FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield co-op bowling team recently captured the 2016 CIAC championship, defeating Bethel at the Bowl-O-Rama in Newington. Over 30 teams participated in the tournament.

“This was my first year as coach and I wasn’t expecting much, to tell you the truth,” said Fairfield co-op coach Brendan Puskar. “But the kids are very serious. They bowl in several leagues, they do clinics.”

The squad — led by captains Matt Warman and Cole Vaporis — also won the 2016 CIBL (Connecticut Interscholastic Bowling League) title that is run by the Nutmeg Bowl in Fairfield.

“The CIBL is primarily made up of teams from Fairfield County. We bowl at Nutmeg every week from Thanksgiving to March, Puskar said.

Fairfield won the CIBL crown with Notre Dame-Fairfield taking second place. Greenwich was third, St. Joseph fourth, Fairfield Prep fifth, Joel Barlow sixth, Platt Tech seventh, Bunnell eighth, Stratford ninth and Wilbur Cross 10th.

According to the Nutmeg Bowl website, Warman led Fairfield with a 209 average in the CIBL, bowling a high game of 280 and having a high series of 696. Kayla Bivens also bowled a 280 high game, had a 197 average and a high series of 680. Michael Toth had a 185 average, followed by Vaporis (177), Rob Casucci (174), Jeremy Dimand (164) and Jamie Hutchinson (140).

“We have a JV and varsity team and the way I work is the top five that have the best season averages are the varsity bowlers and they’ve kind of been locked in over the course of the year,” Puskar said. “I do sub in some people because you want it to be fun. My job is more setting the lineup and substitutions, depending on who we’re playing. But a lot of the credit goes to the kids.

“Most of these kids bowl in leagues throughout the year, spring, summer leagues, three, four, five days a week. They bowl in junior tournament throughout the Northeast. Some of them will likely go on and bowl in college. That’s pretty neat.”

This was the first CIAC crown for Fairfield, a team that has been around since the late 1990’s, according to Puskar.

The format for the state tournament was that the first players bowls the first and sixth frames, the second, the second and seventh, the third, the third and eighth, the fourth, the fourth and ninth and the fifth, the fifth and 10th. Fairfield finished with the highest overall score (the top three teams advanced into the finals) where they waited to see who they would bowl between Bethel and Newington.

“We beat Bethel in the finals, bowling a 215 in the final game,” Puskar said.

Players and averages from the other two local teams were: Notre Dame-Fairfield - Pete Minore (158), Andrew Fallon (161), Brendan Gallagher (169), Brendon Watche (143), Nicholas Stevens (191) and Christopher Stevens (165). Fairfield Prep - Matt Howard (153), Jack Hickey (113), Vincent Nguyen (111), Nick Howard (134), Joe Valus (174), Steven Howard (158), John Centopani (188) and Michael Antonio (119).

celsberry@ctpost.com

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