach Napoli to hear the results with feelings of dread, as all good vibes disappeared after getting blown out in game three. If Middlesex had more total pins, it would have gone down as a tie; however, that was not the case. Edison’s 2,798 edged out Middlesex’s 2,777, as the Eagles knocked off the Blue Jays, emerging victorious in a “Battle of the Birds,” if you will.

Orlando Leon ‘24 and Derek Dudek ‘25 smiling as they string strikes together against Christian Brothers Academy in the state tournament. (Ms. Christine Stavenick)

“The win was fun. I feel like at this point midseason we were at our peak,” said Leon.

“This match was certainly memorable. We had lots of 400 series’ to solidify our score, with James and I shooting 500 plus series (including my 236) to cap off the win,” said Re.

With the Eagles hungry for more wins, Colonia and JFK were in trouble. Colonia came out with an incredible first game over Edison, but the bowlers reined it in, taking control for their seventh win of the season. JFK stood no chance, as the team rolled along (pun intended), extending their win streak to three.

Then things took a turn. Dominant showings still came up, but painful losses strung themselves together.

“The collapse was a combination of many factors. We learned how to learn quickly, but taking that devastating loss threw a wrench in our momentum,” said Re.

The Collapse
The slow downfall started with a loss against Piscataway, as the team wasted a successful day from James Stavenick, who shot 222, 162, and 213. It was Edison’s worst showing in a while, somewhat of a sign of things to come. Next up on the slate was the annual Anthony White Memorial Match, as both Edison teams honored former J.P. Stevens Bowling and Volleyball Coach Mr. Anthony Patrick White, who passed away last year. The Hawks came up big while nearly everyone on the South Side played poorly.

“We went from feeling like the stars of bowling to being like the 2023-24 Detroit Pistons. We still did have our moments, but the games often weren’t good enough, as we fell off overall,” said Leon.

“I feel like some of the team lost interest in the game. The passion was lost as we weren’t as loud during the matches. Once we lost energy, all hope was lost as well,” said Stavenick.

The Eagles’ next game was against St. Thomas, a team that doesn’t roster enough players for a starting lineup after graduating this past season. In a strong rebound effort, Rodriguez bowled 225 with a 557 series, captains Stavenick and Re bowled 535 and 531 series, respectively, and I finally woke up this season with a 202 game one in 501 series. North Brunswick came next and beat Edison soundly, but the Eagles still played a great game, with Re, Leon, Rodriguez, and Dudek all dropping 500 series. The record was 9–6.

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  • Dylan Librizzi ‘25, one of the team’s best spare shooters, gets another spare at the CJ Winter Classic held on January 13th, 2024.

  • Joel Rodriguez ‘27 delivers a powerful throw from the three spot at the coveted CJ Winter Classic.

  • Orlando Leon ‘24 goes for a strike to help propel his team into the top 5 at the CJ Winter Classic held at Bowlero North Brunswick.

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The final game of the regular season was a rematch against the Blue Jays, who came in with a vengeance. In a grueling showdown, the series was split after two, with Edison leading by seventeen pins, and in the end, the Blue Jays came out on top, winning by eleven pins. The team entered a backroom of Majestic Lanes heartbroken.

Then came the GMCs. The first-round opponent of the Eagles would be none other than the Blue Jays once again. The result of this series would be one that no Edison bowler forgets. The Eagles dominated the first game, winning by 150 pins. In game two, everyone outside of Stavenick and Re slowed down as Middlesex won to force game three. The Blue Jays prevailed in the end and Edison’s GMC tournament came to an abrupt end.

“It was one of the most disappointing losses of my career (both playing and coaching)” said Coach Napoli.

Boys Captain James Stavenick ‘25 celebrating after throwing multiple spares and strikes against Christian Brothers Academy in the state tournament. (Ms. Christine Stavenick)

Sorry if I led you on with the “no Edison bowler forgetting” comment, but it’s true; everyone on the team was shaken after the shocking defeat and will have the loss ingrained into their heads until next season.

“It hurt. Afterward, I was upset, frustrated, and quite frankly, on the brink of tears. It flipped a switch in me mentally that this had to be a team game every time, and I’ll admit that I failed as a captain at this point by not picking up the team” said Re.

To end the season, the Eagles took a trip down to Neptune Township, facing off against the Christian Brothers Academy Colts at Shore Lanes. In the brand-new environment, the team performed around average, but the effort was not nearly enough to take down a skilled CBA team. The team finished at .500, ending 9–9 on the year.


Each Saturday, the Eagles would follow up a quick bagel breakfast in the morning with a tournament. Re maintained a 196 through those tournaments, which were highlighted by the Central Jersey Winter Classic, where the team shot a 911 series to place fourth.

“It was a season of positive growth, especially in terms of emotion and understanding of the game,” said Coach Smith, echoing Napoli as he said, “The last two years have been about learning how to bowl, this year was about learning how to deal with mental pressure”.

“In my last year, it’s a bittersweet feeling. I enjoyed my time, and I hope more people join and try out in the future” said Leon.

“Everyone will shine and make their mark next year. We’re gonna come back stronger than ever” said Stavenick.

This was Edison Boys Bowling’s first .500 season since 2017. Despite a rough finish, the season was a success after years of slowly building up. The team says goodbye to Leon, but the rest of the squad remains for another season, with hopes for dominance and maybe even a division title.

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About the Contributor
DEREK DUDEK '25, Staff Writer

Derek Dudek is a staff writer for "The Eagle's Eye," and has been since his freshman year of high school (3 years). So far, he's contributed specifically to the sports section of the paper (Football, Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, etc.), while also adding to other areas as well (ex. Metallica New Album Review). Aside from writing for the "Eye", he is an active member of the band, including Wind Ensemble & Jazz (retired from Marching Band). He also is on the Football, Bowling, and Volleyball teams. Outside of EHS, Derek has trained to work up degrees as a black belt, volunteered, and participated in various recreational sports leagues (ex. flag football & basketball).

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    PaoloMar 7, 2024 at 11:34 pm

    Good job Derek tuff article

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    Priya PatelMar 5, 2024 at 2:29 pm

    great article!