During the program’s first seven years, the exploits of the John Jay boys bowling team overshadowed those of the girls team.
This year, the girls may steal some of the spotlight, with a bigger roster and more returning bowlers than the boys team.
“I’m hoping the girls will be more competitive,” said coach Paul Plutzker. “I think the girls will probably be more competitive than the boys this year.”
Both teams, however, face challenging seasons.
The boys team lost four of their top five bowlers, and the girls team lost its top two bowlers.
The program for the first time lacks a premier-level bowler, with the graduation of Micah Nesson.
The season opens this week at Cortlandt Lanes in Peekskill.
Nesson led the John Jay boys to their first league title three years ago, and to a best-ever 11th place at sectionals two seasons ago.
He is the only John Jay bowler to qualify for the state championships, in 2011, when he was fourth in Section 1 with a school-record 209.95 game average.
The boys team has only five bowlers at this point.
The one sure thing is returning sophomore Connor Kenealy, who was third on the team last season with a 142 average. Kenealy bowled regularly in the off-season and showed a dramatic improvement at tryouts with a 174 average.
Sophomore Ken Itoh, who had a 105 average on varsity last year, was second at tryouts with a 121 average.
New sophomore Eric Jurmain, returning junior Chris Ramsey, and freshman Nick Cardi round out the roster.
“For the new kids to continue to practice and improve, that’s really the goal,” said Plutzker. “I’m not expecting much other than that.”
The John Jay girls team graduated its top two players in seniors Andrea Martin and Nicole Loscri, but will be looking to improve upon last year’s 0-12 record in match play.
The Indians were led at tryouts by returning senior Laurel Chase, who averaged 108, and freshman Kayla Marschke, who averaged 104.
Returning seniors Hayley Nusbaum and Talia Metz are also in the mix, as is new junior Gracie Skillman, who was third at tryouts with a 97 average.
Junior Sarah Dieck, sophomore Sarah Thomann and freshman Sarah Raimondi round out the roster.
The goal for the girls team is the same as the boys, said Plutzker: “To continue working to improve and compete to the best of their ability, and have fun doing it.”