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Feb. 2 MCT Swimming Preview
The Nottingham senior girls will all hope to conclude their careers on a high note at the Mercer County meet this weekend, while also rooting for a younger teammate to set a school record in her event.
Township schools optimistic as MCT meet approaches
By Rich Fisher
Feb. 2: The biggest event of the year for Mercer County high school swimmers has arrived, as the Mercer County Championships get underway with the girls preliminaries at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, with the boys prelims at 4:30 Friday.
The finals, which include the top 12 finishers in each prelim, will begin at noon Saturday. All rounds are at Lawrence High School.
The top six finishers from the final 12 will receive medals and the next six earn ribbons.
Hamilton Township schools have varying degrees of goals and expectations entering the meet. Here’s a look at what they are thinking (Hamilton boys coach Dan Seeth has not been reached as of yet).
Coach Kyle Schulke had his team ramp up its yardage before doing some tapering this week, and feels it will lead to some strong efforts.
“I am expecting my girls to drop considerable time during their races,” Schulke said.
Freshman Maddie Uram is the best hope for a Hornets medal, having won seven of her 10 breaststroke races this year and finishing second in the other three.
“Maddie should make it back on Saturday and has a shot of making it to finals, depending on how she swims Thursday,” Schulke said. “If she is seeded in the right heat, I think the tough competition will propel her into finals.”
Emma Fritzinger has gotten progressively better and could also be in the mix on Saturday.
“She has been setting PRs every meet this calendar year and if she can set one more on Thursday I wouldn’t be surprised to see her swimming in the consolations Saturday in the 100 fly,” Schulke said.
The coach also likes the way sophomore Sofi Walter looks heading into the meet.
“Sofi has been my jack-of-all-trades, swimming every event at least once and through the course of the season we found that she is pretty good at the 400 free,” Schulke said. “She has only been training for that event for a few weeks, but she still has an outside chance of making it back for consolations if she can push herself to the next level Thursday night.”
Despite the fact that Hamilton will not be in the hunt for a team title, Schulke has impressed the importance of this meet to his team from day one.
“At our first meeting of the year I told my girls that our main focus this year was to swim career bests at counties,” said the former Hornet standout. “All of the meets throughout the season were just practice for counties.
“We swam hard and long all season, even before meets, in order to get in shape to smash PRs. I think a lot of the girls have reached that point. There is nothing more rewarding as a coach then to see the ear-to-ear smile of a swimmer swimming faster than she ever has before and I should see plenty of those this weekend.”
Sophomore Lisa Mazukewicz and junior Sam Williams have both had solid seasons and each hopes to have some success this weekend.
Williams has rebounded from a sub-par 2009-10 season to regain her form in the 400 freestyle.
“I am a lot more confident this year entering the meet,” said Williams, who will also swim in both relays. “My mind is really set on what I have to do, which is making the top 12 and getting a best time.”
Mazukewicz will swim the 100 back, the 200 IM, the backstroke portion of the medley relay and the 400 free relay.
“I’m hoping to make Top 12 in the 100 back,” she said. “I’m also hoping we can make finals in relays.”
The sophomore enters the meet feeling good about the way she is performing.
“I feel I’m swimming well, and I am ready to do my best at the meet,” she said.
She also feels that last year’s meet was a good learning experience and hopes to put that knowledge to use this time.
“Swimming last year will help this year because I know what it will be like,” she said. “I know from last year that our team will have some tough competition but I’m sure we will make coach (Andrew) Parsons proud this weekend.”
When it comes to the 100 back, Mazukewicz has a strong rooting section behind her.
“The seniors all hope that Lisa will finally break the Nottingham record for the back so we are there to witness it,” said veteran Shannon Pelke.
Aside from that, Nottingham is just looking to do its best.
“We are hoping even if we don’t get Top 12 that we all improve our times and do the best we can,” added senior Amanda Stickles. “As a team we’ll all cheer each other on.”
The Spartans have three swimmers who can churn up some winning waters in juniors Lauren Cruz and Sara DeAngelo and sophomore Taylor Kwok.
“The girls are looking ready as we get closer to counties,” coach Jacqlyn Nami said. “Their times were dropping at our last couple of meets, and they've been looking good as we've gotten into our taper week.
“I am expecting great performances from everyone, but especially (the aforementioned mentioned three).”
Cruz has not missed a beat after taking a season off to try the sport of rowing. She has been strong in the freestyle events since opening day.
