Winning any kind of tournament as the top seed is not easy at all.
First, you are expected to win because you are the top seed.
Second, all the pressure is on the top seed to get the job done – that is why they are the top seed.
When the individual portion of the Union County Tournament was contested Wednesday (Jan. 24) at Jersey Lanes in Linden, standout senior bowlers Evan Weinberg of Dayton and Kiara Powell of Union had the chore of attempting to win as top seeds.
Both withstood the pressure and expectations and came through in striking fashion!
In a battle between the last two UCT champions, Weinberg rolled past defending champ Luis Torres of Roselle to capture the boys’ title for the second time in three years.
In the girls’ competition, Powell defeated Elizabeth’s Ashley Noel 226-205 for her crown.
Weinberg, who won his first UCT championship as a sophomore in 2016, defeated Torres 223-209 in the day’s final match. He produced a 667 series two days after he rolled a 709 in Monday’s opening day.
Weinberg defeated a red-hot bowler in Torres, who won three matches in the step-ladder format to reach the championship match.
The fifth seed for the step-ladder bracket, Torres edged the sixth-place bowler by just two points to qualify, rolling games of 237, 245 and 259 to eliminate fourth seeded Anthony Golabek of Linden, third-seeded Kevin Oliveira of Union and second-seeded Andrew Beach of Johnson to reach the final.
Union junior Nick Melchionna, who earlier this month bowled his first perfect game, placed seventh.
Powell, the runner-up as a junior a year ago, earned the top seed for the girls’ step-ladder with a combined, six-game total of 1,254. She concluded the final match with four consecutive strikes.
Noel, who started the day in fourth place but finished third to reach the step-ladder, defeated fourth-seeded Kaitlyn Lowe of Union Catholic 217-204 in the semifinal to reach the championship match.
UCT BOYS’ INDIVIDUAL QUALIFYING SCORES:
1-Evan Weinberg, Dayton, 1,376.
2-Andrew Beach, Johnson, 1,326.
3-Kevin Oliveira, Union, 1,303.
4-Anthony Golabek, Linden, 1,275.
5-Luis Torres, Roselle, 1,263.
6-James Fitz, Linden, 1,261.
7-Nick Melchionna, Union, 1,233.
8-Dylan Kurstedt, Westfield, 1,221.
9-Matthew Soto, Linden, 1,193.
10-Elijah Boone, Plainfield, 1,185.
11-Justin Peters, Linden, 1,152.
12-LeeDar Sneor, Scotch Plains, 1,106.
13-Austin Torres, Roselle, 1,088.
14-Scott Maran, Dayton, 1,043.
5-Luis Torres, Roselle, def. 4-Anthony Golabek, Linden, 237-174.
Torres def. 3-Kevin Oliveira, Union, 245-235.
Torres def. 2-Andrew Beach, Johnson, 259-244
1-Evan Weinberg, Dayton, def. Torres 223-209.
UCT GIRLS’ INDIVIDUAL QUALIFYING SCORES:
1-Kiara Powell, Union, 1,254.
2-Goldera Surles, Union Catholic, 1,218.
3-Ashley Noel, Elizabeth, 1,132.
4-Kaitlyn Lowey, Union Catholic, 1,120.
5-Samantha Valle, Union, 1083.
6-Lacel Beall, Union, 1,063.
3-Ashley Noel, Elizabeth, def. 4-Kaitlyn Lowe, Union Catholic, 217-204.
1-Kiara Powell, Union, def. Noel, 226-205.
INDIVIDUAL SERIES FROM MONDAY, JAN. 22 COMPETITION:
Evan Weinberg, Dayton, 709
Kevin Oliveira, Union, 693
Luis Torres, Roselle, 689
Anthony Golabek, Linden, 655
Elijah Boone, Plainfield, 639
LeeDar Sneor, Scotch Plains, 638
Dylan Kurstedt, Westfield, 632
Matthew Soto, Linden, 628
Andrew Beach, Johnson ,622
James Fritz, Linden, 622
Nick Melchionna, Union, 619
Austin Torres, Roselle, 602
Scott Maran, Dayton, 594
Justin Peters, Linden, 592
Kiara Powell, Union, 679
Goldera Surles, Union Catholic, 601
Kaitlyn Lowey, Union Catholic, 586
Ashley Noel, Elizabeth, 583
Samantha Valle, Union, 539
Lacey Beall, Union, 506
TEAM SCORES FROM MONDAY, JAN. 22 COMPETITION:
The Top 8 advanced to the Thursday, Jan. 25 Team Finals.
5-Union Catholic 2,709
7-Scotch Plains 2,631
11-Oratory Prep 2,354
13-Roselle Park 1,963
15-Roselle Catholic 1,798