NORTH BRUNSWICK — Colonia’s Joseph Adase and South Brunswick’s Amy Caruso took the same route to their respective Greater Middlesex Conference individual bowling titles Friday afternoon at Carolier Lanes.
Both bowlers qualified second for the stepladder finals, but had no trouble taking care of their competition along the way.
Adase, a senior for the Patriots, knocked off fifth-seeded Tom Leone of Edison in the semifinals and then dispatched of top-seeded Jonah Burger of Monroe to claim his first individual title.
“I just needed to stay focused and stay calm throughout the day and keep my shot where it’s been all day long and I knew I’d be okay,” Adase said. “I needed to relax and put the ball down in the same place every time.”
After placing fifth in the qualifying stage Wednesday, Adase picked up the pace Friday, shooting a 235-225-224 to get himself into the finals. He had to watch from the practice lanes as three others bowled before him, but came out with four consecutive strikes against Leone to set the pace.
In the game against Leone, who had won two straight games as the fifth-seed, Adase finished with six strikes and only one open frame, allowing him to cruise to a 221-174 victory.
“I felt good today from the start and I felt like I was on point with all of my shots and I did my best to just stay in that kind of groove throughout the games,” Adase said. “It feels great, especially in my senior year, to come out on top like this.”
In the final against Burger, Adase once again rolled four straight strikes to build up an early lead and nearly replicated his output from the game before, finishing with six strikes and only one open frame en route to a 224-171 win.
On the girls side, Caruso faced a stiff task from fourth-seeded Lauren Hoffman of Monroe in the semifinals, as the two bowlers matched strike for strike and went into the final frame in a near dead heat. Caruso was just seven pins better than Hoffman, 244-237, in what was the best matchup of the afternoon. Caruso finished the game with nine strikes to Hoffman’s eight.
In the finals against top-seeded Nicolette Arnone of Piscataway, Caruso put an exclamation point on the afternoon, striking out in the 10th frame as she capped off a 204-143 victory.
The individual title left Caruso at a loss for words.
“I don’t know how to describe this, honestly,” Caruso said. “It was really hard for me and I just worked really hard in qualifying to stay confident out there.”
Caruso had been the top qualifier Wednesday when she rolled a 682 series, but got off to a bit of a slow start Friday, putting up scores of 173 and 174 in her first two games. It was her third game that vaulted the sophomore back into contention, as she tossed a 232 to finish with a 579 set. Like Adase, Caruso had to watch three bowlers go before her in the stepladder finals, but she said it didn’t affect her at all.
“I didn’t mind waiting around; I was able to catch my breath a little bit, after such a long day, and it felt great to come out and put up big numbers like that in the finals,” Caruso said. “I was very confident and I knew that I had the support of everyone in the crowd.”