“She's definitely made a name for herself again after taking a year off,” Nami said. “Her times have been competitive all season, and I expect she will compete for one of the top spots in the county in her events. She is incredibly driven and focused, and she is ready for counties.”
DeAngelo swims two of the toughest events in the 100 breast and 100 fly, and has been one of the best in the county throughout the year.
“She's had amazing races all season in two of the most challenging strokes to swim,” Nami said. “She is a leader at practice, she’s optimistic about her swims, and takes her races seriously while still having fun. I expect she will return with a good place in both of her events.”
Kwok has emerged as a quality freestyler this year and could also be coming back for the finals.
“Taylor's sprinting has improved all season, and her times have gotten to the point of being very competitive,” Nami said. “We are expecting a drop in times as she tapers. I'm hopeful she will return on Saturday in the 100 free.”
The coach added that the overall goal is for every swimmer to have a PR in their event.
“If we can manage that,” Nami said, “I’m sure lots of other great things will happen at the meet for us.”
Steinert's Zach Mabin should be in the hunt for some medals this weekend (Photo by John Blaine/purchase photos by e-mailing email@example.com).
Northstars coach Nancy Shapiro is keeping the goals modest and feels they will be reached.
“I am optimistic that we will have some of our best times of the season,” she said. “We have four first-year swimmers competing in Michael John, Max Wackerman, Thomas Paldulchick and Edgar Sarat. “I’m hoping Michael will better his 1:06 100 free time he posted at the newcomers meet. He has really improved his swimming skills in a very short time.”
Shapiro is also excited to see what newcomer Joe Oliver can do in the 50 and 100 freestyle races, along with Jeremy Oiler in the 400 free.
“Jeremy has matured as a swimmer and will only get faster the next two years,” the coach said. “The weather has definitely affected training with the snow days but the boys are psyched for Friday.”
And of course, Shapiro is hoping her veterans go out with memorable performances.
“Best wishes for my seniors,” she said. “I’m hoping Dave Knutson, Dave Massi, Cory Patterson, Adbhut Parasher and Sal Masterpole have a great meet to cap off their last season.”
Of the six teams from the township, this one may have the most potential for medals with sophomore Tyler and junior Kyle Gulsby, sophomore Zach Mabin and junior Kevin Diefenbach.
“We look to be at the right point in the taper,” coach Jen Smith said. “We have been slowly cutting down on yardage. Everyone seems to be on track. . .fingers crossed.”
Tyler Gulsby will be a swimmer to watch in the backstroke and IM, and if work ethic means anything he could do some nice things.
“He has been a hard worker all season, never missing a single practice and never slacking on a workout,” Smith said. “His head is in the game.
“He is a fierce competitor in the water and has the mind and heart of a champion. He will push himself to succeed at the highest level possible.”
Brother Kyle seems to have some of the same attributes, according to the coach.
“Kyle is a bulldog in the water,” Smith said. “He hasn't missed a practice and never quits.
“He plows through the water striving to beat his competition at each and every turn. He has consistently dropped times and the taper should do wonders for his fly and 200 times.”
Mabin has broken the school record in the breaststroke twice this season and is ranked among the top swimmers in the county. He has also qualified for states in the breast and 500 free.
“He should be determined to break the school record again,” Smith said. “He is reserved out of the pool but let’s loose on his competition.”
Diefenbach could make some noise in the sprints after tinkering during the campaign.
“Kevin has been adjusting his stroke techniques this season and will continue to drop times in his sprint events,” Smith said. “His taper should allow him to post great times in counties.”
Like everyone else, Smith’s main concern is to see her swimmers carve out personal records.
“My main goal is to celebrate with our champs and our swimmers who post best times,” she said. “All season long we have been working towards improving our techniques and dropping times, while building a great rapport in the pool with teammates.
“The coaching staff wants to see each swimmer post personal bests. We are confident that all who swim, will do that. All the boys should be pleased with their performances.”
And they should enjoy their day.
“As coaches, we want the swimmers to be happy and have fun, while working hard,” Smith said. “ Swimming isn't just a physical sport, it's mental too.
“The boys have to be willing to push the limits, beyond what they have done so far. This season, I really think we as coaches tried to instill this into our swimmers mindset. I hope we accomplished that.”
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(Also known as
Rich Fisher's blog)
Feb 2, 2013
Groundhog Day is
Feb. 2: Well, today is Groundhog Day.
And you know what that means? It means I have found a blogging loophole.
