Union County bowling teams get ready for 2023 season

UNION COUNTY, NJ — Union County’s high school bowlers are getting ready to strike in the upcoming season, and some of them are building on the previous year’s successes.

Last year, Westfield High School’s Perry Cuccaro rolled a perfect game to win the boys title, defeating Roi Antonio of Elizabeth High School 300-199.

Elizabeth’s Vivian Luna defeated Union High School’s Gabriela Martinez 234-183 to capture the girls crown.

Cuccaro, a senior, and Luna, a junior, are both back among the top bowlers in Union County, and it once again will be a challenge to top them. Cuccaro already has a high game of 280 this year vs. Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School and Luna has 266 against Linden High School.

Cuccaro and Luna will be among the bowlers featured when the Union County Bowling Tournament is contested at Linden Lanes on Jan. 17, 19 and 20.

Cuccaro also helped lead Westfield to the team championship a year ago.

The team format on Tuesday, Jan. 17, will be the traditional five-bowler, three-game format. The eight teams with the highest totals will advance to the team finals on Thursday, Jan. 19, commencing at 3 p.m.

The team finals on Thursday, Jan. 19, are Baker format, meaning all five bowlers will bowl two frames. Teams will be seeded into a bracket, based on results, and play a best-of-five format in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.

The individual finals will take place on Friday, Jan. 20, when the top-scoring bowlers from the Tuesday, Jan. 17, competition — the top 15-20 percent, depending on the number of participants — bowl another three games, commencing at 3 p.m. The top participants advance to a step-ladder format for the finals.

Practice times for all competitions are 2:45 p.m. No school or team is to practice at Jersey Lanes before 2:45 p.m. on any of the three dates. Cuccaro, who also won the boys title as a freshman in 2020, won last year’s championship as the fourth seed. Cuccaro won four consecutive games, bowling over 200 in each, in the step-ladder portion.

The three bowlers Cuccaro defeated before besting Antonio were Michael McFadden of Hillside High School, Michael Martins of Roselle Park High School and Christopher Thomas of Union High School.

Luna had a 600-series, 226-211-234, en route to her title. Union’s Martinez was tied with Luna’s schoolmate Jaelynn Johnson for second after second-round action. Martinez then passed Johnson in the step ladder to reach the championship match.

Here were last year’s top eight team finishes:

Westfield High School, 941-1,049-1,004 = 2,994.

Union High School, 1,002-1,010-895 = 2,907.

Elizabeth High School, 1,009-900-912 = 2,821.

Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School, 1,005, 1,035, 731 = 2,771.

Roselle Park High School, 935, 894, 906 = 2,735.

Rahway High School, 858, 895, 883 = 2,636.

Hillside High School, 940, 814, 876 = 2,630.

Linden High School, 883, 888, 855 = 2,626.