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Siciliano Named Campbell Trophy & National Scholar-Athlete Semifinalist

EASTON, Mass. (September 29, 2016)


Monroe, New York, senior captain among 156
candidates for 2016 National Football
Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Awards,
presented by Fidelity Investments

National Football Foundation Campbell Trophy &
National Scholar-Athlete Semifinalist

EASTON, Mass. (September 29, 2016) – For the
fourth straight year, the Stonehill College
football program has placed one of its top
student-athletes among the semifinalists for
the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by
Fidelity Investments, as the National Football
Foundation (NFF) and College Football Hall of
Fame announced its 2016 National Scholar-
Athlete candidates.

Senior offensive lineman Anthony Siciliano
(Monroe, New York/Don Bosco Prep) is among the
impressive list of 156 semifinalists across all
levels of college football, including 17 from
NCAA Division II, five from Super Region I and
one of just two from the Northeast-10
Conference. Siciliano has earned a 3.43
cumulative grade point average as a computer
science major at the College. The All-
Northeast-10 Conference second team selection
has been named to the NE-10 Commissioner's
Honor Roll all six semesters to date, the
Athletic Director's Honor Roll five semesters
and Dean's List three semesters. He is the
first offensive player from Stonehill named a
Campbell Trophy and National Scholar-Athlete
semifinalist after three straight defensive
players have earned the recognition.

Siciliano, one of four captains for Stonehill
this fall, is a four year starter on the
Skyhawks offensive line, including all four
games this season at center after moving over
from left guard his first three years. He has
started 34 of his 35 games played over his
career and was named to the NE-10 All-Rookie
Team as a freshman in 2013 when he helped guide
the Skyhawks to a share of their first NE-10
regular season championship. Stonehill ranks
second in the NE-10 for passing offense with
264.5 yards per game, fourth in total offense
with 414.3 yards per game and fifth for rush
offense at 149.8 yards per game this season.

Siciliano was selected as a peer tutor by the
computer science chair at Stonehill and is a
research assistant for a for a doctoral
candidate professor at the College. He was
recognized for team contributions made at
General Dynamics as a Software Engineer intern.
Siciliano is a candidate for Stonehill's 3 and
2 computer engineering program with the
University of Notre Dame, but has opted to stay
at Stonehill for his senior year to serve as
captain of the football program.

Siciliano volunteers for a tutoring program
with high school students in Brockton and
Easton area high schools in math and science as
well as "Coaching 4 Change" with team building
and leadership activities with high school
students in order to help them stay engaged and
move towards graduation. He has also been an
event volunteer for Special Olympics of
Massachusetts and Relay for Life, was a
participant in the College's "It's on Us"
campaign and "Take Back the Night" march
against sexual assault and also joined his
teammate shoveling out local nursing homes and
at-risk elderly residences during the record
snowfall in Massachusetts in 2015.

The National Football Foundation will announce
12-14 finalists on November 1, and each of them
will receive an $18,000 postgraduate
scholarship as a member of the NFF National
Scholar-Athlete Class, presented by Fidelity
Investments. The finalists will travel to New
York City for the 59th NFF Annual Awards Dinner
on December 6, where their accomplishments will
be highlighted in front of one of the most
powerful audiences in all of sports. At the
event, one member of the class will be
announced as the winner of the 27th William V.
Campbell Trophy and have his postgraduate
scholarship increased to $25,000.

Named in honor of the late Bill Campbell,
former chairman of Intuit, former player and
head coach at Columbia University and the 2004
recipient of the NFF's Gold Medal, the Campbell
Trophy is a 25-pound bronze trophy and
increases the amount of the recipient's grant
by $7,000 for a total postgraduate scholarship
of $25,000. This year's postgraduate
scholarships will push the program's all-time
distribution to more than $11.1 million.

Nominated by their schools, which are limited
to one nominee each, candidates for the awards
must be a senior or graduate student in their
final year of eligibility, have a GPA of at
least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding
football ability as a first team player or
significant contributor and have demonstrated
strong leadership and citizenship. The class is
selected each year by the NFF Awards Committee,
which is comprised of a nationally recognized
group of media, College Football Hall of Famers
and athletics administrators.

Launched in 1959, the NFF National Scholar-
Athlete Awards program became the first
initiative in history to award postgraduate
scholarships based on both a player's academic
and athletic accomplishments, and it has
recognized 816 outstanding individuals since
its inception. The Campbell Trophy, first
awarded in 1990, adds to the program's
prestige, having previously honored two Rhodes
Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar finalist, two
Heisman Trophy winners and five first-round NFL
draft picks.

Stonehill (1-3, 1-2 NE-10) returns to action on
Saturday when it hosts Merrimack College as
part of Family Weekend at W.B. Mason Stadium
for its Alumni Game at 1 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow
the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter,
Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download
the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app,
powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the
Android Market.

Northern Highlands Daily Voice

'Believe In Yourself,' Allendale Trainer Tells Kids, Athletes


by Donna Christopher

ALLENDALE, N.J. — "Be positive. Work hard. Believe in yourself." It's a mantra father of four Pete Ohnegian of Good Energy Training in Allendale tells his kids and the athletes he trains.

His business provides strength and conditioning training to enhance sports performance and personal fitness. Clients are youths and adults. They range from Division I athletes to beginners.

Ohnegian likes helping clients stay conditioned or get back in shape, and talked recently about the challenges and satisfaction of the kind of work he does.

"A lot of former athletes have the attitude — been there, done that. I think the former athletes that loved the strength and conditioning component to their sport may try something like CrossFit because it is its own sport. When you perform CrossFit, you join a community that competes every day in their workout and they have built an amazing community of like-minded strength and conditioning enthusiasts," he said.

A lot of former athletes lack the drive to go through lifting, running, "the grind," any more, Ohnegian said.

When he started Good Energy in 2003, the goal was to have a place for athletes to reach their sport goals by strength and conditioning workouts and a place to introduce adults to how athletes train.

"There is an athlete in all of us," he said. "I wanted to share how strength and conditioning can make you feel better not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. As long as our clients arrive with a positive attitude and are willing to give us 100 percent effort, then we take it from there."

It is common for former athletes to not want exercise like before, like do squats, bench press, dead lifts "perform Olympic lifts, in general, if they had a rigorous program in high school or college," Ohnegian said.

For that reason, Ohnegian's training program is set up so adults can train every day or pick and choose which days they want to train, but the program is inclusive, he said.

So Monday to Friday there are total body, lower body, core and cardio, upper body and yard work sessions at different scheduled times.

Workouts incorporate strength, core, abdominal, plyometric and flexibility exercises.

"We don't believe in no pain and no gain, and try to cater each workout to each individual client, even in our adult classes," he said. "We coach each session like our clients are on our team. We help former athletes get their Mojo back by incorporating our program into their weekly routine and regaining a healthier lifestyle."

Younger athletes are encouraged to let go of the pressure-filled "win and be the best" attitude in youth sports, and instead focus on the process.

"Our process is strength and conditioning. College and professional athletes that do amazing things on television have worked countless hours behind the scenes lifting weights, running, perfecting their skills prior to playing in a game. We start our program with "GE Youth" which consists of 5th to 8th graders that are just learning about strength training, speed training and conditioning," Ohnegian said.

So for instance, the athletes learn about the specific technique with regard to running mechanics and fitness training,and also how to mentally approach a workout and how to be coached.

"Beginners need to learn how to focus on the little things and have the right mental approach," he said. "Elite athletes can't focus on the end result and whether they will get ranked as an athlete or offered a scholarship. They need to train all year whether it is a recovery workout in season or strength building in the off season."

He points to his staff and wife Katie for enabling him to balance his career with family life. The couple has four children, Allison and John, 12-year-old twins, Andrew, 10, and Michael, 7.

"I have taken my family to many games in which a Good Energy Training student athlete or professional has performed and they know a lot of the people that train with us," he said.

ALL the Way Back - Post ACL Success

Loyola Greyhounds: Freshman Defender Jen Moutenot


GE's Jen Moutenot winning the ball from #5 UMBC's Alexa Quarantana. Why is this significant to be the page's profile picture as it is blurry...?

Because THIS IS Good Energy Training! Jen came to GE following an ACL injury. She was just about cleared to be "mainstreamed" or handed off to a performance coach and her parents stopped by GE to see what we were all about. She had a trainer previously but he couldn't see her regularly and they needed a more consistent schedule to coordinate with her club soccer team schedule, etc. It' how we do it at GE Training. Our training is personal, it's for you the student athlete as if we are your Team's Strength & Conditioning staff.

We eased Jen into our program having successfully transitioned post-ACL athlete's back to their level of play. Our goal is not only strengthen the lower half, but instill the mental & emotional strength that these serious injuries occur and that athletes like Jen will get back to 100%. We nurture & mold athletes like Jen to once again feel like themselves on the field again, but not after a lot of HARD WORK, some pain and maybe even a setback or two when she will need to back off the training or playing and listen to her body. This injury did not happen "on our watch" but that's not how we role - once you become GE, you're on our Team.

When we take on an athlete like Jen following a serious injury, we are ALL IN. We are open with parents, physical therapists and doctors and keep the line of communication open so we can do the best possible work with Jen or a student athlete in her position. No over training, no egos & supplement training when needed to work with therapy, the playing schedule, etc.

This picture is the culmination of ALL the HARD WORK by Jen with our Staff and on the soccer field. In just her second college game for Loyola University as a freshman, she challenges & takes the ball away from UMBC Retrievers 5th Year Senior, Alexa Quarantana and turns the ball upfield for the Loyola Greyhounds.

Jen is displaying Strength, Confidence and is more concerned about the play& her soccer technique - not her body, that's GE!

Proud Friend Moment of GE Training

TRAVIS PEARSON - Alabama A&M Bulldogs


Bulldogs’ football staff changes create opportunities.

Newly hired Defensive Coordinator Travis Pearson was a teammate & is a friend of GE Training Owner Pete Ohnegian's for three teams during their time playing in the Arena Football League: 1994 Tampa Bay Storm, 1995 Miami Hooters & 2000 Los Angeles Avengers.

After reading this article you can tell that they approach life in a similar fashion - with GOOD ENERGY!

HUNTSVILLE – There will be a "new" look and a brand new level of energy when the Bulldogs take the field for the 2016 football season.

And it won't be limited to the field. There will be some new faces on the sidelines and in the coaches' box this season.

Head Coach James Spady sees the staff changes as a "blessing in disguise."

"We lost some coaches (since the end of the 2015 season) and others took opportunities elsewhere," he said. "This is a blessing in disguise in that it created opportunities for other coaches and allowed us to tweak our chemistry."

Travis Pearson comes to The Hill from South Alabama as the new defensive coordinator while Clifton Herbert (recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks coach) and Marlon Watson (defensive line coach) moved up on the A&M staff.

"Clifton paid his dues as an assistant for a year and a half," Spady said. "And Marlon had been part-time."

Spady said the wholesale defensive changes are for the best, too.

"Coach Pearson brought Tracy Buckhannon (linebackers coach) with him," he said. "We went through the spring in the new defense … the players loved it and the system is suited for the talent we have here."

Changes came in a major fashion on the offensive side of the ball, as well.

Former offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Phil Dorn left recently to be the athletic director/head football coach at Fort Walton Beach High School – creating another opportunity.

"With Phil going to Fort Walton Beach, this gave me the opportunity to hire Keith Wagner," Spady said. Wagner, who coached most recently at North Carolina A&T, will be the offensive line coach for the Bulldogs.

"These two hires (Pearson and Wagner) are going to be the biggest and most important changes we were able to make. These two coaches bring a super-charged energy to our staff along with a wealth of football knowledge."

The Bulldogs' staff includes James Spady, head coach; Andy Fuller, assistant head coach/tackles and tight ends; Travis Pearson, defensive coordinator/secondary; Keith Wagner, offensive line; Willie Totten, quarterbacks/running backs; Marlon Watson, defensive line; Ryan O'Hara, wide receivers; Clifton Herbert, cornerbacks/recruiting coordinator; Tracy Buckhannon, linebackers; Matt Gladden, offensive assistant; Lonnie Brown, head strength and conditioning coach.

The Bulldogs report to training camp on Aug. 2 and open the season Sept. 3 at Middle Tennessee State.

The Record's Athlete of the Week

Tuesday - May 17, 2016


Sarah Gunderson blasted a two-run homer in a win over Jefferson on Tuesday, pitched a one-hitter Wednesday against Bergenfield, and spun a no-hitter against Immaculate Conception in the Bergen tournament to close out her week.

After Saturday’s game, the Northern Highlands senior still had the energy to head to the one place that affords her sanctuary from a demanding season.

The gym.

"I go to the gym a lot to clear my head," said Gunderson, The Record Female Athlete of the Week. "I run a ton. Just [Saturday] after the Immaculate Conception game, I was so pumped up I ran six miles."

Gunderson is focused on the task at hand, as evidenced by her nine-inning one-hitter in the Highlanders’ 3-0 county quarterfinal win over No. 1 Ridgewood on Sunday. There is, however, another part of her that just can’t wait to head off to the University of Rhode Island to play softball and study business.

She says the process of picking a college started when she was in eighth grade, but Rhode Island wasn’t even a consideration until she played a tournament in New England last summer. The coaches saw her play and made a few phone calls. Before the right-hander knew it, she was swinging past Kingston on the way back to New Jersey.

"Nobody was on campus," said Gunderson, who credits her parents, Joanne and Peter, for her success. "It was summer. It was like a ghost town there. I snuck into the athletic center without anyone being there and looked inside and saw this huge stadium for basketball and I was in love."

Also nominated: Nicole DiPasquale of Paramus for lacrosse; Jaimie Parisi of Hackensack for softball; Liz Garcia of Holy Angels, Caroline O’Sullivan of NV/Old Tappan, Olivia Florio of Northern Highlands, Katerina Zachmann of Wayne Hills, Kaitlin Salisbury of Hawthorne, Olivia Pantale of Wayne Valley, Christian Rasnake of Immaculate Heart and Lauren Stern of Mahwah for track.

H.S. softball: Sarah Gunderson helps young team build on Northern Highlands’ success

April 20, 2016


Sarah Gunderson makes solid contact and hits a long fly ball to right field.

The Northern Highlands senior pitcher already had lifted her team’s offense by hitting a solo home run Monday over the left-field fence two innings earlier in a 6-0 win over Teaneck.

But this time, the ball settles into the right fielder’s glove.

As Gunderson runs back to the dugout, she yells to the Highlanders’ next batter, Fiona Walley.

“Come on Fi, pick me up!”

Never discouraged, but always encouraging.

The Rhode Island-bound Gunderson has been swinging a hot bat all season, and hitting for average and power. She’s been outstanding in the circle, routinely shutting down lineups and racking up double-digit strikeout performances.

And she’s been a leader for a younger Northern Highlands team, one that started the season with some new faces in new positions yet faces high expectations following last season’s team winning the Bergen County title.

No softball player in North Jersey may be more important to her team than Gunderson.

“I feel like I have to set a good example for these kids,” she said. “Before, we had the leaders there. We had our six seniors that eventually left. I felt like I really had to pick it up and bring up my leadership for these girls.

“I hope that I’m doing a good job for them, because they’re doing a great job out here.”

Gunderson took over in the circle full time following the graduation of Katie Duncan, who is pitching at Harvard.

The Highlanders also lost Christine Griffith, their leadoff hitter and All-Bergen County shortstop; as well as Megan O’Donnell, Nicole Gattoni and Caroline Lovisolo – all big contributors to a 24-4 campaign.

So, this season there were some early struggles.

Northern Highlands faced three strong teams in Indian Hills, Ridgewood and NV/Demarest in the first days of this spring. The Highlanders, now ranked No. 15 in The Record Top 25, began 1-3.

But Gunderson helped her team overcome that slow start. Northern Highlands was 4-3 entering Tuesday, and earned a signature victory Friday by defeating No. 12 NV/Old Tappan, 6-0.

Gunderson had yielded just one earned run on 16 hits in 34 innings and struck out 59 through the Highlanders’ first seven games. She had thrown 21 consecutive scoreless innings entering Tuesday.

At the plate, she was 10-for-19 (.526) with two home runs, nine RBI, three doubles, five singles and six runs.

What’s been behind her success in the batter’s box?

“That’s a tough one because I don’t know what’s going on,” Gunderson said with a laugh. “I’m really hoping I stick with it, because I’m having fun hitting.”

But her pitching is the result of consistent development.

She doesn’t rely on her fastball. She pitches to the corners and changes location up and down. Her curveball and cutter are biting, and her change-up continues to improve.

“I think it’s all kind of coming together for her in her senior year,” coach Chris Broking said. “I think it’s allowed her to accept her role in a positive way where she’s not only motivating others, but she’s motivating herself through that. But what she’s able to do is not allow the big inning.”

Gunderson pitched well as a sophomore, going 13-1. Then in 2015, she pitched early in the season but wasn’t completely healthy after injuring her back.

Broking moved Gunderson, an excellent fielder, to center, and Duncan pitched full time. Everything came together for the Highlanders.

But Gunderson was ready to get back in the circle.

“I think going into this year, she was so mentally prepared because I think she really knew this was her year, and she was going to get the ball every time out,” Broking said. “She’s making the most of it.”

Gunderson’s college plans are set, as she’s signed to play at Rhode Island. But for now, she’s focused on this season.

She’s been a force in the circle and a threat at the plate. And she’s making sure everyone around her is succeeding as much as she is.

“They’re doing a great job behind me,” Gunderson said.

The Record

H.S. boys lacrosse: Ridgewood tops Northern Highlands

April 15, 2016 - Peabody Stars for Ridgewood Lax



The message lately from assistant coach Sean Kelly, Dylan Peabody said with a smile, is that Ridgewood is becoming a "fourth quarter and overtime team."

Peabody and the Maroons boys lacrosse team proved it yet again Thursday night under the lights at Northern Highlands in a showdown to determine which is the best team in North Jersey.

The midfielder-turned-attacker struck for the latest Ridgewood game-winner — off a picture-perfect pass from behind the cage by Wylie Sherman with 1:26 left — to defeat the Highlanders, 9-8.

"It always helps that we have some All-American type of players on this team, like Cooper Telesco and Kevin Mollihan and Brett Kennedy, late in games," said Peabody, whose undefeated team has been involved in overtime wins over Bergen Catholic and Hunterdon Central.

"We can lean on these guys and stay confident when the pressure is on us late."

But with Northern Highlands focusing much of its defensive attention in the final minutes of the fourth — with the game tied at 8 — it was Peabody who slipped free for a split-second near the left post before ripping off the quick-wristed game-winner.

"He’s really crafty in there," Ridgewood coach Mike Pounds said. "He’s very savvy. He’s smooth. He’s a smooth player who can finish and he stays tall. It’s tough for goalies to match up with. He won’t overpower you, but we needed more finesse today and he came through for us."

Ridgewood (6-0) and Northern Highlands (4-2) already had signature wins over The Record preseason No. 1 squad, Bergen Catholic.

Thursday’s contest settled any conversation: Ridgewood is the team to beat in North Jersey going forward.

But all three programs — along with a competitive Ramapo squad and Don Bosco (which knocked off Bergen Catholic, 6-4, Thursday night) — have proven to be Bergen County title contenders.

"We work hard for games like this, against the high-quality teams like we see on a regular basis," Pounds said. "You’ve got to persevere. You’ve got to be consistent. You have to make adjustments. Their goalie [Greg Coleman] was standing on his head all night.

"You tell these kids to keep their heads, and that’s a tough thing to tell high school kids. But they stepped up and delivered when they needed to again."

It didn’t come easy, though, with Northern Highlands giving the Maroons all they could handle for 48 minutes.

The Maroons jumped ahead, 4-0, in the first behind two goals from Mollihan and one each from Griffin Peene and Peabody. But the upset-minded Highlanders responded in emphatic fashion with a 6-0 run starting in the second and extending into the third. Tom Hebner was busy putting on a show in front of the home crowd, and he finished with five goals and one assist.

With his team trailing, 7-6, entering the fourth, Ridgewood’s Telesco — who continued shining brightest when the game is on the line — tied it at 7 with 11:04 left.

He did it again, this time to make it 8-all with 3:13 left and set the stage for Peabody’s late-game heroics.

"Winning games like we have been, it’s a great sign for what’s to come," Peabody said. "Hopefully when we make a deep run in the [Tournament of Champions], wins like this show we can handle any adversity that comes our way.

"We’ve shown that in some of our wins already this year. And we’re going to look to keep it going."

H.S. Female Athlete of the Week:

Taylor Herrmann of Mahwah


Taylor Herrmann and several of her teammates on the Mahwah lacrosse squad have been playing together since fourth or fifth grade, so they’ve learned to often communicate without so much as a word or a gesture.

For instance, the senior midfielder says she’ll sometimes make eye contact with Kelly Pushie, and in that split second she’ll instinctively know that her fellow senior is about to drive off her defender and attack the net.

"She likes to roll the crease," Herrmann said. "So I always look for her, which is awesome because I always feel we connect with each other.

"She’ll get a step on her opponent and I’ll feed her, and she’ll most likely get the goal because she has great skills."

Herrmann, The Record Female Athlete of the Week, has some great skills, too.

She helped the Thunderbirds get off to a 2-0 start last week.

On Wednesday, she had five goals and two assists in a 19-1 win over Gill St. Bernard’s. Two days later, she had four goals and six assists in a 17-3 victory over Montclair Kimberley.

Herrmann says she has somewhat of a rivalry with twin brother Dylan.

Not only do Taylor and Dylan play for their respective lacrosse teams at Mahwah, but both will play in the fall for Babson College, a private business school outside Boston.

Sometimes they’ll talk about the games and offer each other advice, but at the end of the day, Herrmann says their rivalry serves as motivation.

"There actually is a little bit [of a rivalry]," Herrmann said, "but he plays defense, so we can’t really compare between defense and offense with goals and stuff like that.

"But we do actually have a rivalry, comparing who works harder."

Also nominated: Jennifer Sweeney of Dumont and Taryn DiGiacomo of Saddle Brook for softball; Caitlin Ernest of Pascack Hills for lacrosse; Liz Garcia of Holy Angels for track and field.

H.S. ice hockey: Northern Highlands’ depth reveals its potency

February 13, 2016


WAYNE — Northern Highlands was without its points leader. It was without its top goal scorer, too.

None of that mattered Saturday night in the first round of the Big North Freedom Cup ice hockey tournament.

Behind freshman Mark Cinotti’s four-point night (three goals, one assist) and junior Ben Weiner’s two goals and three assists, the third-seeded and undermanned Highlanders dominated from the start en route to a 10-1 victory over sixth-seeded Tenafly/Cresskill at the Ice Vault.

“It shows that we have a lot of depth on this team,” said Cinotti, who upped his season totals to 10 goals and four assists. “It shows that even if we’re missing some guys — two of our top six guys — we’re still able to play as a team together and put up some goals.”

And the goals came in waves, with Saturday representing the first time since opening night, Nov. 29, that Northern Highlands has reached a double-digit goal count.

“We’re absolutely pleased with how we played overall as a group,” Northern Highlands coach Jason Beswick said. “Cinotti stepped up. Weiner stepped up. We moved some things around without some of our guys and those two made the most of it.”

The Highlanders, who were without Dylan Koh (nine goals, 14 assists) and Jin Lee (12 goals, three assists) due to club hockey conflicts, still outshot Tenafly, 50-8, and took a 1-0 lead on Weiner’s first of the night two minutes into the first.

It would remain that way the rest of the period despite the Highlanders holding an 18-0 shot advantage over the Tigers, who also were without their top scorer, Matt Brown (33 goals). Brown, one of the state’s scoring leaders, opted for club hockey Saturday as well.

“It’s unfortunate because this game wasn’t really played at full strength for either team,” said Beswick, whose team earned an automatic bid into this year’s Public B state tournament. “But a win’s a win. We’re happy to be moving on.”

The Highlanders didn’t allow a Tenafly shot on goal until 13:40 left in the second period and began pulling away in the second with consecutive goals from Brayden Hascup, Cinotti and Joe Konvit. Northern Highlands exploded for six more scores — two from Cinotti and one each from Weiner, Keenan Alward, Sean Vlasich and Henry Riccitelli — in the final period to set up a coveted rematch with Glen Rock in Tuesday’s semifinals.

Northern Highlands, which climbed back over .500 (10-9), fell to Glen Rock, 3-2, on Wednesday in heartbreaking fashion. The Highlanders allowed the go-ahead, game-winning goal with 39 seconds left in the third. But this time the upset-minded Highlanders will take on the state-ranked and three-time reigning champion Panthers with a trip to the Freedom Cup final on the line.

“What we took out of that first game is that Glen Rock is a really, really good team,” Cinotti said. “But also that if we push hard enough, we can compete with them.

“That was our main goal coming in [Saturday]. It was like, ‘Let’s beat these guys so we can get another shot at Glen Rock.’Ÿ”

H.S. boys basketball: Don Bosco, St. Joseph advance to Bergen Jamboree semifinals

Feburary 15, 2016


HACKENSACK – After defeating Paramus Catholic by 25 points only days earlier, Don Bosco found the rematch to be a much bigger struggle. Leave it to Brandon Anderson to find a way to pick up his Ironmen teammates.

Anderson worked both ends of the floor, taking Bosco from a seven-point deficit to a 46-38 win over the Paladins. The second-seeded Ironmen will now take on third-seed Teaneck in the semifinals Sunday at 7 p.m.

"We just had to keep our heads in the game and keep playing hard," Anderson said. "We needed to get control of the tempo."

It was Paramus Catholic which had control in the first nine minutes of the second half. Trailing 22-13 at halftime, the Paladins charged back and grabbed the lead with 42 seconds left in the third quarter on a pair of Ty-Lynn Johnson free throws. Niles Sams then drilled a three-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 31-27.

PC opened the fourth with a three-pointer from Landon Gaines to open a seven-point bulge. The lead stayed seven on a pair of EJ Anosike free throws with 6:28 remaining that made it 36-29. Anderson then took over.

He found Omar Mostafa (14 points) for a three-point field goal, grabbed a rebound that eventually led to a Chris Paul basket and had a defensive stop after which the Ironmen closed to within one on a Marcellus Earlington free throw with 4:33 to go.

"Brandon is the kind of player who can take over a game even though he may not look like he's going full tilt," Don Bosco coach Kevin Diverio said. "All of a sudden he has that extra step and he's around you."

Earlington gave Bosco the lead on a basket with 3:29 left and Paul followed with a layup to make it 39-36. Anosike (18 points, 15 rebounds) hit two free throws with 2:16 to play to make it a one-point game, but that was as close as it got.

Anderson came down on a fast break and scored with 1:23 to go, then had another rebound that was converted into a pair of Manley Dorme free throws with a minute left. Anderson then hit one of two at the line with 36 seconds to go to open a 44-38 lead.

"Give [the Paladins] credit," Diverio said. "They came in with a good game plan, taking the air out of the ball. You could see they were a much better team than that 25-point game indicated."

"We had a game plan and we executed it all the way through to the end," Paramus Catholic coach Mark Scott said. "In the last four minutes, you've got to win the game and we didn't execute well enough."

H.S. girls basketball: Northern Highlands races past Teaneck

January 27, 2016


ALLENDALE – The freshman set the tone early.

Breanne Davis stole the ball and raced up the court. She made a fast-break layup that gave Northern Highlands its first two points.

It was the first play of what would become the Highlanders’ best defensive performance of the season.

Northern Highlands, ranked No. 15 in The Record girls basketball Top 25, turned that effort into a 59-43 victory over No. 3 Teaneck on Tuesday.

The Highlanders (10-5) were tough and aggressive from start to finish, and they delivered the type of all-around game coach Al Albanese had been wanting to see.

“They played really well,” Albanese said. “The way we envisioned them playing all year.”

Madison Grossman was outstanding at both ends of the floor, and led the Highlanders with 16 points. Sarah Minchin added 11 and Kira Boyer scored 10.

Boyer knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner with about two minutes remaining in the third quarter that gave Northern Highlands a 35-23 lead.

Davis drained a triple from about the same spot in the period’s final minute to push the Highlanders’ lead to 16.

“From the beginning of the game, we were ready to go,” Grossman said. “We had no doubt in our minds we could do this. It was just a matter of getting the momentum.”

Teaneck, though, kept fighting. Milan Johnson, who finished with 17 points, answered Davis’ three with one of her own. It was one of a trio of three-pointers she hit.

Amanda Gordon scored 16 points for the Highwaywomen (9-3), including 11 in the fourth quarter. She made a layup in transition early in the period that cut Teaneck’s deficit to nine.

But Northern Highlands then scored seven straight points.

Emily Bonifacic got a steal and sent a pass to Minchin, who made a fast-break layup to push the Highlanders’ lead back to 16 points.

Northern Highlands consistently disrupted Teaneck’s offense. It was the type of effort Albanese felt his team lacked 24 hours earlier. The Highlanders beat Midland Park, 71-62, Monday in the first round of the Bergen County tournament. For Albanese, the Highlanders’ defense wasn’t quite was good as it could have been.

So before Tuesday’s game, Albanese met with his captains: Bonifacic and Boyer.

“Whatever went wrong, we kind of talked it out,” Albanese said. “The kids were just 10 times more focused today.”

It showed against a Teaneck team that boasts a formidable offense.

The Highwaywomen will have a chance for revenge Saturday when these teams play again in the second round of the county tournament.

“Obviously the big game is Saturday,” Albanese said. “But I think we’ll go in with a little momentum.”


Tyler Bishop Earns NEHC Player of the Week Accolades

Posted: Jan 11, 2016



For the first time in his career, junior defenseman Tyler Bishop (Ramsey, N.J.) has been named the New England Hockey Conference Co-Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday afternoon.

Bishop helped #5/8 UMass Boston men's hockey stay perfect in NEHC play, with a career day in the Beacons' 6-5 win over New England College on Saturday. The junior defenseman recorded his first collegiate hat trick, including scoring the game-winner, and added an assist in the win. After having a hand in each of the Beacons' first three goals, Bishop scored 1:35 into overtime to help UMass Boston move to 8-0-0 in NEHC play.

In the Beacons' only other game of the week, Bishop finished +2 +/- and added two shots in a 6-4 road conference win at St. Anselm College.

Bishop leads all NEHC blue-liners with his 14 points (five goals and nine assists) and ranks tied for third in the nation with his five goals and 14 points.

UMass Boston will return to action on Friday night at 7 p.m., when they host arch-rival #7/8 Babson College.

H.S. Female Athlete of the Week: Emily Bonifacic of Northern Highlands

December 29, 2015 Last updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Emily Bonifacic’s dad, David, started his own engineering firm. Her mom, Lani, is a social worker who opened her own practice.

So it’s no surprise when the Northern Highlands senior says she’s interested in a career in business, even if she jokes, "It’s in my blood."

Imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit, Bonifacic will be heading to Babson, a business school just west of Boston. As part of a mandatory class, freshmen are given a stipend to create a start-up field — and that has Bonifacic intrigued.

"The whole year you work on it and learn about it, and then you kind of get experience creating your own company before you graduate college," she said. "A lot of times, people will get business degrees and go off into the real world and kind of make a lot of mistakes. Here, you’re making them with teachers’ supervision."

The Record Female Athlete of the Week is all business on the basketball court, too.

Last week, Bonifacic helped Northern Highlands beat Westwood, Hackensack and Holy Angels, scoring 20, 22 and 14 points, respectively. She also averaged almost 13 rebounds for the week. She said the win against Westwood was especially important. The Highlanders turned a four-point halftime lead into a 55-36 victory with a strong defensive effort in the second half.

"The momentum from that win," she said, "helped us the rest of the week."

Between playing for the Highlanders and her AAU team, basketball is an 11-month-a-year commitment. When August comes, Bonifacic heads to the beach to relax. Her family has a place on Long Island, and she’s happy throwing around a football with her brothers, playing in the surf, reading or sleeping.

Sometimes, you just need a good beach day to recharge," she said.


Also nominated: Jasmine Gee of Immaculate Conception, Emily Crevani of NV/Old Tappan and Michelle Sidor of Saddle River Day for basketball.

H.S. boys basketball: Brandon Anderson clutch for Don Bosco

December 22, 2015


MONTVALE – Brandon Anderson was perfect on his free throws and Don Bosco needed every last one of them to survive.

The Ironmen escaped with 50-49 victory over host St. Joseph in Big North United Division boys basketball Tuesday night and the final points came on two free throws by Anderson with 21.7 seconds remaining.

“We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win,” Don Bosco coach Kevin Diverio said.

Anderson, a senior guard chosen by The Record as one of this season’s five Bergen County “Players to Watch,” was 9-for-9 from the foul line and scored a game-high 23 points. His game-winning free throws came after he was fouled on a putback attempt.

“I make sure I’m always focused when I’m at the line and try and stay composed throughout the whole game, and I did a good job with that today,” Anderson said.

St. Joseph, No. 2 in The Record preseason Top 25, missed three shots in the last 12 seconds. The first two shots came on contested drives and the last one was a hurried putback at the buzzer that was short of the rim.

Don Bosco, ranked No. 7, won despite going the entire second half without making an outside shot on St. Joseph’s markedly tighter South basket. Marcellus Earlington, a 6-foot-5 sophomore forward, worked his way inside and scored nine of his 14 after intermission.

“It’s a good thing we made a lot of shots inside six feet then,” Diverio said. “[St. Joseph] turned it up defensively. I thought they did a really good job being physical with us, really took us out of anything that we were trying to do.”

Don Bosco (3-0) did a lot in the first quarter as Anderson spearheaded an assault that led to a 24-13 lead. He scored 14 in that quarter, including 11 consecutive points. He started his spurt with a three-pointer. He also turned a pair of steals into transition layups. The Ironmen turned three early steals into easy layups, starting with one by junior guard Charlie Bagin.

“It’s important for us to get some transition points, because we will go through stretches where we struggle to score,” Diverio said.

St. Joseph (2-1) climbed back into the game in the second quarter by doing what it does best: play tough man-to-man defense. The Green Knights overcame poor shooting by holding Don Bosco scoreless on 11 consecutive possessions and rode a 10-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 29-23.

St. Joseph’s speedy junior guard, Chauncey Hawkins, scored a team-high 15, and he, too, was good from the foul line, sinking 11 of 14 in a very physical battle.

“Hopefully we discovered a little bit of our identity moving forward,” St. Joseph coach Mike Doherty said. “We dug ourselves a tremendous hole early on and were not prepared for success against a team of Don Bosco’s caliber. But we really clawed our way back, put ourselves in position to win a tremendous game, and let a couple of things slip away at the end there that hopefully we’re going to learn from.”

No. 10 Don Bosco tops No. 12 Christian Brothers, 52-46, in HG Showcase

December 19, 2015


CALDWELL--Don Bosco Prep, No. 10 in the Top 20, is not a one-man show.

From its agile guards to its physical forwards, the Ironmen have all the pieces needed to wear a team down.

During Saturday's Tip-Off Hoop Group Showcase both Don Bosco's guards and forwards hit their shots from beyond the arc to help the Ironmen build a lead on No. 12 Christian Brothers that they did not let slip away in a 52-46 victory at Caldwell University's George R. Newman Center.

"I think we are a very difficult team to defend when everybody is clicking we are a hard team to stop," senior guard Brandon Anderson, who led Bosco with 17 points, said. "It was important to get lead in the third so that we could do what we wanted to do and dictate the pace in the fourth."

A third quarter that saw Anderson, Chris Paul, who finished with 14 points, Omar Mostafa and Charlie Bagin all hit threes allowed the Ironmen to head into the fourth quarter with a 38-33 lead.

Christian Brothers battled back and came within two points of Don Bosco once and three points twice. With just over a minute to play John Salcedo, who headed the guard position for the Colts and had nine points, sunk a layup to make the score 49-46, but trips to the charity stripe and two late turnovers allowed Don Bosco to pull away.

Coming into the game the Ironmen knew that Paul was going to be the X-factor. Don Bosco knew that it would get its points, but his job was to contain a versatile 6-8 forward in Pat Andree. Although Andree scored a game-high 19 points and ripped down nine boards, Bosco's junior forward did not let him take over the came, which CBA's star is more than capable of doing.

"He is really good. He crashes the boards. He rebounds," Paul said. "I just do what I do. I know that my teammates are going to find me."

Andree was not Christian Brothers' only threat down low and the 6-7 Jack McGuire finished with 13 points and five rebounds. With the Colts scoring threats at forwards, Don Bosco looked to exploit an advantage at the guard position.

"We knew that their stronger point was their forwards inside," Anderson added. "We had to try to take it out of their (forwards') hands and attack their guards."

Richard Greco may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RichardGrecohs. Find on Facebook.

The Record H.S. Football Offensive Player of the Year: James Ciliento, Mahwah

December 13, 2015


MAHWAH — If you want to understand just how much James Ciliento meant to Mahwah during the Thunderbirds’ drive to a North 1, Group 2 title, have a chat with River Dell coach DJ Nimphius.

“He’s their trump card,” Nimphius said earlier this season. “Play for play, he’s the best player I’ve seen on all three sides of the ball — and I’m counting the Catholic schools.”

Ciliento was a good enough defensive back to earn All-Bergen County honors at that position this season. He was also one of the most dangerous special team players in North Jersey, returning two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns.

But it was Ciliento’s work at quarterback that really set the stage for a season in which the Thunderbirds scored a program-record 469 points in 12 games. The 6-foot, 180-pound senior carried 153 times for 1,205 yards and 26 touchdowns and completed 75 of 120 passes for 1,012 yards and 11 touchdowns, dominating games like few players in North Jersey.

That’s why Ciliento was chosen as The Record Offensive Player of the Year.

“I definitely learned a lot from last year,” said Ciliento, who also returned an interception for a TD. “I can tell I improved. It was my second year at quarterback, and knowing most of the offense helped a lot. Plus, the guys around me gave me confidence.”

Ciliento was at his best during the postseason. In three games, he rushed for 480 yards and nine touchdowns, helping the Thunderbirds pile up 111 points en route to their first sectional title since 1981.

“As a coach, there were times I’d call a play, watch and think, ‘Uh-oh,’ ” said Mahwah coach Jeff Remo. “But he would just turn it into a first down.

“I’ve been coaching now for over 25 years, and I will tell you that James is one of the top one or two players I’ve ever coached in my entire life.”

Speed is Ciliento’s calling card, but he also has great moves that drove defenses crazy. He admitted that one of the things he learned over the course of this season was what it’s like to feel dangerous on a football field.

“There were times when I felt that, when I knew I could be dangerous,” said Ciliento, who was responsible for 41 touchdowns this season. “All I had to do was what I was taught to do.”

Ciliento is also one of the finest center fielders in North Jersey, and he has already accepted a baseball scholarship to Bryant. Several colleges have started showing interest in him for football, but as recently as last week, he turned down an offer from Monmouth.

“I’ll always remember when James took over as quarterback last year, and we’d leave the lights on the field for him after practice,” Remo said. “Everyone else would go home, but he’d be throwing to whoever would stay. He worked so hard for this.”

The Record

H.S. Girls Soccer: Drive to thrive helps Northern Highlands standout conquer injuries

December 10, 2015


Excruciating knee pain had kept Sarah Kelly sidelined for too long, so when given the choice, she opted for repair.

"I had the option of sitting out for six more months or having surgery," the Northern Highlands senior soccer player explained recently. "I had missed too much soccer already."

Senior Sarah Kelly overcame serious knee problems to have an all-star career for a championship-caliber Northern Highlands girls soccer team. Above and right, Kelly in action this season, playing at full strength.

The girl who had been playing the sport since she was 8 years old, was frustrated by the inactivity and the constant pain in both knees that cost her freshman season and the club season that followed.

The pain came from a genetic problem called Osgood Schlatter Disease, which also had afflicted her father in his youth.

Basically, it is common among young people who engage in sports that feature running, jumping and abruptly changing direction, as in soccer. It occurs around the bony bump where the patella tendon attaches to the knee cap and there is a pulling on the growth plate.

The star midfielder/defender stands 5-feet-1, so she found one thing odd about her medical problem.

"What makes it ironic is that it usually happens during growth spurts, but I’ve always been short," she said with a laugh.

Diminutive, yes, but more importantly, Kelly was aggressively determined, an unshakable personal characteristic of hers.

"From the moment Sarah entered our program, she has been making an impact," Highlands coach Tara Madigan said. "Sarah is a feisty and fearless player. She plays with desire, passion and a determination that cannot be taught."

It is no wonder that Madigan appreciates Kelly’s on-field demeanor. Madigan was described similarly when she played at River Dell, where she has been installed in the Oradell school’s athletic hall of fame.

Dogged determination

Nicknames can be attached quickly when Kelly takes the field.

"A dad on my club soccer team calls me ‘Pit bull’," she offered with another chuckle.

And that is the way Kelly attacked her knee-growth problems. Knee braces didn’t help. Nothing did.

Of the knees affliction, she said, "They’re supposed to hurt for two years, but mine kept hurting. I went to a lot of doctors, but finally, I found one who helped."

That was Dr. John D. MacGillivray, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital For Special Surgery in New York City.

Having been forced to miss a year of soccer came at a time when college recruiters first start evaluating the talents of young players, so Kelly was behind many of her peers in that respect. Thus, the choice to undergo the double operation. The lengthy procedure took place in April 2013.

But even more problems surfaced.

"When they opened the knee, [it was discovered that] the growth had shattered instead of [still] being attached," Kelly explained.

Dr. MacGillivray clarified by saying, "Usually there is one piece of bone, but hers were more fragmented, and all those pieces in both knees had to be removed."

It was those jagged pieces that had been inflicting even greater pain.

The surgery removed the stress on the tendon. Also, the doctor noted that in Kelly’s left knee, there was a softening under the knee cap that had to be corrected.

After that came rehabilitation. While sidelined, all Kelly could do was lift weights and do whatever workouts were possible, working with her club coach, Shawn Cryer, of the New Jersey Stallions Dynamite team.

A force on the field

When finally cleared to play, Kelly attracted instant attention. Very quickly, she not only caught up but also passed many of her contemporaries.

She was named to the All-Bergen County first team and All-North Jersey second team her first season back, as a sophomore. And she repeated those honors as a junior, after confronting any opponent, much taller than she, who dared challenge her.

There is nothing one-dimensional in Kelly’s play. She plays defense and midfield.

"I dribble up the field, and I can put crosses in and play defense," she explained.

It was the defensive position where Kelly earned her all-everything honors, but she also contributed a pair of goals and a number of assists for the nationally-ranked Highlanders this year.

As a senior, fully into the swing of things, she is likely to attain major laurels again. Kelly already has been informed that she is All-State and first-team All-County for the third time. The All-North Jersey team is scheduled to be published Friday in The Record.

Up and coming, too, is younger sister Joanna Kelly, a sophomore midfielder who also began to star on the Highlands team and captured third-team All-County and first-team All-Freedom Division honors.

Sarah concedes that Joanna already is two inches taller than she, but there is unity there.

"We’ve always played together," the older sister said. "I’m used to pushing her to work hard and she pushes me. We outdo it sometimes."

Bright future

Next, Sarah will be off to Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., a liberal arts school, where after two years she will choose a major course of study.

"I’m considering pre-law or business," she said.

She also had considered William & Mary (Va.) and George Washington and was on the short list at Princeton, but felt Williams was "a good academic and athletic fit for me, and they’re playing in the Division III NCAA finals."

Highlands won state titles in her sophomore and junior seasons and the team went unbeaten this year until a tough 1-0 loss to Colts Neck in the State Group 3 final.

"We all played our hardest," Kelly said. "That’s important."

As she spoke, she was riding in a car, returning to her Ho-Ho-Kus home from a soccer tournament in North Carolina.

Asked how things went, she said modestly, "We won all our games."

Casey Richards - HS All American 2015

October 27, 2015



"The Bergen County tournament final on Saturday between Northern Highlands and Immaculate Heart will feature three All-Americans: Northern Highlands’ Casey Richards and Morgan Busacca and IHA’s Sophia Gulati.

The trio was selected as part of the East Region’s 20-player roster in the 2015 All-American game in Raleigh, N.C. on Dec. 5.

Richards, the Highlanders’ dynamic center midfielder bound for Georgetown, has scored a team-best 16 goals this season while adding another 13 assists for the nation’s top-ranked team."

Good Energy Training is on a roll with regard to highly touted high school girls soccer talent recognition. Two years ago Clare Shea (Army-West Point) was named National Player of the Year for Northern Highlands HS and last year Hana Kerner was the local player of the year before heading to UVA and NJ's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls soccer.

Casey Richards has already received ALL AMERICAN status, but there's more WORK to be done this November for the Highlanders! wink emoticon

...who will be next for the GE Team? GE Soccer Girls DON'T Just Play...they TRAIN. smile emoticon

Good Energy Training
NEXT LEVEL Training since 2003

Letter to Parents of Freshman Student Athletes

FALL 2015


It’s that time of year when freshmen student athletes are completing their first fall sports season. Your son or daughter is now fully adjusted to the high school class schedule and has settled into a routine. In some cases, if your student athlete plays a winter sport like basketball, they may sneak into some “open gyms” or if they utilize a skills trainer, make a few private basketball lessons when their schedule allows.

