Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Previews

Now Confident and Consistent, Spagnola and Reid Take the Lead for Barnegat Bowling Squad

By David Biggy | Dec 16, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat seniors Lily Spagnola and Jasmine Reid have worked hard for four years to become leaders on the girls bowling squad.

Barnegat — Jasmine Reid and Lily Spagnola have different recollections of the days when they first started bowling for the Barnegat High School girls squad.

“I was so bad,” said Reid, now a senior who last season averaged 160. “I didn’t even get near 100. I’m pretty sure the first game I bowled was a 75. The first time I got over 100 was my sophomore year, and I was jumping up and down about it.”

Spagnola drew a blank.

“I don’t remember what I bowled in my first game,” said the senior who a year ago averaged 162. “I probably didn’t want to remember because it was probably awful.”

Coming from a place where the terminology of bowling was a foreign language – they thought it would be “cool” to bowl because it looked like “fun” – to becoming two of the more consistent bowlers, with averages in the 160s, was quite the leap for the two Bengals. This winter, they’re leading the way for the team.

“They’ve worked really hard, and it’s paid off for them,” said coach Jon Gordon, whose squad finished third in the Shore Conference South B division at 29-16. “If you saw Lily her freshman year and then watch her now, it’s like night and day. Jasmine could barely throw the ball right her freshman year, and now she’s one of the most consistent bowlers on the team. She’s so much better.”

As a sophomore, Reid was still on the junior varsity crew, trying to push her scores up over 100 with some consistency. Spagnola already had made the jump to the varsity team as she steadily progressed.

But last season, as juniors, Reid and Spagnola occupied the third and fourth slots in the five-girl lineup, directly in front of individual state tournament qualifier Precious Anderson – that’s how much they had improved during the previous offseason.

“They’re great kids, and they motivate each other,” Gordon said. “Those are the kinds of kids you want on a team, bowlers who can get focused and know when to be serious, but also had fun with it and motivate the younger girls.”

Spagnola often refers to Reid as a hype machine – a positive, encouraging influence on the alleys, regardless of the way the pins are falling that day.

“Jasmine’s definitely the hype of the team,” Spagnola said. “It’s such a mental game, and if you can’t handle the mental part ,you’ll go crazy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the pocket and left a 10 pin. It makes me want to scream every time. But Jasmine doesn’t get bothered by anything. She’s just happy and positive all the time.”

Reid enjoys singing the “turkey song” and trash-talking at her teammates.

“It’s fun, so you’ve got to have fun with it,” she said. “I don’t let stuff bother me. I stay positive and try to be confident in myself. Bowling’s an easy game to get hyped up about, so I want to get everybody hyped up. And, of course, you have to have a friendly competition with each other. That’s what bowling’s about.”

Reid recalled the first time she registered the team’s highest score during a practice – a 213 and the first time she had rolled better than a 200. That feat occurred last winter.

“That was fun,” said Reid, who fired a 213 in the first of three games to close out last season. “I had a lot to say about that because it was the first time I scored over 200 and had the highest score on the team. It was practice, but so what? I did it and I was hyped.”

Headed for Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa., where she will major in forensics and chemistry, Spagnola was both excited and a bit nervous to learn she was going to be the anchor bowler for the Bengals this season.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but my teammates are very supportive of me,” she said. “I know I can handle the pressure, and I’m so much better now, so I’m ready for it.”

Gordon said both bowlers have done much better with making spares over the years, and he believes they both have what it takes to qualify for the Shore Conference Tournament.

“I’m always telling them it’s one shot a time, one frame at a time, one game at a time,” he said. “They know this isn’t a one-person sport, but at the same time they challenge each other to get better, and they have. They’ve become more confident as bowlers, and they’re the right two to be leading our team this season.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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