The Greater Middlesex Conference’s Red Division is always one of the toughest to compete in, regardless of sport or gender. But this winter, the Woodbridge High School boys bowling team has conquered the division, setting itself apart as the top team.
In two head-to-head matches against perennial Red Division power South Brunswick this season, Woodbridge has won easily, taking the two by a combined score of 7-1. Barrons’ head coach Rich Maddock expressed that beating a team like South Brunswick in the fashion that they have has helped his squad in other matches.
“South Brunswick is a phenomenal team,” Maddock said. “They can put up huge numbers at any point, but we just put up bigger numbers than them this year. And the fact that we’ve been able to do that has shown our guys that we can beat anybody when we bowl our best.”
Woodbridge has been beating everyone this season, compiling a 14-2 record through Sunday, and has secured the No. 3 seed in this week’s GMC Tournament, which begins Thursday at Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick.
Leading the Barrons’ charge this season is a trio of seniors: Brandt Bannister (180 average), Matt Caggiano (205) and Mike Chundak (202). As a group, those three have helped Woodbridge roll past their competition, but recently, it’s been junior Mark Simon who has been the hot hand for Maddock’s bunch.
Simon, who has bowled 10 fewer games than Bannister and Caggiano this season, has a 226 average this winter, which is among the best in the GMC.
“As a group this year, I think we’ve done pretty well,” Maddock said. “We’ve had our ups and downs, like everyone else, but we’re hitting our stride at the right time. Mark has come on lately and we just have a bunch of guys that can put up huge numbers at any time.”
The Barrons have dropped just two matches this season, to Sayreville and Colonia, which earned the first and second seeds in the GMC Tournament, respectively, but haven’t lost since Dec. 19. In Maddock’s estimation, his squad just needs to make enough spares and he believes it can beat anyone, including Sayreville and Colonia.
“We just need to stay focused,” Maddock said. “Spares have been out big problem this year; we need to stay focused and relaxed, because the team that makes the most spares that will win.”
Sayreville, the conference’s lone unbeaten team, was awarded the top seed for the GMC Tournament, which gets under way Thursday afternoon. Colonia, which has the GMC’s individual champ in Joseph Adade, is second, followed by Woodbridge, St. Joseph’s and South Brunswick. JF Kennedy is sixth and Middlesex, Old Bridge, Monroe and JP Stevens round out the top 10. Seeds 11 through 22 will compete Thursday to round out the top 16 seeds.
South Brunswick, which ended the weekend with a 15-0 record, was awarded the top seed on the girls side of the tournament. The Vikings, who boast the conference’s individual champion, Amy Caruso, are followed in the seeding by Cardinal McCarrick, Carteret, North Brunswick and Piscataway. JF Kennedy was given the sixth seed, ahead of Edison, Monroe, Mother Seton and Woodbridge. Seeds 11 through 22 will compete Thursday to round out the top 16 seeds.