Now is the perfect time to get ahead in preparation for their winter or spring sport. Recently there has been articles written locally on student athletes as young as freshman who have verbally committed to play college lacrosse. This “scholarship offer” is clearly a projection of talent based on current skill and estimated growth over the course of four years as well as completion of necessary studies.

All student athletes that matriculate high school to play athletics in college will be performing Strength & Conditioning as an important part of their sport requirement. Our professional training staff has been successfully preparing high school athletes in our college prep program since 2003. Not only have we utilized our vast college network to assist our student athletes get recruited, but have physically prepared them for the next level in our program which parallels that of a college or professional strength & conditioning program.

November is a great month for your student athlete to recover from the fall season as well as get a head start on their preseason or offseason strength and conditioning program. Many of our juniors and seniors are in the thick of their school’s playoff hunt for their fall sport and are maintaining their strength in our in season training regiment. A new student athlete in our program will perform a thorough one hour introduction/assessment to learn our system and methodology as well as provide us with his or her performance goals. Following the 1st session in late October or early November, your student athlete will have time to acclimate to our program. By training several times per week during this transitional period, your son or daughter can get used to our workouts prior to our Varsity fall athletes returning to train in their normal routine. Our traditional Winter schedule begins on Monday November 30, 2015.
The best way to stay in a structured schedule is to replace two or three fall practice days with productive work with our professional staff to continue a routine for your young student athlete and keep the study habits the same as in season. Good habits all start with a standard routine and Good Energy Training can help your student athlete not only gain strength and confidence in our program, but have more energy to focus on their studies when they finish their workout with our staff.

Good Energy Training: Don’t just Play... TRAIN.

260 W. Crescent Avenue #2, Allendale, NJ 07401 * 201-760-9900 *

Kelly Pushie, Taylor Herrmann spark Mahwah's win over West Morris Central

Sunday - 3/29/15


MAHWAH — The proverbial switch went on and Kelly Pushie and Taylor Herrmann refused to lose.

Locked in a 7-7 tie in the second half of Saturday’s showdown against West Morris Central, Mahwah’s two dynamic juniors scored four of the Thunderbirds’ final five goals and assisted on the other in the last 16:32 to lead Mahwah to a gritty 12-9 victory in a snow squall.

“Even though they are just juniors, they’re kind of taking over that important leadership role for us,” T-Birds coach Brian Girardi said. “We want the ball, and they want the ball, on their sticks at the end of games like that.”

That competitive fire and will to win has been ingrained in Herrmann since an early age.

Her older brother, Zach, was an all-division quarterback for Mahwah (Class of 2013, now at Franklin & Marshall) and her twin brother, Dylan, is a defender on the Thunderbirds’ boys lacrosse team.

That family dynamic helped shape the gifted athlete Taylor is today and Mahwah lacrosse now is reaping the benefits.

“I think growing up with two athletic brothers has definitely made me tougher,” said Herrmann, a do-it-all, two-way midfielder who broke out for 44 goals and 15 assists last season and already has nine goals and four assists this year.

“We’d always play outside together and I’d get beat up, but I think those experiences helped me. It made me stronger. Dylan makes me go one-on-one against him. And my dad is always telling me to be aggressive, so that’s where I get that from.”

Pushie, according to Girardi, already has taken her game to another level after breaking out for 43 goals last season.

Held to just one score in the first 32 minutes Saturday against West Morris, Pushie struck three times over the next 11 minutes to turn a 7-7 tie into a 10-8 lead.

“Her freshman year she gave us about 20 goals and was a very nice player,” Girardi said of Pushie, an attacker who has posted 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in Mahwah’s first two wins.

“And she’s always had the stick skills. But this year, she’s a step faster, a little quicker and it’s because of the year-round work she puts into her game. It’s paying off and she has developed into a great threat for us now.”

Pushie and Herrmann are both straight-A students. They have been club lacrosse teammates for the last two years.

There’s a certain chemistry and trust between them evident in the fluidity of their play, and the duo now headlines a Mahwah team that features a rare but dangerous combination of talented youth and experience.

Together, they have the Thunderbirds thinking big this spring and beyond.

“Most of this group has been together for such a long time, since like sixth, seventh and eighth grades,” said Pushie, one of nine starting underclassmen Saturday for the No. 3-ranked team in The Record Top 10.

“Some of us go back even further than that. So we’re a close-knit team that knows what we’re capable of. It’s important to make sure we keep working together and keep building off these great wins.”

Patriots' Devin McCourty staying with New England

March 9, 2015


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Patriots safety Devin McCourty says he's returning to New England.

Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32), a free agent and former St. Joseph Regional and Rutgers star, is staying with New England. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The former St. Joseph Regional and Rutgers star said on Twitter late Sunday night that he's happy to stay with the team that picked him in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

McCourty, 27, said in a telephone call to Comcast SportsNet New England on Sunday that he came close to leaving. The free agent said he wanted to be back but knew the business side of football could interfere.

Among the teams interested were the Tennessee Titans, where his twin brother Jason plays.

McCourty had 67 total tackles last season and added nine more in the postseason as the Patriots won their fourth Super Bowl since 2001.

NFL free agency officially begins Tuesday.

The Record Ice Hockey Player of the Year: 2014-15

Alex Whelan, Ramsey


Alex Whelan didn’t have to stay, but there was never any doubt in his mind that he would even contemplate leaving.

Club team member extraordinaire Alex Whelan did not abandon his Ramsey teammates during his senior season.

With so many of the country’s hockey prospects opting to exit from their respective high school teams in favor of club and junior league competition, Whelan — a prolific scoring forward — was someone who remained loyal to Ramsey until the very end.

“He already had a Division I commitment to Quinnipiac, and all he really had to do was concentrate on his club team,” Ramsey coach Bob Toy said. “But he felt a strong bond to his teammates and felt a responsibility to play for his town, and I don’t think leaving ever entered his mind. Typically, players of his caliber move on to other things by their senior years. But not Alex. Alex stayed.”

Choosing to pridefully don the Rams’ blue and gold for four years, Whelan put together one of the greatest careers in Bergen County and New Jersey history, guiding Ramsey to two straight county finals, four straight Public B semifinals and the past two Public B state finals.

He finished with a record-breaking 265 career points (145 goals, 120 assists), including a North Jersey-best 49-goal, 32-assist season — with at least one goal in his final 18 games, including two in the state final. He is The Record Hockey Player of the Year for the third consecutive time.

“His sophomore year he was a bit of an unknown commodity,” Toy said of Whelan, who will play for the Premier League’s Hitmen for one year before enrolling at Quinnipiac in the fall of 2016.

“He might’ve snuck up on some people that year, but obviously his talent and numbers spoke for themselves. But by this season, everybody in the state knew about him. I mean, everybody. Every coach, every team, every player knew that when they played Ramsey, they had one goal in mind … and that was to stop Alex Whelan. He had to go against double- and triple-teams every time on the ice, against other teams’ best players.’’

While the state championship Whelan coveted so much eluded him and his teammates, Toy said that doesn’t diminish what the Rams accomplished the past four years. And the fact that Ramsey came up one goal short in each of the last two state finals was not because of a lack of effort.

“Just look at this year’s final [5-4 loss to Middletown North]. The puck was on his stick with less than a second left and he’s trying to score,” Toy said of a potential game-tying goal on a shot taken from center ice, which crossed the goal line just after the buzzer sounded.

“He didn’t throw it against the boards or just give up. There was time on the clock and he never gave up, never showed any quit until the last tick of his high school career. That defines Alex Whelan.”

H.S. Fencing: Northern Highlands trio places in top eight at state finals

March 5, 2015


A tiring but satisfying fencing season at Northern Highlands has come to a close with honors overflowing.

"Sixteen-hour, back-to-back days," weary coach Dale Roberts reported from a comfortable chair at home Saturday a few hours after the final state-tournament event had been completed.

That was the NJSIAA individual finals, held at Somerset County's Montgomery High School last Saturday and Sunday, during which the Highlanders accomplished plenty. Junior Brian Lee had the school's highest finish with a tie for third place in foil. Seniors Sarah Pak and Jake Shulman both reached the final eight in the foil competition.

These have been busy times for the fencers, with a string of major showdowns coming at them rapidly. First, there was the league competition, followed by the District 4 (Jan. 31) and state squad (Feb. 21) championships. And the Highlands boys and girls teams came out of all of them with honors.

Boys impress in foil

Shulman and and Lee were first-team honorees in the Bergen-Passaic League, and sophomore Mike Rotondo was second-team in epee.

In the districts, Shulman won in foil, where Lee was second, and the boys squad finished fifth overall.

"These are all outstanding kids," the coach said of both the boys and girls teams. "Jake Shulman won the district championship all four years. He's going out on a high note, and he's going to Duke."

It is important to note that Roberts, throughout a discussion about his teams, often refers to the athletes as 'men' and 'women' or 'ladies.'

For instance, he said, "The men's foil qualified [for the state squad meet] and finished seventh, which is not bad at all." The foil assignments were handled by Shulman and Lee, plus sophomore Ryan Ingrassia and freshman Reid Dumont, who shared the "C-strip" duties.

Shulman was a Bergen County champion and capped his district career sweep with another title to lead the Highlanders to a fifth-place team showing in the Jan. 31 event. Ingrassia further underscored the team's potency in the foil by finishing fourth individually.

The foil team finished fourth, and the epee team was fifth.

By Ron Fox
Town Journal

Kerner Named NJ Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of Year



Northern Highlands striker Hana Kerner has been named the Gatorade New Jersey Girls Soccer Player of the Year, the company announced in a press release on Thursday.

Kerner, who signed her National Letter of Intent to play for the University of Virginia on Wednesday, was also the Girls Soccer Player of the Year after leading the Highlanders to their fourth straight Group 3 championship last November. She had 21 goals in her senior season, including a hat trick in the title game.

The press release also stated: "The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Kerner as New Jersey’s best high school girls soccer player. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year award to be announced in May, Kerner joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports, including Abby Wambach (1997-98, Our Lady of Mercy, N.Y.), Derek Jeter (1991-92, Kalamazoo HS, Mich.), Candace Parker (2001-02, Naperville Central HS, Ill.), Alexi Lalas (1987-88, Cranbrook HS, Mich.), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, East Brunswick HS, N.J.) and Mark Sanchez (2004-05, Mission Viejo HS, Calif.)."

Past winners of the award include Ramapo's Caroline Chagares, Northern Highlands' Clare Shea, Danielle Colaprico of Red Bank Catholic and Kaitlyn Kerr of Pennington.

“Hana’s impact on the field for Highlands was probably felt most in the biggest games,” Ramapo coach Paul Heenehan said in the press release. “The hat trick in the state final this year is a great example. Her individual stats might not be that impressive but her team stats were amazing and she set the tone.”

Severson - ACC Woman Fencer of the Week

January 28, 2015


Ashley Severson compiled a 10-4 record Saturday at No. 8 St. John's, and a 9-2 record Sunday at the NYU Invite. Saturday, she was undefeated against No. 5 Ohio State (2-0) and No. 7 Harvard (3-0), and on Sunday she went 1-0 against Yale, 3-0 against No. 2 Columbia and 2-0 versus No. 9 Northwestern and NYU. Combined, the native of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, etched a 19-6 record throughout the weekend to lead the top-ranked Irish women's squad to an 8-2 record over the weekend with six victories over ranked opponents. The Irish women are currently ranked No. 1 in the Fencing Coaches Poll.

Blake Costanzo gets to work at Paramus Catholic

January 21, 2015


Former NFL linebacker Blake Costanzo got a crash course on what it’s like to run one of the most successful high school football programs in North Jersey in his first 48 hours on the job.

The most important lesson he’s learned so far?

“You’ve got to be able to put out the fire,” Costanzo said. “There are going to be problems that arise in any program and you have to take care of them right away.”

The Franklin Lakes native and Ramapo High School alumnus was introduced as Paramus Catholic’s new football coach Sunday night following Chris Partridge’s surprising announcement that he is ending his tenure to pursue college opportunities.

Costanzo has never coached before – his NFL career ended before this season – and he spent part of Monday speaking with parents and players to quell any fears about the direction of the program.

It was just one of the many responsibilities Costanzo inherited in his new role, including meeting with college recruiters and players leading up to National Signing Day (Feb. 4) and having meetings with Paramus Catholic’s assistants to a plan how they will keep the program in the national limelight.

“Kids are going to want to play for Blake Costanzo,” said Ramapo coach Drew Gibbs, who coached Costanzo during his senior year. “He was one of those guys who was a tremendous spark for us every day at practice. He’s got an infectious enthusiasm that will carry over from his playing days.”

Costanzo was a linebacker at Ramapo and Lafayette College, where he and Partridge became close friends, and played seven seasons in the NFL.

He established himself as a special-teams star in the NFL and played for the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco and Chicago Bears before he was placed on injured reserve by the 49ers before the 2014 season.

He believes his time playing and learning new systems in the NFL will help him as a head coach. Partridge is also sticking around through National Signing Day to help the transition go smoothly.

“I’m excited for Paramus Catholic. I think Blake is going to do an awesome job,” Partridge said. “Coaching nowadays is all about relationships with people and relationships with kids and what’s in your heart. I know that he’s got what it takes to handle those types of things in a program like this.”

Costanzo inherits a program Partridge transformed from a local doormat to national player. The Paladins went 39-17 in five seasons under Partridge and won Non-Public Group 4 titles in 2012 and 2013 with a star-studded roster that featured Michigan freshman Jabrill Peppers.

The Paladins were in several national rankings the last two years, reached a third state final this year before losing to St. Peter’s Prep and finished the year ranked No. 1 in The Record football Top 25.

It’s a lot for a first-year coach to follow. But Costanzo believes he’s ready for the challenge.

“My thing is just to get the most out of these kids and teach them the right way to work; that it’s all about the team and not just themselves,” Costanzo said. “When you do things the right thing, winning comes with that.”

RU's perfect finale: Win, then Carroo’s Big News

December 26, 2014


DETROIT – Rutgers needed this.

Rutgers needed to pen this final football scene of 2014, in which players got to drench their head coach in an ice cube shower, where fans got to serenade their departing quarterback by chanting his name in gratitude, where an entire roster of football players came together in a midfield scrum of happiness, finishing off a season with a victory for the first time in three years, holding aloft a bowl championship trophy.

Rutgers needed the wire-to-wire, no-doubt win over North Carolina it engineered Friday evening in the inaugural Quick Lane Bowl, a 40-21 final score that felt inevitable from the moment senior quarterback Gary Nova led an effortless opening touchdown drive.

Rutgers needed the remarkable six quarters of football that ended its season — a second half comeback against Maryland plus four dominating quarters against the Tar Heels — needed those 75 minutes to redefine an image that could have been cast in a stretch of devastatingly lopsided conference losses midway through the year. Instead, this 8-5 campaign has to define a debut Big Ten
season as a success, an answer to critics who questioned whether Rutgers ever belonged on college football’s penthouse floor.

Rutgers needed this win to launch into an optimistic off-season, one that took on a gleeful tone with the postgame announcement by wide receiver Leonte Carroo he will return for his senior year. From his position atop a folding chair inside the tape-strewn locker room of Ford Field, Carroo told his teammates his news, a loud eruption of cheers and applause confirming he’d made the best decision for himself.

“I’m still here with the top guys from my class and I’m very excited about the opportunity we have next year,” Carroo said.

By forgoing the NFL Draft for another year, Carroo upped the talent quotient on the Rutgers’ roster exponentially, and will return to help fulfill the challenge Nova set forth to his teammate since their days at Don Bosco.

“I told them not to settle for this – 8-5 is good but next year set all your goals to be even better,” Nova said, the emotion of his own locker room speech leaving him drained, the reality that the tears he shed were recognition his Rutgers days are really over. But he was smiling too, confident that the team he leaves behind is prepared to do even more, especially with his favorite target Carroo on the field for the next guy to find, be it Hayden Rettig or Chris Laviano.

“I think that’s the best news Rutgers got tonight, besides the bowl win,” Nova said. “Leonte coming back is huge. As a leader, people are going to respect him, look up to him, and he’s going to be huge for this team.”

As much as Rutgers needed everything it got Friday evening in Detroit – a total of 304 rushing yards from fellow true freshmen Josh Hicks and Robert Martin, two fumble recoveries and a blocked field goal from senior safety Lorenzo Waters, more defensive mayhem from senior-to-be and returning captain Darius Hamilton – it’s going to need more of the same for every season here on out. That’s life in the Big Ten world, the life coach Kyle Flood has to sell to prospective recruits.

“As we go forward into the spring, I feel we’re making progress as a program,” Flood said. “Winning helps. It helps recruiting, it helps the feeling around the program, it helps alumni feel better, fans feel better, the president of the university feel better, everyone feels better.”

There were so many feel-good moments for Rutgers on Friday, moments that deserve recognition. From Flood’s decision to wear an NYPD cap and black stripe not only to honor the two New York police officers gunned down last week but to honor the work of his own brother, employed by NYPD’s special response team, to many of his players including Nova putting on those same hats in support, the feeling Friday was one of accomplishment, one of togetherness, and one of pride.

But it was also one of challenge, to move away from the wrong end of score lines like 56-17 to Ohio State, 37-0 to Wisconsin and 45-3 to Michigan State, to move more regularly toward games like the 41-38 comeback over Maryland, the 45-23 win over Indiana, the 26-24 victory over Michigan. As Nova said: Do more, win more, accomplish more.

“I think that was huge,” said Hamilton, who made sure to honor the Don Bosco ties in a short postgame hug with Nova and Carroo, his forever teammates. “It’s really important we don’t settle. I think we have the character and the talent to be a top team. I’m really looking forward to next year. This was a huge moment for us.”

Rutgers needed this. It needed its outgoing seniors to play like leaders, the way Nova and Waters did. It needed its biggest playmakers to make plays, the way Carroo (43 receiving yards), Hamilton (two tackles for loss, including one on a fake field goal, and a sack) and Tyler Kroft (the big time tight end who is still considering a return for his senior season) did.

It needed glimpses of bright futures from its young players, from game MVP Hicks (202 yards, TD) and fellow running back Martin (103 yards, two TDs), running backs who will be challenged by the return of injured starter Paul James.

Mostly, it needed this for an embattled athletic department that spent as much time defending itself against self-inflicted public-relations wounds as it did trying to prepare for a new life in the nation’s highest-conference tier, needed this to answer that still skeptical public, to soothe the long-suffering fan base so conditioned to expect the worst.

Friday counts as a good day, good news for the present. Now, it needs to be leveraged into better news in the future.

The Record

December 9, 2014

H.S. Female Athlete of the Week: Madeline Wolf of Northern Highlands


Madeline Wolf calls it splash and dash.

It's her phrase for the times her relay team is trailing and she enters the water knowing she must summon all of her strength to stage a furious rally.

It happened again Thursday, when the senior made up almost a second in the final leg to help Northern Highlands beat Immaculate Heart in the 200 freestyle relay.

"At first we didn't know who won, but then the officials said I won, which was exciting because IHA's relay team is always really good," Wolf said.

The Record Female Athlete of the Week said she somehow swims faster despite carrying the hopes of the team.

"That's my favorite part, swimming, when you go in behind," she said. "It's a race. When you go in ahead, there's no one around; it isn't much fun. But when you go in behind, everyone is cheering on the side and you're like, 'Come on, I have to get this one girl.'

"My best times are always when I go in behind in the relays and try to come from behind. That's my favorite part. It's just sheer racing."

Wolf did pretty well in the other events, too, winning the 200 free and 100 free. Then on Friday, she won all three of her races against Hackensack. After the first week of the season, Wolf has qualified for the state Meet of Champions in the 100 free and 200 free.

Swimming has been part of Wolf's life for as long as she can remember. Joe and Diana Wolf tell stories about how their daughter was all of 2 and they couldn't get her out of the water. When she was 7, a family friend suggested Madeline try out for a local club team, the Wyckoff Sharks. Coincidentally, that friend, Gary Bach, is an assistant coach at Northern Highlands.

When Wolf takes a break from the sport, she might go to a concert (she was in the front row last summer to see her favorite band, Vampire Weekend) or spend time with her siblings, twins Jessica and Joshua. Or she might watch "Gone With the Wind" again. Since her mom suggested she read the book, the story has become part of her life.

"It covers a lot: romance, action, adventure," Wolf said. "It has a little bit of everything."

December 9, 2014

H.S. field hockey: Jordan Paton of Northern Highlands is The Record Player of the Year


Jordan Paton rose to new heights this season. Higher scoring totals, improved technical skills, smart defensive adjustments – Paton vaulted to a new level in almost every part of her game.

Paton proved to be a valuable leader for Northern Highlands, as she helped the Highlanders claim a second straight sectional championship to go along with another 20-win campaign and a first-place league finish.

For her varied achievements, Paton is The Record 2014 North Jersey Field Hockey Player of the Year.

"Jordan really came into her own and, along with Clare Dalton, did an incredible job as team captain," said Northern Highlands coach Rich Smith. "She used her size [5 feet 4] to her advantage, [and] her speed and her aggressiveness made it difficult to locate her once she moved inside the circle."

A senior forward, Paton concluded 2014 with a team-high 28 goals and 15 assists for 71 points. For her career, which included being a big part of two Bergen County championship teams, Paton compiled 51 goals and 32 assists.

And she enjoyed some of her finest moments in the Highlanders’ biggest games of this season.

* She had the only goal in a 1-0 Northeast Conference crossover victory over rival Ramsey.

* She had both goals in a 2-1 win over Passaic County champion Wayne Hills.

* She scored in overtime in a 1-0 Bergen semifinal win over Westwood.

* Despite being hobbled by a strained groin muscle, she had the lone goal when the Highlanders were defeated by Ramsey, 2-1, in the Bergen final.

* She had a goal and two assists in a 3-2 win over Wayne Hills in the North 1, Group 3 semifinals.

Northern Highlands went 20-3 and had a 15-game winning streak to open the season before later earning a 1-0 win over West Morris Central in the North 1, Group 3 final.

"I got more comfortable as the season went on with my leadership role," said Paton. "My teammates were really a big help and they did a great responding after the county championship loss to become re-energized and reemerge in the state tournament," said Paton, whose college possibilities include Bentley University (Mass.), The College of New Jersey and Catholic University in Washington.

The Upper Saddle River resident volunteers painting nails at a senior citizens home once a week "to help brighten their spirits." Paton also is involved with the Distributive Education Clubs of America, a marketing/business organization.

She plans on majoring in business in college.

NFL: Jason McCourty passing test as Titans cornerback

December 6, 2014


Jason McCourty is being tested like never before as a cornerback in his sixth NFL season.

His defensive assignment every week has been the most daunting of any for the Titans' secondary, yet the former Rutgers captain and star for North Jersey high school powerhouse St. Joseph has refused to back down.

"It's been the toughest challenge I've had in my career," McCourty said. "Seeing a lot more targets than you'd typically get staying on one side as I used to do. Because obviously, if he's their best wide receiver, they're gonna be trying to get him the ball.

"It's been a lot of fun. You get the chance to compete with the league's best and go at it every play. That's been my main focus. Going against these caliber of guys, you know they're gonna make plays. You've got to just compete every play and try to make your plays when they come to you."

And the opposition has come after McCourty, who has been targeted 99 times, tied for second most in the league, according to analytic service Pro Football Focus.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin promises that McCourty has more than held his own.

"Jason McCourty is having an outstanding year," Coughlin said. "You can't help but noticing him on tape."

McCourty has faced the likes of Dallas' Dez Bryant and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Houston's Andre Johnson, Baltimore's Steve Smith and Washington's DeSean Jackson; now comes rookie Odell Beckham Jr. when the Giants visit LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday afternoon.

"I really don't rank 'em. At this point in this league, they're all tough," McCourty said. "Getting a chance to go against Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Antonio Brown, this week Odell Beckham — I mean, they're all different, but I wouldn't say one's better than the other. "They're different type of receivers, different type of players, different type of offenses."

The fact that McCourty includes Beckham among that star-studded group says plenty about the emergence of the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Month after he completed November as the only rookie in league history with five games of 90-plus yards receiving in a calendar month.

"You judge it off what you see on the film. He's making plays all over the place," McCourty said. "You can't really discredit him just because this is his first year. He's a rookie, but every opportunity he's gotten out there, he's made plays. A lot of people have looked at The Catch he made versus Dallas, but that was just one of the plays that he's made since he's been out there.

"No matter what year he's in, you have to cover the guy because he's all over the field."

As a rookie in 2009, McCourty played right cornerback. After that, he played on the left side. Last season, he matched up exclusively with Broncos star Demaryius Thomas, a sign of things to come under new defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

McCourty, 27, has played all but three defensive snaps over the last seven games.

While twin brother Devin, a star safety for the Patriots, is set to become a free agent, Jason signed a six-year, $43 million deal two years ago to remain in Tennessee until the 2018 season.

"Obviously, we're not where any of us want to be at 2-10 right now," McCourty said. "But we're trying to continue to improve, trying to get that next win, and that's the focus right now."

December 4, 2014

H.S. Girls Soccer: Northern Highlands revels in another historic season


The leap from eighth grade to varsity sports is enormous for a young athlete, but somehow the soccer-playing girls at Northern Highlands traverse the gap with amazing ease.

Current junior Morgan Busacca made the jump in 2012 and handled it so seamlessly, she was named first-team All-Bergen County on defense as a freshman. Varsity neophytes have continued to debut with unusual poise and ability without affecting team efficiency. Along the way, the Highlanders set state records for consecutive wins (65) and consecutive games unbeaten (88) despite the injection of unproven rookies each year.

"The preseason meant a lot," Busacca said, referring to the games, scrimmages and practices that helped shape her skills for her varsity debut. "Everybody's terrified of [head coach Tara] Madigan at first, but once we mature in the program, we gain an appreciation for what she means to us. We respect her, but we don't fear her as much."

Madigan, once a soccer star for River Dell, where she has been honored in its hall of fame, has put together a juggernaut in Allendale. The girls went 22-1 this year – with the lone loss coming against Immaculate Heart in the Bergen County final – and won the Big North Freedom Division and North 1, Group 3 sectional titles.

The Highlanders capped the season by capturing the State Group 3 championship on Nov. 22 with a 4-0 victory over a Colts Neck team that had a 20-2 record.

Highlands is just the fourth girls team in state history to win four straight sectional and state titles. This year's defense allowed only three goals all season, a school record that trumped the four allowed in 1987. The unit finished by holding one of the top players in the nation, Colts Neck's Frankie Tagliaferri, scoreless.

Standout junior goalie Kayla Klatt snuffed out one shot on goal by Tagliaferri, and sturdy defenders Carly Hamrah, Julia Homan, Madison Kahn and Busacca continually corralled the Cougars star, allowing her just one other shot. The defenders are all juniors, except for Homan, a sophomore.

The Highlanders outscored their opponents, 75-3, recorded 21 shutouts in 23 games and blanked all six postseason opponents, defeating them by a cumulative 20-0 margin. Amazingly, forward Hana Kerner was the only senior on the team, which further underscores the readiness of players who ascend to high school.

"When we were really little, we started off in recreation soccer and then to the Americans [club program], which is a bunch of fun and good training," Busacca said. She mentioned that when she played for the Americans, the father of eventual Highlands soccer star Jackie Reyneke ran the program. "Once we get to Highlands, we split up into different club teams."

Most importantly, they mesh with the varsity holdovers as they enter, and the wins keep flowing.

"Behind the scenes, our team dealt with a lot of obstacles and challenges this season," Madigan said Sunday, prior to the team banquet. "We were constantly making changes in our lineup and we were forced to move players into different positions. It is not easy to do that late in the season and remain successful. I have used the word 'resilient' to describe this team. Whenever there was a storm coming our way and the winds became stronger, we adjusted our sails. The girls on this team constantly found a way to adjust to changes. They made the most of the opportunities that were presented."

The University of Virginia-bound Kerner capped off her outstanding four-year varsity career with a hat trick against Colts Neck, finishing with a personal high of 21 goals this season. Over Kerner's four years, the Highlanders were a combined 93-1-1, and she had 59 career goals and 24 assists.

Junior midfielder Casey Richards, who notched both a goal and an assist in the state championship game, led the team in assists for the second straight season: 18 this year (with 11 goals) after registering 22 as a sophomore. Junior Julia Pash was especially outstanding in the air as primarily a defensive center mid and had six goals and three assists. Junior Ariel Somple showcased plenty of speed as outside mid, scoring seven times and assisting 12 times, including an assist on one of Kerner's goals in the state final. Sophomore midfielder Eva Hurm added five goals and four assists.

Sophomore midfielder Claire Nam had six goals and five assists before suffering a torn ACL in a state match with Paramus.

The girls deservedly reaped a harvest of postseason honors. Eight received first-team, all-division recognition. Busacca, Kerner, Kelly, Richards and Somple were first-team All-County with Kelly, Richards and Kerner earning All-State recognition and Kerner and Richards being nominated for Regional All-American consideration. Klatt, Homan and Pash were voted second-team All-County.

As Madigan ruminated over the just-completed season, she said, "As I sat down to write my speech for our banquet, I came across a quote that I felt summarized this year's team: 'Life is full of setbacks and rejection. You will fail at times, and at times you will be scared, too. No matter what life throws your way, don't ever give up and eventually you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams.'

"Northern Highlands succeeded in more ways than one this season," she added, "and I could not be more proud of the girls."

Youth abounded, yet so did experience. The team consisted of the one senior, 12 juniors, six sophomores and one freshman. Yet 16 of the 20 roster members were returnees from the 2013 team.

The major obstacle at season's end came in the form of a conflict. Some of the girls had to decide whether to attend a showcase event in North Carolina that would be heavily scouted by college coaches or, instead, to play for Highlands in the state championship game.

"Honestly I was torn," Busacca conceded. "It was such a tough decision because it's a place to be looked at and recruited. I decided to play for Highlands, but went to the showcase on Friday [Nov. 21, the day before the state final]. I was a little uneasy, but I was glad I played in the championship game."

Three Highlanders attended the Saturday showcase, but the typically deep varsity team handled the absences well.

The ability of girls to step up at any age had been proven earlier when, in October, Kerner and Hurm were unavailable while training with the U.S. National Team. Thanks to the efforts of sophomore Claire Jamieson, who had an assist in the championship game, and Kahn, the ace defender, the wins kept coming.

"Claire was a player we relied on if and when changes needed to be made," Madigan explained. "We relied on players like Madison Kahn and Claire Jamieson when Claire Nam became injured. We relied even more heavily on them and they never let us down.

"While it appears we are a young team, we also have a roster with quite a bit of experience," the coach summarized. "Many of our players play soccer all year long with various clubs."

But once they report to Madigan and once they overcome their initial fears, the young girls play like veterans as the coach shapes them into a unit. They learn to work together unselfishly with the insistence that they always put the team first ahead of all individual achievements.

It is a blueprint of total success, with players and coaches working as one, winning continually and setting records while thoroughly enjoying their sport. It is a happy dynasty with no end in sight.

November 25, 2014

H.S. Female Athlete of the Week: Hana Kerner of Northern Highlands


The Northern Highlands players and coaches, including their families, crowded into a room at a local chain restaurant after their 4-0 victory over Colts Neck in the Group 3 championship game on Saturday.

Much like the heaping dollops of vanilla ice cream melting onto the caramel-topped apple pie, this boisterous celebration was the perfect topping to another dominant season.

The whole scene was as sweet as anything listed on the dessert menu for Hana Kerner, the only soccer player in the room who knew what it was like to win four state titles.

"It was really nice to have everyone together," The Record Female Athlete of the Week said. "There was a lot of going around, talking to everyone, congratulating everyone, recalling memories."

Kerner has made many memories over four years as a starter on a team that went 93-1-1 and put together a state-record 65-game winning streak and an 88-game unbeaten streak.

Saturday’s three-goal performance was a fitting ending. She scored in the seventh minute, 35 seconds before halftime and in the 66th minute.

But the euphoria gave way to nostalgia when the team’s only senior began to realize these were the final moments of her high school career.

She said her thoughts drifted back to "a lot of team bonding and making pep-rally shirts, and going out to eat or spending time together.

"[I was] thinking about games like from my freshman year against Mahwah, or sophomore year against Ridgewood, or last year against Ramapo for our [record-setting] 61st [consecutive] win."

Kerner said that even though the Highlanders had graced girls soccer’s biggest stages several times over the years, she would never get a hint that she was about to go out and have a big game.

"What we want to do is play the best we can together as a team and let things come together," she said. "[Scoring goals] is kind of just icing on the cake."

H.S. field hockey: No. Highlands captures crown

November 8, 2014


MOUNT OLIVE – The positive energy circulating around Northern Highlands was enormous. Although the game remained scoreless deep into the second half, the team remained highly confident that its recent mojo injection would somehow be enough to carry the day.

The players' faith was rewarded with only 2:55 remaining when Gabby Pontone scored off a long feed from Fiona Walley to give Northern Highlands a 1-0 victory over West Morris Central in the North 1, Group 3 field hockey championship game Friday at Mount Olive High School.

Northern Highlands (20-2) will meet Warren Hills, a 2-1 winner over Mendham, in a Group 3 state semifinal Wednesday at Boonton High School.

"We were really just excited to be here and we built off that kind of carefree feeling as the game went on," said Northern Highlands coach Rich Smith. "Everyone was loose and relaxed and nothing was going to bother us today. We played as if there was no pressure and that attitude paid off by keeping us calm and composed throughout."

Both teams had good scoring opportunities over the first 30 minutes, but were denied on saves by Highlands goalie Victoria Marino and WMC's Emily Egan. The biggest stop defensive stop came from sophomore sweeper Emma Weiss, who deflected a West Morris point-blank shot wide as her stick knocked away the ball just before it crossed the goal line with 9:15 left in the first half.

"Emma was in the right place at the right time and she did great work in keeping it 0-0 and giving us our big chance later," Smith said. "Victoria [Marino] came out of her cage to cut off the angle, so West Morris had a clear opening — except for Emma's great reaction."

Top-seeded West Morris (21-3), which lost in the Morris tournament final to Madison, 2-0, and won the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference National Division, was helped by strong efforts from senior forward Allison Heal and senior midfielder Allison Wagner.

The Highlanders finally surrendered a goal when sophomore defender Walley found sophomore wing Pontone running alone down the middle and Pontone buried the ball into the upper right side of the cage from 20 feet.

"I thought we controlled the majority of the game, maybe for 40 to 45 minutes, and we were pretty consistent in applying some constant attacks in their end of the field," Smith said.

Sophomore Lily Scheer, Weiss, Walley and senior Clare Dalton played the entire 60 minutes on defense for the Highlanders (six senior starters and five sophomores). Left midfielder Chloe Troast, center midfielder Caroline Quinn, and right midfielder Claire Elfers, all seniors, also turned in solid performances.

Northern Highlands won its second straight sectional championship and eighth in the school's history. Highlands also recorded its second consecutive 20-win season, with 1993 being the last previous time the school earned a sectional crown.

Senior Spotlight: Profile on Chris Kopack of Ramsey

August 5, 2014


Chris Kopack is starting to play the best golf of his life at the perfect time.

It remains to be seen if his improved play leads to the rising senior from Ramsey reaching his ultimate goal of playing collegiately. But he seems to be on the right path.

Kopack won the Rutgers Junior Open last week, shooting a four-round total of 9-over (293) for a three-stroke victory over Justin Chae, a rising junior at Pingry.

"It was a challenge," Kopack said. "Most tournaments are 18 holes or 36 holes or sometimes 54. This was one of the first 72-hole tournaments I've ever played in, so it was great to win."

It was the second victory for Kopack this summer; he also won a New Jersey Junior PGA event in mid-July at Ramsey Country Club, his home course.

He's also played in an American Junior Golf Association tournament and several NJPGA and Met events, and qualified for the Bergen County Amateur by shooting a 74 at Overpeck GC on Saturday.

Before his win at Rutgers he wasn't in top form, having shot an 84 during qualifying for the NJSGA Junior Championship the week prior.

"My confidence was really low going into the [Rutgers] tournament," Kopack said. "I wasn't playing too well. But I saw my [swing] coach on Saturday, and I just worked on a bunch of stuff with him and got back into the groove a little bit.

"Winning was the ultimate confidence booster. I'm looking forward to all the rest of the tournaments I'm playing the rest of the summer."

That experience should help Kopack heading into his senior season. He started playing in competitive golf tournaments when he reached high school, and emerged as Ramsey's No. 1 player as a junior.

He was a first-team All-Bergen selection and helped lead the Rams to the state Group 2 title and the Bergen County Group 1-2-B title. He also was a fourth-line player on the Rams hockey team – they were state runners-up last season – though golf remains his top sport.

"I want to lower my average from a 39 to around even or 1-over," Kopack said of his goals his senior golf season. "I think I can put my name out there and maybe even win the individual Tournament of Champions.

"I have huge goals for myself. If you don't set the goals high, then there's nothing to go for."

Kopack also is striving to play in college. He's been in contact with several Division II and III coaches, and is hoping his recent play will create more interest.

"It's good for college coaches to see me winning these tournaments," Kopack said. "Playing in college is definitely one of my biggest goals, because it means you're playing against the best."

Winning the cure-all for Northern Highlands

Monday, February 24, 2014


MAHWAH – Madison Dunbar's secret? Coconut water stashed on the scorer's table for breaks in play. And no, it doesn't taste good.

"You have to get used to it," Dunbar said. "They have pineapple-flavored water, which tastes OK. It's supposed to be like natural Gatorade."

Forgive the Northern Highlands senior guard for trying anything to get the taste of defeat out of her mouth. The Highlanders had lost the last two Bergen County girls basketball finals before Sunday's 57-44 win over Teaneck.

"It's very special to me," said Dunbar, who played with a bruised shoulder. "I know my other seniors feel this way, too. To finally have won this is the greatest feeling in the world."

The Northern Highlands community also has been dealing with a loss — the suicide of former soccer and track standout Madison Holleran during her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania.

It was easy to notice that the players crying at Holleran's funeral a month ago were shedding tears of joy at Ramapo College on Sunday.

"I think this is what this school needs," Highlanders coach Al Albanese said. "It can lift them up a little. It's still lingering up there. Something like that is not going to go away easy."

Perhaps we overstate the impact athletics can have on a grieving community. Perhaps not. Athletics — specifically this girls basketball team — have provided Northern Highlands something to rally around. This was its first county title in school history.

"It's been very difficult," Highlands principal Joe Occhino said. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about what our school and what our kids experienced, and what the Holleran family has had to endure. I think with each day that goes by, we're able to deal with it a little bit more, but we'll never forget this school year and the things that we went through."

"I don't really want to talk about it too much, but we definitely have had a rough year," senior forward Nicole Miko said. "But it made the whole Highlands community appreciate what we have … and we have basketball. I think what we've been through has made us stronger and made our victory sweeter."

Teaneck certainly was no pushover – as if it ever would be. The Highwaywomen trailed by 10 in the second half, but were down only one when the fourth quarter began. At that moment, the Highlanders could have wilted. The time to be strong was one of Holleran's credos that has resonated. "I think the most important thing we did to get through this was that instead of feeling sad, it was to be more like her every day," Dunbar said. "Her athletic ability and her spirit was something to look up to."

"As the games went on, we said, 'Listen, Madison would want you to play this way,' " Albanese said. "She would want you to go out there and win a county championship." That's what the Highlanders did. In the fourth quarter, Melissa Heath sank a 15-foot jumper, was fouled, and converted the three-point play. Dunbar scored on a short basket. Miko put in two more on a fast break. Sophomore Rachel Jubelt had a steal and a layup to make it 53-44 with 2:22 left. Afterward, Teaneck was forced to chase and foul.

The Highlanders had to hide their tears. "I think it was just so overwhelming, just knowing how hard we've worked," Miko said. "And we did it." "I always thought that we would have a chance to get here. It was our goal just to get back to Ramapo College, so to get to the county final and win it was above and beyond what we could ever dream," Dunbar said.

"I think they pulled together to get through this terrible time that we've all experienced," Occhino said. "It's a tribute to the girls that they were able to move on, but never forget." The grieving process is ongoing at Northern Highlands.

Things like Dunbar's coconut water remind us of the simple pleasures of athletics. Sunday was a day of joy for the Northern Highlands community.

They drank it all in.

One just enough for Ramsey to beat Indian Hills

Monday February 17, 2014, 11:46 PM


North Green Cup semifinals at the Ice Vault. The Rams will take on Ramapo in Friday night’s final. WAYNE — The opportunities were there for Ramsey, but it just couldn’t figure out Indian Hills goalie Josh Welte for the majority of Monday night’s Big North Green Cup semifinal. “That’s just good playoff hockey,” Rams coach Bob Toy said. “Everything tightens up in these kind of games and mistakes get magnified. I wouldn’t say we were getting frustrated, but we did some uncharacteristic things in the first two periods.” After failing to capitalize on 22 shots and two power plays through the first 30 minutes, it was Ramsey’s Frank Steffe who delivered the game-winning goal, off a turnover in the Indian Hills’ zone, 55 seconds into the third to lead the top-seeded Rams past the Braves, 1-0. “That was a huge goal for us,” Steffe said after his ninth goal of the year. “I saw the opportunity after the turnover near the net, lifted my stick and it ended up in the net. “Welte played an outstanding game, but we stuck to our plan. We wanted to get shots to the net, get rebounds, and give ourselves as many chances as we could because Welte was saving everything.” Much like the first meeting between these two Green division rivals, when Ramsey won, 2-0, including an empty-net goal, the Rams’ talented trio of Alex Whelan, Nick Botta and Connor DiTomaso certainly had their chances. There was a DiTomaso breakaway after an Indian Hills turnover early in the second, an open-net rebound attempt for Botta with 11 minutes to go in the period, and a mini-breakaway shot attempt from Whelan with two minutes left. In total, Ramsey outshot Indian Hills, 30-13. “We had the chances, we just didn’t capitalize on them,” said Toy, whose team will look to repeat as Green Cup champions in Friday night’s final against Ramapo. “We were playing against a goalie who was seeing the puck extremely well, but you can’t get frustrated. “The minute you get frustrated, you get away from what got you here in the first place. We stuck to our plan and made sure we didn’t do anything stupid and give them an easy goal.” Thanks to a defense anchored by Brandon O’Callahan, Anthony Pedulla, Jim Hunt and Chris Butyrn, Ramsey posted its North Jersey-best 13th shutout of the year — and 21st time limiting an opponent to one goal or less.

“Our D-men are amazing back there with all those guys,” Steffe said. “They keep the puck away from Tyler [Harmon], they don’t let them score and they really don’t even give up many chances.”

“And for our seniors, it’s important to us to win this and repeat as Cup champions. We want to send them out the right way.”


1/31/2014 5:13:00 PM


MOBILE, Ala. – University of South Alabama head football coach Joey Jones announced Friday that Travis Pearson will be the program's defensive coordinator.

Pearson, who joined the staff a year ago and led the program's inside linebackers last fall, replaces Kevin Sherrer.

"Travis is a great football coach and a great person," Jones said. "He was here with us last season and part of a defense I like running, so I think the carryover with his knowledge of our system will be very helpful in maintaining what we've done through the next few years. I'm real excited about having him in this role.

"He's in the same boat that Kevin Sherrer was in; Kevin hadn't been a defensive coordinator at the collegiate level — he hadn't "coached" in college — but I knew he was a great football coach. And I know Travis Pearson is a great football coach. The players love him, they have a high level of respect for Coach Pearson and so do I."

In his first season as part of the Jag staff, Pearson helped the USA defense end the year ranked second in the Sun Belt Conference in passing (224.6 ypg), total (384.3 ypg) and scoring (25.2 ppg) defense. His efforts helped Enrique Williams earn second-team all-league honors after the senior paced the squad with 105 total stops, which included recording 7½ behind the line of scrimmage, while Maleki Harris posted career-high totals of 63 tackles, 8½ stops for loss and seven passes broken up under Pearson's direction.

The Jaguars ended the season — their first at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision level — 6-6 overall and 4-3 in conference action, making the program eligible to participate in a postseason bowl.

"I am really excited to say the least. I'm blessed, and just thank God and Coach Jones for this opportunity," observed Pearson. "This is something I really wanted to do, and appreciate that Coach Jones had the faith and confidence in me to even approach me about it.

"Knowing the personnel is tremendous, because so much of it is about getting the right guys in the right spots and being able to achieve their ultimate goal of being successful," he added regarding his knowledge of individuals returning next fall. "Having been around for a year is going to be huge in the process. Not much is going to change — Kevin was phenomenal with what he did with the defense — so we're looking to have guys playing fast and knowing where they are going so we can let it go."

Pearson came to USA after serving two years as defensive coordinator at Colquitt County (Ga.) High School, where his efforts helped the Packers post a 21-7 mark while advancing to the semifinals of the state AAAAA playoffs each fall. During that span, CCHS's defense recorded 89 takeaways including 51 in 2012.

Prior to that, he was head coach at Jefferson Davis (Ala.) High during the 2009 and '10 campaigns, led Elmore County (Ala.) HS for three seasons — earning Metro 4A Coach-of-the-Year accolades from the Montgomery Advertiser in 2004 — and Central Hayneville (Ala.) HS for two. Pearson was also defensive coordinator at Oxford (Ala.) High for two seasons, helping the Yellow Jackets to consecutive state playoff berths, and held the same position in the 2004 Alabama North/South All-Star Game.

