In what has become almost a yearly tradition, Manchester Hawk bowlers were honored by the township's Board of Education for their successful 2011-12 seasons.
"We're here at our annual bowling meeting," Superintendent of Schools David Trethaway said jokingly at the Wednesday presentation. "Every year it seems our boys and girls are here for some kind of championship. We're very, very proud of both teams."
The girls team took the top spot in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions in February, finished third in the Shore Conference A South during the regular season and won the Group II South Jersey championship — their sixth consecutive.
"For these young ladies it was their teamwork that pushed them over that ledge and to the top," said coach Mike McCrae.
Boys bowlers placed first in the Group II South Jersey, finished in second place in Group II overall and finished second in the Shore Conference A South for the regular season. The team also finished third place in the Shore Conference tournament and took a first place finish out of 46 teams at the Central Jersey Winter Classic, setting the record for team high score with 3,363 pins.
Both squads put forth "magnificent seasons," said Manchester Township High School Principal Alexander George.
"Good things are going to happen if you put your mind to it and you set goals and work really hard," he said. "These programs have been able to do that."
George, a former coach, said that sports at the high school level teaches students to work together to achieve a common goal, something he views as "really special."
"What separates these two programs is that they're able to do that year in and year out," he said. "Those types of things don't just happen."
Coaches, students and their families are responsible for creating the teams' success, George said.
"It's a testament to the hard work of everybody involved," he said.
Girls bowlers honored were seniors Julie Taylor and Olivia Osterberg, juniors Tina Shahinian, Jessica Piccard and Nicole Hodges, sophomores Kelsey Krumeich and Justine Applegate, and freshmen Julia Ott, Kaitlyn Kettmann and Stephanie Tremper.
The boys bowlers, led by coach Bryan Vargas, were: seniors Alan Garcia, Ryan Kenny, Christian Robinson and Marc Stutler, junior Dezmyn Edmond, sophomores Domenick Palmiotto, Travis Gionattasio, Jimmy Claus, Dan Piskowski, Alex Simsen, Shawn Wernoch and Frank White, and freshmen Anthony Bailey, Chris Lietz and Matthew Sullivan.
Trethaway congratulated the bowlers and said that their winning seasons will be reflected upon by students and staff for years to come.
"Hopefully no one takes it for granted," Trethaway said. "What you've accomplished over these last several years and this year in particular is outstanding."