Sachem had two aces in Nick Caruana and Anthony Naujokas, but a handful of trump cards led to the state boys bowling team championship.
That message was clear when it came time for a team photo. Naujokas said eight bowlers registered for the tournament, but many more teammates made the trek upstate.
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“They gave us eight medals and we’re like, ‘We’re not going to have a picture with eight kids wearing medals because our team isn’t eight bowlers,’ ” Naujokas said. “Our team is the whole team. We took the pictures with the medals off.”
Caruana, a senior at Sachem East, had the third-highest average in Suffolk County at 232.42 and led the newly combined team from Sachem East and Sachem North. Naujokas, a Sachem North senior, was second on the team with a 226.18 average.
The bridge to Naujokas and Caruana, who bowled fourth and fifth in the lineup, was about as formidable.
Bobby Ramsey averaged a fraction of a pin lower than Naujokas, and Ryan DiMaggio and Michael Grimaldi were the top two county leaders in match points, a category that contributes to wins.
“Our team was pretty deep with competitive bowlers,” said Naujokas, who bowled a 1,325 series at the state championships. Caruana led the tournament with a 1,384 series.
“Bobby was the leadoff bowler, so he got us all into it. He had a great season. He averaged a 226, we knew every game he was shooting a good number.” Naujokas said. “Ryan bowled third and he won the match points. If it was in the 10th frame and he struck out, he set up Nick and me for success. Everyone did their part.”
Coach Brian Weinstein said his team won more than 10 awards at the county’s bowling dinner, including honors for winning the league, county and state championships. He added that his bowlers were also recognized in a meeting with Suffolk legislators Tuesday.
“You’re getting recognized as being the best,” Weinstein said. He added that the team built early chemistry despite having some crosstown rivals turned teammates.
“It was definitely the closest team I’ve ever had and every kid, even if they didn’t get a chance to bowl, was good.”