Pearson and his wife Maria have three children, Marissa, Travis II and Trevor. He is a 1997 Alabama State graduate, earning a degree in physical education while lettering three times for the Hornets; Pearson played eight seasons in the Arena Football League, and was named to the league's 15th Anniversary Team in 2003.

Ramsey's 'Baby Line' shoot for title

Sunday, December 15, 2013



The Record

The Baby Line is all grown up, no longer a trio of wide-eyed underclassmen, but rather an often-times dominant group of upperclassmen on one of the state’s premiere teams.

Alex Whelan, along with linemates Nick Botta and Connor DiTomaso, has helped Ramsey go 43-11-5 since 2011-12

Alex Whelan, left, along with linemates Nick Botta and Connor DiTomaso, has helped Ramsey go 43-11-5 since 2011-12

For Ramsey juniors Alex Whelan and Nick Botta and senior Connor DiTomaso, the self-proclaimed nickname doesn’t quite accurately depict them any longer, but they still jokingly go with it anyway.

It’s the trio’s third year together as linemates, and they’ve been producing at a consistently high rate for Rams coach Bob Toy since the day they arrived.

"It’s a nice luxury that most coaches don’t have," Toy said before Ramsey’s 2-0 win over Indian Hills on Friday night to move to 3-0 this season. "It’s nice to know that whenever you need something to happen, you can tap them and say, ‘Go. Go make something happen.’ And more often than not, they do."

For Whelan, Botta and DiTomaso, the chemistry they’ve been building is obvious on and off the ice.

They finish each other’s sentences just as well as they finish each other’s scoring chances, and they’re three big reasons why Ramsey is considered one of the favorites to capture this year’s Public B state title.

The threesome Toy has described as "dynamic" on more than one occasion has helped guide Ramsey to a 43-11-5 record since Whelan and Botta teamed up with DiTomaso at the start of the 2011-12 season.

Just last year, the group of playmakers combined for 75 goals and 79 assists.

"Just playing together for three years now, we know where everyone’s going to be all the time," said DiTomaso, Ramsey’s captain, who has three goals and three assists this season.

"After a while, you just get used to playing with certain people," Botta added.

To them, the eye-popping point totals and accolades that come their way are nice, but Whelan, Botta and DiTomaso don’t play for the numbers. The trio has been fueled by a pair of losses in the last two state semifinals — falling two wins shy of their ultimate goal the past two years.

"The honors don’t really matter much," said Whelan, The Record’s reigning Player of the Year. "When you look at the big picture, I’d much rather win a state championship. As long as we get a ring and win games, it doesn’t matter how it happens."

"They’re ready to take that next step," Toy said. "They’ve worked hard for it, and have been working hard for it since they got here. But like I’ve been telling them, you can only look to the next game, the next shift, and that’s what we do."

What makes Whelan, Botta and DiTomaso so dangerous is all three are talented two-way players. Whelan brings unparalleled size and speed and features one of the best and most accurate shots in North Jersey. "What’s his downside?" DiTomaso rhetorically asked with a laugh. "He doesn’t have a downside. He always knows what to do with the puck." DiTomaso’s game is featured around speed and "hockey smarts," according to Toy.

He’s developed a knack for finding ways to make something out of nothing. "If you have the smarts to go with it," Toy said, "that makes all the difference."

And Botta, Toy said, has been the most improved of the bunch over the last three years. "He’s even still developing," Toy said. "He’s put in so much work, he’s strong on his skates, and he’s a definite goal scorer and playmaker. "All of them are just so grounded, from Connor all the way down. All they do is play hockey and love the game. They’re good students, good players and just all-around good kids. They do their schoolwork, they play hockey, they eat and they sleep. It’s a good life for them."

The Record - #7 Girls Basketball

Sunday - December 15, 2013


Northern Highlands

Last year’s record: 25-5
Final ranking: No. 5

Best assets: Senior G Madison Dunbar is now the face of this team, and she’s a strong all-around player who is capable of carrying that load. The Highlanders have evolved into one of the top programs in North Jersey, and there is a solid collection of players who know how to perform within the framework of this team. Junior Nicole Miko is a top-shelf defensive player, and coach Al Albanese should get a lot of mileage out of juniors Caroline Lovisolo and sophomore Emily Bonifacic.

The Highlanders should reap the benefits of all the playing time the underclassmen saw last season, and Albanese’s biggest challenge is finding the right combinations as quickly as possible.

Biggest concerns: The Highlanders should be competitive and be a tournament factor in a transition year, but the biggest challenge is how they replace the points and rebounds of graduated C Jackie Reyneke.

Junior F Melissa Heath has a great deal of potential inside and a lot of minutes under her belt, but she won’t have Reyneke drawing double teams beside her. The Highlanders play a competitive schedule, so players don’t have the luxury of easing into their new roles.

— Mark J. Czerwinski

Are You a G.A.M.E.R.?

Joe DeFranco


Do You Have "IT"?

Game On

"It" is hard to define. But get to know enough people with "it" and you begin to see a pattern emerge.

I call people who have "it" gamers.

Earlier in my coaching career, I didn't bother to define what that meant. I just knew that some people had the ability to step up when it was time to step up. These are guys that other people want to be around. People just want to listen to them and be on their team.

Guys who have "it" share the same attributes as all the other people who have "it." When I realized that all these athletes have the same traits in common, I came up with the G.A.M.E.R. acronym.

People who have "it" are:

G: Goal Oriented

A: Accountable

M: Motivated

E: Exact

R: Resilient

Are you a G.A.M.E.R.? Let's break it down and find out.

G: Goal Oriented

You can't get to where you're going without knowing what the hell you want.

Guys who have "it" know what they want. They have goals, and this exudes from them in the form of confidence. They know where they're going, and they'll do what it takes to get there.

If you can't clearly define what your goals are when asked, then it's time you sit down and figure them out. A guy who knows his goals bleeds "it".

A: Accountable

People with "it" are accountable for their own actions. Whether you're an athlete, an entrepreneur, or just a guy aspiring to own a warehouse gym, if you have "it" then you don't blame other people. Period.

If these guys suck one day, then they're going to say, "I suck today." They don't make excuses. You'll never hear, "Oh, well, I didn't sleep good last night" or "My ride from school was late." They are accountable for themselves. Always.

These people know, intrinsically, that they're solely accountable for reaching their goals or not. If they screw up, they'll take responsibly and move on. No blame, no excuses.

M: Motivated

Self-motivated, to be specific.

If you have "it" then you don't need anyone else to motivate you. You're not the guy that needs the pre-game pep talk.

E: Exact

Winners are exact. To get to a high level, you have to make sure you're doing certain things to get there. This is where a coach or mentor comes in to help mold you. Some guys have "it" but they need to be steered in the right direction.

If you want to be an NFL football player, you don't need to work on running a marathon, or even a mile. Don't focus your training on things that don't matter, things that don't carryover in your sport. You have to be precise and do exactly the things that will help you improve.

R: Resilient

This may be the most important element. The first four things don't mean shit if you don't finish.

Men and women who have "it" go to the end. You can be goal-oriented, accountable, motivated, and doing exactly the right training, but if you quit when the going gets tough, then you never had "it" to begin with.

People with "it" lose games. People with "it" get injured too. The difference in them and others is that they don't shut down.

I've worked with countless athletes in a multitude of sports, and I can tell you that most people with "it" have a story. They come off like they've got the world by the balls, but talk to them and you'll learn they've been through rough times. They might have had family problems or gotten injured, but they stayed positive and were resilient enough to come through.

That resilience becomes their biggest attribute.

I read the forums. I see people arguing on the Internet about whether to do Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 Program or my Westside for Skinny Bastards plan. It's great to think your programs through, but if you don't have "it" – if you don't have the right mental attitude – then it doesn't matter what friggin' program you do.

I've had kids tell me that they've been doing my programs for four years, but when they come to my gym they're in horrible shape. They're weak; they look like they've never worked out. They've never pushed themselves. They don't have "it".

It's not about the program. It's not about the equipment. You've got to put the mental shit first; the program is secondary.

Are you game?

Fork Union Swim Team

returns to the top with State Championship


BY DREW GOODMAN Daily Progress correspondent

After winning state championships in 2010 and 2011, the Fork Union Military Academy swim team took a step back last year. The Blue Devils finished the 2012 season fifth in the state and head coach Chris VanSlooten wanted to change the culture of the program.

“At the end of the year I did some reflection and I realized the guys know what it’s like to swim at FUMA but not for FUMA,” VanSlooten said.

Following the 2012 season, VanSlooten aimed to alter the course of the team, both in and outside the pool. The second-year head coach hung a banner that read, “Together We Rise”, which became a mantra for the 2013 team to live by. The Blue Devils participated in leadership and team-building exercises to bring them closer together as a unit. VanSlooten also made sure that his team became better young men away from the pool as well by taking time to teach children swimming lessons and partake in more community service. In addition, VanSlooten asked former swimmers to return to address the team and remind them how to win at Fork Union.

“We talked about finding your place on the team,” VanSlooten said. “Whether it was getting ice at the state meet or if it’s loading the bus, not one person is too great and not one person is too small. They shared in our successes and they shared in our failures.”

On Feb. 22, the Blue Devils’ journey back to the top was completed. Fork Union came home with its third state championship in four years.

From the first practice on, the Blue Devils became “faster” in their ultimate goal of winning the state title. The school welcomed in eight impact transfers and the team grew from 17 to 32 swimmers in one year’s time.

After steadily improving throughout the early part their schedule, the Blue Devils’ breakthrough came in November at the Pittsburgh Invitational. Several Blue Devils swam career bests at the event, which brought together more than 80 teams and 1,500 swimmers.

Fork Union rode the momentum from the Steel City meet to a big tri-meet victory over two elite programs, Mecersburg and Peddie. The Blue Devils demonstrated their growth in competition as the meet resulted in 95 percent time improvements. Highlighting the day was Ali Khalafalla in the 200 individual medley, Karim ElSayed in the 200 freestyle, Mohamed Saleh in the 200 freestyle, Zach Romeo in the 50 freestyle and Max Anderson in the 100 butterfly.

The Blue Devils finished second in the Prep League Championship meet, 16 points out of first. Khalafalla again shined in a record-breaking performance in the 4X100 freestyle relay.

Two weeks later, the Blue Devils arrived at the state meet with the goal of retaking their spot at the top of the standings. Twelve FUMA swimmers qualified for the state meet, five more than in 2012. After a solid first day of competition, the picture began to look grim for the Fork Union on day two. Poor dives, technical errors and other mistakes cost FUMA 12 points as the Blue Devils slipped to sixth place in the standings. Following day two’s disappointing result, VanSlooten called a team meeting to try to weather the storm.

“We didn’t take care of the little things,” VanSlooten said. “All year long we had talked about the little things. The little things add up and we gave away 12 points.”

Following the meeting, the Blue Devils rallied and entered the final day of competition rejuvenated and with a sense of purpose. Khalafalla broke the state record in the 100 freestyle with a time of :45.21. Michael Guerci finished second, and the Blue Devils earned 38 points from that one race. The victory was part of a busy eight-event day for Khalafalla, an energetic sophomore. The quartet of Khalafalla, Saleh, ElSayed and Guerci finished first place in the 400 freestyle relay. The same foursome brought home first place in the 200 freestyle relay. The relay victories and strong performances in the 50 freestyle, 100 breaststroke, 200 medley relay and diving propelled FUMA to an improbable comeback in the final day of competition.

VanSlooten had preached all season long about “one body” and “one team” and in the end, it was a team effort that put the Blue Devils on top of the podium hoisting a state championship trophy.

“I’m still speechless over it,” VanSlooten said. “It was great because it wasn’t about one guy doing it; it was about all of them doing it. It was a team effort. Everyone had to pitch in and strive together. It was great to watch as the whole team celebrated together.”

Devin McCourty expects AFC playoff battle

Friday, January 11, 2013


The most seductive part of a hot yoga workout is the potential to escape it. Participants are welcome to exit at any time.

Devin McCourty tries not to give in to that seduction. As the hands on the clock spin – 30 minutes … 60 minutes … 90 minutes – McCourty remains planted inside the room, one drip of sweat after another racing to flee from his pores.

"It's so hot in there," McCourty said during a phone interview earlier this week from Foxboro, Mass. "It gets to the point where it's hard to just sit in there and stay."

It is no secret that McCourty has made hot yoga a piece of his off-season prescription. He endures those moments to prepare him for the big moments.

And here comes one of those big moments. On Sunday afternoon, the 25-year-old St. JosephRegional graduate will suit up at safety for the New England Patriots when they host Houston in an AFC Divisional playoff game.

The Patriots clobbered the Texans, 42-14, when these two teams met during Week 14 of the regular season.

"We know for sure they're going to come out and they're going to play better," McCourty said. "They're going to fix some things. We know they're going to look at the tape and see some things that they probably felt they could have taken better advantage of.

"It's just making sure that we get better," McCourty said, "because we know if we don't, our season will be over early."

McCourty picked off Texans quarterback Matt Schaub during the team's first meeting, one of five interceptions he had in the regular season. But he does not expect to cull anything from that one pickoff that he can use in Sunday's game.

"It's a clean start," said McCourty, who is listed at 5 feet 10, 195 pounds. "These games, this time of year, everyone's on point. You're not going to get many bad throws from quarterbacks, many bad decisions. We're going to have to be on point."

McCourty spent his first two seasons playing cornerback, but earlier this season, Patriots coach Bill Belichick shuttled him over to safety.

"Once I got there it was all about just trying to get as many reps as I could to build a comfort level," said McCourty, a defensive co-captain.

Free to roam the secondary, the former Rutgers standout blossomed. He said he found making the transition from corner to safety easier than making the switch from safety to corner earlier this season.

So if Schaub looks deep, McCourty will be waiting for him. To get a better read on Schaub and the Texans, McCourty turned to a plugged-in resource: twin brother Jason. Jason McCourty, a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, lined up opposite the Texans twice this season.

Like Peyton and Eli Manning, Devin and Jason talk all the time. They often exchange informal scouting reports.

"He gave me a little something," McCourty said. "But I make sure I don't give that out."

This regular season, his third in the NFL, McCourty logged more snaps than almost every other player in the league. He was on the field for 1,329 snaps, third in the NFL behind his Patriots teammates Ryan Wendell and Nate Solder.

"I think it just shows the team trusts me to have me on the field a lot," said McCourty, who also plays on special teams. "That's the biggest thing I take away from it. I try to take pride in that and making sure I'm on top of everything that I have to do. And then I make sure I just try to take care of my body so I can play those snaps.

Hence, the hot yoga — which is practiced in high temperatures.

"I think it definitely helps for mental toughness," McCourty said. "To be able to complete that, I think it helps once you get on the field. And at different times during the game, I could be tired, but I really won't think about it. I'll really just think about playing."

Northern Highlands finally tops Teaneck

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


TEANECK — Teaneck had been the roadblock for Northern Highlands in recent seasons. Whether it was the Bergen County tournament or the North 1, Group 3 tournament, the Highwaywomen were the team the Highlanders couldn't beat.

That seems to have changed this season.

In a game that was a rematch of last season's Bergen County tournament final, Northern Highlands made a huge statement about what it's capable of accomplishing. Point guard Madison Dunbar scored a game-high 20 points and senior center Jackie Reyneke had 17 on Tuesday night as Northern Highlands, the No. 2 team in The Record girls basketball Top 25, defeated No. 8 Teaneck, 62-43.

"They lost, I think, four starters and they have a lot of younger players, but they're still a formidable opponent," Dunbar said. "We came into the game knowing we could beat them and should beat them. It's a great win, but it's different from last year."

The matchup may have been billed as a battle between Reyneke and Teaneck center Kayla Gibbs, but it was Dunbar who took control of the game. She scored four points during a 10-0 run in the second quarter that gave the Highlanders a lead they wouldn't give up.

Dunbar showed her toughness on a play in which she stole the ball and went in for a breakaway layup. She was fouled hard, slamming into the wall behind the Teaneck basket as she gave her team a 19-16 lead.

Northern Highlands made it tremendously difficult for the Teaneck guards to work the ball inside to Gibbs. The Highlanders put forward Jess Dowicz in front of Gibbs and Reyneke was behind her. So even when Gibbs was able to get the ball down low, she had to then face Reyneke to get to the basket.

Gibbs finished with a team-high 13 points, but never really established herself. Her teammates were unable to move the ball inside and, too often, settled for perimeter jumpers. Too few of them fell, especially as Northern Highlands took control of the game in the third quarter.

"The goal is to make a statement," Reyneke said. "We want to show we can play with them and can beat them."

Northern Highlands pulled away in the third, outscoring the Highwaywomen, 19-6, to finish the quarter. Bintou Berete scored for Teaneck to cap a quick 7-0 burst and tie the score at 27, but the Highlanders responded with six straight points and never let Teaneck back in the game.

Dunbar had seven points in an 11-3 run, including two free throws with no time on the clock to give Northern Highlands a 46-33 lead after three.

"For the past two seasons, we've locked horns with Teaneck six times. They always seem to be in our way," Northern Highlands coach Al Albanese said. "It's our first win over them in a long time."

Justin Ramsey leads unbeaten Ramsey as goalie and captain

Tuesday - January 8, 2013


Bob Toy, a hockey coach for 15 years, never even contemplated making a decision like this before. Yet, here the Ramsey coach was a few months ago, making a choice that he would later say "goes against everything in my hockey DNA."

Yet he still made the decision, without hesitation: Justin Larkin, Ramsey's senior goaltender, would be his captain.

"I was a little surprised when he named me captain, knowing [Coach] Toy, 'Hockey Purist.' " Larkin said, with a smile.

In making Larkin his captain, Toy bucked tradition and logistical practicality. Goaltenders simply aren't captains — it hasn't been allowed in the NHL since the 1940s. The isolated nature of the position makes it too difficult for consistent interaction with teammates and referees which the captaincy generally requires. But Toy knew this was the right time and place to make an exception.

"I mean, he's the leader of the team," Toy said. "He is, without a doubt, 'The guy,' so how do you not give him that?"

It's a move that has worked quite well for the Rams the first six weeks of the season. With Larkin leading the way, Ramsey is 10-0-2 — with impressive wins over Morris County powers Kinnelon, Morris Knolls and Randolph — and, unquestionably, the public school to beat in North Jersey.

Larkin has been a big part of that. His play in net has been stellar. In 11 games this season he has allowed only seven goals, but his impact in the Rams' psyche has been just as profound.

Larkin is affable and easy to talk to, explaining why he's built so many friendships on this Ramsey squad. But before every game in the locker room, Larkin dons his headphones and flips a switch.

"He puts his music on and gets so focused," senior forward Connor DiTomaso said. "And when it's time to play, he doesn't play to the crowd. He plays for the team, he plays for himself.

"We have so much trust in him," DiTomaso continued, "which could be a bad thing, because we could let our defenses down. But we really do trust him and know that he'll keep us in games. ... He carries this team."

Larkin doesn't need a game, or even hockey, to summon his considerable focus. Recently he became an Eagle Scout — he says some of the lessons learned achieving the highest attainable rank in the Boys Scouts have helped him as a hockey captain.

Larkin isn't afraid to be vocal; he dispenses advice when teammates are near him, or during timeouts and between periods. He also does plenty of leading by example. When it's time to compete in practice, Larkin's laid-back demeanor vanishes, making way for the competitiveness that has driven him for three seasons as Ramsey's starter.

"He hates losing in practice," Toy said. "Even in a 4-on-2 drill, if he gets scored on, he's not happy. Nobody even gets near him, he gets that twisted about losing, whether it's a game or just a competition on the ice. He's competing hard, he's intense, he's driven, and that projects onto the team."

It wasn't always this easy for Larkin, who took over the starting job as a sophomore amid plenty of uncertainty. He was replacing Ryan Braun, who helped lead Ramsey to a state title in 2009.

"Being the goalie at this school, at first it was a lot of pressure," Larkin said. "But now, I've kind of gotten used to it. And as one of the leaders on this team, you can't really show too much — you want to show no emotion for the benefit of the younger guys."

But in a few short years, Larkin has come all the way from unproven quantity to unquestioned leader.

Don Bosco's Alquadin Muhammad commits to Miami

Sunday, January 6, 2013


With a slight hesitation and an homage to LeBron James, Don Bosco star defensive end Alquadin Muhammad verbally committed to the University of Miami Saturday during the third quarter of the U.S. Army All-America Bowl in San Antonio.

Flanked by his family and Bosco football coach Greg Toal, Muhammad chose the Hurricanes over Notre Dame and Alabama.

"I want to thank all the coaches that recruited me, but I think I will take my talents to the University of Miami," Muhammad announced on NBC-TV. "They showed a lot of support for me. When I visited, they showed a lot of commitment."

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Newark resident led the Ironmen with 12 sacks and also forced four fumbles this past season. He was part of three state championship teams, winning one as a freshman at Paterson Catholic and two at Don Bosco after transferring following the close of Paterson Catholic.

Miami has now received commitments from two of the top high school players in North Jersey. Muhammad joins Wayne Hills quarterback Kevin Olsen, who earlier committed to the Hurricanes.

Official signing day is Feb. 6.

Muhammad also was part of a victorious East squad which defeated the West, 15-8, in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl.

Alabama running back commit Derrick Henry ran for 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Henry also scored on a two-point conversion to pace the East team. When the decision was made to go for two, Henry knew he could get in.

"I told coach I wanted the ball," Henry said. "I’ve been looking forward to this game more than watching Alabama play."

Wide receiver James Quick announced that he’d stay in his hometown and play for Louisville, which is fresh off a Sugar Bowl win over Florida. Quick scored on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jeremy Johnson for the East.

The Record Girls Soccer Player of the Year: Clare Shea of Northern Highlands

Monday, December 10, 2012


The location was a train platform rather than a soccer field. It was late at night, not the usual time when Northern Highlands midfielder Clare Shea and goalkeeper Brooke Holle normally see each other.

Shea, Holle and a few other Highlander players had left the Jason Mraz concert early to catch a train home from PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel on that August night. They had seen opening act Christina Perri and just one song from Mraz before deciding to leave so they would be ready for practice the next morning.

As they waited for the train that would take them north, Holle, a senior, told Shea it was time for the junior to step up and become more of a leader.

The timing may have been a bit unusual, but the message was quite clear. Holle’s words stayed with Shea all season as she had a breakout campaign. She led the team with 34 goals, was outstanding on both sides of the ball, and helped lead the Highlanders to an undefeated season and their second consecutive Group 4 title. Her accomplishments have earned her The Record girls soccer Player of the Year award.

"Last year, I was just in for the ride and helping out where I can. This year, like Brooke told me, I had to be more of a leader," Shea said. "I didn’t look at the stats, but I had a feeling I had a lot of goals. I felt like I scored in a lot of games. I didn’t do that before."

Shea evolved this season, becoming more of an offensive player. One of the ways she did that was an uncanny knack for being on the other end of teammate Jackie Reyneke’s long throw-ins and finding a way to turn them into goals. Reyneke may have been the most dangerous weapon in the state with her ability to launch a throw-in approximately 40 yards, but someone on the other end of that to finish the play was just as important.

"She’s so athletic and has that determination to be that player who’s going to put the ball in the back of the net," Northern Highlands coach Tara Madigan said of Shea. "She loves heading the ball. That’s part of her game. She’s strong in the air and aggressive.’’

Shea has seen changes in herself as a player and a person in the last three years. When she arrived at Northern Highlands, she wasn’t sure how much high school soccer was going to make her a better player, and regarded it as a diversion from the club soccer scene.

Shea plays for World Class on a team that includes some of the top juniors in North Jersey. She acknowledges she has learned plenty from Madigan’s coaching about work rate and self-awareness on the field, and has become a more complete player through her high school experience.

"There’s not enough time to talk about Clare Shea. That’s how highly I think of her as a player and person," Madigan said.

Alpine names acting police chief

Thursday, January 3, 2013


ALPINE — Police Chief Jerry Beckmann is retiring at the end of 2012 after nearly 30 years of police work in the borough, making way for Lt. Chris Belcolle to be sworn in as Acting Chief.

Beckmann, who rose through the ranks from patrol to chief, retired effective Dec. 31, 2012. Belcolle was sworn in on Dec. 19.

"Chris is already a model police officer and will be doing his best to meet or exceed his predecessor's high standards as our chief," Mayor Paul Tomasko said. "The police committee made a recommendation, it was accepted and unanimously approved by the council."

"I'm thankful and honored for the opportunity. I'm humbled," Belcolle said. "It's a great group of guys."

Belcolle, 39, grew up in Ramsey and started with Alpine Police Department as a patrolman in November 1998. He was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and then to lieutenant in 2010. He is salaried as a lieutenant currently at approximately $140,000 per year, which he expects to stay the same.

When he was patrolman, he worked with Beckmann.

"I was lucky enough to be partnered with him early in his career," Belcolle said. "It's a big set of shoes to fill. He always led by example, his work ethic and integrity were all beyond reproach."

He said his biggest concern in the town is handling traffic, because traffic can have an impact on all sorts of facets of life in the community. In particular, he was concerned with the traffic on Closter Dock Road, Hillside Avenue, and 9W. Even the burglary Dec. 21 on Glen Goin, when a safe was taken from a home, can be fought through emphasizing traffic, he said. He said in his first six months, he plans on very little changes.

"The traffic aspect is very critical," Belcolle said. "It's important to be proactive and visible."

"We've always concentrated on our relationships with the community. The citizens come first," Belcolle said. "Service and protection are paramount. We've always tried to fill the goals within our mission statement."

Tomasko said the police committee decided to recommend him because they consider him "highly-esteemed."

At the last council meeting in December, Beckmann was honored for his many achievements and his "inordinate professionalism and integrity," Tomasko said.

"We're sorry to see him go but wish him the best in his next career and/or retirement," Tomasko said.

CREDIT SUISSE: New Beginnings

Good Energy's ROB BASSO



Painting walls, laying floors, building roofs. Monica Grabowski and Rob Basso take up their paintbrushes and drills and help rebuild houses damaged by natural disasters.

Tuscaloosa, April 27, 2011. A category four tornado with winds of over 200 kilometers per hour ripped through this city in the southeastern United States, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Schools, businesses, and houses were severely damaged and in some cases completely destroyed; over 7,000 people were left homeless. Orders went out immediately to start the task of reconstruction. The work of clearing away the rubble began, buildings were repaired, and new houses were built. Gradually life returned to the devastated sections of the city. With the help of countless volunteers, a number of nonprofit organizations assisted residents in the reconstruction effort. Among the volunteers were employees of Credit Suisse. Through the "TB&C Leading the Way in the Community" program, launched in 2005, our colleagues from Talent, Branding and Communications in New York were able to pitch in and help out for several days at a time. Rob Basso participates every year, while Monica Grabowski helped to organize the trip in 2012.

You just spent three days in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, helping to rebuild areas that were devastated. What is it like to be part of this effort?

Monica Grabowski: We coordinate our work with Credit Suisse's partner organizations. In Tuscaloosa, for example, we supported the nonprofit organization Habitat for Humanity. As part of its reconstruction projects, this organization makes sure that a construction supervisor is on site to assign tasks and oversee the project. Habitat also sees to it that tools and materials are at the construction sites. This time we worked on three houses in very different stages of construction, so we did a number of different things: We painted walls, laid floors, put up siding, installed window frames, and even built an entire porch. In many cases the people who will later move into the house also help with construction. We have always had very good experiences with on-site coordinators. Their job isn't easy; they have to have everything under control at all times, they have to give instructions, and they have to trust that the volunteers will perform their tasks properly. In 2012 there were three Credit Suisse groups with about 50 employees in total in Tuscaloosa.

Seven years ago you participated in your first project, and then you launched the "TB&C Leading the Way in the Community" program. What motivated you to do that?

Rob Basso: In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina brought devastating damage to the Gulf Coast of the United States, we wanted to do more than just donate money. We obtained information from the Credit Suisse Foundation about support projects, and went to New Orleans with a group of about 20 colleagues from Human Resources to help with the cleanup effort. It was an experience that made a profound impression on us, and it showed us how important it is for the people affected to see that we are helping, and that we care. After returning to New York, we founded our program aimed at motivating more colleagues to participate in such initiatives. Every quarter, this program offers the staff of Talent, Branding and Communications the opportunity to support philanthropic projects in and around New York City. Once a year, we also organize a multi-day operation in a region that has been ravaged by a natural disaster, such as a tornado or flood. In most cases we are helping to build schools and houses. Building a baseball field can also be part of rebuilding a community – such projects are important for restoring people’s hope and zest for life.

What is it about these projects that motivates you today?

Monica: The best part is that we are able to get to know the people we're helping. Even if our assignments usually last for only about three days, they lead to valuable contacts and new friendships with the people who live in the affected areas as well as among the members of the team. The projects are also an opportunity to get to know our colleagues from a very different perspective, and in a unique environment. It's motivating to see the enthusiasm these people have, how energetically they pitch in and help. It also confirms that we're headed in the right direction with this program.

Rob: The fact that Credit Suisse is an employer that supports such work and makes it possible for employees to participate is motivating, and I appreciate it. And the experiences we have in the affected communities show me that while we may be making only a small contribution, it's a valuable one. I admire how well the people in these communities deal with such misfortune, and how they start over again with determination, strength, and hope. Seeing the energy and time invested by the volunteers and by the people who are affected by these disasters is enormously enriching.

Are there difficult moments?

Rob: Sometimes I find it difficult not to be able to follow a project throughout the process, from groundbreaking to completion. We arrive at a construction site in the morning, take over from a team that left the previous day, and do the work assigned to us, and then a new group arrives. Another difficulty is that you establish a relationship with the homeowners and the staff of the partner organization, and then you have to say goodbye relatively quickly. It's too bad, and many of the volunteers go back later on their own to visit the people and take a look at the finished houses.

Monica: Yes, the hardest thing is saying goodbye, especially when it's clear that an enormous amount remains to be done. You wish that you could stay longer or go back more often. So it's helpful to stay in contact with the coordinators, who are usually assigned to these locations for several years. They keep us informed about whether and how the projects are proceeding.

Recruiting: Northern Highlands girls soccer standout Clare Shea choses West Point

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


The Record

Northern Highlands junior midfielder Clare Shea isn’t afraid of a challenge. That’s why The Record girls soccer Player of the Year decided last week to attend West Point.

"I fell in love with the school, but the military aspect scared me," Shea said. "But it snuck into my mind that I can do this and survive this place."

Shea picked Army over Georgetown, Boston College, Rutgers, St. John’s and Holy Cross.

Of course, the decision to attend West Point doesn’t mean everything is said and done. Shea will have to pass a physical, which shouldn’t be a difficult thing for an elite athlete.

But part of the physical is that she has to do a pull-up, and Shea has admitted that she can’t do a pull-up so she has some work in the weight room ahead of her.

Shea is coming off a breakout season. She scored a team-high 34 goals and emerged as a leader as the unbeaten Highlanders won their second straight Group 4 title.

Devin McCourty gives Patriots a safety net

By Michael Whitmer BOSTON GLOBE


FOXBOROUGH — It’s not as though this is entirely new territory for Devin McCourty. He played safety at Saint Joseph’s High School in New Jersey, then during his first two seasons at Rutgers.

But his primary position in 2½ seasons with the Patriots has been cornerback. It’s where he starred as a rookie, earning a Pro Bowl selection. It’s where he has picked off 11 passes, his career total. It’s where he started his first 40 games with the team, playoffs included.

McCourty has been somewhere other than cornerback the last two games, though. For a number of reasons, he has been playing safety, giving him a completely different view of the field and providing the Patriots with a vocal, versatile defensive captain capable of making plays at multiple spots.

It’s an experiment that began late last season, in two games. It just might continue, starting with Sunday’s home game against Buffalo. McCourty is more than OK with it.

“Whatever they tell me to play,” McCourty said, when asked before Wednesday’s practice which position he prefers.

Most Patriots fans know that pass defense is a team weakness. The Patriots are 28th in the league against the pass, and no team has given up as many long pass plays.

As a defensive back, McCourty has been out there all season, and has heard the catcalls about the vulnerable part of the defense. He has made the position switch primarily because of injuries to the two players many assumed would start the season at safety.

Patrick Chung has missed the last two games because of a shoulder injury. Steve Gregory has been inactive the past four games because of a hip injury. With a pair of rookies next on the depth chart — second-round pick Tavon Wilson and sixth-round selection Nate Ebner — the decision was made two weeks ago to move McCourty. A human Band-Aid, if you will.

“There are always going to be some moving parts — there are moving parts every week because unfortunately we’ve had, like every team does, guys go in and out for various reasons, so it’s not perfect,” coach Bill Belichick said. “Ideally, if you could keep everything exactly the same every week, that would be great.

“Devin works hard. I would say he’s pretty good at everything. He’s a good tackler, he’s fast, he’s instinctive. He has a good feel for the game wherever you put him in terms of leverage, angles, decisions, that kind of thing. He’s smart. He has the mental flexibility to go back and forth between assignments.”

There are differences, though. Cornerbacks mostly draw man-to-man coverage assignments against wide receivers, while safeties tend to play deeper and provide help in zone coverage schemes.

McCourty can play both. He spelled an injured Chung last season, and is doing so again now.

He likes the new look playing center field.

“It’s cool, it’s different, you get used to seeing more of the field,” McCourty said. “As a corner, I think you see guys individually, even if you’re in zone coverage. At safety, you see the whole field, so you see all the guys, what they’re doing, how they’re moving.

“I think you have more of a responsibility since you have that viewpoint, to let everyone else know. Because I know, when you’re playing corner, it’s not as easy to see the different things that you see on film when you’re on just that side of the field, so I try to communicate and let guys know if I see anything from film study, I’ll send that alert out.”

At least statistically, McCourty’s better games this season have come when he has played cornerback. His lowest tackle totals (three) have come in the last two games, and both of his interceptions came when he was on the field at cornerback, against the Bills in a Week 4 win.

How long McCourty stays at safety remains to be seen. He professes to not have a position preference, and the Patriots could get Gregory and Chung back soon. They also traded for cornerback Aqib Talib, who is serving the final game of a league-issued suspension this week. The secondary, hit by injury and ineffectiveness, could soon get some missing pieces back.

Where McCourty fits when Talib arrives and Chung and Gregory return hasn’t been finalized.

“Everything is week by week as far as that’s concerned,” said defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “Whatever the role is that week, where they can help us the most, that’s what we’re going to try to do with that particular player.”

“Dev’s a selfless guy, he’s a team player,” added Gregory, who has returned to practice and said he expects to play against the Bills. “He just wants us to win, and whatever they ask him to do, just like the rest of us, we’re willing to do.”

McCourty was twice named to the academic All-Big East team while at Rutgers, and now he spends his work week preparing to play both positions in the defensive backfield. Education is key, but so is communication.

“It’s really just knowing what we’re doing as a defense in the secondary,” said McCourty. “Especially if you know what you’re doing at safety, then you know what the corners are doing, so it’s not a bigger workload. Just knowing what you’re doing at safety, I think, prepares you to play corner as well.

“I have a good knowledge, especially for our corners, of what they’re doing, so I think a little bit of that helps. I can say things and then can communicate with them, to let them know that I’m on the same page as them. It helps them out a lot.”

Bowdoin Uses Ground Attack To Earn First Victory Of Season Against Tufts

October 6, 2012


BRUNSWICK, Maine - Led by 137 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Zach Donnarumma, the Bowdoin College football team picked up its first victory of the 2012 season with a 17-10 win over Tufts on Saturday.

The Polar Bears, who accumulated 215 yards on the ground as a team, improve to 1-2 this fall. The Jumbos fall to 0-3 this season and have lost 18 consecutive games overall.

Greg Pierce also contributed 73 yards on the ground for Bowdoin while Thomas Romero went 13-25 with 131 yards passing. Bowdoin limited Tufts' high-powered passing attack, holding John Dodds to 124 yards passing despite completing 21-36. Pat Nee caught six passes for 56 yards while Justin Weaver gained 66 yards on the ground forthe Jumbos.

Tufts attempted to catch Bowdoin off guard on the first play from scrimmage, running a reverse wide-receiver option pass, but Matt Johnson's toss was intercepted by Beau Breton giving the Polar Bears great field position. The Polar Bears couldn't cash in, however, as the Tufts defense forced a three-and-out.

The teams traded possessions until late in the opening quarter, when Bowdoin marched 51 yards in 14 plays to set up a 41-yard field goal from Jimmy Garvey. Tufts responded with a 10-play, 54-yard drive, capped by a 22-yard field goal from Connor McDavitt to even the score early in the second quarter.

Bowdoin took the ensuing kickoff and, after a bad snap put them inside their own 10 on the very first play, went 93 yards over the next 12 plays, including a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Donnarumma that gave the hosts a 10-3 edge heading into halftime.

A fumble by Pierce to start the second half allowed Tufts to tie the contest right out of the break. Weaver carried the ball five times on a seven-play drive for the Jumbos, including a three-yard plunge up the middle to tie the game at 10 apiece.

Neither team could pull ahead until late in the fourth quarter when Bowdoin took over at their own 40 with 5:45 to play. A 17-yard pass from Romero to Matt Perlow put the Polar Bears at the Tufts 37 and Donnarumma and Pierce took over from there, carrying the ball seven consecutive times, ending in a five-yard dive to paydirt by Donnarumma with 2:36 to go.

Tufts took the next kickoff and drove to the Bowdoin 32 with under a minute to play. But a fourth-and-nine pass by Dodds was broken up by Jon Fraser to seal the victory for the Polar Bears.

Griffin Cardew made 14 tackles to lead Bowdoin. Tommy Meade and Sam Diss had 10 tackles each for the Jumbos. The Polar Bears will travel to play at Hamilton next Saturday at noon. Tufts will return to action next Saturday at Trinity for a 1:30 p.m. start.

H.S. Football:

Greg Rozar’s big plays kick-start Mahwah past Dwight Morrow


MAHWAH – It seemed as if the Mahwah football team was destined to take a long, laborious trudge off the field and into the halftime locker room.

The first 22 minutes of Friday night’s game had not been what the Thunderbirds envisioned. Frustration was beginning to set in.

Greg Rozar changed the Mahwah mood, quickly.

“He’s our big playmaker,” junior running back Robert Askew said of Rozar. “He was huge.”

Rozar made three massive plays – in under three minutes – that propelled Mahwah as it outlasted Dwight Morrow, 34-28.

It was Mahwah’s third straight win, cementing the Thunderbirds as a formidable force in North 1, Group 3. But victory did not come without major challenges.

The hurdles came early, as Mahwah (3-1) had trouble slowing Dwight Morrow’s potent run attack, and trailed 14-7 with 2:42 left in the first half.

But that’s when Rozar, a senior receiver, returned a kickoff 61 yards to the Dwight Morrow 23-yard line. Less than a minute later Mahwah tied the game at 14 thanks to an 11-yard run by senior quarterback Zach Herrmann.

The previously dormant Thunderbirds’ sideline had awakened. A moment later, they’d be roaring, thanks to Rozar.

In the final minute of the first half, Dwight Morrow fumbled a screen pass and Rozar alertly picked up the ball. He never heard a whistle, so he kept running until he reached the end zone, 46 yards away.

Mahwah went into halftime with its first lead of the game, 21-14. And Rozar extended it on the first play of the second half, returning the kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown.

In 111 seconds, Mahwah had scored 21 unanswered points and turned a deficit into a 28-14 lead.

“That was huge,” Rozar said. “It definitely got the momentum in our favor, and that’s what I was trying to do.”

But Dwight Morrow would not go away. The Raiders answered Mahwah’s surge with some clutch play of their own.

Senior running back Naiquan Thomas scored two second-half touchdowns to pull Dwight Morrow even with Mahwah at 28 with eight minutes left in the game.

Mahwah had the last say when Askew dragged two Raiders into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Thunderbirds a 34-28 lead with 3:48 left in the game.

It turned out to be the game-winner when Mahwah’s defense stopped Dwight Morrow’s last-gasp drive with under a minute remaining.

Mahwah had survived, and kept its dream season going, but it hadn’t been easy.

“I told their coach at the end of the game, ‘You’re the most improved football team I’ve ever seen from one year to the next,’ ” Mahwah coach Jeff Remo said of Dwight Morrow. “Outstanding.”

But the Raiders (3-2) aren’t taking solace in turning heads. They want to win.

H.S. Girls soccer roundup:

Jessica Cuttone’s overtime goal lifts Mahwah to 2-1 win over Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge


Monday, October 1, 2012

The Record

Jessica Cuttone scored in the first overtime period as 10th-seeded Mahwah escaped with a 2-1 victory over No. 23 Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge in the first round of the Bergen County girls soccer tournament Sunday.

The underdog Aviators actually took the lead when Maggie Filja scored in the first half. the Aviators packed the penalty area, but Emily Jordan finally found enough space to get a shot off and tie the score for Mahwah in the second half to force overtime.

Upon further review: Drops deadly for Spartans, James Kittredge among defensive stars

Josh Slagter |


Some thoughts after re-watching Michigan State's 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan:

• James Kittredge was not only Michigan State's best defensive tackle Saturday, he may have been its best defensive player period. Kittredge finished with 5 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for a loss. The "great motor" defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi raved about certainly was evident. Kittredge started in placed of Anthony Rashad White but also played alongside him during the game.

This week: Ohio State at home in East Lansing, MI

Allendale gives proclamation to Kunisch family

Tuesday, September 18, 2012




Town Journal

The community of Allendale dedicated Field Four at Crestwood Park in honor of the late Michael Walter Kunisch, owner of the Allendale Bar and Grill, and a man for whom the word "gentleman" is synonymous.

A proclamation was presented on a plaque to the Kunisch family during the Sept. 13 Mayor and Council meeting. It outlined who Mike Kunisch was to his community, his family and his friends.

He was born and raised in Allendale, having attended the local schools, Brookside and then Ramsey High School, in which he graduated in 1959. He owned and operated the family AB&G since 1967.

Kunisch married his one true love, Bobbie, his wife of 46 years and together they raised four children - Chris, Craig, Katie and Kenny.

The family enjoyed spending time throughout the state and in picturesque Vermont.

Kunisch passed away March 1, 2012, but not before leaving a legacy for others to follow of "compassion, conviction and hard work, so in keeping with the examples of the Kunisch family," the proclamation reads.

Field Four at Crestwood Park was created by Mike and his two brothers, Robert and Art, and backs up to the home on West Maple Avenue where the brothers were raised.

It has hence been renamed Kunisch Field in honor of Mike Kunisch and "will always be a place of happiness and camaraderie - a true field of dreams."

Mayor Vince Barra said he enjoys issuing proclamations but "I have to tell you tonight this is one that is just so special, it's my privilege to do. Mike Kunisch epitomized Allendale and the whole Kunisch family: his brothers; Bobbie, his wife; his children."

He added, "when Mike passed away, we had to do something special, we just have to do something special, and we really didn't know what to do." But when they were at the service, Mike's brother Bob got up and talked about the field behind the home and as the mayor walked outside he and Councilwoman Amy Wilczynski knew what that "something special" would be.

"What could be more appropriate than that field? And we decided right then and there that was something we were going to do," the mayor said.

Bobbie Kunisch said it was an honor to receive the proclamation, "Allendale is a great town. Mike was born and raised here. And my children are the fourth generation, so we kind of like it." She said she has found a special place for the proclamation and the family thanked the Mayor and Council.


H.S. field hockey: Loaded Ramsey off to impressive 5-0 start

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


RAMSEY – The Ramsey field hockey team has an abundance of offensive firepower. But the Rams don’t just rely on their scoring prowess, they possess a solid midfield corps and are anchored by a stingy and stellar back line.

Coach Becky Fantry huddling with her well-balanced Ramsey field hockey squad, which is off to a 5-0 start this season.

Sparked by its multi-pronged at tack, Ramsey is off to a 5-0 start and seems likely again to challenge for league and county crowns. The Rams also should be a contender once the state tournament rolls around in late October.

"This is one of the strongest groups that we’ve had in my time here," said Ramsey sixth-year coach Becky Fantry. "The chemistry is there and so is the communication and the confidence. We’re really very well-rounded and experienced in every area." The Rams have nine seniors, seven with varsity starting experience from a year ago.

Averaging almost four goals a game, the Rams’ potent front wall is sparked by senior center/forward Melanie Consiglio (six goals, three assists), who has developed into one of the top snipers in North Jersey.

"We’ve played together a long time and we’re capable of getting some pretty consistent scoring opportunities," Consiglio said. "We’re just going to play as well as we can and see where that will lead us at the end of the season."

A year ago, Ramsey went 16-4-2 en route to winning the Northeast Field Hockey Division 1 title and a co-championship (with Northern Highlands) in the Bergen County tournament. Ramsey also advanced to the North 1, Group 2 title game before falling to eventual Group 2 state champion West Essex, 8-1.

Other big senior offensive contributors for the Rams this season include center/midfielder Rae Caliento (four goals three assists), right wing/forward Meredith Hudson (three goals, one assist) and forward Ally Cowie (four goals, two assists).

The Rams started the season Sept. 6 by edging Northern Highlands, 2-1, in overtime and followed up with victories over Wayne Valley (1-0), Hackensack (7-0), West Milford (3-2) and Pompton Lakes (5-0).

"We don’t just rely on our front line, we support, cover and back up for each other all over the field," Caliento said.