For all you people out there -- like Whalen and Costantino and the Baroness -- who insist on telling me I need a new blog just because they don't want to read the old one for 19 straight weeks, I have discovered the answer to my problem.
Again, I reiterate, it is Groundhog Day. And if you saw the Bill Murray movie, you know that Groundhog Day is the same day, over and over and over again.
Therefor, because I am writing this blog today, it gives me carte blanche to leave it up here over and over and over and over again. Moreso than usual. Like. . .forever!
You think you got tired of seeing Phil Alu and Jon Adams at the top of this blog?
You are REALLY gonna hate The Groundhog!
* * * *
Just want to pass along good luck wishes to Nottingham junior Josh Lajeunesse, one of the many class acts and key contributors on the Nottingham state champion football team. r Josh recently discovered he needs serious shoulder surgery, which will keep him out of action for four months and unfortunately cause him to miss track season.
"Yeah, but I gotta get ready for football," he said.
Yeah ya do buddy, so good luck on the surgery No. 2 and hope all goes well!
* * * *
Speaking of Nottingham football, seems they are taking Fish Bowl 1 quite serious.
"It was nice to win a state football title," said one administrator. "But to say we won both the state title and the Fish Bowl, now that would be something!
We are keeping the administrator anonymous lest he incur the wrath of Coach Adams for linking the two together . .but we know that secretly, the Big Dawg feels the same way! lol
* * * *
Speaking of Fish Bowl, I just want to thank everyone for participating. I had hoped to get about 20-30 responses and just run them straight down in a list. But with the great feedback from everyone we got 88 responses (89 counting Donna Brihn's dog) and rand allowed us to turn it into the Fish Bowl.
What's amazing is as a collective group we couldn't pick a winner! 44-44. Wow, a township divided!
Anyway, thanks for taking part in the fun folks, and good luck to you and your team!
* * * *
Oh, one other thing. We heard back from Phil Alu (there's that name again!) about his selection of Kyle Kaepernick as Super Bowl MVP.
"Holy crap! Now I know why my Fantasy Football team sucked all year. I was playing Kyle Kaepernck out of West Oak High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan all season and not Colin Kaepernick from the 49ers."
The sad think here is, Kyle Kaepernick even sucked for West Oak High School. And Kalamazoo football is weak!
* * * *
I love my mother, but I'll never play her Super Bowl pool again. She asked me to buy five blocks, which I did. She said she would fill them in and mail it to me, which she did.
But rather than scatter my name in different blocks all over the sheet, she wrote it straight down in five blocks.
The result? In all five of my boxes I have Baltimore and nine. Nine! Are you freakin kidding me? So much for having a lot of different chances to win this baby, which of course, is the reason for multiple blocks.
Love ya mom!
Hate your pool!
* * * *
OK, that's it. I hope you like this blog, cuz you're gonna see it over and over and over and over and over. All that's missing is a picture of Ned Ryerson and the soundtrack to I Got You Babe!
* * * *
Oh, and one more thing. Does anyone out there actually watch all 8 hours of pre-game Super Bowl shows that are available? If so, then you could actually read this blog over and over and over and never get bored. Because you reeeallly need a life!
Jan 27, 2013
Happy New Year!
Yeah yeah, I know, it's an old year by now. But hey, I haven't written anything since the new year so it's a New Year for Fish Tales.
Hope everybody had a great holiday, hope everybody enjoyed the NFL playoffs, hope everybody has returned all their gifts that sucked and I just hope everbody is doin' great dogawnnit!
I don't really have a heck of a lot on my mind, but I'm getting yelled at again by people saying to put up a new blog. They don't neccessarily care what I have to say, they just get tired of seeing the same thing at the top of this spot for so long. Sorry Big Dawg, all the love is gone now, they all hate you now due to over-exposure. You have joined Phil Alu as a "stayed at the top of the blog too long" poster boy. lol.
* * * *
OK, let's start with the Super Bowl.
I mean, you never really hear much about it (insert *rolls eyes* here) so we'll talk about it!
You know what's interesting. And this, like so many other things, speaks to the popularity of the NFL. The Supe is the one championship in sports that the TV Networks don't fret about.
In baseball they would moan if the World Series match-up is the Kansas City Royals vs. the Milwaukee Brewers. "Oh God, those aren't big TV markets!"
It wasn't always like that for the Series. It was the big thing, everyone cared. Kids rushed home from school as fast as possible to catch the end of the games. But not anymore. Games that last til 12:30 a.m. don't help the cause these days, but that's only part of it.
But I digress.
