LIVINGSTON, NJ — As the final week of the regular season approached, the Livingston High School (LHS) bowling team sat in second place, only one point behind revival Seton Hall Prep. In the end, the Lancers came away with a conference title, and landed in second and ninth, respectfully, for the county and state tournaments.
(NOTE: Livingston head coach Griff Hughes explained that in the Colonial Conference, each team wins two points for each game won of the three that are played, and one additional point for the most pins knocked down during the contest.)
LHS sophomore Michael Liu has been the hottest bowler in the league with back-to-back 700 series, only to follow it with a record setting 804.
Liu had taken ill and missed an important match, but Hughes rallied his squad and told the Lancers that spares would decide the winner.
In the first game David Poesl’s 224 and Daniel Aromando’s 213 led the way with Danny Feresten’s 169 and Max Ramer’s 174 added in to give the Lancers a 956-798 win.
With LHS temporarily back in first place, the Lancers let their guard down and missed some important spares, dropping the second game, 933-831.
In the third game, the Lancers pulled some magic out of their hats.
First, a Seton Hall Pirate’s delivery of a ball made contact with a pin in the gutter, nullifying the spare. LHS senior captain Louis Farer then struck out in the 10th for a 196. Finally, Poesl hit his first two strikes in the 10th to give the Lancers a shot.
With eight pins separating the teams, Poesl had one ball left. With as much pressure as a bowler can have, Poesl launched a perfect pocket hit that resulted in his third strike of the frame and a two-pin victory to put the Lancers back into first place.
In the next match, LHS faced Millburn. Liu was back and made his presence known immediately.
After Hughes predicted the previous week that it wouldn’t be long before Liu rolls a perfect game, Liu did exactly that, rolling 12 strikes in a row for Livingston’s very first 300.
“Back in the 1999-2000 season, Evan Rachbuch rolled a 299 at Hy-Way Bowl, but that was the closest anyone has come,” said Hughes.
LHS ultimately scored a three-game sweep over the Millers.
Andrew Berger’s 168 and Feresten’s 179 contributed to the win; Josh Hoffmann made his varsity debut with a 182; and Farer had a fine day with a 184, 202 and 220.
The final match—the position round—had LHS three points in front of Seton Hall Prep.
Ramer came up big with a 222 and Aromando followed with a 220. Poesl’s 190 and Liu’s 192 helped to give the Lancers a 982-854 win.
In the second game, LHS clinched its second consecutive conference championship with a 977-834 win over the Pirates—with standout performances from Liu, who rolled a 237, and Poesl, who logged a 217.
With the regular season over, the Lancers geared up for the state and county championship tournaments.
The NJSIAA North II, Group 4 Sectionals were held at Jersey lanes in Linden, where the team performed well with the following scores: Farer 179, 216, 183, Ramer 146, 143, Feresten 136, Aromando 202, 208, 157 and Poesl 185, 179 and 189.
Liu rolled another great series consisting of a 279, 257 and 222. His 758 series was the best of any bowler in the tournament and his 279 was the highest game.
Livingston finished with 2881 pins in second place, entitling the team to compete in the NJSIAA State Finals.
In the Essex County Championship, the Lancers were awarded the second place trophy for their 2687 series. Bloomfield finished first.
Aromando had a 224/571 series and Farer rolled games of 218, 219 and 188 with a 625 series. Both young men qualified for the individual championship, in which Farer finished seventh and Aromando finished in 11th place.
In the NJSIAA State Finals, held on Monday at Bowlero in North Brunswick, the Lancers finished in ninth place. Liu’s 266 led the Lancers with Farer’s 199, Aromando’s 203, Poesl’s 210, Ramer’s 171 and Feresten’s 159 as the other better games.
Hughes also noted that he saw much improvement in the junior varsity team’s season and is hopeful for continued success next season.