Bowling finally has risen to the forefront in these parts. Seven years into the program’s existence, the Kingsway boys bowling team has done the unthinkable – they won the school’s first bowling South Jersey Group 3 championship and qualified for its first trip to the State Group 3 tournament as a team.
Led by seniors Ben Kelley, Billy Robb, and Dan Reiners, the Dragons were able to defeat the likes of Hammonton, Lacey, and Burlington Twp., among others. Kelley also qualified for the state championships as an individual, doubling his honors for the day. Robb, a first year athlete who earlier in the season broke former state champion Diante Field’s school record for high game, just missed making the individual cut but still continues on with his teammates, as they vie for the state crown.
Coach Mike Mulligan, year in and year out, has continued to refine this program into a true bowling powerhouse, taking bowling neophytes and sculpting them into championship caliber athletes.
“Bowling has given these guys an identity,” said Mulligan. “They develop into something and grow. Guys like Ben Kelley are what this program is about. He was a junior varsity kid that never bowled before ninth grade. He continued to work and came into his own in 11th grade through time, consistency, and shown leadership. I can’t be more proud of guys like him.”
“All of them bowled to their potential at the South Jersey championships,” Mulligan continued. “They worked for it though throughout the year. They played in Saturday leagues. They bowled all summer. They met up for impromptu sessions on their own. They wanted to improve.”
“Guys like Dan Reiners are willing to do whatever is necessary to get this program to championship form. They wanted it so badly. They finally realize that they get to be the ones to hang a championship banner up in the school gym. That’s what it’s about!”
Not to be outdone, the girls team also garnered their share of success, winning their third consecutive Patriot Division championship. Stalwarts Kiera Hood, Laken Owen, Kate Burdall, Marissa Ciocco, and Marissa Anderson continue to lead them in their own quest for a South Jersey championship.
Coach Mulligan was quick to note the help by Kingsway in supporting the efforts of the bowling team. He also mentioned the hospitality shown by the Giles family, who owns the Westbrook Bowling Alley in Brooklawn. This is where the Kingsway bowling team practices. They also will be hosting the annual Shane Schweibenz Bowl-A-Rama, in which all proceeds go to the Shane Schweibenz Memorial Scholarship Fund. This memorializes the life of Shane, a former Kingsway bowler.
It certainly appears like things are rolling along well for the Kingsway bowling teams. A powerhouse program certainly has been born.