Seton Hall Prep bowling team rolls to county tournament title

The Seton Hall Prep bowling team is all smiles after winning the Essex County Tournament championship. From left are head coach Mike Smircich and bowlers Nicholas Dragone, KC Campbell, Desmond Cavanaugh, Antonio Taveras and Riley Gnecco.

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Seton Hall Prep bowling team captured the Essex County Tournament team title at North Arlington Lanes in North Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 15. 

The Pirates scored a season best of 3,297, behind senior KC Campbell, 225, 268, 247 for a 740 series; sophomore Riley Gnecco, 229, 216, 221; senior Antonio Taveras, 215, 232, 246; senior Desmond Cavanaugh, 202, 204; and junior Nicholas Dragone, 208. 

After the tournament, head coach Mike Smircich said, “This was an amazing team effort. Every guy contributed from top to bottom. To have all five starters qualify for the individual tournament (top 12 series) is incredible. It should be fun to watch all five compete against each other on (Monday) Feb. 26 (at the individual ECT). We are a deep team capable of putting up big numbers and I think we proved that today. KC has always been our anchor, but it was extra special to see guys like Taveras and Gnecco bowl huge series on a big stage. We hope to keep this momentum going as we start the state tournament matchups.”

The next afternoon, the Pirates hosted Elizabeth in the quarterfinal round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Section 2, Group 4 match at Hanover Lanes in East Hanover. The Pirates defeated the Minutemen, 2-0, as the format changed to a best two-of-three. Their record improved to 18-1 on the season.

Campbell bowled 279 and 221; Cavanaugh, 246, 202; and Gnecco, 207. 

The Pirates were scheduled to host Phillipsburg in the semifinal round on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at Hanover Lanes. The other side of the bracket is Bayonne, Union City, Irvington and St. Peter’s Prep.

Earlier in the week, the Pirates suffered their first loss of the season to Montville, 7-0. Campbell had 244, 245, 243 for a 732 series; Taveras, 216, 224; and Cavanaugh, 215.

Photo Courtesy of Seton Hall Prep Athletics