…And Another Strike for Edison!

Bowling Season Recap


Ms. Tracie Smith

The Edison bowling team poses for a photo at the Anthony White Memorial Match against J.P. Stevens on January 4, 2023.

DEREK DUDEK ‘25, Staff Writer

Some do it competitively. Some save it for just birthday parties. But whether you’re fist-bumping your buddies or screaming “Who do you think you are, I am!” Edison’s bowling season is worthy of recognition. The 2021 to 2022 season, a year of growth and development, was largely a forgettable one for EHS bowlers. The boys went 3–16 while the girls went 7–11, both exiting in the first round of the GMCs.
This year, however, both teams turned it up a notch. The boys took a leap to 5–10–1 with more competitive games and a handful of unexpected upsets. The girls took a hard look at their past season’s record and flipped it to a winning record of 10–6, including a three-game sweep of crosstown rivals J.P. Stevens!
The boys team was “young,” as Coach Ms. Tracie Smith says, as their starting lineup was usually composed of one senior (Isrrael Mojardin ‘23), two juniors (including a first year player), and three sophomores. Unfortunately, the team got off to a slow start, dropping their first four games. The players weren’t too thrilled with their record of 0–4.
Under the guidance of Coaches Mr. James Napoli and Smith, they took advantage of their softer schedule to win two of the next three games.
Now sitting at 2–5, the boys were hungry for more tallies in the win column, eager to put themselves on the map. On December 16, Christmas came early for the Eagles as they pulled off a wild upset against North Brunswick. The Raiders came in confident after crushing Edison in the season opener and cruising along with a record of 5–2, but the Eagles decided to put on their best Grinch impression and steal the show. After splitting the first two games in the series, Mark George ‘25 took over with a career-high score of 212, followed by Mason Manolopoulos ‘24’s score of 180 and John Re ‘25’s score of 177.
“I was very confused, and I had no idea what was going on. But once I got into a rhythm I just enjoyed the results as they came,” said George, offering some insight into the game. “I remember before that game I cleared my head and listened to some Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
After a couple tough losses to South Plainfield and Colonia, next up was the rematch between Edison and J.P. The game was a memorial for Coach Mr. Anthony White, who tragically passed away earlier this year, so the teams came together to honor him with a single uniform uniting both schools. On the lanes, J.P. got the better of Edison in their first match, but the Eagles went on to win the second time, amassing their highest total score since before the pandemic: 2528! Derek Dudek ‘25 conjured up a career-best high game of 235 while James Stavenick ‘25 bowled a 211 and a 220 to pass the 600 series mark, alongside Re’s high game of 229.
After the regular season ended, Orlando Leon ‘24 won the entire JV tournament to win a gold medal.
“After I got the first few strikes, I got the mojo I needed to go and get my career high: 222!” reflected Leon. “It felt awesome when I got in my groove.”
The team took their average cumulative score from a 642 to a 761 this season, a drastic improvement overall, stemming from increased experience and skill.
“I felt this season I figured out lanes early and just executed. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat all throughout the series,” said Re. “My favorite game has got to be my 618 season against St. Thomas, where we somehow got a tie against a more experienced and highly ranked team. And before each game, I would throw a football around to get locked in.”
The girls, using experience to their advantage with seniors Sophie Shin ‘23, Illiana Boyce ‘23, and Sunny Lee ‘23, quickly wiped out their memory of last year to garner success this year.
They went the first three games without a single win, but bowlers like Pooja Katara ‘24 and Sara Nasrullah ‘25 reinforced the three seniors, and the team went on a whopping six-game win streak. The run included a win over J.P. Stevens.
In the sixth game of that hot stretch, the girls faced the undefeated South Plainfield Cougars with their streak on the line. Shin was unavailable for the game, so things looked a bit bleak, but the group stayed on the course to topple the odds’ favorite. Boyce and Lee made up for their fellow senior’s absence to lead the way. The pins must have looked at them funny, because Boyce and Lee knocked them all down to respectively score 437 and 452, both more than every single Cougar. The Eagles earned their narrow victory (only a 21 pin difference) with further notable efforts from Katara (366), Lorelai Hagens ‘24 (294), and Martyna Stalenyj ‘24 (280).
“I was a little nervous at first but quickly became very happy with my decision to join the team,” said Nasrullah about her experience starting bowling. “Over the season, the sport turned from a light hobby into a real passion for me.”
The rest of the season was rather up and down, but they continued to cash in wins, with another win over J.P. in the Coach White memorial match and a triumph in the GMCs. The girls took out their brooms to sweep the hawks in the tournament. Every single bowler soared above their averages: Nasrullah with 150, Shin with 160, Lee with 155, Katara with 162, Boyce with 181, and Hagens with 136.
“I feel that this season, we tried our absolute best all throughout,” said Hagens. “Personally, this was my first season ever bowling, and I saw my development all winter long.”
The bowlers were grateful for a fun season. Supporting them all winter long were parents Mr. Douglas Boyce, Ms. Stacie Re, and Ms. Christine Stavenick, attending as many games as they could to cheer for every strike and motivate after every gutter. They were the Eagles’ three biggest fans (and also the three only fans…just kidding).
“I think we had a lot of fun competing against opponents this year, since we could actually see them!” said Katara. “Because of the pandemic, we could never meet our opponents before, but this year we all cheered each other on with some new added pressure. I loved it. And thank you to our coaches for a great overall year.”