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Saint Joseph Bowling Team Goes Undefeated in Regular Season

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Saint Joseph Bowling Team Goes Undefeated in Regular Season
  • Athletics
Dylan Hollender

Saint Joseph Bowling has arrived. The Falcons have remained perfect in every aspect of the season. They have not lost a single game, as they have achieved 4-0 victories in each of their sixteen matchups so far, meaning that no team has ever even won a game against Saint Joe’s all season. They became the first-ever undefeated bowling team in Saint Joseph's history.

By: Ben Chadwick '23

Saint Joseph Bowling has arrived. The Falcons have remained perfect in every aspect of the season. They have not lost a single game, as they have achieved 4-0 victories in each of their sixteen matchups so far, meaning that no team has ever even won a game against Saint Joe’s all season. They became the first-ever undefeated bowling team in Saint Joseph's history.

Head Coach Rusty Thomsen, in his eighth year with Saint Joe’s, is in the midst of the most successful season of his illustrious career with the Falcons. Thomsen holds a 119-27-4 record during his time with Saint Joe’s. Thomsen has achieved two 16-1 seasons so far with the Falcons, but never an undefeated season until this one. 

Thomsen is also the women’s bowling coach for New Jersey City University and has overseen four National Players of the Year during his time there. Prior to coaching, his professional playing career included four PBA titles, as well as a No. 16 finish in the U.S. Open.

Coming into the season, Saint Joe’s did not find themselves on NJ.com’s “Top 10 Teams in New Jersey” list, but they have sat at the top of that list ever since the first week wrapped up.

Before their match on December 13th, East Brunswick was ranked as the fourth-best team in the state according to NJ.com. Saint Joe’s then proceeded to win 4-0, only further cementing them as the best team in the state.

With only six bowlers on each team, Saint Joe’s has formed a tight-knit group of players who have formed a powerhouse in New Jersey.

“With how few guys there are on each team, it’s definitely a brotherhood out there,” E.J. Chin ‘24 said.

Alexander Kozak ‘24 currently averages a 531 series and a 177 game, with his highest game being a 224 against Woodbridge.

Tim Haklar ‘23 is in his fourth season on varsity and has already achieved his highest game yet with Saint Joe’s, carding a 258 against South Brunswick. Haklar currently averages a 202 game and a 605 series .

“Being the lone senior on the team this year, I really want to lead by example and be there for the guys when they need it most,” said Haklar.

The Junior Duo of Chin and Devon Kiessling ‘24 have consistently impressed in each of their two seasons with Saint Joe’s in the past, and this season is no exception. Both were named to the “NJ.com Bowlers to Watch” for the 2022-2023 season and have lived up to those expectations.  

“Being on that list makes me want to be a better bowler,” Chin said. “Not only do I want to be on that list, but I want to be at the top”. 

Chin currently holds the third-best averages on the team with a 216 game and a 649 series, including the third-highest game of his Falcon career, a 276 in the season opener against J.P. Stevens.

Kiessling hopes of being in the top five in New Jersey are looking very promising. He currently has the second-highest average on the team with a 667 series and a 222 game. More notably, Devin bowled the first-ever 300 perfect game in Saint Joseph Bowling History. The near-impossible feat was achieved in a match against Monroe on December 12th.

“I want to be one of the Top Five in the state this year,” Kiessling said. “I also think we can carry this momentum deep into the playoffs and make a run at the GMC and State Tournaments.”

The final two bowlers to round out the six-man roster for the Falcons are a pair of freshmen, Kai Strothers and Will Cunningham, who also happen to be close friends. 

Strothers has had the spotlight on him for a very long time as became the youngest New Jersey bowler ever to bowl a perfect game, as well as the third youngest in the nation and a trip to the USA National Championships. The accolades led to Strothers being interviewed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” 

In his first season with Saint Joe’s, Strothers currently averages a 647 series and a 216 game, as well as having the second-highest game by any Falcon this season with a 288 against Colonia. He also became the first high school bowler in New Jersey to card an 800 series when he scored an 802 in the final regular season matchup against Piscataway.

Cunningham has also competed in the USA National Championships alongside his freshman counterpart. Statistically, Cunningham has performed as the best bowler for the Falcons so far this season, with a high series of 750 and third highest game at 279 - both in the season opener against J.P. Stevens. He has held the highest averages for any New Jersey bowler with a 690 series average and a 230 game.

Not only have the Falcons not lost a single game in the regular season, but they also placed 1st in the New Jersey Winter Classic Tournament. The tournament includes some of the best teams across New Jersey, including Jackson Memorial, Montville, and Scotch Plains-Fanwood. The Falcons tallied a 3,417 score which was nearly 300 pins more than any other team in the competition. 

Saint Joe’s is in the midst of a historical season that some may view as unthinkable. Falcons fans should be on watch as the team is the heavy favorites to win the Greater Middlesex Conference title in late January, then a NJSIAA Group 2 championship in February.

  • Athletics
  • Bowling