Sophomore forward Annie Young and senior midfielders Erin O’Connor and Emily Leonard give the Rams two-way strength. The defense is keyed by senior center/back Eve DePiero, senior Kathleen Bohmert and sophomore Morgan Masotti.
Senior Taryn Corrigan has taken over in the cage and has allowed just three goals with three shutouts.

Ramsey, which won back-to-back BCT titles in 2006 and 2007 before Northern Highlands’ current string of four straight county crowns (including the co-championship), has a big week coming up.

The Rams have three home games, against Demarest on Wednesday, River Dell on Thursday and Lakeland on Saturday at 10 a.m. "There is a lot of talent but we have to work hard to make it all mesh together in the right way," Cowie said.

"This is a team that won’t ever give up even if we get down by a goal or two because we know we have the ability to pose a realistic scoring threat at almost any time. We were behind by a goal to West Milford and rallied to win, and we will keep persevering until we achieve all our goals."

UMaine player has a little of everything, and a lot of leadership

Friday, September 14, 2012


John Ebeling didn't win the starting QB job for Maine, so now he catches passes, tackles and snaps.

ORONO - The season's first offensive series for the University of Maine football team did not go as scripted.

A 6-yard completion to veteran tight end Justin Perillo. A shotgun snap through the hands of new quarterback Marcus Wasilewski. An incompletion on third-and-long to John Ebeling, the backup quarterback turned slot receiver.

On came the punt team. All of them, that is, except for Ebeling, the long snapper, who headed to the sideline after running his pass route.

"This was my first game playing receiver full-time," said Ebeling, a junior from Mahwah, N.J. "So after Marcus threw me that ball, my first reaction was to go over to Marcus and talk to him about what he saw. I wasn't thinking that we had to go punt."

Wasilewski already was on the headphones with offensive coordinator Kevin Bourgoin when Ebeling approached, only to be snapped out of his reverie by yells of "We need you, John!"

Ebeling sprinted back onto the field, where his teammates already were in punt formation, awaiting only the man in the middle.

"We had three seconds left on the (play) clock but I got it off," Ebeling said. "It definitely won't happen again."

After opening with a 34-3 loss to Boston College of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Black Bears travel south again to face an opponent on the other side of the spectrum. Bryant University is in its first year of eligibility for the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision playoffs after making the transition from a Division II program.

The Bulldogs are 0-2 after losses to Marist and St. Francis (Pa.). The kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Smithfield, R.I.

"We have to have the same mind-set preparing for Bryant as we did preparing for Boston College," Ebeling said. "There can't be any letdown. They're still a (FCS) team and anything can happen."

Ebeling may have finished second in the starting quarterback competition but that doesn't mean he'll be strolling the sideline with a headset, a clipboard and no helmet. As one of Maine's better all-around athletes -- voted the team's best basketball player in a recent informal poll -- Ebeling promises to see plenty of action this fall, catching passes, snapping for punts and tackling punt returners.

"He's a kid who can do a lot of things for us," Bourgoin said. "I'm sure he wants to play quarterback, but he's smart enough, talented enough and athletic enough to play another position.

"We've always had a philosophy at Maine that we're going to play our best 11 players. It's an opportunity for us to get another good football player on the field, a kid who can help us win."

When Ebeling arrived in Orono in the fall of 2009, he saw Mike Brusko lose his starting quarterback job to Warren Smith, a transfer from Iona, then watched Brusko reinvent himself as a proficient receiver and punter while remaining a team leader.

The transition from thrower to receiver is not that complicated, Ebeling said, at least not mentally.

"When you're getting yourself ready to play quarterback, you understand all the concepts on the field and what everyone has to be doing to make the play work," he said. "So going to receiver, I already had an understanding of what my job was on each play, whether it was to make a block or run a route."

The transition actually began a year ago when injuries thinned Maine's receiving corps. Ebeling learned the position and wound up catching a touchdown pass in each of the two playoff games.

All that running and blocking in practices and games does take a physical toll but Ebeling is adjusting. Bourgoin also loves the calmness Ebeling brings to the offense.

"He can set formations up and communicate what we're trying to do with alignments and splits," Bourgoin said. "The leadership from the quarterback standpoint is now also on the perimeter when he's out there."

Playing at Bryant has special meaning for Ebeling, who took his first official recruiting visit there. He also visited Georgetown before coming to Orono and subsequently canceling a trip to a fourth school in the Midwest.

Yearly family vacations to Little Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire fostered a love of northern New England, and Ebeling made good use of his non-workout time this summer by driving two hours north of Orono to fish the Penobscot River.

Sometimes he'd go alone. Other times he'd bring Calvert Schaefer, a freshman lineman from Maryland, or someone new to fishing.

Ebeling hasn't attempted fly fishing just yet but he's willing to try.

Of course, that will have to wait at least until next year. At the moment his plate is full.

"I like being involved in everything and just helping the team out in any way I can," he said. "It's always better to be on the field with your teammates than on the sideline watching."

Dig This: Historic Start

Juniors Karissa Ciliento(GE) and Molly Belcher recount their 5-0 start


The 2012 Lafayette volleyball team has been off to a great start. Coming off of a tough preseason, we got right into our schedule facing Rider and St. Francis. Those two matches served as the beginning of a 5-0 run, the best start the Lafayette volleyball team has ever had.

During this streak we found the fight this team has been missing the past few years. Besides the talent our team has to offer, with a Patriot League Player of the week Sarah Frohnapfel, it is our devotion, work ethic, and energy that makes this group of 16 girls a special one.

The enthusiasm from Coach Campbell and Coach P has taught us to believe in ourselves and welcome adversity with open arms in order to achieve greater success later in the season and Patriot League play.

We play for each other and live for points on the court where we tackle each other to the ground after a kill, perfect set, or an amazing dig.

We want to lose our voices after every match and leave everything we have on the court.

Boise State reacts to loss to Michigan State: 'Probably the best front seven ...'

Saturday - September 1, 2012


(pictured - James Kittredge #99)

— Boise State could do frustratingly little at the end of its 17-13 loss Friday night, as Michigan State asserted its will behind running back Le'Veon Bell — driving the field first for the go-ahead score, then later eating up every last second on the clock.

Afterward, the Broncos' players and coaches spoke about the game it once looked as if they realistically might win.

Here is some of the highlights from the Boise State press conference:

• "(Michigan State) is probably the best front seven that I have played against in my 23 starts. They were pretty good. They did a lot of different things we were used to, but they are very talented."

— Boise State senior offensive lineman Joe Kellogg, after the Spartans' held the Broncos to 37 yards rushing and essentially three offensive points.

Trainer: McCourty 'completely healthy' heading into camp

July 13, 2012


Good Energy Training owner Pete Ohnegian can say this about client Devin McCourty:

"He really has no limitations at all for his shoulder."

The AC joint separation, suffered in 2011's Week 10 win over the Jets, forced the second-year Patriots cornerback to miss two games and more practices.

There was some question last year as to whether McCourty's sophomore struggles were exacerbated by the injury. Though McCourty resembled a shell of his rookie, Pro Bowl self even before that November night, it's fair to think a bungled shoulder might have hampered his attempts to break the slump.

McCourty maintains one had nothing to do with the other. Still, his trainer isn't taking any chances.

"We don't do rehab here -- that's why I say 'pre-hab' -- but everything is posture-conscious," Ohnegian said. "So even if it's speed work, we're looking at the chest, we're looking at the arm action, we're looking at the shoulder-back and the head neutral. I want to make sure when he leaves here, he's more than ready to go."

McCourty has been working out with Ohnegian since he was a junior at New Jersey's Saint Joseph Regional High School.

This offseason McCourty is at GE multiple times a week. Though he also works out at his alma mater Rutgers, he keeps Ohnegian "on call."


McCourty recently took flight to the Dominican Republic for a few days with his brother, and Titans defensive back, Jason. Neither disconnected from the NFL completely. Ohnegian called the pair's hotel to find out what workout equipment was available and created specific plans.

Trust -- that McCourty can train in a way that complements New England's lofty expectations -- is key to the long-term relationship.

With training camp due to start in two weeks, the cornerback works now on strength, mobility and flexibility. He practices coming in and out of cuts. During cone drills, he makes sure he's exploding properly off his plant leg, that his foot is under his shoulder, and his all-around mechanics are good.

Ohnegian mentions McCourty is "naturally gifted" that way.

So what about 2011? What about the drop from seven interceptions to two, and all the surrendered yardage? Can the trainer offer any theory as to why McCourty struggled?

"I think it just happens."

No, it's not entirely that simple. And Ohnegian knows it.

He said he didn't dissect the film -- and certainly wouldn't any more than McCourty and the Patriots did. He can't pinpoint where the problems came from.

But Ohnegian states the more important takeaway is he believes the same issues shouldn't surface again.

"If anyone can handle it, it would be Devin. He and his brother haven't changed since high school -- they're just straight-up, first-class young men, completely humble. I wouldn't be surprised if he duplicates his rookie year."

It's hard not to mix hope in with analysis.

Yet Ohnegian has known McCourty for six years. He understands the athlete's body (both in potential and reality), the mind, and competitive spirit. Surely, Ohnegian's evaluation is worth some weight.

Some 193 pounds or so.

"I think other guys you can attribute it to not working as hard, or getting complacent, or being focused on other things, but none of that is true in his case. That's why I feel like he's going to have a great year."

Sophomore Player of the Year - Matt Pedrick

Bergen Catholic Lacrosse Goalie - 2012


MATT PEDRICK, Bergen Catholic — A two-year starter, the All-Suburban Sophomore of the Year was having a solid season between the pipes before an injury cost him the last five games of the season. The New Milford resident had an 8-4 record, an 8.87 goals-against average and a .550 save percentage, setting a career-best with 24 saves in a win over Queensbury, N.Y. In two seasons as a starter, his goals-against average is 8.83 and his save percentage stands at .532.

McCourty to speak at symposium

Original GE is a LIFE Leader!


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty will be among a group of current and former players to speak at the NFL's annual rookie symposium later this month in Canton, Ohio.

The symposium is designed to adjust rookies to life in the NFL, touching on topics such as personal finances, relations with media, and off-field conduct. McCourty will be speaking at the event along with his twin brother, Titans cornerback Jason McCourty.

"I think it's a great program. I kind of felt honored that they asked us to come back and speak. Just going to share some things that I went through and see if I can get the rookies getting a little head start going into their first year," McCourty said Thursday.

McCourty said he benefited from the program as a rookie in 2010, and is looking to impart some of the knowledge from his first two seasons in the NFL to the incoming rookie class.

"A lot of what I tell them is what I've learned from being here and being around older guys. When I first got here, listening to guys like James Sanders, (Brandon) Meriweather, and them," McCourty said. "My whole last year, with Kevin Faulk being there. I think a lot of things I'll tell will be from the different things he shared with me and how I was able to use the things he said."

Also scheduled to speak at the symposium on June 25-28 are current Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater and former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and offensive lineman Ross Tucker.

National writers high on MSU's James Kittredge

May 2012


May is sweeps month on television and list month for football writers.

Two we came across today tackled the biggest pleasant surprises from spring football and the assistant coaches ready to become head coaches. Michigan State was represented on both.

Bruce Feldman of provided the former, listing MSU defensive tackle James Kittredge among 10 eye-catching players from across the country.

"The Spartans defense once again should be pretty nasty, but they do have to replace Jerel Worthy on the inside of their line," Feldman wrote. "Enter Kittredge, a 6-3, 285-pound former Vandy O-lineman from New Jersey, who created a lot of buzz inside the MSU program this spring."

Boys Lacrosse: Don Bosco wins it ultimate goal

Sunday, May 13, 2012




MAHWAH – This win was worth celebrating for the Don Bosco lacrosse team. The 15 before it, not so much. But this was different, this was special, and it deserved a special celebration.

As they have been all year, the Ironmen were perfect at that, too.

After seven years of trying, after losing in the finals twice before, Don Bosco is finally Bergen County boys lacrosse tournament champions. The top-seeded Ironmen beat second-seeded Ridgewood, 8-4, in the final Saturday and savored its biggest accomplishment as a program with a postgame celebration fitting the moment.

When the final buzzer sounded, the players rushed the field, threw their gloves and sticks in the air and met behind their net for a group pile-on, their screams of joy echoing in the distance. When the county trophy was handed to them a few minutes later, the howling started again and probably won’t stop until the state tournament begins next Saturday.

“To get the first county title for the program, there’s nothing better than that,” Don Bosco senior captain Conor Scavone said. “To have our name up on a banner in the gym as the first team to do it, it means a lot. It’s great to finally be able to win this title and enjoy this moment.”

The postgame party was a change for the normally reserved players on Don Bosco (16-0). Even as the team has gotten off to the best start in program history, the Ironmen haven’t celebrated much following wins. Even after they won the Gibbs Division for the first time a week ago, all the players did was give each other a couple of high-fives and hugs.

But they let it all go following this one.

“To date in program history, this is probably the best win,” Don Bosco coach Mike Springer said. “We’ve been working hard for a long time to get this, and it feels good to reach this goal.”

The Ironmen had to sweat out the final minutes of this game as Ridgewood crept within three with five minutes to go and had two extra-man opportunities after that. But the defense didn’t allow a goal on man down and junior goalie Will Collopy (eight saves) shut out the Maroons over the final 5:40 of the game.

The offense helped the defense by dominating possession time – aided by faceoff man Dan Mazurek winning 12 of 15 draws – and building a three-goal lead in the first quarter. Jack Ray scored three goals for the Ironmen, Scavone had two and attackman Max Allen dished out four assists.

“We’ve never won a county title at Bosco, so to be the first team really means a lot,” senior captain and defender John Petzold said. “This was definitely the best win we’ve had yet.”

They showed it during the postgame celebration.

Bears sign veteran linebacker Blake Costanzo

By Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune reporter


The Chicago Bears targeted Blake Costanzo because they realized Corey Graham would probably not be returning.

And they successfully landed the veteran linebacker Tuesday night, adding him to the mix as a top special teams player. He finished second on the San Francisco 49ers with 17 tackles on special teams this past season, and added four more in postseason competition. He came up big in the 49ers' playoff upset of the New Orleans Saints, forcing one fumble on special teams and recovering another.

The 27-year-old was developed by Brad Seely, following him from Cleveland to San Francisco, and is considered one of the better core special teams performers in the league. According to his agent David Canter, it's a two-year contract.

"I always respected what he did and how he worked at his craft -- and he's not the biggest guy, he's not the strongest guy," Seely told the Associated Press this last season. "But he's one of those guys that his whole is much better than the parts. What he brings on Sunday is really a unique situation for us in special teams in the sense that he's really good at his job."

The Bears made a late push to re-sign Graham, who reached the Pro Bowl this past season, but it's unlikely he will return to the team. Several clubs are believed to be interested in him.

Ravettine Selected to Compete in NCAA Championships

February 29, 2012 - Lynchburg, Va.


Liberty sophomore Brye Ravettine has been selected to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, as announced today. The national championships will be held March 15-17 at Martin Aquatics Center in Auburn, Ala.

Ravettine will be the first Liberty swimmer to compete at the NCAA Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in program history.

Ravettine will compete in three events at the national meet: the 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. The Mahwah, N.J., native qualified with B cuts in all three events, while her 50 free time of 22.19 is the 15th fastest entered in the competition.

She was named the CCSA Swimmer of the Meet and CCSA Swimmer of the Year on Feb. 18, as Ravettine won two individual events at the conference championships and swam on two winning relays. She earned B cuts in winning the 50 and 100 free and also while getting second in the 100 back, helping the second-year Lady Flames to a second-place finish at the championships.

Earlier this season, Ravettine qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 50-meter freestyle, swimming a 25.99 at the USA Swimming Winter National Championships. She also was named CCSA Swimmer of the Week on Feb. 1.

Toomey Delivers Dagger in 80-78 Win Over Ephs

Senior Weekend for GE'S TAYLOR BARRISE


AMHERST, Mass. – Aaron Toomey ’14 probably isn’t very popular in Williamstown, Mass.

For the second time this season, Toomey helped the Amherst College men’s basketball team edge archrival Williams in heartbreaking fashion by delivering the dagger in the final seconds of regulation. This time around the clinching points came with 1.9 seconds on the clock, as the Lord Jeffs held on for a thrilling 80-78 win over the Ephs in a packed LeFrak Gymnasium.

Amherst and Williams have played in countless classic games, but Friday night’s showdown—which featured 17 ties and 24 lead changes—was one of the most exciting in recent history. Toomey played the role of hero with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists, while Taylor Barrise ’12 led all players with 21 points thanks to a 7-for-12 performance from behind the arc.

The sixth-ranked Lord Jeffs improved to 21-2 (9-0 NESCAC), while the Ephs dropped to 16-7 (4-5).

The Lord Jeffs set a program record with their 25th consecutive home victory and bumped their overall win streak to eight games. Amherst also secured the 2012 Little Three title, having posted a 3-1 record against Williams and Wesleyan during the regular season.

Neither team led by more than four points in the opening half until James Wang knocked down two free throws with 00:00 showing on the clock, as the Ephs carried a 41-36 lead into the locker room. The second half was much of the same until Amherst used an 8-0 run to pull ahead by eight (69-61) with 6:54 remaining in regulation.

Three-pointers by James Klemm and Wang on back-to-back Williams possessions got the visitors right back in the game, and a layup by Brian Emerson tied things up at 71-71 with 3:29 on the clock.

That’s when things got really fun.

With LeFrak Gymnasium as loud as it has been in recent memory, Amherst’s Willy Workman ’13 began a tug-of-war with a layup that put the Jeffs ahead, 73-71. Wang handed the lead right back to Williams with a layup and a 1-of-2 showing at the line, giving the Ephs a 74-73 edge with 1:13 to go.

Taylor Barrise '12 was 7-for-12 from long range.

Barrise’s seventh three-pointer of the night was his biggest, as it gave the Jeffs the lead for good at 76-74 with only 59.6 seconds remaining. Williams quickly got two points out of a timeout thanks to a pair of free throws from Nate Robertson, bringing the score to 76-76.

The teams then traded points in the paint, with Jeff Holmes ’12 scoring for Amherst before Emerson responded to tie the game at 78-78 with 13 ticks on the clock.

When the Jeffs and Ephs met earlier this season in Williamstown, Toomey knocked down a pair of free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining in regulation to hand Amherst a thrilling two-point win. This time, he waited until only 1.9 seconds remained before delivering the final blow.

Toomey drove to the lane and appeared as though he would once again attempt to draw a foul, but the sophomore point guard pulled up for a short jumper that hit nothing but the net and sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Wang threw up a desperation heave at the buzzer but didn’t draw iron, causing the Lord Jeffs and their fans to storm the court.

Workman joined Toomey and Barrise in double figures with 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, as the three Lord Jeffs scored 66 points on 25-of-47 shooting (.532). Amherst shot 50 percent as a team and held a 38-29 rebounding advantage.

Williams had five players finish in double digits, with Wang scoring 17 and Klemm adding 15. Emerson and Taylor Epley each had 11, while Michael Mayer chipped in with 10. Mayer added 10 rebounds, while Robertson finished with seven points and six assists.

With the Ephs dropping into a tie for sixth in the standings, there is a chance Amherst and Williams could see each other in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship. Both teams will close their regular seasons Saturday at 4 p.m. as Amherst hosts second-ranked Middlebury and the Ephs travel to Trinity.

Football Defensive Player of The Year:

Kyle Sakowski, Don Bosco


Saturday, December 10, 2011
The Record

A seldom-noticed receiver his first two years, Kyle Sakowski now is the North Jersey Defensive Player of the Year. It’s extremely hard to pick a single player off of the best defense in New Jersey, but when the defensive coordinator calls one player “the quarterback” of the group and that player grabbed six interceptions and called the secondary signals, well, he did a lot. That’s why the Don Bosco safety is the North Jersey Defensive Player of the Year.

“It means a lot to me because growing up, everyone looks up to the quarterback. Until they get to the high school level, they don’t really know who calls the defense,” said Sakowski, 17. “Coming in and controlling this defense, along with the middle linebacker, is definitely something to be proud of.”

The resident of Chester, N.Y., didn’t take a smooth path to Ironman glory. He followed older brother Paul’s footsteps to the Ramsey school, but was a seldom-used, seldom-noticed wide receiver his first two seasons.

“Coming in I still wanted to play offense and junior year, Coach [Bill] Tierney pulled me in and said, ‘You are going to be a Division I safety,’” said Sakowski. “They turned me into a safety, and that’s all I have been ever since.”

It took him some time to adjust. Sakowski is a football maven. He studies the sport, watches it on television and plays video games, but going from the one being hit to the hitter took some doing.

“I wasn’t too good,” laughed Sakowski. “I couldn’t tackle real well. I was misjudging passes. I was always getting yelled at. Two weeks before the season started [my junior year], Coach Toal told me I wasn’t any good. It was a rough start.”

To make things even harder, going into this year Don Bosco changed its defense. Even though the 2010 edition was tremendous, the idea was to simplify the reads and let athleticism take over.

Sakowski called the defensive signals for the secondary and said the Ironmen had over a dozen different looks.

“We are not too smart on the defensive side of the ball,” said Sakowski, again joking. “But we picked it up real fast and that’s how we were able to learn.”

Sakowski had some huge moments in 2011. He had two interceptions in the season-opening win over Mission Viejo, two more in the Ironmen’s first win over Bergen Catholic and another in the state championship win over the Crusaders.

Big interceptions run in the family. Paul, a 2010 graduate, had picks against De La Salle and Prattville in his Ironman career.

“The coaches bring it up to me now — it runs in the family with key interceptions,” said Kyle. “I guess interceptions come with the last name.”

Sakowski, Siciliano Ready For State Title Game

November 30, 2011


Kyle Sakowski couldn’t believe the atmosphere when he took in his first Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) vs. Bergen Catholic rivalry game three years ago.

Thousands of fans showed up to watch the showdown and both teams were amped. Even the bands were going at it, battling back and forth with fight songs, drums and horns blaring.

Sakowski had to be a part of this game – and he is.

He hopes to end his career at Don Bosco, ranked No. 1 in almost every national high school poll, with a win over Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public Group 4 state championship at 8 p.m. Friday at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Along with Sakowski, Anthony Siciliano of Monroe starts for Don Bosco (10-0) at center.

“Bergen Catholic always gives us a run for our money and that’s good, because we don’t just want blowout victories,” said Sakowski, a free safety being recruited by Army, Navy and several Division I-AA schools. “I’ve been waiting for this game, it’s going to be a fun. It’s a chance to beat up on our rivals one last time. This game is so heated, it’s the best high school rivalry in the country.

Don Bosco, which has won 45 straight games, defeated Bergen Catholic 33-22 in October and 35-27 for last season’s Non-Public Group 4 state title. Sakowski sealed the victory earlier this year by intercepting a pass with 2:05 remaining in Don Bosco’s end zone. He also plays wide receiver for the Ironmen.

Don Bosco has won five consecutive state championships and plays a stacked national schedule. Victims of the Ironmen this season include national players Mission Viejo High, Calif., St. Edward, Ohio, and Manatee, Fla. Sakowski, who has four interceptions, also started last season for Don Bosco.

Meanwhile, Siciliano is trying to win his first state championship. He earned his starting job in preseason, beating out several other competitors for the position. His brother, Joseph, a sophomore, is a back-up linebacker for the Ironmen.

“To play in a game like this is just exciting,” Anthony Siciliano said. “It’s one of our toughest opponents and we always have a close game, so I’m looking forward to it. To me, it’s special to be a part of this, most kids don’t get the chance. I’m privileged.”

From The Herald

Franklin Lakes native Blake Costanzo special in San Francisco

THE BERGEN RECORD - Saturday - 1.21.2012


Blake Costanzo has built his professional football career on a not-so-complicated premise that continues to serve as the foremost secret to his success.

Regardless of how many zeros there are in his paycheck, no matter how close he may be to the Super Bowl, the Franklin Lakes native promises he has not changed and never will.

Costanzo will step inside Candlestick Park as one of the 49ers’ most spirited leaders opposite the hometown Giants, the NFC Championship and a trip to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis to the victors come Sunday night.

“To tell you the truth, when I get on that field, that’s the time when I feel most alive,” Costanzo said. “I’m just a simple guy who likes simple things. My parents came from humble beginnings and that’s how I was raised. This is who I am.

“I’m playing football for a living and this is what makes me happy.”

Happiness for the Lafayette College graduate – one of four players from the non-scholarship Patriot League on NFL rosters this season – is best captured by the simplicity with which he does his job and lives his life.

Despite the one-year deal for $700,000 he signed with the 49ers last summer, Costanzo furnishes his two-bedroom condominium the way a college freshman might.

The 27-year-old sleeps on a mattress and box spring, which is an upgrade from the futon mattress that served as his bed the previous two years in Cleveland.

No dinner plates in the cabinets. One television sits in the living room.
The couch he and San Francisco practice squad members Joe Hastings and Mike Wilhoit rented for the season already has been returned. But don’t fret: Costanzo and the boys picked up a few folding chairs and a bean bag chair for comfort to go in its place.

“With Blake what you see is what you get,” said best friend and former Lafayette teammate Chris Partridge, the head football coach at Paramus Catholic.

Having been released three times over his first three NFL seasons, including twice by the Jets, Costanzo is on a journey that has tested how badly he wanted this.

The former Ramapo High School standout has found a way to thrive in his role as special teams ace with the 49ers, becoming a fan favorite and Pro Bowl alternate in the process by embracing the essential qualities he believes have gotten him to this point.

“Hard work, believing in yourself and never taking no for an answer,” he said. “People telling me I can’t only made me want it even more, and that gave me an edge.

“I’ll never lose that edge.”

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Costanzo plays with reckless abandon on every special teams unit. His impact is most felt on kickoff coverage where his energy inspires teammates to go all out from the moment the ball is teed up.

Costanzo leads San Francisco with 723 production points on special teams within a scoring system established by his coaches to reward players for tackles, knockdowns, forced and recovered fumbles and big plays.

Against New Orleans in the divisional round, Costanzo recovered a fumble and later forced one after which the home crowd chanted his name.

He has indeed come a long way from where he was three years ago: forced to drive home to New Jersey after being released by the Bills one day before the start of training camp.

“I never heard the word ‘quit,’ but what I saw from him was a lot of frustration,” said Partridge, with whom Costanzo lives in Hackensack in the off-season. “He was as frustrated as I have ever seen him, and right away he was thinking, ‘Maybe I’ll play in the UFL; I’ve got to find somewhere to play.’

“When he was on the verge, as frustrated as he can be, that’s when he got a big break with Cleveland and three years later he’s making the most of it.”

San Francisco teammate Tavares Gooden spent time with All-Pros Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, and he believes the desire Costanzo has to play the game is equal to what he saw from those two future Hall of Famers.

“It’s incredible how hard Blake plays,” Gooden said. “He’s got the physical toughness to be a great downfield blocker and the mental toughness to get to the ball carrier no matter what. When you bring it the way he does, that’s the guy you want on your team.”

What Costanzo wants more than anything is a franchise to call his permanent home, at least as permanent as stays in the NFL can get.

“I just want a team to finally say, ‘You know what – this guy is special. We know what he means to the team and we want him here to stay.’ I just want a team to realize the importance of not only what I can bring with my play on the field, but with leadership and my passion for the game,” Costanzo said.

“That’s what I want more than anything: a team to say, ‘We’re investing in you because we believe in you.’”

With his heart in San Francisco, on the doorstep of a Super Bowl, Costanzo would not choose to be anywhere else right now.

Blake Costanzo - 49ers' Special Guy from Jersey

Sunday December 11, 2011


San Francisco Chronicle
Eric Branch, Staff Writer

Last year, when he played with the Browns, Blake Costanzo furnished his apartment with a futon mattress, a television and ... nothing else.

This season, the 49ers' special team standout has splurged. He's rented a recliner for the place he shares with practice-squad wide receiver Joe Hastings.

"Yeah, he still just has a mattress on the floor," Hastings said. "For a couple weeks, we had no furniture. No dinner plates. Literally, nothing. If you look at our apartment, you wouldn't think we played in the NFL."

The bare-bones lifestyle is fitting. Costanzo is now making a $700,000-a-year living thanks to his ability to get by on very little.

Not blessed with eye-popping size or speed, Costanzo, 27, a thrice-waived, five-year veteran from non-scholarship Lafayette College, has improbably become one of the NFL's top special-teams players.

Two years after he was selected to's All-Pro team, Costanzo is bidding to earn a trip to the Pro Bowl in Honolulu this season. Entering today's game at Arizona, Costanzo leads the 49ers with 13 special-teams tackles and has 21 "knockdowns," according to special-teams statistics compiled by the coaching staff. No other Niner has flattened the opponent more than 10 times.

Impressive numbers. But they become truly inspiring for anyone who's seen Costanzo, generously listed at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds, peel off his jersey and shoulder pads to reveal ... that the maniac on the field looks like your mechanic off it.

San Francisco special teams coordinator Brad Seely has joked that Costanzo looks like he should be picking up towels in the locker room. Costanzo tells people to "look it up" when they refuse to believe he's an NFL player.

"He's just a guy, physically," Seely said. "He's just a guy, but he has something else to him that is not a measurable. He's not the biggest guy. He's not the fastest guy. He's not the strongest guy. But on Sundays, he's a pretty, pretty good football player."

Seely coached Costanzo in Cleveland the past two seasons and recruited his star pupil to San Francisco, where he's been a natural fit in coach Jim Harbaugh's blue-collar, who's-got-it-better-than-us locker room.

Earlier this season, when told that Seely said he looked like a locker-room assistant, Costanzo replied, enthusiastically, that he's actually helped equipment managers fold towels in Cleveland and San Francisco.

A native of Franklin Lakes, N.J., Costanzo was shaped by his parents' hard-working example.

His mom, Susan, works as a hairdresser out of their home and his dad, Charlie, is a salesman for a trucking company who built each of the houses the family lived in when Blake was growing up. As a child, Charlie Costanzo helped raise his four siblings after his own dad died when he was 11.

"My dad always taught me about sacrifice, toughness and accountability," Costanzo said. "He made it clear how good we had it. It's kind of like a who's-got-it-better-than-us type of thing. I could relate when coach Harbaugh first said that. No doubt."

Costanzo's sparse apartment furnishings reflect his roots. He doesn't waste money, he says, because he knows how hard it is to make.

In the offseason, he lives with his best friend and former college teammate, Chris Partridge, in Hackensack, N.J. Partridge is the head coach at Paramus Catholic High, and Costanzo devotes much of his offseason to coaching and mentoring Partridge's players, many of whom are from the inner city.

Harbaugh has said the 49ers aren't a Hollywood team. And Costanzo is pure Hackensack.

"Blake is the definition of blue collar," Partridge said. "He's worked for everything he's ever had. He doesn't take a day off. He's always positive. He's always got this positive energy around him and people around him feed off that energy. The kids feed off that energy. I feed off that energy."
Through football, Costanzo discovered in junior high that he possessed a "rage for competition." His teams at Ramapo High won two state titles, and Costanzo, an all-state pick as a senior, played linebacker, guard, tight end and fullback. Scott Rubinetti, his coach for his first three seasons at Ramapo, describes the teenage Costanzo as an "animal" and a "machine."

49ers have questions, hope to find the answers "I watch him on TV now, and after special-teams tackles, or every big play, you see Blake somewhere in the picture," Rubinetti said. "He's running off the bench, tackling guys in the end zone. He was the same way all the way through high school. He was the most emotional, intense human being on the field."

Colleges might have loved Costanzo's passion, but they weren't enamored of his size. At 6-foot, 195 pounds, Costanzo landed at Division I-AA Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., where he had a standout career as a linebacker. Against schools such as Fordham, which ignored him out of high school, Costanzo often punctuated tackles by screaming to the opposing sideline, "How do you like me now, coach!"

But Costanzo's most impressive work came following his final college game.

Since NFL scouts don't scour the Patriot League, he made his own highlight video and mailed it to NFL general managers. Each package included a letter from Lafayette defensive coordinator John Loose in which Loose explained why Costanzo would succeed in the NFL.

Since Lafayette didn't have a pro day - predraft workouts where scouts evaluate NFL-eligible prospects - he attended the workout at Hofstra. While the nation's top prospects were invited to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Costanzo labored at Lafayette under the supervision of a fellow senior who was studying for a career in sports medicine.

"I don't know where he got the training stuff - the Internet or somewhere, I guess," Costanzo said. "It was like, 'Who would think anything of that stuff would work?'"

But it did. Based on his highlight video, Costanzo got a call from Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff and New York signed him to a free-agent contract after the 2006 draft.

Early in his first training camp, Costanzo, buried on the special-teams depth chart, was told by a few veterans that he wouldn't play in the preseason opener. Desperate to get into the game, Costanzo asked an assistant coach how he could open eyes and earn playing time.

The advice: Square off against Anthony Schlegel, a rookie linebacker from Ohio State the Jets had drafted in the third round. Costanzo embraced the suggestion and sought out Schlegel during every drill and special-teams session.

"I went at like it was my Super Bowl," Costanzo said. "I was killing him. I remember coach (Eric) Mangini would put on the highlight tape of practice and I would try to drive him back into the punter, into the ground. Smush his face."

The face-smushing earned him playing time in the exhibition opener, but it wasn't the last time he'd have to prove himself.

The Jets waived him at the end of training camp in 2006. And they did it again in 2007 before he landed on the Bills' practice squad. After playing 19 games in two seasons in Buffalo, he was waived for a third time following the 2008 season.

He finally flourished the past two years in Cleveland, where Seely, then the Browns' special teams coach, wanted Costanzo on his side after watching him play in Buffalo.

Costanzo came to San Francisco, in part, because he had a staunch advocate in Seely. But he's picked up another fan in Harbaugh, who has recognized Costanzo's passion is all he needs to succeed.

"We go on road trips and he packs a great attitude and a toothbrush and that's it," Harbaugh said. "He's there to play ball."

Straight From the Lions' Mouth with Katie Nestor



Senior Katie Nestor is a senior three-sport athlete at TCNJ running cross country and both indoor and outdoor track and field. Nestor is a national qualifier for cross country and is an All-American in the distance medley relay. Find out what meals Nestor eats to fuel her success and what movie she saw over the summer that still has her laughing.

Question: You run cross country along with indoor and outdoor track here at TCNJ. What is the hardest part about being “in season” the entire year?

Answer: It's definitely a huge commitment being a three-season athlete. The hardest part would probably be our lack of an off-season. We're in training year-round and with the exception of a week here and there, we never really get the chance the completely relax. We don't have those couple of months where we can just relax and forget about watching our diets and being conscious of how many hours we're sleeping. But having been a three-season athlete since my freshman year of high school, I've grown to love the structure it gives to my schedule. For me, the busier I am, the better.

Q: Tell us about the leadership award you won last spring and will that help this fall as you are a captain on the cross country team?

KN: The Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year Award was given out at the Student Leadership Awards last spring on the basis of nominations submitted by varsity coaches. Having been sidelined with illness during the championship season last fall, it meant so much to me to know that my coaches and teammates still saw me as effective leader on the team despite my inability to actually participate. Returning as a (healthy) captain this season, I'll definitely draw on my experience from last year and will be able to be more soundly confident in the leadership decisions Cathy (co-captain) and I make.

Q: It's the night before a race, what is your go-to meal to get you ready? On the other side of that, what is the one meal you wish you could have the night before?

KN: My go-to meal is typically chicken and whole-wheat pasta with some kind of marinara or vodka sauce. While I'll always go with the chicken and pasta, I'd love to be able to eat a huge, greasy cheeseburger and fries the night before a race. But that definitely wouldn't go over too well on the course the next day.

Q: You are a two-time All-American in the distance medley relay and have competed at nationals for cross country. Having enjoyed that kind of success, what are your individual goals as well as the team's goals heading into your senior season?

KN: As a team, our focus is definitely on the national meet in November and doing everything we can to secure ourselves a spot in that race. We'd also like to win the NJAC title and finish among the top teams at our Mid-Atlantic Regional Meet. In terms of my individual goals, cross country is a hugely team-oriented sport, so as long as our team goals are accomplished, I'll be more than happy with my final season.

Q: What was the best movie you saw over the summer, and what was the worst?

KN: I saw the movie “Bridesmaids” back in the beginning of the summer with a couple of my housemates, and thought it was absolutely hilarious. We didn't stop laughing throughout the entire thing. I actually liked all the movies I saw in theaters this summer, so I don't even have a 'worst!'

Q: What is your favorite place to take a run and why? (Not just at the College, anywhere)

KN: My favorite place to go for runs is definitely the Old Erie Path trail up in New York. It runs right along the Hudson River and gradually climbs along the mountains all the way to the Tappan Zee Bridge. It's almost entirely shaded, so it's perfect for summer training runs and the trail lets me take a much-needed break from running on pavement. I love it!

Starters Lead Jeffs to 97-69 Win at WNE

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Amherst College men’s basketball team used a 23-0 first-half run and a strong showing from its starting five to earn a 97-69 win at Western New England University Tuesday evening.

Senior captain Taylor Barrise led Amherst with 21 points thanks to a 5-for-7 performance from behind the arc, while Andre Shaw put up 25 for the Owls (2-2). Sophomore point guard Aaron Toomey added 20 points for the Lord Jeffs, who improved to 3-0 on the season.

Holding a one-point advantage after the first four and a half minutes, Amherst made its next 13 shots and soon boasted a 32-8 lead midway through the opening half after a 23-0 run. Barrise stood out by knocking down his first three attempts from long range, as the Jeffs went eight minutes and 45 seconds without missing a field goal attempt.

Amherst would be held to only two points over a five-minute span, but a late three-point play by Toomey and a jumper by Connor Johnson ’12 helped the visitors carry a 48-26 lead into halftime. Ten players scored in the opening period for the Jeffs, who shot 62.5 percent from the floor while holding the Owls to 26.9 percent.

Barrise came out of the locker room and hit another two three-pointers, and the Jeffs bumped their lead to 28 (63-35) when Willy Workman ’13 put in a layup with 14:09 to play. Western New England put together a 17-4 run and closed its gap to 15, but Amherst responded with a 16-2 spurt that put the game out of reach at 85-56 with less than five minutes to go.

Twelve players scored for Amherst, but the starting five stole the show by shooting 61.9 percent (26-of-42) for 66 points. Barrise’s 21 points moved him into the top-50 on the school’s all-time scoring list, while Toomey and Workman combined for 37 points, seven assists and nine steals during exceptional all-around performances.

David Kalema ’14 added nine points for the Jeffs by hitting five of his six free throws, as the Jeffs shot 78.9 percent at the line (15-of-19). Amherst held a 38-28 rebounding advantage and recorded 17 steals on the night.

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Tuesday, Nov. 29, when they travel to take on Lasell College.

Dick Meighan Memorial Run holding 13th annual race

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Before indulging in Thanksgiving festivities on Nov. 24, more than 2,000 runners are expected to race in the 13th annual Dick Meighan Memorial 5K Run.

The race starts at 9 a.m. at Cavallini Middle School, and organizers donate the proceeds from the event to local and national charities. The run is held in memory of Dick Meighan, who coached hundreds of children in local youth programs.

"It has become something that is a wonderful way to begin Thanksgiving," said Eileen Meighan, Dick's widow. "It's a family tradition. People from near and far start their day that way, and I guess feel a little less guilty about indulging later on."

Organizers rerouted this year's run around the Old Stone Church Bridge, which was washed away during a storm this summer, but the loop is still a certified 5K course.

"Some people have said they like [this year's route] better," Meighan said. "It's a little bit flatter."

The run caters to elite runners, but it focuses on being a family event, Meighan said. The run also attracts many high school students from surrounding schools.

"We have a lot of people who just come and participate," Meighan said. "[They] have a cup of hot cider, a bagel and come and catch up with people in town."

The race also features a "Baby Buggy Brigade."

"The Baby Buggy Brigade [includes] those loyal runners who push their child or children in a buggy for 3.1 miles," said Upper Saddle River Resident Marshall Grupp, who first introduced the idea of Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in the borough. "We added that a few years ago because it is a fun idea. We are constantly thinking of new things to keep the race 'fresh.'"

After the race, prizes are given to families, several different age groups, and new awards for the youngest girl and boy to cross the finish line.

The race has grown from 275 runners in its first year to 2,100 last year, Meighan said. Organizers expect a similar number of runners this year.

Total donations exceed $200,000 for the run's previous 12 years, and organizers hope to donate another $15,000 this year to charities, Grupp said.

Proceeds from the event will benefit D.A.R.E., the Saddle River Valley Rescue Squad, Ambulance Corps and Fire Department, Upper Saddle River Education Foundation, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, Upper Saddle River Youth Triathlon, Shelter Our Sisters, Oasis, Children's Therapy Center, The Rose Foundation of Haiti, and the "Extra Mile" Scholarship Fund.

The "Extra Mile" Scholarship Fund starts accepting applications the day of the run, and the $2,000 first place prize is awarded in June, said Sean Bookstaver, who serves on the scholarship committee.

The scholarship has given college-bound students in Allendale, Ho-Ho-Kus, Saddle River, Upper Saddle River and Waldwick close to $25,000 since it was started, he said.

Mike and GE's Valerie Reardon Win 48th MGA Mixed Pinehurst

BLOOMFIELD, N.J. (October 25, 2011)


The husband and wife duo of Mike and Valerie Reardon of Tuxedo shot a five-over-par 76 to win the 48th MGA Mixed Pinehurst Championship presented by The Landings at Forest Hill Field Club in Bloomfield, N.J.

The championship, originally scheduled for September 8th, featured a final field of 38 teams consisting of one man and one woman playing under the Pinehurst format, and took advantage of an ideal fall day and outstanding course conditions.

The Reardons were the day’s most consistent team, going out in 38 and coming in with the same number, and pointed to accuracy off the tee and great approaches as key factors in the win. “Valerie hit the driver great and left me with perfect setup positions. We played a consistent round and came up with two clutch birdies on 7 and 12. The wind and leaves made for difficult conditions, especially on a course like this where you want to be in front of the hole locations.”

The Reardons also commented on Forest Hill and the condition of the course, especially considering the severe water and wind damage it experience just a few weeks ago. “We actually came down here a week after the hurricane for the practice round, and seeing the shape it’s in now compared to how it was at that time points to the remarkable job the superintendent here has done in getting this course into really amazing shape.”

The victory is the first in this championship for the Reardons, and adds another entry into the significant championship résumé of Mike Reardon, highlighted by his victory in the 2007 MGA Mid-Amateur. More recently, Reardon was the runner-up at the 2011 Havemeyer Invitational and a quarterfinalist at the 2011 Richardson Invitational.

Coming in with a tie for second place in today’s championship were Charles Cerimido of Glen Ridge and Maggie Pizzone of White Beeches, along with Philip Dessinger of Bonnie Briar and Laura Algiero of Whippoorwill with seven-over-par 78. Cerimido and Pizzone had a net score of 70 and took home first-place honors in the net division.

The MGA Mixed Pinehurst Championship presented by The Landings is a team event played at 18 holes of stroke play under Pinehurst rules, utilizing 40 percent of the players’ combined Course Handicaps. Either the man or the woman on each team must be a member of an MGA Member Club, with the man’s USGA Handicap Index not to exceed 14.0 and the woman’s not to exceed 18.0. The teammates need not be members of the same club and the teams compete for both gross and net prizes.

Forest Hill Field Club has hosted the Met Open on three occasions (1937, 1940 and 1951). Designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1927, the club is aptly named for its tree-lined fairways that made shot execution a deciding factor in determining this year’s Mixed Pinehurst champions.

New this year to the MGA Mixed Pinehurst is a partnership with The Landings, a luxury residential community on Skidaway Island in Savannah, Ga., that boasts six golf courses, tennis, a marina, and a wide range of housing options. Visit them at

Franklin Lakes' Blake Constanzo stands by Harbaugh

The Bergen Record - 10.19.2011


In his first season as a San Francisco 49er, Blake Costanzo has been on the Jim Schwartz end of an exuberant Jim Harbaugh handshake countless times the past two months.

Ramapo High School graduate Blake Costanzo His exchanges with Harbaugh never sparked debate regarding sportsmanship in the NFL, however, which is why the Franklin Lakes native believes what transpired Sunday between his head coach and the Lions’ Schwartz was nothing more than emotional theater for the passion responsible for the comeback story being written out by the Bay.

The perceived arrogance of Harbaugh, Schwartz’s boorish response and the skirmish that ensued aside, Costanzo is cherishing the ringside seat he has had during the 49ers’ sudden resurgence to the top of the NFC West.

“With Coach Harbaugh, what you see is what you get,” said Costanzo, 27. “When someone’s real like that, you can tell they love the game as much as we love the game. He loves to coach as much as we love to play. You can’t hide that, and that attracts guys closer to each other as a team.

“That’s why we all bought into it because we have a guy who’s genuine about it.”

Nobody can question Costanzo’s passion for the game and his job, either.

That, in and of itself, probably is why he and Harbaugh clicked from the start.

Costanzo signed with the 49ers once the lockout ended this past summer and his approach meshed perfectly with the winning “blue collar” philosophy Harbaugh has established inside his locker room only a few months into his tenure.

The only thing more noticeable than Costanzo’s loud personality – “I’m a Jersey guy, you know,” he says – is his overwhelming desire to do anything to make the team better.