Take the NBA. If they don't have the Lakers and/or the Celtics/Miami in the finals, its like a mad dash for a bridge to jump off of.
"No one will watch this. Ohhhhh noooo!"
And if it's the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs.... . .um, what's like, the big match-up for the NHL? OK, forget that one.
But football has no such worries. This game could be the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Seattle Seahawks and it wouldn't matter. 999 gazillion people would tune in anyway, just because it's like an unofficial national law.
"Gonna watch the Super Bowl?"
"How come, you don't like football?"
"I know, but it's the Super Bowl?"
I mean, that's basically the answer people give, and it's just understood. Oh yeah, it's the Super Bowl.
And by the way, when is the NFL gonna give folks a break and make this game on a Saturday so people at all the parties can recover on Sunday? . They can't be clinging to tradition or the game would still start at 1 o'clock, the halftime show would still be the Hokey-Fanokie high school marching band and the tickets could still be purchased by folks outside the 1 percent of the people with all the money in the world.
I'm sure someone did some research and concluded "Can't move it to Saturday, too costly."
Oh well, it's still the Super Bowl and we'll all watch it. Cuz hey, it's the Super Bowl!
* * * *
Speaking of the Super Bowl, I don't know who's going to win and I don't care. But if I have to make a pick, I'd pick the Ravens.
I dunno. But I had to make a pick so I picked the Ravens.
* * * *
Here's a classic basketball official story. I will not reveal the names to protect the innocent (and guilty) but it was pretty good stuff.
Three refs walked into a CVC girls game earlier this year. As they entered the gym, one of the head coaches says "Oh here they come, the three blind mice."
To which one of them -- who I am proud to say lives in Hamilton -- promptly responded by going "Yeah, but one of us can hear," and slammed the coach with a techncial foul before the game even started.
Now that's style!
* * * *
I kind of lost a kindred spirit when Stan Musial passed away last week.
First off, Stan the Man was from Donora, Pa., and I had a roomate in college who hailed from Donora. His parents knew Musial and said he was the greatest guy ever.
Secondly, Musial got his 3,000th career hit on the day I was born.
Just think. . .two monumental occurrances on the same day!
Uh, OK. . one.
* * * *
So I have seen three of the movies nominated for the Oscars so far: Lincoln, Argo and Silver Linings Playbook. All good flicks, but, man, Daniel Day Lewis blew me away as Lincoln. Good stuff!
I find Lincoln to be so fascinating. The more I learn about him, the more I want to know about what made him tick.
As opposed to somone like, say, Kim Kardashian, who I don't know anything about and yet I want to know even less.
* * * *
I would much rather see Amber Dietrich and Courtney Adams playing basketball this winter instead of texting me updates to tweet of Steinert and Hamilton girls' basketball games.
But they are injured and can't play and that stinks. But thanks girls, for contributing to the cause. You're the best!
And while Amber has been promoted to Fish4scores Director of Twitter Operations (with a 50 percent pay increase from her original salary of nothing), Courtney's work from mid-season on has promoted her to Assistant Director.
Please don't be late for the next staff meeting girls.
* * * *
I would also like to thank another Twitter contributor -- who I will only refer to as "Outcast of the People" -- but he can't seem to stay at the games for more tha none half -- and sometimes the decision wasn't his to leave. :)
* * * *
Check back later this week when we provide Super Bowl picks from the township's athetic community.
* * * *
OK, I leave you with this trivia question -- which I guarantee 80 percent of you won't be able to answer:
Who won today's Pro Bowl?
Dec 9, 2012
It's a Big Dawg
Dec. 9: So I went to a Christmas party at the house of Hightstown High Athletic Director Gary Bushelli Saturday night and it was loaded with Mercer County athletic personalities.
Aside from the Hightstown coaches, which include former Rams head football coach Jack Dunn, there were Notre Dame coach Chappy Moore, former ND/Neptune Athletic Director Vince Ardery, former Steinert AD Rich Giallella and on the list went on.
As we arrived late and struggled through the crowd to get a drink, I was stopped by one person after another with questions.
"Were you at the game? Tell us about the game? How was the game? Tell me about the interception return."
Everyone wanted to know about the Northstars win over Neptune. And at the end of every conversation I had. . .this is not an exaggaration -- EVERY conversation, it ended the same way --- "That's great for Adams. Good for Adams. Good for Jon, he deserves it. Wow Jon must be happy."
