by Andrew Garda
The Montclair High School bowling team took part in the 2019 ECADA Tournament on Monday, Feb. 4, the boys in a field of 18, while the girls competed with a dozen other schools.
While neither the girls or boys teams will be advancing — the boys finished 12 and the girls at 8 — head coach Kenneth Schnitzer was still pleased by the effort of his team.
“Obviously we didn’t get the results we wanted,” he said Tuesday afternoon via phone call. “Everyone did their best, put their best effort.”
Among the standouts on the day were Alexander Fall and Nicky Ioannou for the boys, with Molly Miller and Ally Schwarzberg rolling well for the girls.
Fall had several really nice runs during the three games each team played, with four strikes in the first game, and three in the second game. Ioannou bowled tough as well, kicking off his second game with a strike and a spare in the first two frames.
Schnitzer was especially pleased with the effort by the girls team, which does not have large numbers and has worked hard all season to overcome that. Schwartzberg rolled a 154 in her final game, and bumped her placement up according to Schnitzer.
While the team was hoping for a better outcome, Schnitzer said that it was as important that they enjoy themselves.
“Games like bowling or golf, these are things that people will play for the rest of their lives,” Schnitzer said. “So as a coach you don’t want to do something that’s going to destroy the game for them. I want it to be something they enjoy and they have fun with.”
The team was right back on the lanes Tuesday, taking on Nutley to make up a game which had been postponed the previous week due to weather. Schnitzer said he thought the team was happy to just be playing one team, and that the atmosphere during the tournament might have made some of the team nervous.
“A couple of the guys had a hard time with the atmosphere,” he said. “I think in a match like Nutley, they can relax a little bit.”
The team will have to get used to the larger crowds and intensity though, as they have State Sectionals on Thursday, Feb. 8. Schnitzer said the team can draw from their experience at the County Tournament as they head to Sectionals.
Schnitzer said this year the venue has changed as well.
“We usually bowl in Linden, this year we’re bowling in Lodi, so it’s going to be a little different. But there’s always a lot of tough schools out of Union County, and we;re going up against some tough schools at Passaic and Bergen County as well. So we’ll see how it goes. It’s going to be a learning experience for all of us.”
The team will find out its position in the division after press time Wednesday, and Schnitzer is hopeful they will both end up in third place with both the boys and girls teams.