An undrafted long shot out of Lafayette five years ago, Costanzo embraced the challenge by vowing to do whatever it took to stick around.

He was with the Jets, who sent him to NFL Europe in 2007 before releasing him.

The Bills were next and then the Browns, with whom he emerged as one of the league’s best special teamers, earning strong Pro Bowl consideration for his effort in 2009.

Fast forward to this season and Costanzo is again at the top of his game, producing on kickoff and punt coverage teams and as part of the return units. His contributions have been so significant, Harbaugh named the former Ramapo High School standout one of his three game captains two weeks ago against Tampa Bay. The other two? Former All-Pros in linebacker Patrick Willis and running back Frank Gore.

“Wherever I’ve gone, I’ve just tried to be me,” Costanzo said. “Although I just play special teams, I feel like I can be a leader. I can make an impact on games. It’s tough when you come out of a small school and you don’t get a scholarship, and you don’t get drafted, you have to find that edge and keep fighting.”

Costanzo plans on flying home to North Jersey later this week to enjoy some time with family and friends during San Francisco’s bye. The 49ers return to action Oct. 30 at home against Cleveland.

There has been no talk of playoffs just yet, he said. A good start is exactly that – a start.

“Coach Harbaugh does a great job of keeping us focused,” Costanzo said. “Once you start to talk about the future that means you’re not worrying about the present and what you need to do now in order to get there. I’m enjoying every snap I get out there.

“Nothing comes easy, so I take that as motivation and I think that’s helped me throughout my career.”

With that spirit, Costanzo has found a way to carve out his niche in San Francisco, garnering the respect of his fiery head coach in the process.

In his postgame news conference Sunday, in describing what happened with Schwartz, Harbaugh even dropped Costanzo’s name by insisting he shook Schwartz’s hand the same way he does some of his players – most notably the one from Bergen County.

Lafayette College's Greg Stripe back to making plays

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


By Brad Wilson | The Express-Times

For most Lafayette College football players, the 2010 loss to Harvard was one to forget, a dismal 35-10 defeat that coach Frank Tavani called "a good old-fashioned butt-kicking."

But for senior wide receiver Greg Stripe it wasn't just the Harvard game but almost the whole 2010 season that wasn't worth remembering.

"Last year fell short of my expectations," said the Mahwah, N.J. resident at the Leopards' media luncheon previewing Saturday's home opener against the Crimson (1 p.m.). "I didn't get the ball as much as I thought and we had some younger guys step up and had more receptions. I had a chip on my shoulder this year to show I could be a valuable asset to this offense."

As a sophomore, Stripe showed tremendous promise. He averaged 14 yards per catch on for his 20 catches. He hauled in seven passes against Holy Cross and became a major contributor in the kick-return game. As a freshman he ran back a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown against Fordham.

But last season, Stripe seemed less explosive, averaging just 18.9 yards per kickoff return and 8.5 yards per catch.

Stripe wanted to make sure his senior season looked a lot more like his first two.

"I got a local internship and stayed here over the summer to prove to myself that I could be a valuable part of this offense," said the 5-foot-9, 175-pound economics and business major. "I wanted to be a leader and help the team win in my last season. Staying up here was the key decision I made this year. I was able to bond with my teammates and get a workout every day that you'd never get at any gym."

Stripe's summer work has paid off. With senior Mitchell Bennett and sophomore Mark Ross stretching defenses deep, Stripe has found a role as a reliable underneath target. He already has caught 10 passes for 104 yards this season, seven of them for 83 yards (a career-high in yardage) in last week's 37-20 loss to Stony Brook.

Stripe paid a price, though, as the physical and aggressive Seawolves battered him as he fearlessly came across the middle time and again.

"I held up pretty well," Stripe said. "I didn't sustain a lot of really hard hits. But those Stony Brook safeties were big and physical."

Stripe said whatever personal satisfaction he took from his best game in two seasons seemed sour after the Leopards couldn't win despite piling up the yards.

"We had, what, 486 yards of offense, but it doesn't mean anything unless we put points up on the board," Stripe said. "I personally don't look at my yards; we weren't finishing drives the way we needed to. My number was called and I wanted to do the best job that I could, but we fell short in the first half (when five trips inside the Seawolves' 21 resulted in six points). We can't do that if we expect to win."

While Lafayette may want to forget last year's rout to Harvard, the Leopards really recall it all too well.

"We weren't able to combat the big plays," Stripe said. "That's what it came down to."

This year against Harvard, it may come down to Greg Stripe making big plays -- the kind of plays he's showing he can make once again.

Duffy scores game's only goal for WestConn in 1-0 win over Vassar

Wednesday - September 21, 2011


POUGHKEEPSIE, NY (Sept. 21) — Sophomore Rachel Duffy (Marlton, NJ) scored on a hard shot from the left side of the arc following a corner to give the Western Connecticut State University field hockey team a 1-0 victory at Vassar College Wednesday night.

After the Brewers fell behind, the team responded with an offensive onslaught, firing off 11 shots in the final 13 minutes, seven of which were on goal. Still despite the relentless attack the Brewers' offense was unable to breakthrough, stymied at every turn by the WestConn defense.

The Brewers (3-3) will kick off Liberty League play this Friday, September 23, as Union College visits Weinberg Field. The Colonials (5-2) continue Little East play on Saturday, hosting UMass Dartmouth at 5:00 p.m.

Vassar's principle attack came just minutes after the Colonials goal. Senior Emily Maier unleashed an attempt from the left side off of a corner, only to have WestConn freshman goalkeeper Alyssa Picariello deflect the shot with a pad save. Freshman Dara Davis secured the rebound and put it back on goal with a flick, but once again Picariello came up with the save.

The Brewers offense was in control for much of the contest, forcing WestConn to make several tough saves. 19 minutes into the affair a Maier blast was stopped by the stick of Colonials' defender KIMBERLY HAHN!!; Maier was again denied two minutes later by Picariello. The Brewers nearly gained the lead in the 28th minute when junior Rebecca Smith had her shot pushed out of the goal by a diving save from Picariello.

Maier led the Vassar attack with seven shots (four shots on goal) while freshman Enya Cunningham added six shots (three on goal). The Brewers outshot WestConn 19-8 in the contest, including a 12-3 advantage in the second half. Vassar earned 12 corners compared to seven for the Colonials.

Vogel Earns Honor with Performance

Muhlenberg College - September 12, 2011


Male Athlete of the Week – Tim Vogel, Football

Vogel, making his first career start, had two of the Mules’ four interceptions in a 34-13 win at Franklin & Marshall. His first pick set up Muhlenberg’s third touchdown, and his second ended a Diplomat drive in Muhlenberg territory. Vogel also made four tackles.

McCourty won't set any limits

The Boston Globe - 7/27/11


They were 8 or 9 years old when they started dreaming. Devin and Jason McCourty decided then their minds convinced by the magic of television that they would buy their mother a house. Phyllis Harrell had, after all, raised them as a single mother after their father died when the twins were 3, had shuttled them to modeling and acting sessions - they were once extras on “Saturday Night Live’’ - would take them to AAU games and football practices. She deserved a house, preferably one with enough room for the boys to come home and crash.

It was a dream for years, as they grew up, as they went to Rutgers, as Jason was selected by the Titans in the sixth round of the 2009 draft, as Devin was taken by the Patriots in the first round in 2010. The dream crystallized then, gained a foothold, and became reality three weeks ago, when Harrell moved into the house in Montvale, N.J.

“It was cool to see it,’’ Devin McCourty said. “Just to see how happy she was, being in a house where she got to pick it. I think all little kids want to do something like that for their parents when they grow up.’’

Buying a house. Being a star NFL player. Devin McCourty’s list of little-kid dreams has gotten quite a few check marks lately. He had, after all, exceeded any but the most wild predictions in his rookie season, coming to the Patriots’ rescue when Leigh Bodden went down, becoming not just a reliable cornerback but a playmaker, one of the few the Patriots have on defense, and eventually a Pro Bowler.

And that came after his career had started with questions. NFL executives and analysts and talking heads wondered why the Patriots would spend a first-round pick on a player some saw as merely a special-teams player, a guy to throw into nickel packages. He was not supposed to be what he became, at least not in their eyes.

“Everyone has an opinion,’’ McCourty said. “Even I watch a movie and I have an opinion about it. It doesn’t mean it’s true. I saw what people said and I didn’t pay much attention to it. I knew when I got drafted that most people thought I was just a special-teams player, but that’s not my concern. My concern was playing for the New England Patriots.

“I don’t ever limit myself as a player. I don’t think any player does. I don’t think they step on the field and say ‘I’m just a special teams guy, I’m just this, I’m just that.’ ’’

He won’t do it this season, either, one that could continue his progress from doubted to dominant. The transition from the first year of an NFL player’s career to the second is widely regarded as the biggest and most important jump. He’s not new anymore. He knows what NFL life is like. He’s had a year of games and instruction and knowledge. He can focus on football. And McCourty can look at that jump from a unique perspective. His twin brother and fellow cornerback just went through it.

While he won’t have some of the advantages his brother had, like the OTAs and minicamp that were wiped out by the lockout, McCourty has the potential to enter the upper echelon of cornerbacks, the potential to become a New England version of the Jets’ Darrelle Revis, the potential to continue an upward path from a rookie season that included seven interceptions.

He has “coverage skills, instincts, some things you can’t coach,’’ former NFL safety and current analyst Matt Bowen said. “Some guys just have unique ball skills, unique instincts that are uncoachable, and those are the guys you see that show up on “SportsCenter’’ highlights all the time. They always have a read on the football.’’

“He was able to make plays,’’ Jason McCourty said. “A lot of times being a defensive back you have an inkling of what’s going to happen and anticipate that but may not be quick enough to get there, or sometimes you’re not able to make the play. Sometimes, for whatever reason, opportunities don’t come your way. Watching Dev [last] year, what I saw the most was that when a play came or opportunity was created for him to make a play, he made it.

“We always talk about it, when you get to this level there’s not many quarterbacks that are going to throw you the ball. When you finally get one to throw you the ball, you’ve definitely got to take advantage of it. To have made seven interceptions his rookie year, he definitely did that.’’

The interception total was, in fact, one more than he had in his four years at Rutgers. As Jason said, “It’s nothing new, but when you get to the level of the NFL and you do it, it’s a totally different world.’’

It was more than most expected from McCourty. It was more than McCourty expected from himself.

He began to feel comfortable after the Chargers game, on Oct. 24, the game in which he got his first NFL pick. He began to play with more confidence. He started making plays. He started truly helping the team, in his eyes.

“To have the amount of interceptions he had as a rookie, to have that type of production, that’s something to talk about,’’ Bowen said. “As a rookie it’s so hard to come into this league and to concentrate on your technique and to be able to adapt in transition to the speed of a wide receiver in the NFL, it’s something you never see in college, never.

“So it takes a special player to be able to come in [and do what McCourty did]. Ultimately it comes down to the player and their technique and how they play the game. I thought Devin McCourty was great at that last year from the standpoint of a first-year player. You don’t see that very often.’’

There was, of course, no way to predict what McCourty did last season. There’s no way to predict what he’ll do this season.

But the foundation is there. The skills are there. The desire is there. The confidence is there. And the knowledge is there, that he can’t rest on what he did in his rookie season, that his spot on the field is contingent on what he’s doing for the team now, that he has to take advantage of every moment and every opportunity.

“I remember last year it was him asking me all the questions, like what do you guys do about this, how do you do your DB drills, stuff of that nature,’’ Jason McCourty said. “Now he’s spent a year in New England under coach [Bill] Belichick, now he has all the ideas about what he’s supposed to do, this drill and that drill. You can see how much he believes in the things they teach them.

“He’s leading us in workouts some days. There’s a group of us working out at Rutgers, everybody just throwing in their ideas and things they do and stuff like that. You can just tell the difference, his confidence has risen, and I can definitely tell that he’s ready for his sophomore season.’’

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AmalieBenjamin.

Pete Ajello

South Florida Weight Loss King

Casimos has good dat at Rutgers


Matt Hladik Staff Writer

Talk about it in The Round Table
Throughout this recruiting season, much has been made of the Don Bosco Prep "Fab 5"--Darius Hamilton, Elijah Shumate, Yuri Wright, Leonte Carroo and Mike Strizak. Yet on Saturday, it was a different Ironman who stole some of the headlines at Rutgers' annual Big Man Academy.

Casimos had a big day at RU on Saturday
Junior offensive guard Michael Casimos lived up to his high school's nickname by winning the Strong Man award. During bench instruction, he put up 185 pounds 30 times.

"I wasn't exactly expecting to do that many reps, I haven't tested that weight in a long time," said Casimos, who first began weight training as a high school freshman. "But I knew I was strong, I recently did 410 pounds for a one-rep max."

Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 275 pounds, Casimos said he is the strongest player on the Don Bosco Prep roster, an impressive feat indeed.

"It feels good (being the strongest) but it is a lot of hard work," Casimos said. "It definitely gives me confidence."

Casimos, who called Saturday's competition "some of the best I have seen at any camp", impressed evaluators and coaches alike with his performance at last month's Northeast Five-Star event in Stamford, Conn.

He made a similar impact on the Rutgers' staff on Saturday.

"They (the coaches) told me some great things," Casimos said. "They were impressed with my talents and skills. I talked to Coach Hafley and Coach Flood. Coach Flood told me good job and said I did well in drills and 1-on-1's."

With teammate Tyler Samra recently committing to UConn, Casimos is the top uncommitted lineman on the Bosco squad.

While he said he is unsure how close to offering the Scarlet Knights may or may not be, he indicated the coaching staff said they will definitely keep in touch.

Casimos is scheduled to camp at Boston College, Maryland, Syracuse, N.C. State and UConn, but said a Rutgers offer would definitely be special.

"It would be great, getting that offer from Rutgers," Casimos said. "They are a very good program, great academics and great football."

Delbarton (3) at Morristown (0)

The Star Ledger, May 09, 2011 9:33 p.m.


By Bob Behre

Kitty Shatel had handed down orders to her son, Bruce Shatel, several days earlier -- the game will be played.

Bruce Shatel, the Delbarton coach, could not believe it. Having firmed up the details of his father's memorial service for Monday, he thought to check his baseball schedule. "I couldn't believe it," said Shatel. "I told my mom, 'We are at Morristown. What are the chances of that?' "

There was never any doubt for Kitty Shatel, wife of Harry Shatel, who died on April 30 at the couple's winter home in Florida. Shatel coached Morristown for 38 years, concluding his tenure in 2006 with the NJSIAA Group 3 championship and a state-record 752 victories.

"She just said, 'You are going to play that game'," Bruce Shatel said.

So Bruce Shatel, just a couple hours after delivering a heart-wrenching eulogy to his father at Delbarton's St. Mary's Abbey, took his team to Morristown's Harry Shatel Field to play baseball.

"I think the game had to be played today," said Delbarton's talented right-handed pitcher Nick Donatiello. "It meant a lot to the healing process. Coach is the toughest guy I know. I'm sure coach (Harry) Shatel wanted us to play today."

Donatiello's fastball had a little extra hop as he handcuffed Morristown on a two-hitter, striking out 11 and walking four as Delbarton defeated Morristown, 3-0, on the field at Harter Road that was dedicated in Harry Shatel's name last May 22.

In another interesting twist, Delbarton's catcher and No. 8 hitter, Andrew Christie, singled home the game's first run in the second inning and drove in the third run of the contest in the fourth. Christie is the son of Governor Chris Christie, who earlier in the day announced that flags over state offices will fly at half-staff on Thursday in honor of Harry Shatel.

Jeff Anderson started the rally for Delbarton in the second with a one-out single through the left side and, after Morristown lefty James Pisciotto issued two walks to load the bases, Christie dropped a single into short left field to score Anderson.

John Elson led off the third inning with a deep shot to right field that was misplayed into three bases. Elson scored on Jon Ramirez's infield single to boost the lead to 2-0. Dennis Benczko led off the fourth with a double over third base, was sacrificed to third by Eric Fajardo and scored on Christie's single.

"Nick had good velocity and pinpoint control," said Bruce Shatel. "It's the most well-pitched game by a Delbarton pitcher in a long time."

Donatiello threw his fastball and slider for strikes and kept the Morristown hitters off stride all game.

"My fastball was the best it's been all season," said Donatiello. "That extra velocity helps the slider."

Morristown coach Josh Ury and Bruce Shatel embraced before and after the game. Ury, who played his high school ball at Parsippany Hills for Kevin Murray, a one-time Shatel assistant, said he remained in touch with the former Morristown mentor.

"I talked to him that Wednesday, just a couple days before he died," said Ury. "He texted me and I called him back. He always wanted to know how the boys were doing."

Ury was warned by his colleagues when he took the Morristown job in 2007 that he had big shoes to fill.

"On the contrary. Harry was there for me every day," Ury said. "I consider myself the luckiest coach in the state. I can only hope to be half the man and half the coach Harry was."

Said Bruce Shatel, "It was a beautiful day and a beautiful memorial service, ending at a place he considered his second home."

Legendary Morristown baseball coach Harry Shatel leaves lasting impact

Monday, May 2, 2011


It was almost a year ago, May 22, 2010, to be precise, when the powers-that-be at Morristown High School finally got around to renaming the baseball facility on Harter Road as the Harry Shatel Field.

It was an absolutely fitting and long overdue tribute to the legendary Morristown baseball coach, who retired in 2006 as the all-time leader in coaching victories in the state of New Jersey, compiling 752 wins over 38 years, including 12 Morris County Tournament championships, nine NJSIAA state sectional crowns and three overall state titles.

"I asked myself how something like this could happen," Shatel said
that day. "I'm very humbled."

He also joked that most people who have fields named after them aren't around to enjoy the moment.

"I always loved a quick game because I was always hungry," Shatel said. "I was always proud of what they accomplished on the field, but I'm more proud of what they accomplished in life. They are lawyers, doctors, teachers, coaches, servicemen. There are so many stories of success."

The biggest story of success was the man in charge of the Colonials' storied baseball program from 1969-2006.

And today, all of Morris County mourns the passing of the man who was larger than life in the sport of baseball for nearly four decades.

Shatel died Saturday night at his second home in Ormond Beach, Fla. He apparently died suddenly but peacefully in his sleep. He was 67 years old.

It's hard to judge the enormity of what Shatel was to Morris County sports. He wasn't just the most successful baseball coach in New Jersey history. He was also a fixture at Mennen Arena during hockey season, serving as official scorer and public address announcer. He served the same duties at most Delbarton hockey games at Aspen Ice in Randolph, overseeing the games coached by his son, Bruce.

Bruce Shatel, who was headed to Florida to take care of his father's funeral arrangements right after his Delbarton team lost to Morristown-Beard in the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals Sunday afternoon, recalled how his father tried to dissuade him from becoming a coach like he was.

"He definitely tried to steer me in another direction," Bruce said. "He thought I could find more enjoyment in the business world making money. He really discouraged me becoming a coach. But as I grew up and enjoyed the relationship with my father that every kid dreams about, he knew that the coaching thing just fell into place. I got the chance to apply everything he taught me."

Added Bruce, "He was my mentor, not just with the X's and O's of baseball and hockey, but how to manage young men. He had unbelievable balance and was a great listener. I could discuss anything with him and always get good advice. I was real spoiled. For the last 16 years, if I had a problem about anything in coaching, I'd pick up the phone and hear what he had to say. Believe me, even when he was in Florida, he had his finger on the pulse of my team. I was spoiled to have that kind of influence."

Bruce spoke about what it was like to play for his father at Morristown.

"Any time you get a chance to play for someone who held everyone to a higher standard, you embrace it," Bruce said. "It was difficult at times, but it was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything."

Bruce was asked if he could appreciate the density and vastness of his father's incredible legacy.

"I guess that was something I took for granted," he said. "I think that's because of the relationship I had with him. He was my father and my friend first. People talk about the wins and the record, the milestones and the legacy. I still think of him as dad."

His daughter, Sheila, conveyed similar thoughts.

"When you have that leadership every day of your life, you think everyone has it," Sheila Shatel said. "I couldn't understand why he was so special. I never lived any other way. We had it good because of our parents. He really wasn't that much different with us as he was on the field. He was amused to no end being a grandpa. It was very amusing to watch him with his grandchildren."

Sheila said her young son goes to baseball camps and clinics all over New Jersey wearing his grandfather's name on his back.

"People see his name as Shatel and it gets respect," Sheila said. "And it's not just in Morristown. It's pretty cool."

Shatel was also a gigantic influence on many other people, from his former players who later became coaches, like his son, to the countless others whom he advised and mentored over the years.

"No one will ever know just how much he did for people," said Kevin Murray, the Morris Catholic head baseball coach and a close friend of Shatel. "He was always giving to so many people in need. That's just the way he was."

Murray's friendship with Shatel began in the late 1960s when the two were teammates in the old Morris County Majors baseball league. Murray then went on to serve as Shatel's assistant for five years before leaving to become the assistant of another of Shatel's prodigies, Tom Hill, at Parsippany Hills.

"I left with Harry's blessing," Murray said. "He endorsed it. I started out as his American Legion coach, then was an assistant and we became close friends. We vacationed together. For me, he was a mentor, not only as a baseball coach, but a mentor in life as well. This came as a total shock, stunning shock. I've been going through periods where it hits me like a ton of bricks."

"It's absolutely horrible," said Hill, the head golf coach at Mount Olive who also serves as an official in the National Football League. "He was my best friend. I'm just in shock. I can't even think of one thing to say. He touched so many people and helped so many. I just talked with Harry two days ago and we were talking about baseball, like most of the talks we had. We were talking about how bad the Mets were. He told me that he wasn't coming home until the weather got better. Every time I talked to him, he told me how perfect the weather was down there (in Florida)."

Hill first played for Shatel, then became his assistant, before moving on his own. Another of Shatel's prodigies is John Selitto, the longtime
head coach at Newton High School.

"We just came back from beating Morris Knolls, but Harry wasn't happy and we could tell it," Selitto said. "We got back to school and went into the locker room and started going. He said, "I don't want to look at you,' so he flipped the light switch off. But he didn't know where a certain player in the room was, so he flipped the light on to find the kid, then flipped it off and kept going. We got the message because we won our last 12 or 13 games."

Shatel didn't just embrace the older coaches. He had an impact on the younger breed of coaches as well, like Dan Wydner of West Morris and Greg Trotter of Roxbury, who faced off Sunday in the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals and brought their teams together before to honor the memory of Shatel.

"Greg and I spoke this morning and we agreed that we couldn't play this game without saying something to the kids," Wydner said. "They had to hear about Harry as a coach, as a man, as a father. Harry was more important than this game. Harry would have wanted baseball to be played today. His own son coached today. But losing him takes the air out of the bubble a little. It's a true loss for everyone."

Wydner said Shatel would bring some of the coaches over to his home for a barbecue, just to talk baseball.

"We all became better coaches for it," Wydner said.

"He was such a unique man," Trotter said. "He's such a big part of my coaching philosophies. It was important for these kids to know because Harry affects all of us and what he's meant to me and Danny. We don't usually talk to the kids about who we look up to, but it was important to let them know. They might not have known Harry, but they know now how much he meant to us."

And how much Shatel meant to everyone involved in Morris County sports, a one-of-a-kind man who will never be replaced.

"In 1969, we went on a bus to Clifton and I had my first win," Shatel said at the field-naming ceremony last year. "In 2006, I took my last bus ride and we won. There aren't many who can say that they won their first and their last game, with some 700 or so in between."

Shatel retired after winning the NJSIAA Group III state title in 2006.

"I had the pleasure to coach my son for two years and watched him become the man and master mentor he is today," Shatel said. "I thank the players, the guys who made me look better than what I was."

In reality, there was no one better in New Jersey high school baseball history.

Shatel is survived by his wife, Kitty, his sons Bruce and Michael, daughter Sheila and three grandchildren. Funeral services are pending. Shatel's wishes were to be cremated and there will be some sort of a funeral Mass at Delbarton Abbey in the days to come.

Harry Shatel's son Bruce was Good Energy Training's Pete Ohnegian Prep school baseball teammate at Deerfield Academy in 1990 where they roomed together & forged a relationship over 20 years ago.

Former Good Energy Trainer - Ty Nagel Thoughts

Barrier Island Strength - Ocean Beach II, NJ


Two Septembers ago I was at what I would consider a low point in my young life. I withdrew from school after one class of the fall semester, all the way in Florida and drove roughly 30 hours in four days. I just wasn't feeling school, I wanted to be home, and I didn't really have any direction. My vision was certainly cloudy to say the least. My parents said if I was going to withdraw I needed to have a plan of action as soon as I got home. So I spoke to a good friend of mine about trying to get a job as a trainer at the gym he worked at in North Jersey.

About a week after I got home I reached out to Pete Ohnegian of Good Energy Training in Allendale, NJ. We set up a day and time for me to come up and go through an interview and to also get a feel for the gym's atmosphere. The first time I came up to visit I can remember coming up to the door, and realizing it was locked, I walked around the building to go to the "front door"--only to realize two minutes later when Pete came that I WAS at the front door.

My buddy Mike talked about GE very highly. Prior to seeing the gym in person for the first time, I had only known about it through his word and the gym's website. So in my head I was like- "this door is's GOT to be the side door, this place is huge." ha ha. Man did I feel DUMB. But that's what is different at GE. It's a small performance center that pays extreme attention to detail. Every trainer has the same mindset, and every client/athlete who works out there gets unbelievable results.

Working out at GE
I had never actually trained someone before this point. I knew personal training was an interest of mine, but actually training someone at the professional, upbeat level Pete demanded was definitely a challenge for me. I have to admit, it took a while for me to feel comfortable actually training--but after getting to know the clients, athletes, and getting familiar with the atmosphere at GE, I really took a liking to it. What was helpful was the fact that Pete was always honest with me and he would answer any questions I had, or correct me if I messed up.

My time spent at GE was very valuable to me. Now trying to get a training business of my own going, I try to apply the same mindset that Pete and the rest of the GE staff has instilled in me.

-Be Professional
-Be Consistent
-Be Yourself
-It's all about the Client!

Thanks, Pete. You have been a big influence on my life and have helped get me rollin' in the right direction.


Women's Pair Garners Silver As Rowing Teams Compete At Knecht Cup

April 9, 2011


CAMDEN, N.J. -- Krissi Gorsuch and Jessica Keefe earned a silver medal in the pairs as the Fairfield University men's and women's rowing teams competed at the Knecht Cup over the weekend. The Stags placed multiple entries in the event and came home with several strong performances.

Gorsuch and Keefe won their first head with a time of 8:47.10, edging UMass A by six seconds. The duo also won its semifinal race with a time of 8:54.31, four seconds better than the UMass B entry. In the grand final, the two student-athletes were eight seconds behind Duke, as the Stags took second place with a time of 8:32.3.

Head Coach David Patterson's Comments
"The 2010 Knecht Cup was the first opportunity that this pair had to race this boat class and they came in a fifth behind two Duke crews and two UMass crews. This year, they came to the vent much more prepared. Jess and Krissi raced just not to get a medal but the best medal they could achieve, and that dedication and commitment allowed them to seize a silver medal from a fast Kansas crew. This continues Fairfield's run of success at this regatta which has seen one crew medal every year for the last five years. It was the first women's medal since the second varsity four struck gold in the spring of 2007."

Ridgewood beats Moorestown for the first time

Sunday, April 10, 2011


The Record

RIDGEWOOD – Sammy Giordano threw her arms in the air and let out a triumphant scream. This wasn’t a dream anymore. Ridgewood finally beat Moorestown in girls lacrosse, and Giordano and her teammates could celebrate at long last.

In the postgame midfield mosh pit – coaches included – Giordano had a relieved smile.

After coming within a goal last year, Ridgewood defeated Moorestown, 10-8, on Saturday to earn its first win over the Quakers in program history. It was Moorestown’s second loss to a New Jersey opponent since 1999, and it confirmed to the large crowd on hand that the best girls lacrosse team in the state resides in Ridgewood.

"To win this game is the greatest feeling in the world," said Girodano, who scored a game-high five goals. "Every year we’ve always tried to beat them, and every year we’ve come closer and closer. This year, finally being able to do it, it just proves that we worked hard and earned it."

After winning the Tournament of Champions title last year, but losing to Moorestown during the regular season, the Maroons felt they had something to prove.

They made their statement in comeback fashion.

After falling behind by three in the first half and two early in the second, Ridgewood fought back to tie it both times before taking a lead it never relinquished with 10 minutes left on Jess Miller’s free-shot goal. Miller added an insurance goal with a ripped shot to the near post, and Giordano finished it on a fast-break goal with two minutes left.

"We really wanted to pull this one off because we never had before," Miller said. "As a senior, I wanted to leave with a win over Moorestown and so did the other seniors, so this is really exciting for us. It’s great to score the goal and make some plays on defense, because the whole team played so well."

Although Miller’s goal won it, the Maroons’ defense made it possible.

Ridgewood (2-0) held Moorestown scoreless for more than 20 minutes after the Quakers took a 7-5 lead four minutes into the second half. Senior goalie Isabel Sippel made 11 saves and the Maroons’ defense, led by seniors Taylor Pedersen and Sally Jentis, was active inside and did a good job keeping Moorestown (2-1) away from the net.

"They knew they had the talent and the skill and the heart [to beat Moorestown]; they just had to make something happen," Ridgewood coach Karla Mixon said. "It’s a great feeling the girls have."

A feeling punctuated by an emphatic scream from Giordano.

Bosco's Jordan Gross comes through in win over St. Joseph

Monday, April 4, 2011


MONTVALE — Jordan Gross needed a second chance. He made sure St. Joseph didn’t get a third.

After making an error to give the Green Knights new life with two outs in the seventh inning, Gross, the Don Bosco senior pitcher, got out of a bases-loaded jam to give the Ironmen a heart-testing 6-4 victory over the Green Knights on Monday.

“I just tripped and the ball came out of the glove,” said Gross, who was running to cover first and fumbled the flip from Matthew Dacey. “It’s all right, though. We came back.”

Billed as a marquee battle between Gross and St. Joseph sophomore left-hander Rob Kaminsky, the game took several odd turns.

The teams combined for seven errors. Don Bosco second baseman George Iskenderian homered in the second after missing the bunt sign. Two JV players had a brief brawl behind the third base stands in the sixth.

When it was all over, though, the Ironmen found a way to make first-year coach Mark DeMenna 2-0.

“These kids are already busting my chops,” said DeMenna, who watched his team beat Bergen Catholic on Saturday on a walk-off homer. “I am getting gray hairs already and I am only 35. I think we are playing pretty good baseball, though. We are picking each other up.”

Neither Kaminsky nor Gross were particularly sharp. Kaminsky struck out five and walked an equal number before coming out in the sixth.

Gross also struggled with his control, walking five before finding a groove late.

“Jordan had to work very hard today,” said DeMenna. “He did labor at times, but he powered through it. I don’t think there was any way I was going to take him out of the game today.”

Both pitchers were helped by their defense. St. Joseph second baseman Mike Mastroberti was brilliant in the field. Don Bosco third baseman Grant Van Orden made a spectacular play in the fourth, robbing Mastroberti of a sure double with runners on second and third.

“That was the play of the game, maybe the play of the year,” DeMenna said with a smile. “There is a reason he is out there. He is one of our best infielders. They get that hit there and it changes the whole game.”

Every pitcher likes to think they have a great relationship with their catcher, but Gross and his catcher have known each other since they were born — check that, since before they were born.

Twins Zachary and Jordan Gross are separated by a minute. Both were pitchers, but Zachary became a catcher his freshman year.

“We have been playing together all our lives; I love to pitch to him,” said Jordan. “He is the only catcher I want to throw to and I love him.”

Don Bosco led, 3-0, after Iskenderian’s long homer in the second. The Green Knights answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning, then took the lead in the fifth with Kaminsky driving in a run on a fielders choice and Tyler Fortanascio roping an RBI single.

The Ironmen came right back with Zachary Gross knocking a seeing-eye grounder up the middle to score two runs to make it 5-4.

“I am up there and I was just thinking fastball,” said Zachary, who will play at Lafayette. “I knew I just had to get the ball on the ground; no, not even on the ground, just put it in play and see what I could do.”

Jordan Gross fanned all three Green Knights in the sixth, and was a step away from ending the game when he dropped the ball. The Green Knights then loaded the bases, but Gross got a game-ending fielder’s choice.

The Ironmen ran off the field fired up. It’s only two wins, but they came against Bergen Catholic and St. Joseph’s.

“It is a big win,” said DeMenna. “I have nothing but respect for Kaminsky. He is going to be a horse of a pitcher, and we were able to find a way.”

Ramsey exits with head high

Monday, March 7, 2011


The Record

WAYNE – Ramsey did its best to stay with top seed Chatham in the Public B quarterfinals at the Ice Vault. The Rams were even in the second period before committing two penalties. That was the beginning of the end of the season.

"We turned the page this season," Rams coach Bob Toy said. "We took a new team [minus 11 graduated seniors] and went to a Cup final for the fourth time in a row and advanced farther in the States than last year. I couldn't be prouder of these kids."

After falling behind, 1-0, at the end of one period, Ramsey's Joey Caffrey tied the game two minutes into the second period on a power-play goal.

Chatham answered with two power-play scores, and a turnover near the Rams' blue line was converted into another goal. Alex Rauter's second of the period at 13:52 took the wind out of Ramsey's sails.

"That second period hurt us," Toy said. "They know how to put pucks in the net, and that's exactly what they did."

Ryan DiTomaso got a late power-play score for Ramsey, which was outshot, 40-17.

MORRIS KNOLLS 3, WAYNE VALLEY 0: The Indians concluded on a down note, but the season was a tremendous success, as they won the Passaic County tournament and the Big North Silver Cup on the way to their Public A Elite Eight appearance.

"We knew we had to play our best game today in order to win, and we didn't do that. We were just average. We didn't have it today," Valley coach Bill Katinsky said.

The Golden Eagles dominated from the opening faceoff, outshooting the Indians, 45-12. They scored a goal in each period and kept the puck for almost 30 of the game's 45 minutes, using their superior size and speed to create the advantage.

Nate Kholodenko was superb in net for Wayne Valley, making 42 saves in his final game for the team.

"We knew it was going to be a battle," Kholodenko said. "All the seniors wanted one last shot. It's disappointing, but we accomplished so much this season. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's something I'll always treasure."

Opinion: Captains are key to curbing bullying in sports

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The Record

CLAMPING DOWN on bullying is the national rage, and New Jersey is taking charge with its new anti-bullying law, a growing number of anti-bullying specialists and more community programs such as the recent cyber-bullying forum at Montclair State University.

The efforts on rooting out this epidemic are welcome. However, little attention is paid to bullying and hazing in scholastic sports. It’s easy to overlook, and unfortunately, that’s what many team captains do.

Hazing often occurs because team captains – ostensibly selected for their leadership, dependability and Derek Jeter-like virtue of always doing the right thing – have little grasp of what’s expected of them. They don’t realize they’ve been granted a special responsibility, the influence to change the culture on their teams, including the ability to prevent psychologically damaging initiation rites.

Bullying, a cousin of hazing, knows no bounds. A recent national survey of teenagers ages 15 to 18 found that 47 percent had been “bullied, teased or taunted in a way that seriously upset” them at least once.

Sports are hardly immune, and it is time for team captains, to use the popular vernacular, “step up.” They must be more than a title to put on a college application. They must become real-deal leaders.

Much inappropriate team behavior, including drinking initiations, excessive horseplay, even sexual assaults, is vastly unreported. Yet, a number of high-school hazing incidents have recently come to public light. And it’s not just boys being boys. Last year at Millburn High School, senior girls comprised a “slut list” of freshmen girls.

And last fall, the freshmen girls on the Needham (Mass.) High School soccer team were blindfolded, led around on dog leashes and had pies smashed in their faces, one so hard it bloodied a girl’s nose — all part of the team’s initiation ritual.


Such humiliating antics were condoned by the captains, who failed to comprehend the consequences of their inexcusable inaction. They ruined the reputation of their well-respected coach, not to mention stigmatized their school and community.

Captains must see the bigger picture, how a town’s image can easily be tarnished by members of their team. In November, the captains of the Darien (Conn.) High School football team were shamed into a public apology after team members vandalized and scrawled expletives on school property in New Canaan, their arch rivals.

Such damage doesn’t go away easily. Glen Ridge’s good name was stained for years by the infamous high school rape case in 1989. Most disturbingly, the assault was spearheaded by the football team’s co-captains.

How are high school captains selected? Most coaches presumably choose kids based on character – usually dedicated players who are also popular and talented. But being a captain goes well beyond leading the calisthenics.

High school sports, to borrow Heywood Broun’s famous line, do not build character, they reveal it. Whether they know it or not, the captain’s job is to take a team’s pulse, to raise the energy, to be inclusive. Captains must be first at practice, and last to leave. They must sublimate their egos since it’s not about them, it’s about their teammates.

Yet captains must be unafraid to do the un-cool, confronting players who smoke or drink or whistle-blow on anything that may be a detriment to the team’s performance. They must be strong in their team-first convictions and not be hindered by what other people would think.

Impact of cuts

Education budget cuts are starting to put a crimp in high school sports. Some programs are being dropped. In some communities, families are being forced to pay to play. That’s too bad because done right, high school sports teach important values and life skills. And they can build a bond that each team member will remember forever.

The bottom line is high school sports are about relationships. For one, the relationship between coach and player can be rewarding, even life-changing. At virtually every Hall of Fame induction, the athlete gives a heartfelt thanks to his or her high school coach. They helped make the difference.

But every coach has a right to demand that captains make a difference, too. Captains must absolutely guarantee there will never be a hazing incident under their captaincy. If they can’t, they can’t be the captain.

Anthony Chickillo sleeps well, fulfills his dream of becoming a Cane



Anthony Chickillo, the first third-generation player at UM, said he slept well Tuesday night on the eve of National Signing Day. “I knew where I was going.”

Tampa Alonso High defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who will attend the University of Miami, and his father, Tony, hold a picture of Anthony's late grandfather, Nick. Tony and Nick were both UM players, making Anthony the first third-generation football player at the school. Anthony Chickillo slept well Tuesday night, the eve of National Signing Day.

“No reason to lose sleep over it,’’ Chickillo said Wednesday. “I knew where I was going.’’

Chickillo, the highest-rated recruit in the University of Miami’s signing class, signed his letter of intent during a small ceremony Wednesday morning in the Tampa Alonso High School library.

The incoming defensive end wore black suit pants, a white dress shirt, a UM cap and a UM tie that belonged to his late grandfather – 1952 UM All-American guard Nick Chickillo. Anthony’s father, Tony, was a nose guard for the Hurricanes in the early 1980s. Anthony will be the first third-generation football player at UM, a fact reflected by the “3G’’ Anthony had embroidered in orange on the back of his cap.

“I was ecstatic and proud that he achieved his goal as a youngster,’’ Tony said. “I wish my dad could have been there. He would have really been touched. It meant a lot more for him going to the University of Miami and coming from a poor family in Scranton, Pa.

“It was just a good overall end to Anthony’s high school career. It has kind of been a circus. Now we can get our lives back.’’

Chickillo’s mom Joan called the signing ceremony “very emotional, but a good emotional. I’m just happy to see his dreams come true.’’

Chickillo’s take on his special day: “It was something I’ve been training and praying for since I was 5. Coach [Al] Golden told me he’s excited for me and he can’t wait for me to get down there. He said he just wants me to be me, and good things will happen – and he said, ‘Thanks for sticking with us.’

“I’m excited. I’ll be there the first day we can report.’’

That day could be June 2, his mom said, though Chickillo graduates from Alonso on June 10 and will return to Tampa for the ceremony.

“I couldn’t be happier,’’ he said.

Barrise's Explosive First Half Lifts Jeffs Past Bowdoin, 103-85

Saturday, January 29, 2011



Taylor Barrise ’12 (Allendale, NY) lit a fire under his team with 19 first-half points, and five of his teammates scored in double figures to lead Amherst College to a 103-85 win over Bowdoin College in men's basketball action Saturday afternoon at LeFrak Gymnasium.

Barrise was the leader during Amherst’s first-half barrage of three-pointers, as the Lord Jeffs (18-0, 5-0 NESCAC) went 10-of-15 from beyond the arc to take a 57-41 lead into the locker room. The visiting Polar Bears (12-5, 2-3) would never get closer than 14 in the second period.

Bowdoin’s Will Hanley led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-20 shooting, adding 12 rebounds—six offensive—for a double-double. Hanley began the week averaging a double-double per game as the conference’s leading scorer, and on Saturday he was joined by three teammates who finished with at least 13 points.

The Jeffs put together an early 11-0 run and held a 17-6 lead thanks to two threes from Barrise and two more from David Waller ’12 (Tampa, FL). Bowdoin (16-of-33 FG) and Amherst (18-of-33 FG) had similar shooting performances in the opening half, but the hosts used their sharpshooting from long distance and an 11-of-12 performance from the line to build their 16-point cushion by the break. Justin Nowell scored Bowdoin’s final five points of the half, closing out the period by converting a tough three-point play.

Amherst took advantage of the long ball in the first half but opened the second frame by feeding the ball down low to Pete Kaasila ’13 (Plaistow, NH), who connected on three quick layups for his team’s first six points. Bowdoin cut its deficit to 14 on two occasions late in regulation but could never get within striking distance despite shooting 48 percent from the floor and 87 percent from the line in the period.

Barrise’s 19 points highlighted the first half, but Aaron Toomey ’14 (Greensboro, NC) led Amherst with a quiet 20 points, five rebounds and five assists, hitting all eight of his free throws along the way. Allen Williamson ’13 (Saugus, MA) and Jeff Holmes ’12 (Saunderstown, RI) had a team-high seven rebounds apiece and combined for 27 points, while senior co-captain Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) totaled 10 points, six boards and seven assists. Rounding out the Amherst players in double figures was Willy Workman ’13 (Northampton, MA), who had 11.

Hanley proved to be a tough matchup for Amherst throughout the game, as he had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half before adding 14 points and seven boards in the second. Ryan O’Connell added 16 points for the visitors, while Justin Nowell and Andrew Madlinger each had 13. The Lord Jeffs won the rebounding battle, 41-28, grabbing 17 offensive boards in the game.

The Jeffs’ fifth 100-point performance of the season helped them tie the third longest winning streak in program history (18) and left them in a tie with Williams (19-1, 5-0) atop the NESCAC standings.

Both teams will return to action Tuesday, Feb. 1, when Bowdoin hosts Thomas College and Amherst travels to take on Rhode Island College.

Casimos garnering attention

December 27, 2010


Matt Galano Staff Writer

Following a disappointing end to his junior season--one which saw him suffer a torn meniscus in his left knee and a concussion-- Don Bosco Prep lineman Michael Casimos's off-season is off to a better start. He has shaken off the injury bug, and is attracting college interest.

"I'm back to normal now, health-wise. I've been hearing from some schools, getting some letters," said Casimos, who can play either guard spot. "Penn State, Akron, Rutgers and UConn have all contacted me. Rutgers wants me to come down to Junior Day."

Casimos, who helped the Ironmen to a 12-0 record and fifth straight Non-Public Group IV championship, splits his offseason training between Don Bosco's weight room and his hometown gym.

Already boasting a strong, physical frame (6-foot-3, 275 pounds), Casimos has set the bar high for his offseason improvement.

"I want to get stronger and faster obviously, but I also want to be more agile," Casimos said. "Since I'm a guard, I want to work on getting lower on pulling plays."

Casimos expects to make an appearance or two on the combine circuit this spring, though he isn't sure where it will be. Although it is early in his recruitment, Casimos says that being at Don Bosco helps him prepare for his college decision.

"My teammates and I talk a lot about colleges and recruiting. We talk about what schools are contacting us, what school would be the best choice for each of us"

Casimos is unsure about what he wants to pursue academically on the next level, but he has set criteria for his future school, whichever one he chooses.

"It has to be whatever school is the best fit for me and has the best academics. That's what comes first."

Taylor Barrise’s barrage a boon for Jeffs

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


The Record

Taylor Barrise is having a December to remember.

The Amherst College junior from Allendale has been shooting lights out. In the Jeffs' last four basketball games, he's averaged 20 points a game and made 23 of 38 three-point attempts, a staggering 60.5 percent.

Amherst is 9-0 and ranked 20th among Division III teams. Barrise's month-long shooting binge has provided a big spark.

The 6-foot-5 guard, the son of Nets assistant coach Tom Barrise, has upped his season average to 10.9 points. He's the fourth-leading scorer on a team that averages 90.6 points per game. He's shooting .479 from the field and .491 on threes.

Barrise scored a career-high 27 points in a win over Elms College, one of two games in which he hit seven three-pointers.

Barrise has one more game to extend his memorable December. Amherst comes off its midseason break to play Johnson & Wales on Thursday.

Former resident sheds 200 pounds, 18 pant sizes

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Town Journal

When people now call Peter Ajello a "huge loser," they mean it as a compliment.

Ajello, who attended Wandell School in Saddle River while growing up, has dropped 200 pounds over the past 16 months in an amazing quest to get back in shape.

"It started about 16 months ago," Ajello explained. "I actually had a minor diabetic stroke and after that I lost about 50 pounds in the first four weeks. Then I had two friends from college bet me $17,000 with post-dated checks that I couldn't lose another 100 pounds in five months. And what happened was I went on to lose another 157, so I won the bet."

