John Jay bowling head coach Paul Plutzker is just happy for the opportunity to coach this winter.
“Thankfully we will be able to have a shortened winter season,” Plutzker said. “The kids are very happy to be getting out, being with friends and participating in a sport. After the tumultuous year, this is a major positive.”
He added, “The bowling alley is taking a lot of safety precautions by having shower curtains between each pair of lanes. They also have a smaller curtain above the ball return.”
And there are roster limits in place because of COVID-19.
“The team will be smaller than usual, due to the lack of space — we will have six girls and seven boys,” Plutzker said. “There is no ‘B’ team and no JV teams. Our first goal for this season is for everyone to participate and have fun! Secondly, of course, winning would be great but it is not a priority.”
He continued, “Our league plans on playing each school at least once. The girls will likely play at least eight games and the boys will hopefully be able to play nine games. This, of course, is barring any issues with the pandemic. At this time, we do not know if there will be any type of sectional tournament.”
On the girls’ side, Jay has four returning bowlers and a pair of newcomers.
Amelia Maiorana, Zoey Feldman and Kiera Ellison will form a quality trio atop the lineup.
“Amelia is our most recent sectional qualifier,” Plutzker said. “She has an average of 142 after two days of tryouts and I’m hoping to see her make a jump into the 150s.”
The coach continued, “Last season, Zoey showed a lot of improvement and after two days of tryouts also has an average of 142. I’ve seen major improvement in her game since last season.”
Plutzker added, “Last season was Kiera’s first season and she improved tremendously. So far, after two days, she has a 122 average, but I can see her easily raising that into the 130s.”
Rounding out the girls’ roster are four-year bowler Sammi Goldstein and newcomers Katelyn DiFede and Stephanie Halsey.
“For the boys, we have four returning varsity boys, two returning from the ‘B’ team and there will be one newcomer,” Plutzker said.
The coach’s top three boys are C.J. Polworth, Miles Copabianco and Jack Lawton.
“C.J. showed amazing improvement in his first season,” the coach said. “So far in two days, C.J. has a 185 average after bowling three 200 games. He has made the fastest and most incredible improvement I’ve ever seen for someone who did not bowl in a league. He started last year averaging 140s-150s and went up into the 160s.”
Plutzker continued, “Miles has been consistent bowling in the 140s last year and I hope to see improvement this coming season. Jack started last season in the 110s and got his average into the 140s (and) I look forward to seeing his continued improvement.”
Also returning to the boys’ team are Connor Leska-Kent, Gavin Wagner and Zach Gonzalez.
Wagner and Gonzalez were part of the ‘B’ team a year ago.
Rounding out the boys’ roster is senior newcomer Donnie Engelhardt.