That's the common theme running throughout Mercer County and Northstar Nation today. An outpouring of congratulations has Big Dawg's Facebook page in overdrive. He wasn't checking text messages yesterday until he had the time.
It's a sheer love-fest and include me in the group. Obviously the fact that Coach Adams survived serious cancer issues in the summer adds to the story line here. But that's not where the love is coming from. Had the Dawg been healthy as a horse last summer the same accolades would be coming his way.
Adams is a guy who has worked hard as the Northstars head coach for 23 years. He loves his players and has developed a close bond with so many of them after they left. He gives tough love, sometimes he has to get tough without giving the love to get a point across.
He admitted it was hard to bench his son Stephen in the second half against Neptune because Luke Westerberg had the hot hand. It had to be killing him, since it was the first time all year he abandoned the rotation system. And it happened in the biggest game of the year.
What dad on earth would feel good about doing that? How many of them might just not have done it?
But while Adams loves his son, he treats his players as his family as well and he knew this was the move to make for Nottingham to win. In fact, he and his staff proved to be outstanding throughout the playoffs in which Nottingham went 3-0 against the Shore Conference.
Rather than avoid the other team's strengths, he attacked them. He did what conventional wisdom said not to do because he had faith in his players. And his confidence in his players to do that, gave them the confidence to get it done.
Against Manasquan and Long Branch, he decided to slug it out with a running game against teams that love that style. Against Neptune, a team that can score points in bunches with big plays, conventional wisdom said to go with a running game to keep the ball out of Ajee Patterson's hands. So what did Nottingham do? Get three offensive touchdown plays of 53 yards or more.
It wasn't just the Big Dawg. His assistants obviously played a big part in it. And why not listen to a staff that includes former head coaches Bob Harris, Frank Gatto and John Berei. It was truly a clinic the way they handled three teams that everyone thought were the favorites.
Personally speaking, we in the media love Adams. He's always a good quote and gives you all the time you need (a lot of you in Hamilton do that, which is appreciated).
Sure he'll rub some people the wrong way. No one in the world has a 100 percent fan club.
But he is close with so many people and they are all feeling good for their guy today. And they should. He's a great guy, a gregarious guy who is the classic "Big Teddy Bear" kind of guy.
My only complaint with Mr. Adams is that he playfully admonished the sportswriters for not believing his team had the speed to match up with Neptune. To that, I say please read the below blog written yesterday. Ahem, ahem.
But other than that, I love ya Big Dawg!
Just like everybody else.
Dec. 8 2012
It's in the Stars: Nottingham
will win it!
Dec. 8: I never ever make predictions. I just don't, because I don't think anyone knows what will happen in a football game.
But I am making one today. I truly believe Nottingham's football team is going to come home a winner against Neptune in the Central Jersey Group III championship game.
I had a feeling about this team after the Allentown game. That was a loss, but could have been a win and there was just something about the Northstars that impressed me in that game. They could have won as easily as lost and I didn't count it as a loss in terms of what the Stars could do down the line.
I really think this is a team of destiny. It all started in the summer when Jon Adams health issues could have led to a completely dismal season. But the Big Dawg came through in a big way, his team followed his lead and well, here we are.
But that's not the only reason I think Nottingham will win today. I also think they have developed an unshakable confidence after bringing down two straight Shore Conference teams in the first two rounds of the playoffs. That right there removes the stumbling block of "Oh gee, can we beat the Shore?"
And then there is one othe little factor: speed. Neptune's great advantage in these games is speed. Especially in the passing game. But Nottingham's has plenty of speed in the secondary, as long as a physical presence. I'm not saying the Stars have an advantage, but I am saying Neptune doesn't have an advantage.
There are just a lot of things that feel right about this game for Nottingham. So much so, that I'm actually making a prediction.
I don't know what the score will be. . .but Nottingham will be on the positive side of it when it's over.
Dec. 2 2012
Shore is good!
Dec. 2: What is all this talk about the Shore Conference being so good in football?
That's what they might be saying on Klockner Road in Hamilton Township these days, as that little strip of asphalt houses two schools that are actually tormenting the mighty Shore teams lately.
For those who don't follow high school football extensively, it is common knowledge that teams from the Shore pound teams from Mercer County every year in the state playoffs. A few teams hang, but many of the games are embarrassing blowouts.
Over the past two seasons, however, Hamilton Township schools (and Klockner Road residents) Steinert and Nottingham are 3-1 against the Shore Conference.
Steinert beat Wall in last year's playoffs, then led Neptune into the third quarter before falling in the title game. Nottingham has taken two straight seven-point wins over Manasquan and Long Branch this playoff season, despite being considered the underdog in both.