Though he maintained an active lifestyle while growing up, having played football up until graduating high school, Ajello, 37, said that being larger than other kids his own age often made him self-conscious.

"I didn't make the weight limit when I was at [Smith Middle School in Ramsey], so I had to play football for Ho-Ho-Kus/Saddle River," he said. "It was embarrassing not to be able to play football with the kids that I grew up with. I had to play for a different town because I didn't make the weight."

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., resident explained that he really started to pack on pounds when he attended Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island. Not unlike many college students too busy cramming for tests and having a social life to eat anything but junk food, Ajello's weight crept up with a less than stellar diet and lack of exercise.

"Instead of gaining the 'Freshman 15,' I put on the 'Sophomore 150,'" he said.

By 2008, Ajello said he weighed over 400 pounds, and was wearing a 5XL shirt and size 56 pants.

It was on a trip with college friends in July of that same year that he suffered the stroke and knew that he had to change his lifestyle if he wanted to survive.

With a drastic high-fiber diet, grueling workouts with trainer Kari Williams, and six-times-a-day snacking on low-calorie chocolates, Ajello began seeing the number on the scale go down. It wasn't until he was challenged by two of his friends in August, though, that he really kicked his weight loss into high gear, eventually losing 157 pounds by New Years Day (in spite of the friends that bet him trying to sabotage him by sending late-night pizzas to his home).

Ajello said he currently wears a size 38 pant, no longer has diabetes, and maintains his cholesterol at a healthy 125.

While visiting his family in Saddle River for the holidays, Ajello will be working out at Good Energy Training in Allendale, trying to reach his current goal of dropping an additional 40 pounds.

"When I was in college my weight was about 190, 195, so that's where I'm trying to get to," Ajello said. "That would be like the original person."

Pete Oneghian, who started Good Energy Training, will be training Ajello during his stay in New Jersey. Oneghian said that their workouts together will be "focused on doing things for time and really working on his posture," using kettlebell training and techniques adapted from other boot camp workouts.

"He's worked out with a trainer in South Florida during this weight loss and been fortunate enough to lose all that weight and he's been doing fairly standard things, and so what I wanted to do is just expose him to some alternative training," Oneghian said. "I think he wants to lose another 40 pounds, so he's gotta shock his body. It can't just be generic treadmill work or weight work, so we're going to be doing some of the newer training techniques that people are using now."

Oneighan added that he's seen many cases similar to Ajello's over his years as a trainer.

"I've seen even highly successful people who for whatever reason aren't successful with their fitness and diet ... so for him to realize that he either makes a life transformation or else he might not be here in a few years, I think it's an amazing tribute to a guy who wants to live," he said.

To learn more about Ajello's story, visit

Barrise Nets Career-High 27 Points in Amherst's 93-60 Win Over Elms

Saturday, December 4, 2010


AMHERST, MA – The 23rd-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team pulled out a 93-60 win over Elms College this evening in the final game of the 2010 Pioneer Valley Classic, avenging an early season loss to the Blazers from last year. Amherst improves to 6-0 with the win, and 19-1 all-time in the P.V.C., while Elms drops to 3-2 overall.

Amherst jumped out of the gate getting an interior score from sophomore Peter Kaasila (Plaistow, NH) and a triple from junior David Waller (Tampa, FL) to take a 5-0 lead and force an Elms timeout just 1:23 into the game. After a pair of free throws from Elms’ Bryant Corcoran, Amherst sophomore Willy Workman (Northampton, MA) scored five straight points to stretch the lead to 10-2.

A pair of threes from senior co-captain Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) and junior Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) on either side of an Elms score forced another Blazer timeout with 14:12 to play and the Jeffs up 16-6. By the 11:36 mark, Amherst had opened up a 26-11 lead on 10-for-12 shooting. Barrise started the day 3-for-3 from behind the arc, while the Jeffs were 6-for-6 from down town as a team.

With five minutes to play, Barrise finally went to the bench with 20 points as the Jeffs led 43-25. The Amherst sharpshooter was 7-of-8 from the field, and a perfect 6-for-6 from long range. The Lord Jeffs cooled in the final portion of the half, but still went into the break up 47-30. Amherst finished the half 10-for-15 from three-point range, after starting the period 8-for-9 from behind the arc.

The start of the second half was delayed by nearly 20 minutes due to a power outage, but not even darkness in LeFrak Gymnasium could slow the Amherst offense. Barisse picked up right where he left off, drilling his seventh three of the night on his first shot after the break.

By the time the second half was seven minutes old, Amherst had added four more points to its advantage to lead 66-45. At the midpoint, Elms showed signs of being able to hang with Amherst, as the Jeffs had out-scored the Blazers only 25-23 through ten minutes of the half.

Brittain Purcelle turned up his game in the second half, scoring a handful of times in the paint for Elms. Amherst’s offense proved to be too much though, with all five starters reaching double-digits in scoring. Barrise scored a career and game-high 27 points, while Meehan, Waller, Workman and Kaasila each hit double-digits in the win.

Purcelle scored a team-high 18 points for Elms, while Juan Alverio scored 13 points and pulled in eight rebounds. For his play, Purcelle was named to the All-Tournament Team, joining Amherst’s Meehan and Barrise. Meehan was named the Tournament M.V.P. for his play in the pair of wins.

Healthful life choices embraced

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The Record

In Fair Lawn, town employees who walk regularly at lunch can win an extra week's vacation. In Upper Saddle River, Thanksgiving Day starts with a 5-kilometer run, which this year included more than 2,000 kids and adults.

The two towns are the latest to be added to the list of 10 "New Jersey Healthy Towns" by the Mayors Wellness Campaign because of their efforts to keep young people, senior citizens, employees and the general community moving. Clifton was one of the first, in 2008.

They are part of a burgeoning movement nationwide to use the power of local government to promote healthier lifestyles and prevent the costly complications of obesity.

Increasingly, the role of public policy as well as family lifestyles and individual choice is being recognized as key to efforts to stem the national epidemic of obesity. More than three out of five New Jersey adults are overweight, and the state's preschoolers have among the highest rates of obesity in the nation.

More than half of the state's 566 municipalities participate in the Mayors Wellness Campaign, which has included town-hall versions of "The Biggest Loser," cooking competitions among mayors and "walking school buses," or chaperoned walks to schools.

"The mayors have become incredible champions," said David Knowlton, whose New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute founded the program with the state League of Municipalities. "We knew we were succeeding when we saw them cite their participation in their campaign literature."
Local governments, with oversight on many aspects of land use, community planning, transportation, food marketing, and health and nutrition programs, "are ideally positioned to promote behaviors that help children and adolescents reach and maintain healthy weights," according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.

Childhood obesity rates nationally have tripled over the last 30 years, with consequences including high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. For the first time, this generation of young people may have a shorter life expectancy than its parents.

First lady Michele Obama has called upon mayors and elected officials to join her "Let's Move!" campaign to help solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

In Philadelphia and other cities, leaders have focused on attracting grocery stores to locations where it's hard to find healthy food. In Camden, they've cleared sites for community gardens. In Portland, Ore., they've built miles of bike and walking paths.

New York City has spearheaded efforts to remove artery-clogging trans fats from restaurant kitchens. This month it launched an initiative — joined by New Jersey and 21 other states — to reduce salt content of packaged and restaurant foods.

And officials in northern New Jersey's "Healthy Towns" have:

* Installed a walking and jogging path in Upper Saddle River's Lions Park and launched a free "path to fitness" walking program for residents and borough employees.
* Started an annual canoe race on the Passaic River, from Fair Lawn to Elmwood Park. Participation increased from 20 to 48 in the race's three years.
* Organized a weekly walking club, with route maps and awards, in Clifton.
The benefits of regular exercise are far-reaching, as any of the participants in Fair Lawn's thrice-weekly "Seniorcize" aerobic exercise class will attest. Forty men and women mamboed, step-kicked and ham-curled one day before Thanksgiving in a class at the Fair Lawn Senior Center.

"This place is keeping us healthy," said Shelley Gerber of Fair Lawn between reps with free weights. "Most of us are in better shape now than we were 20 years ago."

Many attend the exercise classes every day they're offered. The result is not only lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and less stiffness, but a social experience that keeps the mind sharp.

"It rejuvenates me," said Zehava Baron, another "over-60" participant. "I'm a much better dancer than I used to be," added Warren Nelson. Said Leo Tinkel: "I threw my depression pills away."

Athletic activity for kids, said Marshall Grupp, co-director of Upper Saddle River's annual Dick Meighan Memorial 5K Run on Thanksgiving, "Keeps 'em active, off the street and away from computers." The race he organizes includes a "baby buggy brigade" and a 10-and-under age group, among others, and has had more than 1,000 participants in rain, snow and unseasonably beautiful weather over the years.
As to the week's vacation earned by exercisers in Fair Lawn: Using comp time donated by a former borough manager, a drawing has been held each December among borough employees who earn the right to enter by walking during lunch or exercising after work a certain number of times.
"I was in shock," said Robin Junchaya, who won it in 2008. During lunch, she walks from Borough Hall to Memorial Pool, around the pool a few times and back. "It was a great motivator."

In Fair Lawn, town employees who walk regularly at lunch can win an extra week's vacation. In Upper Saddle River, Thanksgiving Day starts with a 5-kilometer run, which this year included more than 2,000 kids and adults.

Upper Saddle River and Fair Lawn are the latest municipalities to be added to the list of 10 'New Jersey Healthy Towns' by the Mayors Wellness Campaign because of their efforts to keep young people, senior citizens, employees and the general community moving. Clifton was one of the first, in 2008. The two towns are the latest to be added to the list of 10 "New Jersey Healthy Towns" by the Mayors Wellness Campaign because of their efforts to keep young people, senior citizens, employees and the general community moving. Clifton was one of the first, in 2008.

They are part of a burgeoning movement nationwide to use the power of local government to promote healthier lifestyles and prevent the costly complications of obesity.

Increasingly, the role of public policy as well as family lifestyles and individual choice is being recognized as key to efforts to stem the national epidemic of obesity. More than three out of five New Jersey adults are overweight, and the state's preschoolers have among the highest rates of obesity in the nation.

More than half of the state's 566 municipalities participate in the Mayors Wellness Campaign, which has included town-hall versions of "The Biggest Loser," cooking competitions among mayors and "walking school buses," or chaperoned walks to schools.

"The mayors have become incredible champions," said David Knowlton, whose New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute founded the program with the state League of Municipalities. "We knew we were succeeding when we saw them cite their participation in their campaign literature."

Local governments, with oversight on many aspects of land use, community planning, transportation, food marketing, and health and nutrition programs, "are ideally positioned to promote behaviors that help children and adolescents reach and maintain healthy weights," according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine.

Childhood obesity rates nationally have tripled over the last 30 years, with consequences including high-blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. For the first time, this generation of young people may have a shorter life expectancy than its parents.

First lady Michele Obama has called upon mayors and elected officials to join her "Let's Move!" campaign to help solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.

In Philadelphia and other cities, leaders have focused on attracting grocery stores to locations where it's hard to find healthy food. In Camden, they've cleared sites for community gardens. In Portland, Ore., they've built miles of bike and walking paths.

New York City has spearheaded efforts to remove artery-clogging trans fats from restaurant kitchens. This month it launched an initiative — joined by New Jersey and 21 other states — to reduce salt content of packaged and restaurant foods.

And officials in northern New Jersey's "Healthy Towns" have:

* Installed a walking and jogging path in Upper Saddle River's Lions Park and launched a free "path to fitness" walking program for residents and borough employees.

* Started an annual canoe race on the Passaic River, from Fair Lawn to Elmwood Park. Participation increased from 20 to 48 in the race's three years.

* Organized a weekly walking club, with route maps and awards, in Clifton.

The benefits of regular exercise are far-reaching, as any of the participants in Fair Lawn's thrice-weekly "Seniorcize" aerobic exercise class will attest. Forty men and women mamboed, step-kicked and ham-curled one day before Thanksgiving in a class at the Fair Lawn Senior Center.

"This place is keeping us healthy," said Shelley Gerber of Fair Lawn between reps with free weights. "Most of us are in better shape now than we were 20 years ago."

Many attend the exercise classes every day they're offered. The result is not only lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol and less stiffness, but a social experience that keeps the mind sharp.

"It rejuvenates me," said Zehava Baron, another "over-60" participant. "I'm a much better dancer than I used to be," added Warren Nelson. Said Leo Tinkel: "I threw my depression pills away."

Athletic activity for kids, said Marshall Grupp, co-director of Upper Saddle River's annual Dick Meighan Memorial 5K Run on Thanksgiving, "Keeps 'em active, off the street and away from computers." The race he organizes includes a "baby buggy brigade" and a 10-and-under age group, among others, and has had more than 1,000 participants in rain, snow and unseasonably beautiful weather over the years.

BARRISE hoped to be SHARPSHOOTER for Amherst College

Amherst Ready for Return to NCAA Tournament


Amherst College

Amherst will also be without Steve Wheeler ’10, who finished his career ranked 27th on Amherst’s all-time scoring list (917) and second in three-point field goals made (191). Wheeler’s ability to shoot from well beyond the arc forced opposing defenses to extend, which is something the Lord Jeffs will need to replace this year.

Coach Hixon hopes that void will be filled by Taylor Barrise ’12, who started in all 25 games as a sophomore and averaged 8.2 points and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 35.6 percent from long range. Barrise put his shooting skills on display against Bowdoin last year when he scored a career-high 23 points thanks to a 9-for-12 performance from the floor (4-for-7 3-pt.), also adding six rebounds in the game.

Barrise (4.0) and Meehan (2.6) are the only players on the roster who attempted more than 1.5 three-pointers per game last year. Because shooting the long ball is not one of Meehan’s primary roles, the Lord Jeffs will need someone to help Barrise extend defenses. Among the leading candidates are forwards Billy Butler ’11 and Pierce Edwards ’13, two good catch-and-shoot guys who could provide valuable minutes off the bench when Amherst is need of a three. The Lord Jeffs also welcome guard Connor Gach ’14 (6’4, 185 lbs.), a big scorer who is expected to be another three-point threat.

Sports - Fitness - Wellness . NJ SPORT'S MAGAZINE

Youth Sports: Creating Muscle Memory & The Right Coach


Youth Sports Series - Article No. 1
October 2010 Issue

When we all were little we had to physically learn how to do so many things—walk, talk, brush
our hair and teeth! We take all those things for granted now, but they are learned over time.
How many times have you heard the following statement: “C’mon, It’s just like riding a
bike!” Well, without taking off the training wheels and practicing for hours how to coordinate
steering with pedaling, knowing when to break and keeping your balance at the same time—riding a bike would never happen. Becoming a good bike rider takes a lot of practice and “muscle memory” to make this skill possible. Muscle memory is when a conscious effort to put the body in a particular position, or to move it in a certain way, is transformed from a conscious
action to an automatic action requiring no thought.
Therefore, in order to make a movement “automatic”, you must practice that movement over a long period of time so your body performs the movement without thinking. How does this relate to you’re young athlete becoming a future sport’s star?
In 2010, we have increasingly more Sport’s Performance facilities to choose from in the
Tri-State area. Regardless of your student-athlete’s sport of choice, he or she can play
12 months per year and learn skills with a private coach at the same time.
Creating muscle memory has to be learned from a good teacher. When you start looking
for a pitching coach or soccer skills coach, find out more about the facility, trainer or coach. What is the philosophy of the facility? What is the pedigree (background) of the
Creating Muscle Memory & Choosing the Right Coach
trainer or coach? Where did they play and who did they learn from? What are their goals for your son/daughter and how do they monitor your
child’s progress within their program? Does the coach believe in your “little athlete” and
does he/she think they can make a difference?
For example, if your child needs to learn how to become faster, is the Speed Program “in a group” and if so, will your student-athlete still have
the same results if he/she was trained personally? Often times an individual could get lost in a group and therefore their technique
suffers without proper attention. However, being in a competitive environment with other peers could increase your child’s learning curve by creating positive peer pressure.
Speed schools have proven that six year olds can improve their running mechanics and thus become faster. But it is your job to fi gure out what setting will create a better environment
for your son or daughter to get the most out of the program.
Muscle Memory has been researched for years and fundamentally proven in the Sport’s realm. Whether it pertains to tennis, gymnastics, skiing, or swimming—elite athlete’s in
these sports start at a young age to master their skills.
Sports skills CAN be learned at a young age. When an athlete performs the movement or skill
properly over a period of time, he or she will become more talented. The key is to practice
with proper technique and at game tempo. For instance, hitting off a batting tee can create
muscle memory for proper swinging mechanics in baseball or softball. But this swing now has to be transferred to not just the batting cage, but to LIVE pitching. Otherwise your son/daughter will be great in practice, but will not be able to hit in a game.
Professional athletes would never be “in the Zone” without thousands of hours mastering the same moves full-speed that they dazzle the crowd with at the end of a nationally televised Championship game.
Division 1 and professional athlete’s have created their Muscle Memory by performing their skills at 100%. Professional basketball players don’t just shoot around like your neighbors do in the driveway.
The NBA stars have played since a young age and have practiced all their trick moves and dribbles countless times. Their bodies are now “encoded” with the muscle memory so these advanced movement patterns can be repeated and
duplicated during a game.
In my field, Strength & Conditioning,
a good coach will prepare their athlete’s by choosing exercises that will help them play better at their Sport. The Strength training and
Conditioning needs to match the demand of the sport. Not many weight rooms have ice in the tri-state area. However, a knowledgeable strength
coach can proficiently prepare an ice hockey player by knowing the physical demands they have on the ice. Increasing leg strength will increase
skating power. Focusing on upper body strength with proper technique will improve skating posture and minimize the risk for injury from contact during a game. Conditioning for hockey players can include bounding or plyometrics
to teach the hockey player how to load and contract fast,simulating the action on the
ice. These exercises enable your hockey player to become more dynamic on the ice. If a strength coach can mimic the muscle memory performed
on the ice and increase their strength, speed & conditioning — the hockey player will be
physically prepared to play better on the ice. Now it is up to the Hockey coach to teach
the skills and nuances of the game.
Muscle memory is essential for any athlete who wants to take their game to next level.
It was less talked about during the 70’s and 80’s because kids were playing outside and
practicing their skills with their friends. Unfortunately the muscle memory kid’s learn
now is the “fine motor” kind — using the remote when playing XBOX or PLAYSTATION 3.
Good Luck with the maturation of your little athlete and remember — It will be Hard Work,
but is should be FUN too!

Girls volleyball notes: Indian Hills hitting stride at right time

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


The Record
Only two weeks ago, the Indian Hills volleyball team just was hoping to extend its season past the regular season.
Six consecutive wins and one tough decision later, the Braves (12-8) have secured a spot in the Group 2 State tournament and are eyeing another deep run.
"Thankfully, we’re peaking at the right time," coach Karen Klingner said. "Sure, we’d like to be 18-2, but I always tell my team, ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’ "
The Braves have made a strong closing argument in the last 15 days by winning seven of eight matches, including signature wins over Pascack Hills and Mahwah.
Seventeen days ago, Indian Hills missed automatically qualifying for the Bergen County tournament by a win after suffering a tough, three-set loss to Pascack Valley. The Braves could have applied for a spot in the County tournament, but with her team’s record at 5-7, Klingner decided against it.
"I didn’t think, mentally, we were prepared," Klingner said. "I wanted to make sure we made the State tournament."
The decision worked out, as the Braves rallied toward their new goal. The team patched up some struggles with communication and defense, and let the best part of its game shine.
"We know we can hit and we know we can serve," Klingner said. "So it was kind of about fine-tuning everything else."
Senior setter Amanda Parks has run the offense, which has excelled in the last six games. During that stretch, hitters Taylor Greblja and Kerianne Pacheco have combined for 90 kills and more than 40 aces.
"We just have the confidence now that we didn’t have at the beginning of the season," Klingner said.
CLIFTON HOSTS SEMIS: Clifton will have the benefit of home-court advantage Wednesday, when it plays top-seeded DePaul in the semifinals of the Passaic County tournament (7:30 p.m.).
But coach Mike Doktor knows his fourth-seeded Mustangs (12-5) will need one of their top performances of the season to knock off the Spartans (12-5).
"We just have to be on — simple as that," Doktor said. "We’re going to have to earn every point against them, because they’re a strong team and they don’t make many mistakes."
No. 2 Wayne Valley plays No. 3 Lakeland in the other semifinal (5:30 p.m. at Clifton). Wayne Valley is seeking its sixth straight trip to the finals, and its fifth title in the last six seasons. Lakeland is in search of its first title since 2008.
SERVICE POINTS: On Thursday, Pascack Hills will host Pascack Valley (5:15 p.m.) in a rivalry showdown that also will help a good cause. The teams are hosting a Dig Pink fundraiser for the Side-Out Foundation. All proceeds from admission, T-shirts and raffle tickets sales will go to Side-Out for Breast Cancer awareness. Pascack Hills and Pascack Valley have raised more than $10,000 combined for Side-Out in their previous two annual Dig Pink matches. … Old Tappan clinched its fourth consecutive league title last week, winning the Big North V.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: The Bergen County tournament continues today with quarterfinal matches at Old Tappan. Fourth-seeded Bogota faces No. 5 Ridgewood at 5:30 p.m. and top-seeded Old Tappan plays No. 9 Pascack Hills at 7. On Wednesday, No. 3 Ramapo faces No. 6 River Dell at 5:30 p.m. and No. 2 IHA plays No. 10 Demarest at 7 … The Passaic County tournament final is at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakeland … The Bergen County tournament semifinals are at 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday at Old Tappan. The final is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday at Old Tappan.
Only two weeks ago, the Indian Hills volleyball team just was hoping to extend its season past the regular season.

Six consecutive wins and one tough decision later, the Braves (12-8) have secured a spot in the Group 2 State tournament and are eyeing another deep run.

"Thankfully, we’re peaking at the right time," coach Karen Klingner said. "Sure, we’d like to be 18-2, but I always tell my team, ‘It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.’ "

The Braves have made a strong closing argument in the last 15 days by winning seven of eight matches, including signature wins over Pascack Hills and Mahwah.

Seventeen days ago, Indian Hills missed automatically qualifying for the Bergen County tournament by a win after suffering a tough, three-set loss to Pascack Valley. The Braves could have applied for a spot in the County tournament, but with her team’s record at 5-7, Klingner decided against it.

"I didn’t think, mentally, we were prepared," Klingner said. "I wanted to make sure we made the State tournament."

The decision worked out, as the Braves rallied toward their new goal. The team patched up some struggles with communication and defense, and let the best part of its game shine.

"We know we can hit and we know we can serve," Klingner said. "So it was kind of about fine-tuning everything else."

Senior setter Amanda Parks has run the offense, which has excelled in the last six games. During that stretch, hitters Taylor Greblja and Kerianne Pacheco have combined for 90 kills and more than 40 aces.

"We just have the confidence now that we didn’t have at the beginning of the season," Klingner said.

Where is he Now?

MIKE DARMANTE, JR. - #34 - Ramsey Rams - 2005


Most "where are they nows" are about what a person is doing now with a flashback to a story in which they excelled years prior.

We don't know what Mike Darmante, Jr. is up to now.
We do know he is a Senior at UNC-Charlotte, and will probably land a profitable job easily.

We also know that 6 years ago the GOOD ENERGY STAFF made a difference for him ON THE FIELD - and he has Results to Show for it.

Mike Darmante, Jr. was arguably the BEST baseball player in Ramsey as an 8th grader until an accident on the field made him nearly lose his eyesight. Then, as a sophomore in high school he tore his ACL in gym class playing basketball.

Then the story gets better. Mike arrives at GE shortly following his ACL Surgery - to PERFORM BETTER! We shape NOT ONLY his Body, but his MIND, that HE CAN PLAY GREAT on Saturdays....and HE DOES!

At 5'9 180 pounds he was not the intimidating Athlete he was at the SAME SIZE as an 8th grader. But his experiences developed him into a mature Senior and he appreciated the remaining time he had to play football with his friends at Ramsey High.

This picture is the Culmination of ALL Mike's HARD WORK at the GE Shop. He MADE this sack and two interceptions against Bergenfield on that day in October 2005. The 2nd Interception sealed the win for the Rams in Overtime and is still one of our Favorite pictures that hangs in the Shop.

The pictures were taken by GE Owner, Pete Ohnegian who was thrilled to be on the sideline that day to witness ALL Mike's Hard Work Pay Off first hand.


You want to Play Better?
You want the Most out of THE SMALL WINDOW to play competitive sports?
We can HELP YOU play at your Best!

We WILL NEVER Forget those who Believe in GE!

NJ Football: Inexperience on O-Line Not Hindering Don Bosco Prep

Todd Schmerler/For The Star-Ledge


Waiting your turn at Don Bosco Prep isn’t just considered polite. For players involved in the football program, it’s a rite of passage.

And, judging by the results over the last few years, it works wonders.

Don Bosco, the consensus choice as the No. 1 team in the nation last year, has a new starting tailback and four new starters out of five on the offensive line.

Yet the Ironmen have ripped holes through their first three opponents this season, outscoring them, 101-26, with two of their three victories coming against strong out-of-state competition.

The defense also is young, yet the starters have yet to allow a single point. Don Bosco has outscored the opposition in the first half, 71-0.

Perhaps experience is overrated.

“We lost a lot on the line from last year, but we have the best line coach in the country in Coach Chuck (Granatell),” senior right guard Andrew Benvenuto, the team’s lone returning starter on the offensive line, said. “Nobody minds waiting their turn to play here. The program at Bosco has been built on that the last few years.”

That modus operandi will be put to the test tomorrow, when the Ramsey school travels to face archrival Bergen Catholic at 1 p.m. in Oradell. Don Bosco (3-0) is ranked No. 1 in The Star-Ledger Top 20. Bergen Catholic is No. 2.

Waiting certainly has not hurt Don Bosco tailback Paul Canevari. A starter at defensive end as a sophomore and junior despite weighing in at only 210 pounds, Canevari replaced All-State back Tony Jones as the lead ballcarrier this season. Jones took his talents to the University of Colorado and Canevari took off. He has rushed 60 times for 749 yards, an average of 12.5 yards per carry, and seven touchdowns.

“Paul had to wait behind Tony Jones, and Tony had to wait behind Dillon Romain,” head coach Greg Toal, in his 12th year at Don Bosco, said. “Everybody learns from the one who comes before them and then gets their turn. It’s Paul’s turn now and he’s definitely taking advantage.”

Toal cites Canevari’s combination of speed, toughness, balance and power. The senior, who has received interest from Central Florida, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, among other top college programs, is perhaps the strongest and the fastest player on the team, according to the guy who opens holes for him to run through – Benvenuto.

“We’ve always known how good Paul is,” Benvenuto said. “He definitely makes our job easier. He’s never tackled by one guy, he always gets yards after contact. He’s so hard to take down, he’s so fast and has great vision.”

Toal credits the offensive line as much as he does Canevari, saying their specialty so far has been straight-ahead, smashmouth blocking. He counts on Benvenuto to be the glue for a close-knit unit that includes junior left tackle Tyler Samra, junior left guard Mike Casimos(GOOD ENERGY!), sophomore right tackle Sean Carey and senior center Tyler Yee, who did not play last year for personal reasons.

“They understand what they have to do and they do a good job of it,” Toal said. “The Bergen Catholic game is going to be won up front, so we have some challenges.”

Benvenuto said the close relationship that bonds every player on the offensive line translates on the field and makes the unit stronger.

“It’s something we talk about a lot, caring about the guy next to you,” he said. “We’re not just teammates, we’re all friends. We’re pretty tight and we hang out off the field, and that really helps us on the field.”

As for Bergen Catholic, Benvenuto expects more of a challenge than Don Bosco received in a 33-6 victory over St. Ignatius of Ohio last week and in a 33-6 victory over Gilman of Maryland in the season opener. In between those two victories -- which resulted in the identical final scores -- Don Bosco took out a local foe, Ridgewood, 35-14.

“Bergen Catholic will be the best team we’ll play all year,” he said. “No matter who we play out of state, Bergen Catholic is always the biggest game. We always have to prepare for them the most; it’s always the worst week of practice. We’ve put in the work and hopefully it will all pay off on Saturday.

“The whole state is watching this game. We know what we have to do.”

Avento Named NJAC Football Defensive Rookie of the Week

Montclair, NJ (9/26/10)


Freshman linebacker Dan Avento (Montvale, NJ / Pascack Hills) was chsoen as the New Jersey Athletic Conference Defensive Rookie of the Week on Sunday. It marks the third straight week that MSU has received one of the league's weekly accolades.

Avento earns NJAC Defensive Rookie of the Week honors after helping the Red Hawks improve to 3-0 on the season with a 42-6 NJAC road win at Morrisville State. In the win for No. 19 MSU, he notched seven tackles while helping to hold the Mustangs to just 104 yards of total offense.

Avento currently ranks 28th in the NJAC in tackles per game (6.0).


Freshman James Kittredge impressing Vanderbilt coaches


James Kit­tredge is begin­ning to look like an old pro every time he takes on a new posi­tion on the offen­sive line.

Con­si­de­ring he was rec­rui­ted by Van­der­bilt (and just about every other school) as a defen­sive line­man, that’s saying something.

The true fresh­man was at cen­ter with the first unit Wed­nes­day while senior cap­tain Joey Bai­ley res­ted a sore Achi­lles’ ten­don. Kit­tredge was back on the prac­tice field Thurs­day at left guard, and wor­king in at cen­ter when fresh­man Logan Ste­wart nee­ded a breather.

“He looks like a natu­ral,” Coach Rob­bie Cald­well said of Kit­tredge. “I tell you what … I wouldn’t be sca­red to start him in the first game. He may beat (Bai­ley) out any­way. He’s just that phy­si­cal and that hard.

“If he knew, he’d be taking a job from some­body right now. All he needs is a little more knowledge.”

Kit­tredge (6-4, 270) was a stan­dout at Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), which ended the 2009 sea­son No. 1 in the USA Today high school poll. He pla­yed defen­sive line for three years, offen­sive tac­kle for one.

Given Vanderbilt’s depth issues on the offen­sive line and its repu­ta­tion for having line­men flip sides of the ball, Kit­tredge had a fee­ling this was in the cards.

“The (coaches) star­ted saying I’d look good on the offen­sive line,” Kit­tredge said. “The defen­sive pla­yers were joking that I loo­ked like a good cen­ter. I guess they were right.

“The guards were just telling me to go zone block left or right and who to pick up. It was pretty quick decision-making. I’m sure if I knew what my keys were before, I would have done a little better.”

If Kit­tredge does not play his way into the star­ting lineup, he will cer­tainly be in the rota­tion at guard and cen­ter. Look for him to be one of seve­ral true fresh­men to have a sig­ni­fi­cant impact on the 2010 season.

Tennessee Titans Jason McCourty has edge in cornerback race

By John Glennon • THE TENNESSEAN • August 18, 2010


If the competition for one of the Titans' starting cornerback positions can be compared to a race, then it's fair to say that Jason McCourty burst from the starting line in the first preseason game.

Rookie Alterraun Verner sprinted out of the blocks pretty well himself.
Ryan Mouton? He'll need to play catch-up after an erratic performance in the Titans' 20-18 loss to the Seahawks.

That's the unofficial status report regarding what was expected to be one of the most competitive battles of training camp, the fight for the cornerback position held last season by Nick Harper.

"I thought they all played well,'' Coach Jeff Fisher said. "They all made plays. They tackled well. They got their hands on balls. I thought that the improvement that we've seen on the practice field through camp and through the offseason carried over in the first preseason game.''

All three young corners did make their share of good plays. It's just that McCourty and Verner seemed to come up with more of them, and that both steered clear of surrendering big plays.
McCourty made a strong one-on-one tackle to hold Seahawks receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a 2-yard gain, broke up a slant to Golden Tate and blanketed Mike Williams during an incompletion — all in the first half.
It wasn't long before Seattle's quarterbacks were looking elsewhere.

"A lot of times when you're a corner, it's not the plays you make on the ball, it's just the fact that they don't throw balls your way,'' defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil said of McCourty. "He had a few opportunities and made them when he had the chance. Other than that, he was very solid in coverage pretty much the entire day.''

Delbarton Connection Thrives At Development Camp

Saturday, 07.17.2010


By Jason Seidling

Delbarton High School might not have the national prestige of a Shattuck-Saint Mary’s or a St. Paul’s, but the Roman Catholic preparatory school located in Morristown, New Jersey is quickly proving itself to be a fertile hockey-producing factory.

Nicknamed the Green Wave, Delbarton has won five of the past nine New Jersey state championships under the direction of head coach Bruce Shatel, including three-straight titles in the Garden State’s top level of competition.

Perhaps even more impressive than the hardware the program is racking up is the quality of talent Delbarton is producing. There is no greater indicator of the job Shatel is doing than this week’s Penguins prospect development camp, where three Delbarton alumni – Alex Velischek, Kenneth Agostino and Alex Smigelski – are all sharing the ice.

Velischek, a 19-year-old defenseman and the son of former National Hockey League blueliner Randy Velischek, joined the Penguins as a 2009 fifth-round draft pick. Agostino, 18, came to the Penguins in the fifth-round in last month’s NHL Entry Draft, while Smigelski, 22, is in camp on a tryout.

“That we are all here is definitely a tribute to our coaching staff,” Velischek said. “Coach Shatel is one of the best coaches around. This is definitely a tribute to the school and the area that New Jersey high school hockey is growing.”

“I give full credit to Coach Shatel,” Smigelski said. “He is really bringing in guys and he is really getting them to play tough games out of the conference and out of the state. They play the prep schools from New England and they have shown that they can compete with them. It’s been great to see the program take off since I graduated.”

Delbarton’s program took off following Smigelski’s graduation in 2006 thanks to the play of Velischek and Agostino, a duo who are extremely close despite being a year apart in age.

Although Velischek and Agostino were separated this past year as Velischek left for his freshman year at Providence while Agostino completed his final high school campaign by leading the Green Wave to a third-straight straight championship, the two kept in touch regularly. In fact, Agostino credited Velischek with helping him get through the mental grind that comes with the NHL combine and Entry Draft.

“We have been great buddies for about four years now,” Agostino said. “He has just been great throughout this whole process for me. Getting to watch him go through this whole process and then being able to lean on him definitely gave me an edge through the combine and the draft. It’s really exciting that we are a part of the same organization right now.”

Velischek found it equally as exciting that Agostino was drafted by the team which selected him just one year earlier.

“When I found out that he was drafted by Pittsburgh I was ecstatic,” Velischek said. “I mean think about the chances. It’s a one in a million shot that you even get drafted. To think that we got drafted by the same team in the same round is just a huge coincidence.”

When the 5-foot-11, 194-pound Agostino was taken with the 140th-overall selection on June 26, the first person he heard from was Velischek, whom the Penguins took 123rd overall in Round 5 a year earlier. Velischek says that he makes sure to jokingly remind Agostino who went higher, although Agostino does receive a small perk for going later.

“I rub it in a little bit that I went a couple of picks higher,” Velischek smiled. “We made a little bet where the guy who was picked higher has to buy the other dinner – so I owe him a meal. It’s all in good fun.”

On the ice this week, the two buddies, along with Smigelski – who played one season with Velischek and followed the career of Agostino from afar – are enjoying going head-to-head.

“You bet I’m taking advantage of them a little bit,” Velischek joked. “It makes me look good.”

“I always have trouble beating Velischek,” said a laughing Agostino. “I still can’t beat him, but it’s fun to go head-to-head.”

“It has been fun going against Velischek in some of the one-on-ones,” Smigelski said. “We did that a lot in high school and now five years later we are in Pittsburgh doing the same stuff. It’s been pretty cool.”

While Velischek and Agostino are enjoying the comforts of being in camp together, and are looking forward to keeping in touch again this season as Agostino heads to Yale to begin his college career, Smigelski is relishing the chance he has to make an impression.

Whereas Velischek and Agostino have the chance to play at Division-I schools, Smigelski played four seasons of D-III hockey at William’s College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Unlike his younger contemporaries, the 6-foot-2, 208-pound Smigelski wasn’t drafted, so he knows he has a harder route to the NHL. The big forward has made the most of his chance by turning heads at development camp.

“I’m just trying to give it my hardest every day and make a good impression,” Smigelski said. “I don’t really know what the next step will be but I know this is the first one. I knew I had to make a good impression this week.”

The future will tell the story of how well the impressions made this week by Velischek, Agostino and Smigelski will play out, but one thing we do know is to keep an eye on Delbarton High School after seeing the quality of talent the school is producing.

Hits record sounds good to Mahwah star

Friday, May 21, 2010


By ART STAPLETON-The Bergen Record

COLUMNIST MAHWAH – Anthony D’Alessandro could have chosen to hide from the pressure, but he didn’t even attempt to do so.

The whispering became commonplace at Mahwah baseball games this season, with most of the questions revolving around D’Alessandro and his bid to etch his name in the New Jersey high school baseball record books.

"How many hits does he need?" someone would ask.

"Think he will get there?" another undoubtedly would say.

Every at-bat this season has represented another chance at State history for D’Alessandro, who already has left his mark at the varsity level with his slick fielding in center field and one of the purest swings around.

Don’t forget those self-inflicted marks on D’Alessandro’s batting helmet, 173 and counting for each hit for the senior standout, who first emerged as one of North Jersey’s top all-around players as a sophomore.

He is eight shy of former Old Tappan standout Rob Segedin’s all-time hits mark of 181, established two seasons ago.

The countdown is in D’Alessandro’s head each time he steps to the plate – not always at the forefront, mind you, but there nonetheless – and he has embraced the challenge.

"It is such a special opportunity, I figured why not embrace the chase for the record and go for it," D’Alessandro said. "There really was no getting away from the fact that people knew [the record] was out there, so why try to avoid it.

"If I get there, great, but if I don’t, that’s fine, too. I’m just trying to cherish these moments because not many players get the chance to do something like this."

He paused before adding: "And to go for a record like that on a team that still has a chance to win a Bergen County championship, it’s really like the best of both worlds."

D’Alessandro and the Thunderbirds registered one of the biggest victories of the season in Saturday’s second round of the County tournament with their 13-9 upset of reigning champion St. Joseph. Not only did the rousing offensive performance provide Mahwah with just its second County tournament win since 1982, the triumph gave D’Alessandro another game and a few more at-bats in what has become a race against time as much as a matter of his production.

The Thunderbirds (16-9) have three NBIL regular-season games remaining next week (Indian Hills, Northern Highlands and Paramus Catholic), but their focus is solely on finding a way to beat Westwood in Saturday’s County quarterfinal at Emerson.

A victory would extend D’Alessandro’s season until Memorial Day weekend, and if things pan out in their favor, the Thunderbirds and their Duke-bound star would get to play on the County’s biggest stage at Demarest in the semifinals and possibly the final.

"Our team had goals like any team, and one of those goals was for Anthony to do something of this magnitude," said Mahwah coach Jeff Remo, whose team lost to Ramsey in Monday’s North 1, Group 2 opener. "There are thousands and thousands who have played high school baseball in New Jersey through the years.

"To finish a career with more hits than any of them, now that would be impressive."

D’Alessandro is having what he considers the most complete season of his career.

He is batting .545 (42-for-77) with a staggering .670 on-base percentage, drawing a career-high 27 walks with 12 stolen bases at the top of the Mahwah batting order.

He also has scored 37 runs with five doubles, two triples, six home runs and 22 RBI.

"I realize how lucky I am to be in this position," D’Alessandro said. "A million guys would probably [want] to be in this spot, so I definitely appreciate having that chance."

Rutgers coach Fred Hill once called Remo – a 1980 Mahwah graduate and a sixth-round pick of the Chicago Cubs – the best high school hitter he’d ever seen in New Jersey.

What Remo sees in D’Alessandro is someone who has refused to put his aspirations ahead of his team’s success.

"It’s no secret he’s going for a prestigious record and what has surprised me is that he hasn’t been tempted to swing at ball fours just to get hits," Remo said. "If he’s going to do it, the County would be an appropriate place for a record like that to be broken."

Whatever happens, D’Alessandro is poised to take his best swing at it.

Mickey Corcoran serves up great memories

Friday, May 7, 2010


WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP – The first standing ovation came at the start of the evening. A "Happy Birthday" serenade came in the middle of the program. Now, Mickey Corcoran was walking to the podium, smiling as he listened to the applause of another standing ovation.

"I’m truly humbled to be here tonight," the 88-year-old "Mentor" said to the crowd of about 350 that paid $50 a plate Thursday night at Seasons to celebrate his remarkable career in high school athletics. "Friends, family, officials – everybody who’s helped me through a great life."

Mostly, though, the evening was about others telling tales of how the longtime Dumont resident influenced their lives through his tenures at River Dell and Northern Highlands as well as Horace Mann in New York.

"You immediately knew he was a great coach and a great person," said Ron Roy, 69, who now lives in Bonita Springs, Fla., but played on Corcoran’s first teams at River Dell and was a member of that school’s Class of 1959.

"He cared about everybody and he gave people guidance," Roy added. "From him, I learned you’re never above anybody and you’re never below anybody. Treat everybody the same."

Corcoran credited Vince Lombardi, his basketball coach at St. Cecilia High School, with teaching him the importance of the player-coach relationship.

"Everybody knows Xs and Os," Corcoran said. "Being able to relate to the kids is most important."

Roy’s River Dell teammate, Ken Tripp, also 69 and now a resident of Andover, N.H., said Corcoran influenced his life, "just with a lot of positive reinforcement – and he used to get me out of class to practice basketball."

Daily News baseball columnist Bill Madden, a former track standout at Bergen Catholic, recalled how Corcoran, a track starter, helped him get into South Carolina.

Corcoran’s most famous player at River Dell, Bill Parcells, was unable to attend because of a prior commitment.

But NCAA basketball referee Tim Higgins, another protégé and golfing buddy, was on the roster of eight guest speakers that also included his son,
The Record

Mark "Rookie" Corcoran, former Northern Highlands principal Jack Mintzer and former Demarest athletic director Jerry Emison, who bestowed the "Mentor" moniker on Corcoran.

Higgins said he was content refereeing CYO and junior varsity games 40 years ago before Corcoran’s encouragement sparked a career that has seen him work 11 Final Fours.

Mahwah's greatest hits package

Sunday, March 21, 2010


The Record

MAHWAH — Anthony D'Alessandro's family garage is peaceful. Quiet. Inviting.
There are no cheering crowds. No bantering teammates. No coaches bombarding him with advice.
Nothing fancy, but it's a hitting machine's dream.

"I have everything I need there," said D'Alessandro, Mahwah's senior center fielder and one of the best hitters in the state. "A tee. A net. Two or three buckets of balls.
"It's convenient. Even if I just get bored, it's a place to relax. I'm all alone. No distractions."

D'Alessandro wouldn't even guess how many swings he's taken in that garage over the years, but that's the room where he has perfected the stroke that could make him New Jersey's all-time hits leader.

"I love to play baseball," said D'Alessandro, who enters the season 51 hits shy of breaking the State career record held by former Old Tappan star Rob Segedin (181). "I love to hit.
"I'd rather be in my garage hitting a baseball than sitting in front of the television on a snowy day playing a video game. For me, baseball never gets old."

D'Alessandro takes a 33-game hitting streak into the season. That means he hasn't had a hitless game since the tail end of his sophomore season, which is a big reason why Segedin's record is well within his grasp.

"Let me tell you something," said Mahwah coach Jeff Remo. "Anthony wakes up in the morning, and his main objective is how to become a better baseball player.
"I've met kids who work hard for a day. I know kids who work hard for a week. Anthony works hard all year round."

And the payoff? Well, for openers, D'Alessandro has a scholarship to Duke, where he hopes to study either pre-med or physical therapy. He is one of three New Jersey players and the only one from North Jersey named a preseason All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine.

"It's a relief to know I have the scholarship and know where I'll be next year," said D'Alessandro, who batted .543 with 50 hits and 20 stolen bases as Mahwah's leadoff hitter. "I think I'm going to play even better this season because of that.

"I have to admit, there were times last year when I was pressing a little. I was thinking, 'I've got to be seen. I've got to play better or no one will take me.' "
The 6-foot, 195-pound D'Alessandro said he chose Duke because he will have an opportunity to play as a freshman.

"That was the biggest thing for me," D'Alessandro said. "I want to play right away. I don't want to sit on the bench for two years because there are two All-Americans in front of me."

And while hitting is D'Alessandro's passion, he's an all-around player. He has top-shelf speed, a strong glove and enough pop in his bat to make him a serious RBI threat.

"I think I define myself as an athlete who hits," D'Alessandro said. "I never had a hitting coach. I never had a lesson. I just always did what worked for me. I guess you could say I kind of taught myself to hit.

"I have a natural knack for hitting, but I wouldn't say I'm a natural. I have to work very hard for everything I have. I'd say I'm a smart hitter who has the right state of mind when I go to the plate."

Segedin, who is a preseason All-American at Tulane, was a senior when D'Alessandro broke in as a freshman shortstop with the Thunderbirds.
"We talked once or twice on the base paths," D'Alessandro said with a smile. "That year, he tore us apart. He had two homers and three or four doubles against us, so he ran past me a lot.''

