This is the season they have all been waiting for.
The Riverhead Blue Waves boys bowling team finished third in Suffolk County League III last year with 240.5 points, trailing only the Sachem East Flaming Arrows (290.5) and Longwood Lions (243.5). This season the Blue Waves return the exact same team, and Coach Scott Hackal believes his veteran bowlers are ready to make some noise.
Riverhead will be led by four seniors in Elliot Jones, Adam Vail, Travis Walker, John Horton and Anthony Trent.
Jones had a 227 average, which was second-highest in the county. He rolled a high game of 288 and made the all-state team.
“Elliot is a very accurate bowler,” Hackal said. “He throws a lot of strikes. He doesn’t miss by much, so his spares are all good. He throws a good first ball.”
Walker had a 198 average, followed by Vail at 195, Trent at 191 and Horton at 182.
Hackal said the team’s experience will pay dividends this season.
“Many of these kids have been on the team since the seventh grade, and with another year of experience, we could finish in the top three in our league,” he said. “We could even finish higher if things go our way.”
Hackal said Sachem East, Longwood, the Connetquot Thunderbirds and Patchogue-Medford Raiders will all be tough to beat, but he believes his team is up for the challenge.
“It is all up to them how much they want to put into it,” he said. “We’ve got to perform.”
It is always tough to win on the road, but Hackal said: “We are getting better at adjusting to the different lanes. Many of our guys have been bowling in different leagues throughout the year, which is helping to improve their game.”
Hackal knows this could be a special season for his team.
“A number of things could happen,” he said. “This could be really good. It should be interesting.”