Throw in Hamilton West's near-miss loss to Middletown South in 2010 and it's safe to say that the township is carrying the banner for Mercer County against the Shore.
It's something to be proud of because, lets
face it, the Shore Conference is excellent. It has many more quality teams than Mercer from top to bottom, it has a ton of football talent and great teams play great teams throughout the year. That only toughens them up come playoff time.
Teams in Mercer, even with the West Jersey realignment, are probably getting two to three good tests a year.
The fact that Nottingham and Steinert have fared well in the playoffs doesn't mean the conference's are coming closer together in talent.
What it does mean, is we have had the privelege of watching two very special football teams the past two years. Two teams that have proven they can be great no matter what league they are in and what team they are playing.
And both have unique stories to tell.
For Steinert, it marked the first time the school ever won a playoff game, let alone reach a sectional final.
For Nottingham, it's one of the feel-good stories of the year. Over the summer, the Stars were uncertain of if they would have their head coach. And the coach himself wondered how much of a future he had after Jon Adams had to undergo surgery for cancer.
But Adams won his battle and his Northstars have won every battle but one this year. And the team it lost to is no longer around as Allentown fell to Neptune in Friday's other CJ III final.
It's the same Neptune that beat Steinert last year. The same Neptune Nottingham plays at The College of New Jersey for a championship on Saturday.
Few people outside the area probably think Nottingham will win. But that doesn't matter.
If people can't figure out by now that the Northstars may just be a team of destiny, they never will.
And besides, Nottingham has proven it can overcome the aura of the Shore Conference.
But can the Scarlet Fliers overcome the aura of Klockner Road?
* * * *
Congratulations to coach Dan O'Donnell and the Fish4scores.com basketball team, which won its inaugural game in the St. Gregory Intramural League's Senior Division. Way to go gang, you're making us all proud!
* * * *
Speaking of last year's football teams, graduated Steinert quarterback Adam Riese was on hand at the Thanksgiving game while graduated Nottingham QB Esayah Obado was at Saturday's Nottingham-Long Branch game.
Both were red-shirted at their respective schools this year -- Riese at New Hampshire and Obado and Delaware State -- and both felt it was a productive year of learning about the nuances of college football.
Nov. 20 2012
allow us to smile
times in Hamilton
Nov. 20: Thank you, Nottingham!
In the wake of so many disturbing things being reported on in Hamilton Township these days, and with today’s guilty verdict of Mayor John Bencivengo, this township needs something to smile about.
And it has reasons to do just that thanks to what's happening on the corner of Klockner Road and Hamilton Avenue.
Nottingham High School is all smiles these days with what’s going on its athletic department.
Start with the hiring of Chris “The Baron” Raba last week. Raba was finally confirmed as boys basketball coach, giving the Northstars a guy with a proven track record of success to run their program.
Then there is the football team, who gave us one of the most exciting football games seen in these parts in some time. Trailing by 14 and going nowhere at halftime Nottingham roared back for a 21-14 win to advance to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III semifinals next week.
Let’s not forget about “Amazing” Grace Dwyer, who is sweeping New Jersey by storm in just her first year in high school. The freshman is putting up times that are remarkable and blew into Wednesday’s Meet of Champions by finishing third in the NJSIAA Group III meet last Saturday.
And to top it off, softball star Valerie Suto signed a letter of intent on Monday to play for Division I Seton Hall, which is pretty impressive.
That’s a lot of nice stuff to feel good about during this time of turmoil.
It’s no wonder that Rick “The Voice of the Northstars” Taylor has a lot to say these days.
* * * *
I couldn’t be happier for Jon Adams and the success he has had with Nottingham football this year. This was a guy who, last summer, didn’t even know if he would be teaching or coaching, let along standing two wins away from a sectional title.
Way to go Big Dawg!
* * * *
Apologies go out to Meg “Martina Scorcese” Black, the Steinert grad now attending Kutztown State. In my last blog I thanked so many people for their contributions, but forgot to thank “Blackie” for all her fine video efforts last summer (and hopefully again over winter break).
* * * *
I didn’t get a chance to write anything on it, but congratulations to Hamilton West’s Lauren “The Lamb” Wyrough for scoring two goals and leading her team to victory in the Mooch Myernick Soccer All-Star game Sunday. That gave Wyrough eight goals in five games since her knee injury.
