Last year, men’s bowling team finished Junior College National Championship at the second place and missed a championship title by a little bit. So, this season, there was only one direction they could go and that was ‘north’ towards a National Championship. A year went past and this season they did it; men’s bowling team won the “Junior College Bowling National Championship”. The team dominated the 20-team field en route to a national title. The team was made up of eight players namely John Kavanuagh, Michael Kissel, James Tagliaferro, Michael Rubin, Evan Susman, Mike Baron, Dean Joseph, and Robert Monte. John Kavanaugh led the eight-man team by bowling a 266 high game followed by Michael Kissel, James Tagliaferro and Michael Rubin who each rolled a 234 high game, a 223 game and a 222 game respectively. It was the overall outstanding winning performances from freshmen Kavanaugh and sophomore James Tagliaferro who shot a collective 1,234 over three games in the doubles event and won the doubles national title and their individual performances along with another sophomore Michael Kissel in the all-events that sealed the title championship for the team. Individually, Michael Kissel recorded a third-place finish for Suffolk County in the all-events standings with 2,369 pins. Besides these players, other major contributor to the championship title was the sophomore Michael Rubin.
Altogether, the team posted a total of 13,100 pins in the tournament and reached the championship title with a 384-point advantage over runner-up Iowa Central. With this title, our men’s bowling team has joined the others from Erie, Vincennes (Ind.) and Schenectady (NY) as just the fourth team so far to win the NJCAA men’s junior bowling national championship since 1982.
After the winning the coveted title, Kissel and Rubin were named to the All-American team and the Coach Rao and his co-coach Rob Dertinger were named coaches of the year.
An interview was requested with the bowling Coach Ken Rao to see how men’s bowling team prepared in order to win the championship title. “This was the best team we have had in 20 years,” Coach Ken Rao affirmed, adding that “although we came second last season, we knew even back then that this was the team that could do it”.
“We won regional and other tournaments in the year 2014 and came second last season and could not win Championship title because we were short by a player in both previous seasons. This year we added a couple of players to the team and went in with the commitment and inspiration. We were quite confident we could with the championship.” Coach explained.