North Arlington, Ferrie win Bergen bowling titles


Going into Saturday’s Bergen County Bowling Championships at Bowler City in Hackensack, North Arlington head bowling coach Dan Farinola thought his Viking team stood a fair chance against the competition in the Group I and II bracket.

“I felt pretty confident going in,” Farinola said. “We were second in our league (the North Jersey Interscholastic Conference) behind Lyndhurst, but one of the things I believe in is that we are a better team when we have a full team. I think we’re very competitive when we have five bowlers. In the league, we can only use four. But I liked our chances going in with a five-man squad. We had a sense of confidence going in.”

So did senior Tom Ferrie, the Vikings’ top bowler.

“I had high hopes for the team,” said Ferrie, who headed into Saturday’s tourney with a seasonal average of 193. “I wasn’t concentrating on myself, but concentrating on the team. I just tried to bowl 200 and that would help my team.”

Ferrie started the day on fire _ and never stopped. The rest of his teammates followed suit.

“They bowled a 997 first game and that set the tone for the rest of the day,” Farinola said. “That put us in first place. Everyone just bowled together.”

Ferrie wasn’t alone with his sizzling throws. Senior Mike Barbosa rolled a 213. Sophomore Kenny Bennett had a 182. Sophomore Matt Zarro had a 180 and senior Louie Davio had a 179.

“Going into the tournament, we had our eyes on Lyndhurst’s scores,” Farinola said. “But we were in the lead the entire way.”
The Vikings ended up as the top team in Bergen County in the Group I and II bracket, outdistancing runner-up Becton Regional by 236 pins.

But the story of the day was Ferrie, who ended up being the overall individual champion, rolling a 229 average _ almost 30 better than his general average _ and a 257 high game of the day. He bowled six games, two three-game series, and had a score of 689 in both series.

“He was totally locked in,” Farinola said of Ferrie. “His low game of the day was 212. When he’s on, he’s very tough to beat.”

Ferrie became only the third North Arlington bowler to ever capture top honors at the county tournament, joining two-time champ Matt Priore (2008 and 2010) and Johnny Santiago in 1986.

“It’s honestly amazing,” Ferrie said of becoming the overall county champ. “I can’t believe it. I didn’t think it was possible. Nope, not at all. In my heart, I believed I could do it, but it’s still unreal. I’m still speechless, but I’m happy.”

Ferrie said that he’s never met Priore, but knew his name.

“A lot of coaches talk about him,” Ferrie said. “After I won, I looked it up to see who else had won from North Arlington.”

The Vikings ended up in third place overall as a team, behind Paramus and Indian Hills.

“We had our sights set on the league, but it looks like Lyndhurst is going to get that,” Farinola said. “So we had to shift our goals and concentrate on the counties and the state sectionals. This was the first step.”

Farinola said that he was impressed with the effort he received from senior Davio, who also bowled better than his seasonal mark.

“He had a 636 series with a 235 game and a 232 game,” Farinola said. “Most of our bowlers all bowled above their league averages. That’s exactly how you win a team title.”

But no one could have seen Ferrie’s explosion coming.

“He’s been our top bowler the entire year,” Farinola said. “He works on his game all year round. He’s a big game kind of guy. He does well under pressure. He’s a fun-loving guy, a little bit of a jokester. He’s also a good student. But to bowl six games like that under pressure? A lot of kids would have stopped after one or two games. But he finished out strong every game. It’s a huge bonus, having Tom win the individual tournament. If someone wasn’t keeping score, you never would have known. He was definitely more caught up in what his team was doing.”

Ferrie had no idea he had the lead.

“I think we all got caught up in what we were doing as a team,” Ferrie said. “You can never tell with the first few frames. I saw some of my teammates get pocket shots and end up with splits. I just kept going and tried to get 200 every game.”

Well, for six straight games, Ferrie did far better than 200 _ and now, he’s the Bergen County champion to prove it.

Ferrie said that he plans on bowling in college in the fall, either at William Paterson or New Jersey City University, two schools that have intercollegiate bowling programs.

Right now, Ferrie and his teammates will be shooting for the NJSIAA North Jersey sectional championships upcoming next week and possibly berths in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.

But no one will ever take away the great weekend the Vikings and Ferrie enjoyed. And now, his name will be in the record books, along with Priore and Santiago, never to be taken away.

“I never thought it could happen,” Ferrie said. “It’s so unreal.”


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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”