* * * *
Also congratulations go out to Kristin Jacobs (formerly Voorhees) for being named the new Steinert girls basketball coach.
Voorhees was a standout player at Steinert under Jim “Jules” Giglio and was a long-time assistant under Bob Boyce at West Windsor-Plainsboro North.
Jacobs gets started this weekend when basketball practice gets underway.
* * * *
It has been 25 years since the Steinert boys cross country team won the NJSIAA Group III meet with Tom Canto, Aaron Oldfield, Charlie Zoda, Doug Larkin, Tom Hooker and several other standouts. The crew plans on meeting at Veterans Park with coaches Jerry Bleistein and Doug Martin this Friday and are toying with taking an anniversary run through the park. Whether or not that happens, they will then head to DeLorenzo’s for some pizza.
* * * *
Thursday’s the big day over at Steinert with the Thanksgiving game, and Texas Roadhouse plans on doing its part.
The Fish4Scores Athlete of the Week sponsor will be selling gift cards and donating some of the profits back to the schools. See tomorrow’s preview of the game for more details.
* * * *
Not sure if he would want me to reveal this, but Hamilton Little Lads Basketball Director Jack DeStefano just became a great grandfather when his grandson Nick and his wife brought a new baby boy into the world Monday.
“Now I have a new reason for sticking with Little Lads,” Jack said with a laugh.
That must be what keeps him looking so young.
* * * *
Rutgers in the Big 10. Wow.
Looks good for football, but I don’t know about basketball. And it will be interesting to see Steinert grad and RU soccer coach Dan Donigan’s take on it, as I’m not sure the Big 10 is quite on par with the Big Eats when it comes to men’s soccer.
* * * *
Well that’s it for now. I just want to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and we’ll see you on the gridiron Thursday morning!
Sep. 23, 2012
Don’t faint but. . .
it’s a new blog!
OK, OK, I know what you’re thinking.
Another blog already? How many of these things can we take!
Well, after hearing people complaining throughout the spring, summer and fall (I was goin for the record!), even I have gotten sick of seeing the same blog for so long.
I got tired of reading about the second round of the NBA playoffs, considering the the NBA finals AND the Olympics are over. Mollie Coyne was a high school senior during the last blog, today she scored her first collegiate goal. Way to go Mol!
But the biggest complaint I got was “You gotta get Phil Alu out of there!” Sorry Phil. . .I tried to hold out as long as I could, but the masses have spoken!
The second biggest complaint came from Steinert Athletic Director John Costantino . . . every day. It seems Cos reads this blog when he wants to fall asleep. Since he didn’t have a new blog to bore him for five months. . .his whole sleeping pattern is shot.
Sooo anyway, get a pillow Cos and read away. Lots to catch up on.
And in case you forget the set-up, these are various thoughts, sectioned off by little * * * * thingies. So if you get bored with one thing, just shut up and move on to the next.
* * * *
As you may have already seen, we have some new features on Fish4Scores.com, not the least of which is a new Athlete of the Week Sponsor. We’re delighted to welcome aboard Texas Roadhouse on Route 33, which is donating gift cards and hanging up the photos of the winners each week in their fine establishment.
Owner Norm Patten is just what Hamilton Township ordered. He is not only supporting Fish4scores and the high school’s standout student-athletes, he wants to immerse his establishment into this township. So if you’re looking for a place to stage an event, make like the gang at Cheers and call “Norm!”
OK, that was lame. Are you sure you want another blog?
Secondly, we are still tying up the loose ends with the potential sponsor, but we are a few hand shakes away from awarding one student-athlete from each school a “Scholar-Athlete of the Season” award, which will be given at the end of the fall, winter and spring seasons. Once everything is finalized, I’ll let everyone know the details and we will proudly reveal the new sponsor.
Speaking of scholar-athletes, you may have seen our new feature “The Life of a Student-Athlete” where Steinert’s Jeff Mattonelli and Hamilton’s Colleen “Collar” Murphy give us some insight on their lives beyond the athletic field. We are bringing a Nottingham athlete into the rotation as well, but I have not cleared it with him yet. When I do, he will add a third view.
I gotta tell you, so far I’ve been really impressed. In their first efforts, Jeff and Murph provided interesting, entertaining insight to what they are all about, and I have a feeling it will only get better as we all get into a rhythm.
* * * *
Features aren’t the only thing that’s new.
They are coinciding with an upcoming new look for Fish4Scores.
Now, you are probably going to complain about it at first.
Why? Because it’s change, and everyone hates change. “Where is this? How do I get to this? Why did he change this!!!!”
