History took place last week at the Hudson County Bowling championships at Bowl-Rite Lanes in Union City.
That’s because for the first time ever, the King and Queen of Hudson County bowling are both from Kearny High School.
Kearny senior Hannah Paszkiewicz was crowned the Queen of the county with an unbelievable performance in the final round, winning the crown by an astounding 92 pins. Paszkiewicz rolled a season-best 245 in the final round. It marked the second time Paszkiewicz won the crown, having also won the tournament title two years ago as a sophomore.
And sophomore Ryan Valli won the King of Hudson County title with four thrilling victories along the way to becoming the first male to ever win the history of the school to earn the title. Valli defeated the defending champion Jarret Maldonado of Dickinson in the quarterfinals, 217-169, then defeated Bayonne’s Eddie Lubach, 230-223, having to double in the 10th frame to win that match to move on to the title round, where he disposed of Blaise Edwards of St. Peter’s Prep, 236-174, to gain the title.
Needless to say, it’s a reason for coach Alan Correnti to have an immense sense of pride, crowning the county champion on both the boys’ and girls’ levels.
“It’s absolutely great,” Correnti said. “Hannah has been great her entire career. When she gets in that mode, she’s hard to beat. She had a 221 game to get to the finals and then had a 245.”
Even though she was clearly the favorite to win, Paszkiewicz said that she was ready to roll.
“I was at first a little bit nervous,” Paszkiewicz said. “But I like being under pressure. I think I performed better under pressure, because I know people are counting on me. I’m extremely happy to win it again. The two times I bowled in that tournament, I won. It’s really rewarding.”
But Paszkiewicz didn’t receive an official coronation.
“No, I didn’t get a tiara,” Paszkiewicz laughed.
Correnti was overjoyed with Valli’s performance.
“The boys have more competition in the division,” Correnti said. “It’s not easy to win. But Ryan was like a machine. He plowed through the competition. He had to bowl four matches to win it. He was really on fire. There was no doubt that he was going to win it. This is not going to be the last time he wins it. We’ll see more from him in his career. He’s only a sophomore. He’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”
Valli also finished third at the NJSIAA North 1A Group III state sectionals, earning a berth to the state Tournament of Champions this week. Paszkiewicz and her teammate Anna Powell will also compete in the T of C.
Valli said that he was feeling the pressure a little during the tourney.
“It was stressful at first,” said Valli, who rolled a perfect game of 300 two weeks ago in a regular season match. “It was amazing. I knew that if I could keep up the good work, I had a chance. Coach Correnti told me on the bus there that I had a shot and Kearny never had a boy to win. I promised him that I’d get him one and it just happened this year.”
Valli said having to defeat four bowlers to win the title meant a lot to him.
“It certainly boosted my confidence for sure,” said Valli. “The other bowlers were talking about me and saying, ‘That’s the guy who bowled the 300.’ Someone actually come up to me to congratulate me on the 300. I felt pretty good about that.”
Valli is a two-handed bowler, shunning the more conventional one-handed approach.
“I’ve been throwing the ball with two hands since I was 18 months old,” Valli said. “My Dad (John) took me bowling for the first time and that’s how I threw it. I don’t remember it, but I probably wasn’t very good. My Dad wouldn’t have allowed me to use bumpers or rails, so that helped me. But I’ve been two-handed ever since. I’m just so comfortable throwing it two-handed. I’m always going to bowl that way.”
Valli said that he enjoys bowling as much as possible.
“I like when I bowl a lot of games,” Valli said. “I really believe I get better. And if I kept winning, I know the other bowlers would feel the pressure.”
But Valli had to feel it a little.
“I put a lot of pressure on myself to win it,” Valli said. “But I did get a little emotional with all the people there yelling and cheering. A lot of people wanted me to do it. It was not a bad week. It was a very good week, but a very stressful week.”
Paszkiewicz said that she was overjoyed for teammate Valli.
“I’m really proud of him,” Paszkiewicz said. “It was his first King and Queen tournament and he won. I’m happy he won. I know he’ll win again.”
Much like Paszkiewicz did.
“Ryan is phenomenal,” Correnti said. “He has two more chances to make some noise.”
Much like Valli did all weekend. Now, on to the state T of C.
Anna Powell of Kearny finished fifth overall at the county tourney.
Kearny head bowling coach Alan Correnti (center) stands proudly with his bowlers, Hannah Paszkiewicz (left) and Ryan Valli (right) after his bowlers won the King (Valli) and Queen (Paszkiewicz) Hudson County bowling championships. Photo courtesy of Victoria Valli.
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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.”