"He probably won't remember me. I was nothing then. Forty pounds lighter. Three inches shorter. But that guy could hit, and it's a compliment to me to be mentioned with him."
D'Alessandro said the hit record isn't a distraction, but it does motivate him. It was there, in the back of his mind, with every bucket of balls he drove into the net over the winter.

"I'm not going to lie to you and say that it's not on my mind," D'Alessandro said. "Without a doubt, it is. You know, it's not every day that you can say you're contending to break a State record.

"Thousands and thousands of kids have played baseball in New Jersey. Some of them were very good. It's a compliment just to be thought of as someone who could break a record like that."

Immaculate Heart ace hopes to pen winning story

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


The Record

Immaculate Heart softball pitcher Alicia Daniele, a senior from Mahwah, has decided to pitch collegiately at Emerson College in Boston. She also was considering Franklin & Marshall.

But pitching isn’t the only craft Daniele will be hoping to refine at Emerson.

"I love to write," Daniele said. "And I’ve always wanted to study writing."

Daniele has been accepted into the department of literature, creative writing and publishing at Emerson. She hopes to become a freelance novelist after graduation.

Daniele has written for her student newspaper, IHA Accents, and ORB, IHA’s literary magazine.
She’s also a voracious reader. And while Daniele isn’t sure what she’ll write her first novel about, she’s a big fan of classic literary fiction, including Jane Austen.

Softball, along with academics, was also a major part of Daniele’s decision. Emerson was ranked as the top academic Division III softball team in the country last year.

"Softball was a big part of the decision," Daniele said. "But [the academics] certainly made it easier."

Daniele’s experience with club softball with the New Jersey Pride and New Jersey Heist – she’s dedicated to the sport year-round – also made the entire process easier.

"Playing club, softball is what they live and breathe," Daniele said. "And I think that it will really help in transitioning to college."

Mike Whalen leaving Williams to return to his alma mater Wesleyan as head football coach and asst. A

March 5, 2010


WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Williams College head football coach Mike Whalen announced this afternoon that he is resigning his position at Williams at the end of the month to become the head coach of football and assistant athletic director at his alma mater Wesleyan University.

In his six years as head coach of the Ephs Whalen compiled a record of 38-10 (.792) and won the 2006 NESCAC title and four Little Three titles (2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008). All six years Whalen led the Ephs to wins over Wesleyan.

Whalen’s 2006 Ephs posted an 8-0-0 record, only the sixth perfect season at Williams in 123 years of football. In his each of his other five seasons as the Williams head coach Whalen posted a 6-2 record.

Whalen succeeded College Football Hall of Famer Dick Farley as the Ephs head coach in 2004 after serving as the Ephs offensive line coach for five years and three years as the line coach and offensive coordinator under Farley.

While serving as an assistant football coach for the Ephs Whalen also was the head coach of the Eph wrestling team for eight years.

A 1983 graduate of Wesleyan University, Whalen captained both the football and wrestling teams while earning All-New England and All-American honors three times. In wrestling he was the first New England wrestler to win four consecutive New England Championships.

“On behalf of my wife Karen and my sons Jake and Luke, I want to thank the entire Williams College community for a fantastic fourteen years in Williamstown,” said Whalen. “I also want to thank Bob Peck who was the Director of Athletics when I was hired and current AD Harry Sheehy for giving me the opportunity to take over the program when Dick Farley retired. Most of all I want to thank coach Farley who has been a tremendous mentor and close friend throughout my tenure at Williams. I also want to thank my assistant coaches for all of their hard work and dedication. I learned a long time ago that you are only as good as the people whom you surround yourself with. Williams College is very fortunate to have such an outstanding group of football coaches.”

“This was an extremely difficult decision for me and my family and that only reinforces what a special place Williams College is,” commented Whalen.

“To all of the players I have had the good fortune to work with during my time at Williams, I hope that your experience was as positive as mine,” Whalen continued. “Both Karen and I look forward to staying in touch with all of those who have been a part of our lives for the past 14 years. When coach Farley passed the torch to me, I inherited an outstanding football program. And now six years later I am leaving a program that has tremendous leadership and will contend for a NESCAC Championship next season.”

“This opportunity at Wesleyan will provide me with valuable experience in areas outside of football, which will hopefully benefit my career down the road,” stated Whalen. “Although coaching remains a tremendous passion for me, I felt it was time to enhance my career in other areas as well. My position of head football coach and assistant athletic director at Wesleyan will afford me those opportunities. I am excited for the challenges that lie ahead and ready to head down to Middletown to begin a new chapter in my coaching career.”

Whalen will begin his duties at Wesleyan on April 1st.

Whip yourself into shape with a rope workout

Wednesday, March 3, 2010



Everyone remembers the rope climb from gym class, but probably not too fondly. So you might not like what I'm about to tell you: It's time to grab a rope again.
Instead of dangling from the ceiling, however, this one's anchored to the ground, and your job is to grasp the other end and heave it up and down. It doesn't sound too challenging, but try telling that to your heart and lungs — not to mention your arms, shoulders, back, abs and legs — after a few seconds. They'd argue if they weren't so tired. Get ready for rope burn, because this combination of strength training and low-impact cardio is probably headed to a gym near you, if it's not there already.
If you want someone to blame, look to John Brookfield, a North Carolina-based strongman who's known for dragging trucks, ripping up decks of cards and bending nails. About five years ago, he was searching for a new feat and came up with the idea of creating continuous waves with ropes, which turned out to be a challenge even for him. "If you lift a weight, as it comes down, you can use momentum," he says. "With ropes, it's all pure output. There's no lull in the action."
There's no rest for a single muscle, either, as the whipping motion requires you to fight against your own power. Not only do you need to generate the energy to create ripples, you also need to stabilize your body or you'll topple over.
Brookfield found he could make the motion even more exhausting by using two ropes and dueling a fit friend who held on to the opposite ends. In this sport version, both players furiously lift and lower the ropes until one person releases enough power to snap the ropes out of the other's hands.
Quickly, Brookfield noticed his rope experiments were boosting his performance in exercises from running to push-ups. So he gave his invention the name Battling Ropes, started presenting the product and soon got it into the hands of National Football League teams, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters and Olympic athletes. And then folks like you and me.
Although the wave motion can challenge a fit athlete, anyone, including children, seniors and people in wheelchairs, can do it, as long as it's modified with smaller ropes, less intense waves or a slower pace. That's what drew Adam Wharton, a fitness director for Bally Total Fitness, to Brookfield's program a little more than two years ago. "It can't be more intense than you can make it," says Wharton, who set about training his staff on the exercise.
At about the same time Brookfield was messing around with ropes in his back yard, Anthony DiLuglio, founder of the Punch Gym chain based in Rhode Island, had a chat with a friend about anxiety. The pal, a former Israeli Special Forces officer, recommended "undulating" objects, like they used to do with towels in the desert. DiLuglio gave it a try with hoses, chains and then the climbing ropes he had in the gym.
With that, he stumbled across the same benefits Brookfield had discovered and launched his own program, Ropes Gone Wild. "If people see you doing it, they can't wait to try it. They're looking at something that doesn't look hard. It looks fun," he says. So he's made Ropes Gone Wild the cornerstone of his Stop the Obesity program for schools while promoting it for adults in classes he's rolling out to gyms nationally.
Marvin Aronson, a trainer with Sport & Health, a Washington-area chain, also came up with a rope-whipping regimen a few years back. When he worked at a farm, he would regularly lug ropes to pitch tents. He used that as inspiration to tone up personal training clients and soon added the moves to a circuit training class he developed called the Spartan Workout. Other stops include slamming sledgehammers into tires and dragging weighted bags across a basketball court. But Aronson says those ropes are special: "Even at 30 seconds, you get a great cardio effect."
When Lisa Wheeler developed Whipped!, a class incorporating ropes for the high-end national gym chain Equinox, she knew she'd have to limit students to short intervals. Still, "they see results," she says. "That's the best thing. They feel their heart rates going up."
So where will this rope climb lead? Wharton said he expects every gym will eventually have a few on hand, as they become staples like stability balls. And more people will be faster and stronger because of it.
Everyone remembers the rope climb from gym class, but probably not too fondly. So you might not like what I'm about to tell you: It's time to grab a rope again.

Instead of dangling from the ceiling, however, this one's anchored to the ground, and your job is to grasp the other end and heave it up and down. It doesn't sound too challenging, but try telling that to your heart and lungs — not to mention your arms, shoulders, back, abs and legs — after a few seconds. They'd argue if they weren't so tired. Get ready for rope burn, because this combination of strength training and low-impact cardio is probably headed to a gym near you, if it's not there already.

If you want someone to blame, look to John Brookfield, a North Carolina-based strongman who's known for dragging trucks, ripping up decks of cards and bending nails. About five years ago, he was searching for a new feat and came up with the idea of creating continuous waves with ropes, which turned out to be a challenge even for him. "If you lift a weight, as it comes down, you can use momentum," he says. "With ropes, it's all pure output. There's no lull in the action."

There's no rest for a single muscle, either, as the whipping motion requires you to fight against your own power. Not only do you need to generate the energy to create ripples, you also need to stabilize your body or you'll topple over.

Brookfield found he could make the motion even more exhausting by using two ropes and dueling a fit friend who held on to the opposite ends. In this sport version, both players furiously lift and lower the ropes until one person releases enough power to snap the ropes out of the other's hands.

Quickly, Brookfield noticed his rope experiments were boosting his performance in exercises from running to push-ups. So he gave his invention the name Battling Ropes, started presenting the product and soon got it into the hands of National Football League teams, Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters and Olympic athletes. And then folks like you and me.

Although the wave motion can challenge a fit athlete, anyone, including children, seniors and people in wheelchairs, can do it, as long as it's modified with smaller ropes, less intense waves or a slower pace. That's what drew Adam Wharton, a fitness director for Bally Total Fitness, to Brookfield's program a little more than two years ago. "It can't be more intense than you can make it," says Wharton, who set about training his staff on the exercise.

At about the same time Brookfield was messing around with ropes in his back yard, Anthony DiLuglio, founder of the Punch Gym chain based in Rhode Island, had a chat with a friend about anxiety. The pal, a former Israeli Special Forces officer, recommended "undulating" objects, like they used to do with towels in the desert. DiLuglio gave it a try with hoses, chains and then the climbing ropes he had in the gym.

With that, he stumbled across the same benefits Brookfield had discovered and launched his own program, Ropes Gone Wild. "If people see you doing it, they can't wait to try it. They're looking at something that doesn't look hard. It looks fun," he says. So he's made Ropes Gone Wild the cornerstone of his Stop the Obesity program for schools while promoting it for adults in classes he's rolling out to gyms nationally.

Marvin Aronson, a trainer with Sport & Health, a Washington-area chain, also came up with a rope-whipping regimen a few years back. When he worked at a farm, he would regularly lug ropes to pitch tents. He used that as inspiration to tone up personal training clients and soon added the moves to a circuit training class he developed called the Spartan Workout. Other stops include slamming sledgehammers into tires and dragging weighted bags across a basketball court. But Aronson says those ropes are special: "Even at 30 seconds, you get a great cardio effect."

When Lisa Wheeler developed Whipped!, a class incorporating ropes for the high-end national gym chain Equinox, she knew she'd have to limit students to short intervals. Still, "they see results," she says. "That's the best thing. They feel their heart rates going up."

So where will this rope climb lead? Wharton said he expects every gym will eventually have a few on hand, as they become staples like stability balls. And more people will be faster and stronger because of it.

GE Meets Strength & Conditioning Guru - John McKenna

February 9, 2010


After speaking with several Division 1-A Strength Coaches about their implementation of Kettlebells in their Strength Program - GE was led to an "in state" guru - John McKenna.

Notre Dame High School's Performance Coach for the past 11 years was waiting for our visit with Landry - a former collegiate basketball player who demonstrated many of Coach's Kettlebell Movements and Exercises his Athlete's perform "in the back" - or on the Turf Track/field where "anything goes." Landry still utilizes the Strength & Conditioning "haven" under the high school and we are thankful for his HARD WORK in showing to us first hand how Coach McKenna's program works.

The Strength & Conditioning Center is literally the bottom level of the school & just about every hallway above is covering some useful space of turf, weight room, cardio or wrestling mat area.

Coach McKenna has an impressive facility at Notre Dame that is only matched by its unique pieces of equipment, spotless weight room, pending patents on bars/equipment and Coach McKenna's ideaology and system.

Pete Ohnegian travelled down to Lawrenceville, NJ to learn the nuances of Kettlebells from a Master teacher. However, he left Notre Dame High School with a greater appreciation of a Master Teacher who's system is a superior model for other high schools and colleges.

Coach McKenna has a range of clientele from middle school beginners to to veteran NFL Players that have reached the highest level thanks in part to their roots in Coach McKenna's "Den" under the hallways in Notre Dame H.S.

GE is not only grateful for Coach spending two hours with us, but demonstrating why he has been so successful in the industry for the past 28 years.

It is no surprise that he was Voted by his peers and student-athlete's "Teacher of the Year" for his work in "his classroom." He is a teacher and coach that not only demands 100% effort but technique sound exercises and makes his athlete's understand why they are performing each exercise and how it will make them successful in their sport.

The Program is built on technique, safety and making Athlete's stronger for their sport. Coach alluded to his entire program as "Prehab" because his Athlete's rarely suffer major injuries because of ALL his bandwork, stretching and movement expertise that is the backbone of his program.

It was an amazing day at Notre Dame and we look forward to sharing the GE Philosophy with Coach McKenna at our Shop in the weeks to come.


Taylor Barrise scored a career-high 23 points in narrow loss at Bowdoin

January 29, 2010


Amherst Falls to Bowdoin on Last-Second Bucket, 69-68

BRUNSWICK, ME – The 18th-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team was unable to stop Bowdoin's Mark Phillips from putting home a rebound with two seconds remaining to give the Polar Bears a dramatic 69-68 win on Friday evening. The Polar Bears improve to 10-7 (2-2 NESCAC) with the win, while the Jeffs fall to 13-4 (3-1) with the defeat.

Amherst came out firing, opening up a 15-5 lead after a Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) three-pointer six minutes into the contest. Bowdoin bounced back with a 20-8 run over the next eight minutes, taking the lead for the first time on a beautiful half-court alley-oop pass from Randy DeFeo to Will Hanley, who laid it in for a 30-28 Polar Bear lead. The teams traded buckets for the remainder of the half with the Jeffs grasping a 34-33 advantage at the break.

The teams swapped baskets for the early portion of the second period before Barrise scored five straight points to cap a 9-0 spurt that gave the Jeffs a 58-48 lead with seven minutes to play. Bowdoin cut the lead to five points with five minutes left after a Wyatt Littles free throw, but Barrise responded with a three-pointer from the wing that gave the visitors an eight-point lead, 63-55, with just four minutes on the clock.

Bowdoin used a 6-0 run to cut the lead to two points with 2:45 remaining and was able to trim the lead to a single point on three occasions down the stretch, the last of which came on a jumper from Paul Sellew with 12 ticks left. Bowdoin fouled Barrise, who missed his first of a 1-and-1 free throw attempt with the rebound bouncing out of play to give Bowdoin the ball, trailing 68-67.

Hanley drove the length of the court and lofted an off-balance shot off the glass and rim. Phillips, waiting on the back side of the boards, grabbed the carom and laid the into the cylinder for the go-ahead points with two seconds remaining. Amherst’s Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) threw up a desperation three-pointer from 35 feet, but it sailed wide and Bowdoin secured the victory.

Phillips finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Bowdoin. Sellew had 15 and 10 rebounds while Mike Hauser notched 11 points and 10 assists for the hosts. Hanley netted 14 for the Polar Bears, who held a 40-30 edge on the glass.

Barrise led all scorers with a career-high 23 points for Amherst. Meehan finished with 14, while Jeff Holmes (Saunderstown, RI) notched a dozen for the visitors. The Lord Jeffs will travel to face Colby College Saturday at 4 p.m.

VANDY SPORTS.COM - Signing Day 2010

January 31, 2010 - James Kittredge Feature on Site


National Signing Day is just days away and the Vanderbilt Commodores currently have 24 commitments for the 2010 recruiting class as well as a junior college signee. The current crop of commitments are considered to be among the best that Vanderbilt has ever recruited.

James Kittredge
James Kittredge is a 6-foot-4, 255-pound three-star rated prospect out of Ramsay (N.J.)'s Don Bosco Prep program. A two-way standout, Kittredge racked up 63 total tackles with eight tackles resulting in a loss and three sacks at defensive tackle in 2009. Kittredge also graded out at a high percentage while playing offensive tackle during the Ironmen's 12-0 state championship campaign. Don Bosco also finished the year as a consensus National Champion. Kittredge grabbed second team All-State honors and was selected to the Under Armour All-American game in January.

Kittredge may currently be underweight but he possesses a great frame for a defensive lineman, possessing solid distribution from shoulders to ankle. A very physical and aggressive prospect, Kittredge is quick off the ball and can go sideline-to-sideline, making him versatile enough to play any position along the line of scrimmage. He doesn't possess great speed off the edge however, so he'll likely play in the gap or 6-technique defensive end. Kittredge plays with sound pad level and improved as a tackler this season. He is also projectable on the offensive ball as a possible guard, making him a very valuable prospect.

Kittredge committed to Vanderbilt towards the end of the summer after a lengthy recruitment that also saw schools like South Carolina, Boston College, Virginia, Rutgers, Duke, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and several others. has rated him 13th among all prospects out of New Jersey. Notre Dame offered last week but Kittredge remains firm with Vanderbilt and will sign on Wednesday. He earned praise earlier this year in the Under Armour game, playing both defense, offense and special teams and holding his own against some of the top players around the country.

Kittredge is one of many defensive line prospects who could impact the roster in 2010, but could also redshirt and add a bit more size during his first year in Nashville. He has a lot of upside and could emerge as a multi-year starter during his Commodore career.

Comparable NFL Player: Jeremy Navarre- Jacksonville Jaguars

Bronco Football Hires a Pair of Former Hofstra Defensive Coaches

Release: 01/04/2010


Good Energy's owner Pete Ohnegian is glad that his former Lafayette Defensive Line coach - Dave Cohen - has landed safely at Western Michigan after Hofstra dropped its Football program.

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Western Michigan University announced the hiring of Dave Cohen, former Hofstra head coach, as the program’s new defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, and Rich Nagy, the Pride’s former defensive coordinator as the Broncos’ new safeties coach.

“Coach Cohen and Coach Nagy bring an abundance of success and experience to our program. I was impressed with Hofstra’s aggressive and hard-hitting style of defense during our game at Waldo Stadium. I and the coaching staff are very excited to get them on campus to begin working in preparation for the 2010 campaign,” commented head coach Bill Cubit.

Cohen spent the last four seasons at the helm of a Hofstra football program that ranked 26th in the NCAA Division I FCS in total defense in a conference (Colonial Athletic Association) that boasts some of the top teams in the country. His pass defense ranked fourth in the country in 2008. His 22-year coaching career has been highlighted by a national championship in 2003, a trip to the national semifinals in 1997 and a trio of trips to the national quarterfinals in 1995, 1996 and 2004. He was named the NCAA I-AA Defensive Coordinator of the Year by American Football Monthly, in 2004.

“I am excited to join the Western Michigan football family. I have always had great respect for head coach Bill Cubit as an offensive mind and as a head coach dating back to his days at Widener. After playing at Western Michigan this past fall I was most impressed with the facilities and great game day atmosphere. I can’t wait to coach in that environment as the home team,” commented Cohen.

Mahwah BEATS Ramsey in "meaningless" Game

November 27, 2009


On BLACK Friday, Mahwah beat their cross-town rival 35-7 in what the Ramsey coaches deemed was a "meaningless" game.

Pictured are neighbors and friends watching a flag football game this fall. They were at Finch Park to cheer on younger boys in their flag football game. Although 5 and 6 years old, the boys were playing hard and learning about how to compete.

I hope these boys and girls(from Ramsey) did not attend the game at Mahwah High School on Friday when "our" coaches convinced not only the Varsity players but Jim McConville and the Bergen Record reporters that the game against NBIL League opponent and rival - Mahwah, was meaningless.

Ramsey's J.V. team was granted the opportunity to take part in an "unimportant" varsity game to the tune of a 28-0 deficit in the first half before a classy Jeff Remo (Mahwah Head Coach) called off the dogs to maintain a respectable 35-7 outcome.

Credit to Coach Remo for not commenting on a most upsetting issue in which he accomodated his cross-town rival by moving the game one day earlier. Therefore, Ramsey would have an extra day of rest to prepare for their State Championship game on Thursday against River Dell at Giants Stadium.

Football is a game of "controlled violence" and injuries occur although we try to prevent them. There are no guarantees that student-athletes will not get hurt in gym class, practice or playing home run derby over the weekend.

Good Energy is upset that Ramsey conceded a loss and the coaches took a game away from boy's who only get the chance to play a certain amount of games before they NEVER play football again.

At GE - EVERY game is important and win, lose or tie - playing to COMPETE and TRYING TO WIN is ONE of the most important aspects of Sports. Sports are a physical outlet for people to compete, but also can teach participants valuable lessons about life.

What did the Ramsey Varsity football team learn on BLACK FRIDAY? Some things in life are meaningless?


Ramsey keeps checking off list

Sunday, November 15, 2009



RAMSEY — One by one, week by week, Ramsey seems to be satisfying its heart's desires on the football field.

First came the win over Old Tappan in the final game before the State playoff cutoff that gave the Rams one more game on their Depuyt Field. They made the most of that opportunity Saturday with an impressive 35-6 victory over Pascack Hills in a North 1, Group 2 quarterfinal.
"This was really important to us," senior defensive back John Capuano said. "This was probably going to be our last time on this field. We were saying all week that we were going to party on the [big midfield] 'R' one more time, and today we did."

Saturday's win means the third-seeded Rams (8-1) get something else they've been after. They'll face No. 2 West Essex, the team that ousted them from the playoffs in the semifinals last season.
"West Essex is a good team that's fast and runs great schemes," said Ramsey coach Vic Tribuzio, whose team has won seven straight since a one-point overtime loss to Pascack Valley. "We're going to have our work cut out for us."
The Rams put this one away in the second quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to take a 28-6 halftime lead. The big play was an 81-yard interception return for a touchdown by Capuano in the closing seconds of the half that changed the complexion of the game.

Capuano also had another interception in the second half, his fourth in the last two games.
"Our defense played great," said senior running back Zach Donnarumma. "[Pascack Hills] made mistakes, but we forced those mistakes. We just kept digging deep, working hard to put the ball in the end zone."

The Rams haven't allowed more than three touchdowns in a game this season, and they put the brakes on a Pascack Hills' offense that had averaged 35 points while winning the previous four games. The Rams did a particularly good job of keeping Pascack Hills' star players from dominating.

"Our kids play hard," Tribuzio said. "They always play hard. They wanted this opportunity to play one more game on their home field real bad, and they answered that call on their home field."

Donnarumma ran for 53 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 12 rushing touchdowns for the season. Junior running back Zack Klein ran for 57 yards and a touchdown, and senior quarterback Kevin Kuruc threw for 124 yards and a touchdown.
"We have a lot of athletic kids on this team," Donnarumma said. "We play great defense, but we also have a very balanced offensive attack. We're tough because we have so many weapons."
West Essex has won eight straight after an 0-2 start, and is 5-1 at home this season. But in a season where the Rams seem to be making the most of every opportunity, that's a challenge they'll gladly take.

"To be honest, that's the one game we wanted," Capuano said. "It's a chance for payback, to make sure that this year is different."

Trattou toughs it out - 11/11/09

not a GE Client - but a GE Story & a NJ GUY!


Justin Trattou’s injury sounds horrific, excruciating, debilitating. But then he judges the severity of injuries a little differently than most.

“Any injury you can play through isn’t too bad,” said the Florida defensive end.

Trattou is enduring some pain and playing through this injury. But, boy, does it ever sound bad.

In the Arkansas game a few weeks ago, Trattou landed hard on his shoulder and felt a pop. He kept playing and got hit on the shoulder again later in the game. Pop.

What happened was one of the two tendons that connect his left biceps muscle to his shoulder tore and then became detached.

“It popped off and it just like rolled down my arm,” said Trattou, a junior from Ramsey, N.J. “You can kind of see it. You can see it kind of hanging there (on top of his biceps).

“It won’t ever grow back. It will just scar over and I’ll deal with it. It’s not too bad. I think it’s kind of cool, actually. It makes me look more jacked than I am.”

When the doctors first told Trattou what his injury was, he was concerned it might end his season. Then the doctors delivered the good news.

“Once I learned that it didn’t need surgery and it was a matter of if I could tolerate the pain or not, I knew I would be able to play soon,” he said. “Once they told me I didn’t need surgery, I was excited.”

Pain? No problem.

“He’s one of the toughest guys I’ve ever been around,” UF coach Urban Meyer said.

The original diagnosis was Trattou would be sidelined four to six weeks. But only a few days later, Trattou returned to practice and nearly played in the Mississippi State game.

“I was going to try, but I really wasn’t strong enough,” he said. “I would have hurt the team, so I gave it an extra week. Now, I’m feeling pretty good.”

Two weeks after sustaining the injury, Trattou saw playing time against Georgia.

This past Saturday, he played most of the game against Vanderbilt, recording three tackles and playing at his usual high-energy pace.

Trattou was asked if he considered himself a tough guy.

“I’m just a normal guy from New Jersey,” he said.

Trattou said he’s had worse injuries than this one.

“Every football player has to play through injuries,” he said. “I haven’t had too many serious ones. You have to push through week to week.

“Sprained ankles are worse. You can’t run. As long as I can run, I’m OK. You have to expect when you play hard that things are going to happen. The second you don’t play hard because you’re scared to get hurt, then you shouldn’t be playing football.”

Trattou said the pain is bearable, a little nagging during the week. He said it’s no factor once he gets into the game.

“It hurts more during the week than during the game because during the game you have all the adrenaline going,” he said. “During the week, it’s kind of nagging pain, but it’s worth it come Saturday.

“It’s a trade-off. You only have a certain amount of time here, so you have to enjoy it.”

Trattou said the only thing he’s taking for the pain is Advil. He said the strength is quickly returning to his bicep and the only limitation is a slight change in his range of motion.

“Statistics say you get 95 percent of your strength back without surgery, so there’s really no need,” he said.

Trattou said he’s already doing sets of curls with his left arm with 35 pounds. When one media member said even he could do that much, Trattou said, “Tear your bicep and then do 35 pounds.”

It’s not easy, and it comes with some pain. But Trattou has shown he can handle it.

“He’s tough, man,” Meyer said. “Not many guys would do what he’s doing.”

Email from an All-American College Football Player

November 11, 2009


Subject: Fw: from coach pyne

This is what it is all about! Next year we head to high school , but the smiles say it all.

...we went 3 and 6 this year but we WE WORKED HARD, the kids got TOUGH, and it was a LOT OF FUN!

That's GE! So many Dads could learn from Dave Pyne - a former great football player whose Grandfather, Father & Brother PLAYED in the NFL.

Having what it takes to play in the NFL is a special gift...but TEACHING young boys what football is ALL about is also a special gift.

Thanks for sharing Dave - GO GOOD ENERGY in Massachusetts!

Cheers to Todd Smith - MKA Athletic Director

MKA will have pink Homecoming for Breast Cancer Awareness


October 23, 2009
Montclair Kimberley Academy’s Homecoming on Saturday won’t just be about reuniting and celebration this year. All athletic teams will wear pink as part of their uniforms to honor national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The field hockey team will be the first to switch colors (from blue/green/white) as it dons pink jerseys for its 4 p.m. Friday game against Columbia, moved up one day due to threat of rain Saturday.

On Saturday, the boys and girls soccer teams and girls volleyball teams also will wear pink jerseys while the football squad sports pink wristbands/sweatbands for its 1 p.m. game against Marist.

``Breast cancer is a disease that has affected many members of the MKA community, and we will continue to do our part to raise awareness through fundraising efforts, education and statements of our community’s commitment to help find a cure,’’ athletic director Todd Smith wrote as part of his Homecoming welcome. ``We always wear the MKA athletic uniforms with pride and today we do so with an additional sense of purpose.’’

MKA Athleteic Director, Todd Smith is a Good Energy friend and Lafayette College Alum - Class of 1994.

Is your Program set-up to Win?



Three years ago the GE STAFF trained several teams in the Summer of 2007 including the Northern Highlands Football Team under "new" head coach Chris Locurto.

Our program was set-up to work the players hard but with a unique style to shy away from conventional football training and to have some fun while they work together as a team.

We enjoyed our time in the Sun with the Highlanders and our Program was highlighted with a Superstars Competition and the unveiling of the Ice Cream Man following a tough workout.

Three years later, the same Athlete's are now in their senior season. Four weeks into the season, their quarterback has a broken collarbone and more than a handful of starting players are not playing due to shoulder injuries.

Football programs can no longer be just about x's and o's. In 2009 a football program must have "the student-athlete" in mind. A full day of class and studying at night as well as proper diet, rest and strength will make a team prepared and in better condition - not to mention "in season" strength training.

Apparently something is missing at Northern Highlands. You could attribute it to the 1/2 dozen or so Don Bosco Ironmen who could have played for their hometown public school, or that it is a down year. However, these boys were one play away from winning the Championship as 8th graders and that does not include the Hohokus and Saddle River players.

A strength training program which is based on preventing injuries and maintaining strength throughout the season could be just the solution. A total body workout performed on Monday following films for Varsity and Tues or Wed for the J.V. so they maintain their strength and minimize injuries. Long practices performing the same drills and plays makes football players over-programmed and forces your athletes' to absorb continuous contact - the same way - over and over again.

How about implementing a "feel good" workout after a LIGHT practice on Thursday? Create a "Team Bonding Lift" to augment an otherwise monotonous routine. Imagine your players thinking that this 2nd lift day is a "FUN" activity in which they don't have to perform Olympic lifts, but rather Biceps/Triceps and extra core/abs and stretching. Improve the teenager's spirit and create a different environment.

Coaches - Set your Program up to Win games without the x's and o's....and then when you get Emotional and ask the student-athlete to give you more...he not only wants to for himself, the TEAM....but you too.

Is anyone listening? Coaches? "Hello??"

GE Athlete's Play...

written October 2009


It's getting difficult to scan the web and find all our athlete's at their respective colleges and look up their participation in the Box Scores and in their local media.

This is what sets GE apart from other Training Facilities. Athlete's that TRAIN AT GOOD ENERGY are part of our TEAM! The GE Staff genuinely cares about the well-being of our Athlete's and we show that by displaying their success at our gym or on the site. We feel that we provide a certain "Performance Culture" that provides our Athlete's with the tools and preparation to excel in their Sport.

There are other establishments that pride their gym on a Max Lift of 1 Repetition, but often times the guy who made the big lift in the gym over the summer, is not playing in the fall, literally is not listed as a Participant in the Box Score.

We don't have any Olympic Lifters or PowerLifters at our gym. That is a sport in its own right and the goal in that sport is to lift, push or drag the most weight possible.

We do utilize Olympic & Power lifts as exercises in our program, but we perform these exercises to get stronger and more powerful for the field of play.

Ultimately, GOOD ENERGY provides an athlete with the means of getting athlete's stronger, faster and more agile. By training properly with good mechanics and techniques, our athlete's have the ability to play better. never gets old looking for GE STATS on the web, because after all, we pride our training on the GE TEAM playing better, not on one lift they performed well this SUMMER!

KEEP ROLLIN' GE!......Thanks for believing!

Good Energy - Plays a Major Role in Injury Prevention

September 21, 2009


Fall 2009 officially starts tomorrow on the calendar but Fall Sports are in Full Swing.

Prior to this Fall, the Bergen Record had several articles about injuries in high school sport's and horrific fatalities that have occured during competition in the past few years.


Experienced, knowledgeable, professional and certified personal trainers can help prevent many injuries your son or daughter could suffer playing sports through a specific-result's based training program.

Injuries do occur in sports and unforeseen fatalities are an enormous tragedy. However, many serious injuries suffered by today's athletes can be prevented by developing a conditioned and strong body enabling your child to play better with less risk for injury.

Unfortunately, most high schools do NOT have someone educated or a coach who makes time to train their athlete's with his/her specific needs in mind. Not only that, but teenage athlete's risk injury when their parent's allow them to workout on their own in the high school gym or doing his/her own program at a local health club with no supervision.

This is why Good Energy Performance has excelled the past 6 years.

Personal - Professional Performance Training.

Hundreds of Athletes who have passed through our doors believe that our program helps them prevent injury, gets them stronger and more conditioned for competition, and they play their sport better with the confidence we instill in them.

Pictured is Kyle Nelson, junior basketball and baseball player at Ramsey H.S. Kyle is on a National Travel Team for baseball this Fall along with Ramsey's Club Basketball Team. He and his parents have put faith in the Good Energy Program 3x per week this Fall to help maximize his performance.

We look forward to introducing Kyle to our Strength & Conditioning Program, taking his abilities to the next level and providing him with the Good Energy WINNING Edge!

So what does "Performance Center" actually mean?

comment on the beach - Jersey Shore - August 2009


It means that Good Energy is not just an open gym. Where you pay and train when you please...exercise at your tempo and just enough so you can glisten but not sweat.

It is a philosophy. We want people to train here who WANT TO WORKOUT. Get fit, become a better athlete and get more out of life because they challenge themselves mentally and physically when they enter our facility.

Your performance could be literally to get more energy or it could be to increase your fastball by 3 MPH for the Spring.

It has nothing to do with your age or even if you are or were an athlete. But you must bring an open mindset that you believe in our staff and the people who referred you to our facility and we will design a program that will INCREASE YOUR HUMAN PERFORMANCE!


GO GOOD ENERGY! Thanks to ALL the believer's who have trained with us the last 6+ Years and have received Positive Results!!

"I don't know why I keep bonking around the 10 mile mark..."

Useless Rhetoric at a Public Gym down the Jersey Shore


So GE headed to the beach this August and continued to train hard and keep the GE Flowing while on the road...

...while trying to bang out a Power Hour at the Beach...I came across three men who felt the need to banter for most of the hour I was at the facility...

It was not an issue the first day I paid the $12./Day Rate because I used their socializing as motivation to get more fit.

However, the next day I came across them prior to 7am on a VACATION DAY...& turning the music up at the front desk did not I gave them a dose of GE!

"Just workout....stop talking about yourself, how great you are in your Corporate Job and how your life is more important than everyone else's and this is your time to relax...& WORKOUT!"

....they all got my point and disbursed. However, I did manage to add to Mr. Marathon Mental-Man...that if he trained more intensely like he apparently approached his job, then he might not have focus issues while training for the marathon.

Do not let others alter your focus.

Set your Fitness Goals...even if they are simply to have an uniterrupted Power Hour on vacation ...and get it done.

NO EXCUSES!! Don't be the Mindless Marathon Man!!


D'Alessandro earns scholarship to Duke

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


The Record

Anthony D’Alessandro doesn’t just want to make a Division I baseball team, the Mahwah center fielder wants to play an important part on one.

D’Alessandro thinks he’ll get that opportunity at Duke University. Last week he verbally committed to an athletic scholarship to the Durham, N.C., school.

"They want me to make an immediate impact [at Duke], which is the biggest thing in my mind," he said. "I don’t want to go and sit for a couple years, which is what a lot of kids end up doing."

D’Alessandro will stay in center field at Duke. He was being recruited by Wake Forest, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rutgers, Seton Hall and a host of other schools. But when weighing all his options, it ended up being an easy choice to select the Blue Devils.

"There were a lot of things that I liked about a lot of the other schools," he said. "But I found something wrong with all of them, like a down-point. With Duke, there was nothing bad."

A rising senior at Mahwah, D’Alessandro batted .543 with 25 RBI, 25 stolen bases and 40 runs scored as a junior.

"He’s a leader," Mahwah coach Jeff Remo said. "And he leads by example. … He’ll stay [at practice] until 7:30 or 8 p.m. just hitting and hitting and hitting. And the other players pick up on that."

When D’Alessandro begins classes next year he plans on studying business or going pre-med. And he’s already looking forward to one big benefit of being a student-athlete at Duke — they always can get in to the ridiculously popular men’s basketball games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"It will be pretty cool," he said. "I’ll get to go see games and I won’t have to camp out."

Personal Training is Alive...and well in Allendale

Good Energy enjoys its 6th Year of Personal Performance


We are in a recession.

If you read the newspaper or watch television you see Bootcamp advertisements, DVD's...and group exercise on the rise.

Whatever it takes. Different strokes for different folks....but how many times will your friend remind you of class...or will you be motivated to follow that tape one more time?

Good Energy has stayed the course. We continue to train our clientele 1on1 and 2on1. We did initiate a Strength & Power Program this Summer which is up to 12+ clients, but the hour continues to remain one or two clients with one trainer.

It works...and quite frankly it is what our client's are used to. The GE TEAM - client's and staff are self-motivated and focused to become more fit or better in their sport. Our client's compete against themselves on a daily basis to improve and therefore don't need a group atmosphere to push, because the Staff @ GE requires that effort each workout.

The workouts at Good Energy have evolved over the past six years and require a certain intensity to complete them. Each workout challenges our clients physically and mentally whether it is a cardio routine, upper/lower/total or GE Bootcamp....

Our workouts are pre-scripted for our client's and the weights are written to challenge each client based on their fitness goals.

Good Energy Personal Training and Performance Training is rolling and we will continue to uphold our original principles and philosophy despite our increased growth over the years.


Browns claim LB Costanzo



The Cleveland Browns have been awarded linebacker Blake Costanzo off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

Costanzo entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets in 2006.He was waived prior to the 2006 regular season before going to camp with the team again the following year. He spent a portion of 2007 on Buffalo's practice squad before being promoted to the Bills' 53-man roster for the final three games, during which time he tallied seven special teams tackles. He played in all 16 games as a reserve with Buffalo last year and the led the club with 26 special teams tackles, in addition to recording a pair of forced fumbles.

Costanzo was a three-year starter at Lafayette College where he finished his career with 307 tackles, 18 sacks, three interceptions, 12 passes defensed, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Born on April 14, 1984, Costanzo attended Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

The Browns waived undrafted rookie DB Bryan Williams on Monday.

Rehab home of the home team

Friday, June 5, 2009


WALDWICK — The 6,000-square-foot room furnished with treatment tables, exercise bikes, elliptical machines and a treadmill has the jerseys of Patrick Ewing, Jason Kidd, Martin Brodeur and Gary Sheffield hanging on the walls.

These major sports stars have come through the doors needing help, and returned to their respective teams ready to resume their careers.

On this afternoon, mostly average Joes and Janes occupy the treatment tables at Excel Orthopedic Rehabilitation, which is the norm. The biggest name belongs to Brooke Ammerman, a River Vale native and Pascack Valley graduate who will try out for the 2010 U.S. Olympic women's hockey team in August.

Ammerman has a nagging hip flexor injury. She's come in for a massage, some stretching and other exercises to relieve some of the muscles that are in spasm.

Excel helped Ammerman after she underwent wrist surgery last year. As a freshman, she helped lead the University of Wisconsin to the women's national championship. Now she calls Excel whenever something hurts.

"Going to the best, it's kind of hard to trust anybody else," Ammerman said. "So if I have any questions I usually e-mail them, call them, text them just to find out what their opinion is before I decide to do anything pretty drastic.''

Physical therapists Matt Gibble of Ridgewood and Gary Flink, a Hillsdale native and Franklin Lakes resident, are the co-owners and directors of Excel, and building trust is paramount.

Excel is the team provider for Fairleigh Dickinson University, and works extensively with the Nets. Ex-Nets guard Kenny Anderson was Excel's first pro patient in 1995. They have since helped former Nets Stephon Marbury, Dikembe Mutombo, Richard Jefferson and Nenad Krstic return after surgeries.

Professional teams outsource their physical therapy needs because travel makes it difficult for their training staff to work daily on players who will be sidelined a long time.

Gibble and Flink, both Ironman triathletes, opened the practice in Fort Lee in 1990, and have added locations in Oakland, Hackensack and Waldwick. The Waldwick facility is inside the Superdome Sports Complex and has privileges to use it for patients to exercise in later rehab.

A doctor usually calls Excel after someone has major surgery to repair a torn shoulder, ACL, MCL or wrist, and asks to help the person return to a normal life, whether it's an athlete, plumber, welder, soccer mom or weekend golfer. It's how Ewing, Kidd and Brodeur found Excel.

"Every person who comes in is in a sling or a cast or immobilized," Gibble said. "We work on restoring the range of motion first, and then we gradually introduce exercises to restore and regain their strength."

Dr. Charles Melone, who performed Ewing's wrist surgery in 1997, and assisted in repairing Brodeur's torn left biceps tendon in the 2008-09 season, recommended Excel.

Dr. David Altchek performed Kidd's microfracture knee surgery in 2004, and sent the former Nets point guard to Excel. Kidd worked with Gibble, sometimes twice a day, and was the first NBA player to successfully return from microfracture surgery.

"Matt and his team were a big part of my comeback," Kidd said.

Excel's main competitors are Kessler, SportsCare Institute and some privately owned physical therapy offices. The company says a big part of its success comes from the attention the 15 physical therapists give their patients.

They don't want to let down the patient, doctor or team.

"We built our practice and our name in the community with the physicians and patients and their families by providing a very personalized level of care," Flink said.

Brodeur needed eight wins to break Patrick Roy's NHL record of 551. He worked exclusively with Flink, two hours a day up to five days a week.

He returned to the ice in February and set the mark after nine starts. Flink and Gibble were at the Prudential Center to celebrate the record with him.

"The beauty of this is how they know their stuff," Brodeur said. "You go to rehab and they would say, 'All right Marty, this is what's going to happen,' and it would happen."

Current and ex-Devils Bobby Holik, Sergei Brylin and Jay Pandolfo, ex-Red Bulls Mike McGee and Pete Canero and San Diego Chargers lineman and Garfield native Luis Castillo also have been patients. Nets backup guard Keyon Dooling is rehabbing from hip surgery with Excel now.

"They do a great job," Nets trainer Tim Walsh said. "They take care of the majority of any extended rehab, especially in-season. There's no way I would be able to get through without them."

Their patients say the same thing.

Male Athlete of the Week: Anthony D'Allesandro of Mahwah

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Baseball is more than just a game for Anthony D'Alessandro. It's been an ongoing adventure.

Baseball has given the Mahwah junior, one of the premier hitters in North Jersey, an opportunity for some serious travel.

Florida. Georgia. The Carolinas.

In fact, summers with his traveling team have been almost like a preview of college life.

"It really is as if I'm in college," said D'Alessandro, who had 12 hits in 17 at-bats last week, including the 100th hit of his high school career, to earn The Record Male Athlete of the Week honor. "I get to live on my own, maybe with a player or two. I get to meet a lot of new kids, and that's been fun."

D'Alessandro will be away with his traveling team through July. While his classmates are working summer jobs or hanging out at the pool, he'll get a steady diet of the things he loves most — baseballs.

D'Alessandro said he hasn't looked at colleges yet, and part of his dream is to someday play professionally. D'Alessandro gave up basketball to run winter track to stay in shape for baseball, and did well enough to earn All-NBIL honors in the 55 meters.

When D'Alessandro isn't playing baseball, he enjoys studying history.

"It's nice to learn about the past," said D'Alessandro, who is studying the Cold War. "Even in baseball, I'm into old records and stats and things like that."

And that's only fitting because D'Alessandro has been busy rewriting the Mahwah record books. He set school single-season records in hits (60) and batting average (.540) as a sophomore, and he's not through yet.

"I love hitting," said D'Alessandro, who has been playing since he was 7 years old. "In any other aspect of the game, you know you're supposed to make a great pitch or make a great catch. In hitting, you never know what is going to happen next."

Athlete of the Week: Matt Braun of Ramsey

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Ramsey goaltender Matt Braun has made an art out of staying loose in critical situations.

He proved it Saturday at Prudential Center, earning The Record Male Athlete of the Week honor by helping the Rams become the first Bergen County public school to win a State hockey championship.

His secret? Knowing how to keep smiling.

Sport: Hockey
Class: Junior
Age: 16

Accomplishment: Matt Braun had a 40-save shutout to lead Ramsey to a 2-0 victory over Kinnelon in the State Public B title game. The Rams became the first Bergen County public school to win a State hockey title.
Braun was knocked over four times during the game — a rarity for a goaltender — and he even had his helmet ripped off a couple of times. But Braun stood up with a smile beaming through his mask as he playfully slapped the puck into his own net during a stoppage in play.

"I was just goofing around a little," Braun said. "That's how I stay calm. So I play around to stay calm and try not to really think about the game. When I don't think about it I play better."

Don't confuse Braun's playful demeanor with a lack of focus. When the puck is in play, Braun is hyperfocused, communicating with his defense and watching closely to figure out which angle the next shot might come from.

Nearly every time play is stopped, Braun skates to the corner of the ice, touches the boards and skates back to the net. Then he touches two corners of the net.

When the stakes are high, this is Braun's way of taking a mental vacation.

"I know that if it's a big game, I've usually got to try to take my mind off this as much as I can," Braun said. "So I try not to think about [the game]."

Braun's relaxed-but-focused attitude seems to have worn off on his teammates. His current favorite song, by the 1980's band Journey, turned into the theme song for Ramsey during its run to the State title.

He led the team in singing that song, "Don't Stop Believin'," after Saturday's historic win.

For the always-loose Braun, 40 saves and a State championship provided plenty to believe in.

Also nominated: Jeff Molner of Kinnelon for hockey.

FALLING OFF the fitness wagon......

Make a Fitness Journal to go with your Food Log!


Take a deep breath....

It is safe to say that MOST adults are stressed about the ecomonic woes we are presently living in.

It is easy to have a huge TO DO list that hardly gets started let alone ALL checked off.

Do YOURSELF a favor.

Put Fitness on the TOP of the List.

NOT only that, make a little journal, diary or pad for that matter, to log what fitness you do each week. It's probably unfair to say log fitness "each day", but if you can put something on paper that documents that you went for a walk, bike ride, run or performed an exercise video - it will go a LONG way in improving your mental health and thus your ability to accomplish MORE things on your TO DO list.

Don't worry about how long, how far, etc. You can log that you walked for almost two miles, or that you were on your bike ride for 21 minutes. However if you get caught up in distance and time, that will discourage you from performing a little fitness and therefore give you another excuse NOT to do it.

Make the Journal TODAY or find an old pad that you can designate for logging your Fitness and you are on the right track to more stress FREE days and more checks off the TO DO LIST.


P.S. The picture is for those folks who DON'T HAVE TIME.....wake up early,...and start the day with a GOOD FOR THE HEART activity! : )

Congratulations Katie Nestor

TCNJ wins nine events to claim NJAC title


New York, NY… The College of New Jersey won its 12th consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships at the New Balance 168th Street Armory, as the Lions with 240 points.

TCNJ has won every indoor championship for both the men and women since the conference began conducting the meet in 1998.

TCNJ’s 240 points gave the Lions a 110-point margin over second-place Ramapo (130). TCNJ won half of the events, claiming titles in the long jump, 55-meter hurdles, distance medley relay, mile run, 400-meter dash, 800-meter run, 3,000-meter run, 4x400, and 4x800-meter relays. Richard Stockton, which had winners in the weight throw, pole vault, high jump, and 5,000-meter run, was third with 95.50 points, followed by Rowan (77), New Jersey City (49), Montclair State (41), Kean (22.50), Rutgers-Camden (7) and Rutgers-Newark (6).

Senior Stephanie Herrick (Wayne, NJ/Wayne Valley) had a strong meet repeating as the NJAC Champion in the mile with a swift time of 5:06.32, while adding a second-place effort in the 800 meters. In the 800, she posted a time of 2:21.48 trailing only teammate Katie Nestor (Allendale, NJ/Northern Highlands), who won the race in 2:20.60.

FIND Cardio in Your Life!

2009 - Tip #3 From the GE Philosophy


Plain and simple!

How many times have you read the Fitness magazines by the cashier at the grocery store and the headline reads, "A MORE ACTIVE YOU"...or "10 Tips to a Healthier You", or in the local newspaper right around this time of year,..."Use the stairs not the elevator..."

"For a Healthier YOU in 2009"

Do you listen?

Last Wednesday it snowed. It was still in January...fresh off New Year's Resolutions...and I actually heard some adult's begging for a snow day!

Come on now,...putting your pajamas on backwards and inside out is cute,...but that's for kid's looking to sleep in.

I went the opposite route. After I trained my morning clients,...who wanted GE in their life, I headed home and attacked the Slurpee-Like slush on my driveway, side walk and front steps as my cardio for the day. 26 MINUTES!

Am I looking for a pat on the back because I shoveled? NO! I made shoveling my cardio for the day,...and I'll be honest, I was beat. (and probably a little dehydrated too)

So you don't HAVE TO join a gym,...or do weighted sprints in the dark with a harness around your shoulders - like this crazy man in the picture...

However, if you have to ask whether 30 minutes on the elliptical was enough,...then it wasn't. If you get off the treadmill after 40 minutes because you sprinted, jogged and walked on a steep incline the whole time, then you probably did enough.

FIND CARDIO in your life to be more energized!

Whether it is going out at night for an impromptu walk in the cold, brisk air...or re-arranging ALL the bins of baby clothes in your back room...BE INTENSE and work hard!

"How BAD do YOU Want IT?"

2009 - Tip #2 from the GE Philosophy


Ask yourself this question?

Whether it's to obtain a starting position, lose your last 5 pounds in your lower abs, .... or start your 2009 goals, diet or resolutions?


If you know why you want to do something... and it is THAT important to YOU... than you will sacrifice your time and effort to achieve your goals.


Surround yourself with positive people
Create a Mindset that allows YOU to be better in `09!

pictured is Blake Costanzo

BLAKE trains @ GE when he is not running down ball carriers in the NFL.

Blake could have given up his dream to play for money,...but he refused to get down. After all, Blake was cut three times by the NY Jets and the Buffalo Bills.

BLAKE Wanted to LIVE his Dream BAD enough that he did ALL in HIS Power to Play on Sundays.

He refused to listen to the doubters... and did NOT feel sorry for himself when the chips were down.

`09 is YOUR TIME to Shine!

"How BAD do YOU Want IT?"


2009 - Tip #1 From the GE Philosophy


The most basic but important training principle to get results...

Be Consistent!

You will NOT get results if you are not consistent, no matter how hard you train.

To get results, you must workout on a regular basis -usually 2-3 times a week- for an extended period of time.

If you workout only once a week, you won't make any gains but you will maintain your current fitness level.

For instance, our elite athletes train once or twice a week during their competitive season to make sure that they don't lose their current fitness level. Their "in-season" goal is not to make any gains but to prevent the loss of speed, power, strength, and endurance while remaining injury-free.

However, to get results, the most driven athletes or fitness enthusiasts should hit the gym and train three or four times per week to get maximum results during the pre-season or off-season.

This training thought process must be repeated for a minimum of 6-8 consecutive weeks to make significant gains and up to 12-16 consecutive weeks to really see major improvements.

Consistency is really the "secret" to getting great results.

For example, if you go to the gym 4 times this week, once the next week, 5 times the following week and not at all the 4th week, don't expect to get results. You would be better off to go only twice a week every week and you would get more results!

So, if you are serious about getting results when you undertake a training program, make sure you can commit to at least two to three training sessions a week consistently for an extended period of time.

Please email to give us feedback on this segment. We would like to continue this "motivational" aspect of our site, but only if YOU - the reader - is getting something out of it.

It's YOUR TIME to Shine in `09!

Wejnert Scores 28 as Colgate Defeats Norfolk State 78-54

BRONX, N.Y. (12/29/08)


Colgate’s Tayler Wejnert (Ramsey, N.J.) scored a career-high 28 points to lead the Raiders to a 78-54 win against the Norfolk State Spartans in the consolation round of the Fordham Holiday Classic at Rose Hill Gymnasium.

Colgate (3-9) had nine players score four or more points in the win, with Kendra Brim (Buffalo, N.Y.) adding 10 points. Three players led the Raiders in rebounding with Brim, Tricia Oakes (Evergreen, Colo.) and Georgia Gier (Mercer Island, Wash.) each posting eight boards.

The Raiders jumped out to an early lead in the first half, gaining a 17-6 advantage just over five minutes into the game. Colgate continued to knock down shots while the Raider defense kept Norfolk State (0-7) out of the paint, holding them to just one point during a six minute span.

With 9:33 remaining in the half, Wejnert scored her first point of the game on the fast break, and followed it up with two free throws to extend Colgate’s advantage to 22, 29-7, giving the Raiders their largest lead of the game. Wejnert scored all 18 of her first half points in the final ten minutes of play.

Philadelphia Marathon - Thomas Barrett, Jr.

November 23, 2008


Congratulations to Thomas Barrett, Jr. who completed his first marathon this morning in 3:44:30.

Thomas was dedicated to his training and even ran 20 miles during his training schedule, but the reality of 26.2 in the 34 degrees of windy Philadelphia was a different type of gut check.

Thomas felt great and was eyeing a 3:30 finish when his legs became dead around mile 20 and cramps set in his calves. He pushed through it all and finished in 3:44.

We are so proud of Thomas for not only finishing, but for his dedication to push through various training ailments along the way and self-troubleshooting his ailments to get to his goal of not just running a marathon but attacking it and competing!

Congratulations, Thomas - GE'S September Athlete of the Month.

The Smiles on their Face says it ALL.... was a Great Season!


I couldn't resist from sharing this email with everyone who reads the Good Energy site.

This email is written by a friend and college teammate whose Grandfather, Dad and brother ALL played in the National Football League.

Not only was the writer of this email a good football player, but he was tough, understood the game but also hated to lose....he writes: was my kid's first year of playing and he had fun. He had to play up with the 8th graders the first game and he had to play against a kid that was 340 from the city of Worcester, MA - my kid is 180 pounds. He survived. My only goal was for him to have fun and like football and he did. I coached but kind of left him alone and it worked out well. We only won a couple of games but the kids showed up every day - worked real hard, learned a lot and had fun. It was a great time. We had blue collar kids, so the parents were not an issue.

WOW! How refreshing is that email? Sports are supposed to be fun. Not only that but "they learned a lot" because it is supposed to be an extension of the classroom, just on a field.

I hope whomever reads this article understands what we are trying to convey. Not many people GET PAID to play sports. That is a job. Actually, most of the BEST Professional Athletes love to play and have fun doing it and make a lot of money.

Moms and Dads - let your kids have fun playing their sports and stop trying to make the next Derek Jeter or Tiger Woods. You take the fun out of the experience for everyone including your child whom this is ALL about.

Thanks, Dave.

Daly, Ridgewood look solid at Shore

Sunday, October 5, 2008


HOLMDEL – For Sarah Daly, it isn't about the individual, it all revolves around the team.

The senior led a balanced Ridgewood effort to help the Maroons earn a fifth-place finish in the girls B Division at the Shore Coaches Cross-Country Invitational Saturday at Holmdel Park.

"We just wanted to score as best as we could, especially with one of our runners battling an injury," said Daly, who was clocked in 20:26 to earn 17th place. "Everyone just gave it their best, this was a real good preparation-type event for the State meets coming down the road."

Senior Charlotte Margel took 20th place in 20:45. In all, the Maroons had six runners finish among the top 51 in the B Division with sophomore Grayson Llerandi turning in a personal-best 21:13 clocking, good for 31st place. Megan Granski (21:46), Brenna Fischer (21:47) and Emily Garber (21:53) also did solid work. Ridgewood may have been even more of a threat to first-place Ridge (81 points) from Somerset County, but junior Courtney Schofield's hip flexor flared up and did not permit her to complete the race.

"I think we all stuck pretty close together, that's the sign of a true team," Llerandi said. "No one really stood out, we all just contributed our share. It's a good feeling to compete at this level and be successful as a unit instead of as individuals."

Ice hockey always big with Braun

Friday, September 26, 2008


Bergen Record STAFF WRITER

For all the hockey fans out there, you know what time it is.

The first chills of fall are finally biting into the morning air. The Rangers and Devils are well into their preseason schedules and the first game of the NHL regular season will be here next week. For the first time since June it's OK to get excited. And in that respect, Ramsey junior goaltender Matt Braun is no different than you.

Braun, a Rangers fan, is already making plans to go to Madison Square Garden.

"I'm excited," Braun said. "I love the game, and it's going to be nice to watch some other people play, too."

And after a summer of hard work – it must have felt like there was no off-season for Braun – he hopes he'll get a trip to Prudential Center in March, too. Not for a Rangers-Devils game, but to play in the Public B State title game. In late June he played in the Garden State Games. In July he went to the Boston area for the Chowder Cup, where he represented two teams and faced older competition in one division.

"We played a team of all Canadians that were 20 years old," said Braun, who turned 16 in July. "The experience was really good."

In early August, Braun traveled to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Warren Strelow Goaltending Camp. The program, hosted by USA Hockey, is a select camp consisting of the top five goaltenders in each age group eligible for international play.

There he trained for four days under USA Hockey instruction and learned the finer points of the game.

"Some of the off-ice training was hand-eye coordination with tennis balls," Braun said, "like juggling. It helps you use your hands."

Goaltenders are frequently asked to stand on their heads. Apparently, knowing how to juggle doesn't hurt, either. And after his busy summer, Braun isn't about to take a break before the high school season starts in December. Right now, he's playing for the Junior B New Jersey Hitmen.

"Pretty much my whole summer has been hockey," Braun said. "And it's going to help a lot."

Hockey season is here, and Matt Braun is ready.
For all the hockey fans out there, you know what time it is.

"What the hell DID I do this Summer?"

September 2008 @ Good Energy!


This is a direct quote from a morning client in September. We don't think she was frequenting this Ice Cream Truck but she did...

..."take off" from Good Energy while she was playing with her four children this Summer. She promised us that she remained "highly active" though.

Spin Class at a Health Club
Power Bootcamp at a Health Club

...along with numerous distance runs and some core at home.

She IS so sore right now from her 1st workout back at Good Energy! And if you have read the rest of our site you know that we don't really do the "NO PAIN, NO GAIN" thing. We try to write appropriate workouts for our clients to achieve their fitness goals whether it is to perform better in a particular sport, or be more fit!

YEAH Good Energy! The bottom line is we do train with a certain intensity for our 1 hour workouts that can not be duplicated at another facility or on your own.

Although we were a little taken back that this particular client was "so sore" after a fairly basic "Total Body" workout, our staff is encouraged that our training is rather progressive and is not the "every day" bootcamp or class.

You HAVE to work your whole body to be fit!

Don't just work on one facet - your heart, your muscles and mind must ALL be in tip top shape!



Sunday, September 7, 2008


Top 25 Countdown: Northern Highlands

From the time she had her knee surgery, through all of the arduous rehabilitation sessions, Cathy Jacobs has been keeping an eye on the calendar.

The senior has been determined to make it back for Sept. 12, the date Northern Highlands opens its season. She knew her junior season was over before it started when she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during a preseason practice. She waited until November to have the surgery because doctors wanted her to do physical therapy so that the knee would be stronger after the procedure.

"I just look forward to playing. I haven't played with these girls or at this level for [more than] a year now. To be back out there is just great," said Jacobs, who was voted a captain by her teammates. "When I was a junior sitting out, it was definitely the worst thing. We're returning most of our starting lineup. This year could be the year that every senior dreams of."

Jacobs was trying to rush back from a torn quadriceps she suffered while training in the summer of 2007 for a tournament in Holland. Not long after she got back on the field, Jacobs suffered the injury to her knee while defending a free kick. She jumped in the air as the kick was struck and heard a pop in the knee. The pain was instantaneous.

"I'm probably being more cautious than she is," Northern Highlands coach Tara Madigan said. "Right now, at the point where we are, we don't need to push her 150 percent. She is much physically and mentally stronger now.

"She's a completely different player. Her level of play has gotten better. She has become more confident. Her physical conditioning for coming back from ACL surgery is incredible."

But Jacobs still doesn't feel that she's all the way back, even though she will be the starting sweeper for Northern Highlands, which is No. 4 in The Record preseason Top 25.

Her knee still gives her some trouble, with occasional pain or swelling causing her to go to the sideline for a bag of ice. The recovery time is supposed to be a year, but Jacobs knows she doesn't have quite that long. The one-year anniversary of her surgery comes on Nov. 8. By then, the Highlanders' season will be over or close to it, depending on how far the team progresses in the State tournament.

"I don't think about my knee until it starts hurting me," said Jacobs, who has elected not to wear a brace. "I'm not waiting for it to get better or waiting for a year to pass. I don't think about it unless it makes me think about it by hurting or swelling."

Bills bring back LB Costanzo

by Chris Brown, Lead Journalist Last Updated: 9/5/2008 10:13 AM ET


Buffalo acted quickly in addressing the shortage at the position signing Blake Costanzo Friday.

Costanzo had been with the club since being signed to the team’s practice squad last October. He was eventually promoted to the active roster on Dec. 14 of last year and played in the final three games of the season, mainly on special teams.

The second-year linebacker played on both the weak and strong side during the course of training camp this summer.

Costanzo was one of the team’s final cuts when the club reduced the roster to 53 on Aug. 31.

Templeton hearing from Ivy Programs

September 4, 2008


OL Jack Templeton of Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep is one of the top returning lineman in the Garden State. With a rigorous schedule about to begin for the Ironmen, spoke to Templeton about his preparation for the season and his recruitment.

Templeton and Bosco will take on DeLaSalle in their first game

Templeton, 6-foot-3 and 255-pounds, first spoke about the preparation for the upcoming season, which will see the Ironmen take on nationally ranked DeLaSalle (CA) and St. Xavier (OH).

"Well I've been making sure to know my assignment and the team has just been practicing hard, and trying to get better every day," said Templeton.

The senior lineman was asked to give his thoughts on the upcoming schedule for Bosco.

"I think that it is a great opportunity for our team to go out and play such prestigious programs," said Templeton. "We have a real shot to compete with them and beat them."

When it comes to his recruitment, Templeton is receiving interest from some of the top academic programs in the country.

"Recruiting has been alright," said Templeton. "I have been talking to mostly Ivy schools. Penn, Columbia, and Dartmouth are showing the most interest."

He also mentioned that he will likely wait till after his senior season to take any visits, and denies having any current favorites. So what is he looking for in a program?

"A good education and a solid program," said Templeton. will continue to stay in touch with Templeton in the coming months, and also keep a close eye on the Ironmen and their quest for another State Championship.

Maghenzani, Licata key for Northern Highlands

Sunday, August 24, 2008


STAFF WRITER - The Bergen Record

Nick Maghenzani and Alex Licata couldn't help but become friends. Their fathers were the two coaches of their first youth league team.

Eleven years later, the two seniors are still playing alongside each other in the Northern Highlands midfield and shouldering the burden of leading a Highlanders team with high expectations following a 15-4-1 season in 2007.

"I've known Nick forever," Licata said. "I think we complement each other. When we need that energy, he's the one who can provide it."

"Alex is more of the silent leader," Maghenzani said. "I like to get my teammates ready to play. I'll show them where they have to be. Alex leads by example."

However they do it, second-year coach Pat Naughter is looking for them to be coaches on the field as the Highlanders, ranked No. 18 in The Record preseason Top 25, look to integrate elements of the successful freshman and JV programs with seven returning starters.

"If you go by stats, they were among the league leaders in goals and assists last year," Naughter said of his two all-league midfielders who combined for 12 goals and 16 assists. "They can read each other's movements. Alex has just one speed. He's very calm. Nick is more emotional. If you need somebody to grab a guy around the neck and tell him what he needs to do, Nick will do that."

The two started this summer, helping to lead captains practices and participating with the rest of the team at the Montclair State summer league. Expected to be a rebuilding team last year, the Highlanders surprised a lot of people with 15 wins, losing in the first round of the Bergen tournament on penalty kicks to Tenafly and the second round of the North 1, Group 3 sectional tournament by a goal to eventual runner-up Morris Hills.

"Our goal this year is just to go out and play better," Maghenzani said.

"We have to keep up the intensity," Licata added. "We never gave up. We always battled. We may not have had the most talent, but when it came down to the close games, we gave it our all."

That translated into a 8-1 record in one-goal games.

But the Highlanders have some rebuilding to do on their defense, replacing two all-league backs and one of two goalkeepers who shared the duty last year.

"That was a lot of games that could have gone the other way," Naughter cautioned. "We can't count on doing that again. Soccer-wise, we're going to be looking for more attacking options."
Nick Maghenzani and Alex Licata couldn't help but become friends. Their fathers were the two coaches of their first youth league team.

Eleven years later, the two seniors are still playing alongside each other in the Northern Highlands midfield and shouldering the burden of leading a Highlanders team with high expectations following a 15-4-1 season in 2007.

"I've known Nick forever," Licata said. "I think we complement each other. When we need that energy, he's the one who can provide it."

"Alex is more of the silent leader," Maghenzani said. "I like to get my teammates ready to play. I'll show them where they have to be. Alex leads by example."

However they do it, second-year coach Pat Naughter is looking for them to be coaches on the field as the Highlanders, ranked No. 18 in The Record preseason Top 25, look to integrate elements of the successful freshman and JV programs with seven returning starters.

"If you go by stats, they were among the league leaders in goals and assists last year," Naughter said of his two all-league midfielders who combined for 12 goals and 16 assists. "They can read each other's movements. Alex has just one speed. He's very calm. Nick is more emotional. If you need somebody to grab a guy around the neck and tell him what he needs to do, Nick will do that."

The two started this summer, helping to lead captains practices and participating with the rest of the team at the Montclair State summer league. Expected to be a rebuilding team last year, the Highlanders surprised a lot of people with 15 wins, losing in the first round of the Bergen tournament on penalty kicks to Tenafly and the second round of the North 1, Group 3 sectional tournament by a goal to eventual runner-up Morris Hills.

"Our goal this year is just to go out and play better," Maghenzani said.

"We have to keep up the intensity," Licata added. "We never gave up. We always battled. We may not have had the most talent, but when it came down to the close games, we gave it our all."

That translated into a 8-1 record in one-goal games.

But the Highlanders have some rebuilding to do on their defense, replacing two all-league backs and one of two goalkeepers who shared the duty last year.

"That was a lot of games that could have gone the other way," Naughter cautioned. "We can't count on doing that again. Soccer-wise, we're going to be looking for more attacking options."

Ramsey back is up and running

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


STAFF WRITER - The Bergen Record

When Joey Marraffino went down last year, so did Ramsey.

The Rams started 2-0, with the speedy running back rushing for 142 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening win over Secaucus and then playing well in the upset win over Pascack Valley before suffering a high ankle sprain before halftime.

He missed most of the next three weeks, and when he returned to action, he wasn't 100 percent. And after that promising start, the Rams finished 5-5 and missed a playoff berth.

"It spoiled my whole season," Marraffino said. "I wasn't the same after that. It was pretty disappointing. We were talented last year, we just didn't get it together. We should have been better than 5-5, but things didn't work out."

Marraffino said the ankle still was tender in the spring, and so he didn't run track, choosing to work instead in the weight room. He also has a personal trainer and said he is entering this season in excellent shape.

"I am very excited; this is my last year for Ramsey, the whole team is excited," Marraffino said. "The league is very tough, like always, but I think we should do well. We have a bunch of talent.

"We have a bunch of sophomores and juniors, and our seniors have been playing varsity for a few years, so we have some experience. We know the system."

In Marraffino's absence, teammate Zach Donnarumma played a big role in the backfield, and he returns this season, but the Rams must replace talented quarterback Jake Siebert (graduation).

"That's going to be tough," said Marraffino, 17. "We have Rob Archetti, a junior, who is a good athlete, to play quarterback, but it will be tough to replace Jake."

The 5-7, 160-pound running back is the speed component (he runs a 4.58 40) in the Rams' ground-based attack and is expecting plenty of carries as Archetti gains experience behind center.

"We just have to work hard, practice hard and learn all the plays, all the standard stuff," Marraffino said. "We have to be better."

As one of the smallest schools in the NBIL, Ramsey enters the season with realistic hopes, but also with optimism.

"I think we will contend," Marraffino said. "I think we will be a tough team, but this is a tough league with a lot of Group 3 schools. Every year is tough. There are a lot of good kids and good coaches in this league."

IHA's Ravettine has Olympic-sized dreams

AUGUST 15, 2008


Today the world watches Michael Phelps, four years from now it could be watching Bryeanne Ravettine.

The Immaculate Heart Academy senior-to-be from Mahwah recently returned from the USA Swimming Junior Nationals in Minneapolis where she finished seventh overall in the 50 freestyle with a performance that bettered the Olympic Trials qualifying standard.

To give some perspective, her time of 26.34 is probably about two seconds slower than the winning time will be in Beijing in the 50, and it came two months too late for her to have swam at the Olympic Trials, but it does seem to set things up nicely for her and London in 2012.

Not that Ravettine is ready to go there just yet.

"It doesn't mean a thing," she chuckled. "The 50 is the easiest event to make the finals and the hardest because everyone is separated by like .01 of a second. But I got it now and I have another four years to train."

Ravettine, 17, had never competed at the Junior Nationals before but qualified this year in four events. Her breakthrough came in the 50 freestyle, where she won her heat and lowered her personal best time by almost a half second.

"I got off to a good start and I just kept going," Ravettine said referring to her preliminary heat. "I only took two or three breaths and I heard the people cheering and it said lane 7, 26.34. I was so excited."

Her time also drew the attention of the college coaches in attendance. They swarmed her, seeing a 17-year old who hasn't worked out extensively with weights (OK, not at all) and with the long, slim frame that cries out speed.

"My coach and I described it as a meat market," said Ravettine, who has a long list of schools she is considering.

Before the final, Ravettine was put in a tent with the other swimmers – "It was the first time in my life I ever felt like I was normal height," she joked – and swimming in lane seven, she finished seventh - and with a smile.

"The meet was so fast," said Ravettine. "I was just so happy to get the time. You don't see a lot of juniors in high school [get it], and this was one of my personal goals for a long time."

Giving Back to his Roots!

August 1, 2008


Good Energy owner, Pete Ohnegian wanted to give a public "thank you" to Ramsey High School freshman football coach, Bob Connell for allowing Good Energy and its staff to provide Speed & Agility for the Rams the past few Fridays.

It has been rewarding to "give back" to the town in which Pete grew up in and is raising his family. Hopefully the 20 or so football players that are participating in GE's drills are excited about training with Good Energy. Pete is glad that he has the opportunity to train the boys on the field where he played for four years and where he dreamed and visulaized playing at a higher level. It is possible - commitment, dedication & lots of HARD WORK!

Good Energy will continue to train the young Rams for the next few weeks prior to Summer Camp and looks forward to watching their maturation as Coach develops them into Freshman football players this Fall. Thanks Coach Connell.




Sunday, November 25, 2007
By Jim McConville Staff Writer

WAYNE -- The North Jersey Junior Football League completed its 44th season on Saturday with the playing of its championship games, and the Super Bowl XIX winners all reside in Conference A.

Wayne PAL, Ramsey and Wayne Boys Club each completed undefeated seasons with convincing victories over game opponents at the Barbour’s Pond Complex in Wayne.

The NJJFL is a 16-team league comprised of towns from Bergen, Passaic and Morris counties.

It took all of 14 seconds for the Trojans to establish themselves, as Matthew Butler ran back the opening kickoff 52 yards for a touchdown. The offense then found the end zone four straight times, giving Ramsey (11-0) its first Junior championship since 2003 and its third Super Bowl title overall.

The Trojans completely shut down the previously undefeated Panther’s offense, limiting them to no first downs and nine yards in the first half, and they struck for three more scores in the first half. Brian Donovan went in from a yard out with a minute left in the first quarter and Daniel Yankovich went 21 yards for the third touchdown.

The final score before halftime was set up by Clayton Creadick’s interception and a 23-yard Eric Meile to Yankovich pass play. Jake Donnarumma capped the series with a 4-yard run off right tackle. Yankovich added his third PAT run (Brian Quinn and Alec Turer had the other two extra points).

Glen Rock (10-1) put together a nice drive with Nile Slater ripping off a 27-yard run and John Mackie finding Menas Hiras for a 7-yard reception, but Nick Catalano’s sack left the Panthers short at the Trojan 13.

Ramsey then went 67 yards in 12 plays, with the second offense getting the score on a Butler 15 yard run. Butler then preserved the shutout with and interception in the final two minutes. Slater had 56 yards rushing on 10 carries and Mackie had seven tackles and Aaron Slodowitz and Jeff Kopyta each made six tackles.

The Trojans racked up 186 rushing yards and 216 total yards, with Yankovich (10 carries, 69 yards) leading the way. Donnarumma forced a fumble and had four tackles for the Ramsey defense.


July 27, 2007


Northern Highlands senior guard Taylor Barrise is traveling enough this summer to keep AAA busy, but the road he is most interested in figures to lead to an Ivy League or high-academic school.

This summer, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard has participated in the Yale Prospect Camp, the Columbia Prospect Camp, the Rutgers Prospect Camp, the Reebok Summer Classic at Rider University, the Triple "S" Harley Davidson JamFest in Morgantown, W.Va., and Hoop Group's Academic Elite camp at The College of New Jersey. In August, the Bergen County player will attend the Dartmouth Prospect Camp. He is making a mini tour in hoping of improving his stock with colleges.

The son of Nets assistant coach Tom Barrise has drawn interest from Ivy League schools like Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth and Columbia, as well as Manhattan and Siena from the MAAC, Colgate and Lehigh from the Patriot League, and Stonehill and New Haven.

Barrise has a good basketball body and a 4.02 grade-point average to go along with his junior averages of 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds. A strong shooter, he has been working on his ballhandling this summer, and he hopes recruiters take notice of an overlooked part of his game.

"I'd say defensively," Barrise said. "I think I was getting recognized more for what I can do offensively. But I feel like I can guard well."
With the team's nucleus returning at Northern Highlands this winter, Barrise figures to be a leader of a strong club.

NJ Hoops is published by a former New Jersey college coach and scout for the past 18 years whose full-time career for the past four years is covering New Jersey basketball.

May 17, 2007



GOOD ENERGY is proud to spread our training principles and expertise to local high school teams this Spring & Summer.

Our TEAM TRAINING can be specifically programed to your team's specific fitness goals and needs.

This Spring & Summer we will be providing POWER HOURS for Schools requesting a "different" approach to training to spark up their normal regiment and challenge their athletes.

TEAM TRAINING is highlighted in the photo gallery to provide a visual of the WORKOUT we have in place. The POWER HOUR is specifically made for FOOTBALL training in which we will incorporate the necessary movements ALL football players must perform to excel in their performance.

We can make our Program different based on the movements of your sport whether it is soccer, hockey, basketball, etc.

Our TEAM TRAINING program this Summer is for Football Specific Movements including - PUSHING, PULLING, SPRINTING, CHANGE OF DIRECTION, LEG POWER & HIP EXPLOSIVENESS.

With a TEAM of GE TRAINERS and a well thought out plan we will oversee your TEAM perform these movements in an organized & efficient workout.

Our GOAL is for EVERY athlete to work hard for the entire workout, peforming each movement with 100% effort, but also with proper technique, and ultimately have FUN while WORKING HARD!

GO TO PHOTO GALLERY - TEAM TRAINING, for Sample pictures of Previous GE WORKOUTS in which we performed similar movements to our TEAM TRAINING PROGRAM. Feel free to call us - 201-760-9900 if you may be interested in GE training YOUR TEAM!



Thursday June 28, 2007


By Cory K. Doviak Editorial Director

ALLENDALE -- For 19 years, Steve Simonetti was the face of the Northern Highlands football program as its head coach. But times change and since Simonetti stepped down after last season, they have done so at a rapid clip in a short period of time.

Chris Locurto, an assistant on Simonetti’s staff for two years, was chosen over a number of other candidates to inherit the head coach’s head set and he has wasted little time putting his own stamp on the program.

The offensive scheme will be changed from the consistent but predictable ground-based style and in its place will be a more wide open multiple set attack that will emphasize the forward pass. The early incarnation of the new approach showed promise two weeks ago when the Highlanders went 4-0 in 7-on-7 play against Rockland County (NY) opponents and the wheels are in motion for the start of the season, which is still more than two months away.

“Coach Simonetti is an icon. He was here for 19 years and he was the right coach for this place for a long time. He has a history of being a very structured, very disciplined man with strong convictions and he left a legacy here,” said Locurto, standing on the practice field last week. “It is hard to step for a guy who had been around for so many years, especially when you were on staff and the perception is that it is going to be the same type of program. But every coach has to do things his own way, not that one is better than another, but there are some things that we are going to change.”

Another of those changes that has already been implemented is the way that Locurto is conducting his offseason workout program. In his first stint as a high school head coach, he is not above ceding authority to someone he trusts and, this summer, Locurto has put some of his team’s physical conditioning in the hands of the crew at Good Energy, the fitness center located around the corner from the high school in Allendale.

“The game has changed so much in terms of the demands on a coach in the offseason,” said Locurto. “To have a guy like [Good Energy owner] Pete [Ohnegian], a local guy who is willing to come in and work with the kids, is invaluable. There is no book that you can open that says if you do this, this and this, then you will become a champion. But what a workout like this does is bring the team together for a common goal and puts us in the best position to be champions, to be successful on game day.”

Once a week, the Good Energy team shows up and about 20 Highlanders do the same to run with five gallon water jugs, toss empty (and we stress empty) kegs over their heads, high step through ladders on the ground, hit some sandbags, pull weighted sleds through the grass and break off into teams for an old fashioned tug-of-war.

“We are basically all about one-on-one training, but coach Locurto came into the center knowing that I have a football background to see what we did,” said Pete Ohnegian, the owner of Good Energy, who has trained many local athletes that have professional sports aspirations. “We talked and I gave him some exercises to add to his own strength program, and then we figured we would do some team training. It’s conditioning with some speed elements added to it.”

Ohnegian, who played five years of professional football in the Arena League, also brings with him his team of trainers, all of them current or former Bergen County athletes, which adds to the program as the participants know that those putting them through their paces were once in their same shoes.

Among the staff who are still active as collegiate football players are Dean Duchak (St. Joseph Regional, Georgetown), Sean Welch (Ramsey HS, Bowdoin College), Taylor Ciali (Blair Academy, Hobart College) and Andy Romans, a St. Joe’s graduate from Allendale who is a starting linebacker at Lafayette.

And through it all on a hot day, there were smiles mixed with the sweat and lactic acid buildup as the current Highlanders finished off the tug-of-war, the last station of the afternoon, and headed for the ice cream truck that Ohnegian brought in special to cap off the workout.

“It is like a 180 from last year. Everything we did last year was in the weight room – power cleans, squats – and we did it three times a week and that was it,” said Kevin O’Shea a senior-to-be, who will play wide receiver and free safety. “If you ask anyone here they’ll tell you that this is the hardest workout we have ever done, but it was fun and we couldn’t wait to get here today to get started. Everyone here is pumped up.

"We are being trained by guys like Andy Romans, who I saw play growing up in Allendale and every trainer here is playing college football which is what we all aspire to do. We are not going to have one easy game when the season starts and it all starts here. We have to put the work in to get where we want to be in December.”

Congratulations - Josh Corn UPENN Catcher

Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week


Friday, March 23, 2007

Brendan Monaghan of St. John's and JOSH CORN of Pennsylvania, two catchers, are off to quick starts in their seasons. Monaghan, a senior from Wayne who played at Wayne Hills, is the Red Storm's top hitter at .386 and has driven in 13 runs. St. John's beat No. 8 Rice in its trip to Texas.

CORN, a senior from Allendale who played at Northern Highlands, is the Philadelphia Big 5 Player of the Week. He hit .545 (6-for-11), with two doubles, to help the Quakers win two of three games. Corn is hitting .381, with nine RBI.

March 22, 2007

Wejnert is Gatorade's Player of the Year


Thursday, March 22, 2007
By Cory K. Doviak Editorial Director

DEMAREST – As a senior at Holy Angels Academy, Taylor Wejnert is usually in the all of the gossip. But on Tuesday night, at the Florentine Gardens she was the last to know. It was after all of the other winter sports teams had been called to podium to be recognized at the annual sports awards dinner and after the basketball team, which won the Bergen County championship last month, had been honored for its accomplishments.

There was just one more order of business and it was read out by AHA hoops coach Sue Liddy. It was not until then that Wejnert caught on that she was named as Gatorade’s Girl Basketball Player of the Year in New Jersey. Only one girls basketball player in each of the 50 states receives the honor and, this year, New Jersey’s honoree is Wejnert.

Wejnert knew that she was one of three finalists (along with Paterson Eastside senior Shadasia Greene and Iasia Hemmingway, a senior at Shabazz and last year’s winner), but had no idea that the decision had been made and her father, Rich, already knew the result as he drove her to the dinner on Tuesday night.

“I asked him on the way to the dinner if he had ever heard back from the selection committee and he told me not to worry about it, that he had not heard back and that they had probably already notified the winner,” said Taylor. “So when [Coach Liddy] said there was one more award to give out, one that she had never given out before, I was so surprised.

“I just started hugging everybody and crying. I got really emotional because it is such an honor, the best I have ever received,” Wejnert continued. “And to have all of my coaches there, my teammates who made it possible, my parents sitting in the front row with my brothers, it was just really special.”

The award was the perfect capper to brilliant senior season and a stellar career at Holy Angels. Wejnert was recently named first team All-Bergen County for the third straight season, she will likely be a first team All-State pick when those honors are announced and she led her team to some memorable victories during the 2006-07 season.

Wejnert scored a game-high 27 points and was a perfect 16 of 16 from the line as Holy Angels knocked off IHA for the first time in her high school career back on January 25. She hit her final 10 shots from the field in the way to a 38-point win over Queen of Peace in the
quarterfinals of the Bergen County Tournament and then went on to lead the Angels to their first county championship since 2003. Holy Angels also went undefeated in league play for the first time in school history on the way to the NNJIL Division C title.

“It was just such a great season and really I am sharing the award with my teammates,” said Wejnert, who has accepted a full scholarship to play at George Mason University. “We won so many big games as a team this year and they played such a big role in me even being considered [for the award]. I was happy just to be a finalist, but his is just such a special way to end what was really a great season.”

Gatorade has been naming a Player of the Year for each state in girls basketball since the 1985-86 season. Wejnert is the third player from Bergen County player to be so honored, joining IHA graduate and current UCONN Huskie Tahirah Williams (2004-05) and Pascack Valley’s Kim Beezer (1993-94) in the elite club.

Winners on the state level then move into the national pool from where one girls and one boys are named Gatorade’s National Player of the Year. Last year’s winners were Greg Oden (now starring for Ohio St.) and Tina Charles, who played at Christ the King (NY) and is now a starter for the UCONN women’s team that is also in the Round of 16.

March 5, 2007



By Cory K. Doviak Editorial Director

Blake Costanzo, a 2002 Ramapo High School grad, is getting ready to leave for NFL Europe, a path he hopes will lead to the American version.

ALLENDALE -- Blake Costanzo is going for it.
The 2002 Ramapo High School graduate who went on to play four years off college football at Lafayette, has the dream of playing in the NFL and he is not about to stop now. He was so close last season when he made it to the last round of cuts with the New York Jets before breaking his wrist in the final preseason game and he is on the road back where the next stop is Dusseldorf, Germany.

After he was injured, Costanzo reached an injury settlement with the Jets, who saw enough potential in him to retain his rights. He has been assigned to the Rhine Fire of NFL Europe where his helmet will bear the Jets’ logo on the back. Costanzo will leave for training camp in Florida on Saturday before heading off to Germany in early April. To get ready for the challenge, he is being put through the wringer at Good Energy, a fitness center in Allendale.

“The Jets saw enough in me to send me to Europe, so I want to work hard, stay in shape and become the best athlete I can be,” said Costanzo. “That’s why I like it here at Good Energy. Pete [Ohnegian] mixes it up. We do hockey workouts here, we work on core strength, legs and balance and those things are so important to football. It’s not just about pushing weights.”

Costanzo won two state championships at Ramapo as a tight end and linebacker, he was a first-team all-NBIL selection three times and was first team All-County and All-State in his senior year. He then went on to Lafayette where he was a four-year starter at linebacker before graduating with a degree in Anthropology and Sociology last May and embarking on a career in professional football, not the usual career path for a Lafayette alumnus.

Bill Stevens, of Bill Stevens Karate in Allendale, demonstrating techniques during a workout at Good Energy last Wednesday.
“Blake is not your typical Ivy League or Patriot League football player. He did not take an internship at Goldman Sachs to set himself up then play a little football on the side,” said Ohnegian, the owner of Good Energy and himself a Lafayette College graduate who played five seasons of professional football in the Arena League. “Jets camp for him last year was really like a fifth year of college. He is still young, he is only 22 years old, and he is going for it. His attitude makes it exciting for us here, too, and we want to help him get there.”

To get Costanzo on his toes, literally, Ohnegian brought in Bill Stevens, a martial arts master and owner of Bill Stevens Karate, a dojo in Allendale, to work with Costanzo in martial arts techniques that that focus on leverage and balance, to key components in the game of football.

In addition to showing Costanzo how to basically choke a man to the point of passing out and breaking a headlock with only the index and middle fingers, Stevens demonstrated the rhythmic motions of martial arts. To the untrained eye, the workout did not look particularly taxing, but the muscles were burning, the sweat was dripping and the footwork was constant.

Think training for a career in professional football is easy? “I was expecting to find a highly tuned athlete and that is what Blake is. What I tried to do is challenge him in a different way,” said Stevens. “He is in excellent physical condition, but what martial arts teaches is to use different muscle groups from different angles. Just the stress involved mentally, the thought process and concentration is part of the workout. And when you are learning, you are growing.”

The off-the-beaten-path workouts are part of the larger program that Costanzo is following. He has pulled weighted sleds through the parking lot, jumped on and off of raised platforms and even wore a medieval-looking head harness connected by chains to weights to increase the strength of his neck muscles.

Hey, professional football is a violent business. “It’s all about movement and getting him to focus on the movements he will be using on the field,” said Ohnegian. “Blake is not into straight weight-lifting, he’ll do what a coach tells him to do with weights, but he doesn’t enjoy it, so we try to keep it interesting for him. Since he has been here he has actually lost 12 pounds, he's gone from 245 to 232, but it is good because he has actually gotten stronger and more powerful at a lower weight.”

All of the effort, all of the expense and all of the time he has put in are just part of the journey that Costanzo hopes will lead to the goal, a spot on an NFL roster.

“I am fully recovered from my injury and I am in the best shape that I could be in at this point, so I am confident that I have done everything I can to be ready for the opportunity,” said Costanzo, who will be one of just four linebackers on the Rhine Fire roster, so he figures to get plenty of playing time. “I am going to take care of my body in Europe, play the 10 game schedule and then come back ready for NFL training camp. I will do anything I can to help a team, special teams, whatever they want me to do. It’s a challenge and I am ready for it.”

Beach yes, party no at Good Energy workout

Sunday, July 16, 2006


By Cory K. Doviak Editorial Director

ALLENDALE -- At first glance, it might have been the type of thing one would expect college age athletes to be doing on their summer breaks. A Saturday on the beach with cutoff T-shirts, kegs of beer and some running around in the sand. But on second glance, what this group of nine was doing was anything but the definition of vacation.

It was no Saturday evening beach party, it was instead a part of a grueling workout designed by Pete Ohnegian, owner of Good Energy, a fitness center in Allendale. And the call time was 6:00 a.m.

Six of the nine participants in the unique training session were current or soon-to-be college athletes; one, David Duvall, is readying for his senior season as the starting running back at Ramsey High School. Another, Brett Knief, is going to be a sophomore and is the air-apparent to the Don Bosco Prep quarterback position, and the other, 34-year old Warren Roarke, was just trying to prove he could still do it.

Regardless of where they are going or where they have been in their careers, all volunteered for the rough one-hour plus workout on the sandy shore of Crestwood Lake in Allendale.

“All I did was set up a sheet at the front desk that said 6:00 a.m. on the beach and I had 14 sign up. Four of them were younger and I called them last night and told them that it was going to be real intense,” said Ohnegian, who played college football at Lafayette College, professionally in the Arena League and looks like he still could. “I try not to make anything a mystery so they all knew we were going to work hard.”

And that they did. After starting the work out with fast-paced agility drills and suicides in the sand, the second half of the looked like something out of a late night rerun of the World’s Strongest Man Competition without the embarrassingly tight singlets.

There was one station set up with an empty keg that the participants had to lift and throw directly over their heads. There was another with dual five-gallon water jugs that had to be carried while running. There was a weighted sled that had to be pulled by a rope through the sand, a forearm burner that only got tougher as the sled dug its way into the sand. There was another weight sled with a harness, and two kegs, one full and one half empty, that made for a squatting station.

“This was good. To get up early and get a good workout in before it got too hot. Once we go to camp, we are going to be up early every day and this gets us mentally prepared ready for that,” said Dean Duchak, a 2005 graduate of St. Joseph Regional High School who is now a linebacker at Georgetown. “It’s a different world out there in college [football]. Everything is going 100 miles an hour and you really can’t take a break at any time. In college there is always someone in front of you or behind you that they recruited to play, so it’s always a competition and you have to do what you can to meet that challenge.”

The other participants were Ryan Gorsuch (Don Bosco Prep ’05, Villanova football), Danny Marraccoli (Don Bosco ’06, St. Joseph’s University lacrosse), Sean Welch (Ramsey HS ’05, Bowdoin College football), and John Kleinert (Ramapo HS ’06, Williams College lacrosse).

Everyone involved had their own reasons for being at the lake before the sun showed up. For Roarke, who graduated from Mahwah High School in 1990, it was a matter of just proving to himself that he could still hang with the younger generation.

“If you came out here by yourself and tried to do something like this you would quit. It’s tough," said Roarke, who went on to play tight end at William & Mary College. “But I think that every athlete still has that thought in their head that they could still do it, that they still have that edge. With these guys everybody pushes each other, they all know what it is to compete and I saw it as something I wanted to be a part of.”

“I see our training as one big progression and we only have five weeks with the college kids. This, I thought, was a success. it was something different for them to keep things fresh and we’ll do it again,” said Ohnegian. “We also have to get them ready for their actual conditioning tests and we’ll practice those, but all of this helps get them over the top and that is what we are striving for at Good Energy.”


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