One of the main reasons is, it will cut my workload by at least a third. This site served its use over the first three years but it takes an incredibly long time to post stories and photos. So, part of it is self preservation.
Secondly, we want to continue to highlight the day’s activities prominently, but we plan on leaving the Athlete of the Week, Scholar-Athlete of the Season and Life of a Student-Athlete directly underneath on the home page so people don’t have to go searching for them.
Thus, the top of the page will be that oh-so-popular website method of rotating photos scrolling by, so you can pick your story.
I am trying to keep the new site as functional as this one. There will still be the “Fall” “Winter” “Spring” “Summer” menus at the top, and they will drop down with the sports for that season. So it won’t be THAT different.
I just ask you give it a chance and ou’ll get used to it. And bear with me, cuz I won’t know what I’m doing for a while so there may be a few gaffes here and there. But it will all smooth out so don’t go anywhere!
* * * *
We also have plenty of new people on board. Cathy Martin Healy took the plunge behind the scenes this summer and has done a tremendous job as my marketing consultant. Cathy is a freelancer who is extremely good at what she does. If you need her talents, let me know and I’ll hook you up (and no, I don’t get a percentage).
Shannon Keenan Moscarello is our new sales representative, so if you want to put an ad on Fish4scores, let us know and I will put you in touch with Shannon.
For a brief time until he graduates, we’re happy to have Rider student JJ Duke with us, predominantly as a soccer writer but he may pop up at other events as well. Mark Pratico, another Rider guy, is back helping out with his soccer expertise and we couldn’t be happier about that.
And we have found yet another talented parent with photography talents, as Nancy Eggert is supplying us with some darn good shots of Steinert boys’ soccer. The only drawback is she was referred to us by Jim “Jules” Giglio, so I now I feel indebted to Jules. And that’s never good.
There is also recent Nottingham graduate Dave Robb, who’s slipping us some nice Northstar shots. Brian “The Shot” McCarthy is our wild card, who could be anywhere at any time to shoot a township sports team near you. Brian also has a new Facebook photo page dealing with Hamilton Township news photography that you might want to check out: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Hamilton-Herald-News-com/113569545457746.
We still have the ol’ reliables, of course. At Nottingham, there is Wes “The Media Mogul” Kirkpatrick and Mary “The Renowned One” Malone. Two legends. Need we say more?
Over at Hamilton West, there is Jim Jenkins providing quality cross country shots. And of course, one of the gutsiest football photographers around – Donna Brihn. Poor Donna needs ankle surgery but refuses to miss shooting Hamilton football so she’s hobbling up and down the sidelines with a brace at not only varsity games, but JV and freshmen contests as well.
Yesterday she had to ice it for hours after the game and apologized for getting me her photos late. How’s that for dedication? Hornet players, give Mrs. Brihn a pat on the back and a “way to go” the next time you see her. Just watch the ankle!
And then there’s Princeton Packet sports editor Bob “Sense” Nuse, who will try and provide a cross country story if any Hamilton teams are running at the same meet his son is running at. Bob knows his stuff.
Then there are the usual suspects that are staples – photographers John Blaine and Dennis Symons Jr.; writer/teacher/many other things Tony Piscotta, and jack of all trades Ken Weingartner.
The fact that so many quality people want to be a part of this blows my mind and really makes me proud. This site would be nothing without their contributions.
So as we officially begin our fourth year on Oct. 1, to all you people – and any others that I might have missed – I say thank you so much.
* * * *
Speaking of Oct. 1, that is the date of the Daniel Rossi Memorial Scholarship Fund 2nd Annual Golf Outing. For more info go to http://www.facebook.com/events/216801735100874/.
While we’re at it, don’t forget the Wraparound Sports 7th Annual Softball Tournament to fight breast cancer on Oct. 6 and Oct. 13-14. Get more info at www.wraparoundsports.org. And please say a prayer for Wraparound founder Janeen Gondek, a good friend and a tremendous person who is going through a very tough time right now.
* * * *
I thought nothing would get on my nerves more than the countless Facebook photos this past summer of sand and an ocean that people posted with variations of the following: “On the beach at LBI. . life is good.”
Well, I was wrong.
Since Bruce Springsteen’s tour swung east, my Facebook is on overload with tailgaters in the parking lot and the words “Brrruuuuce!” as their oh so clever comment.
Facebook has become the new post cards. Remember post cards? There was writing involved. And a stamp. Remember stamps?
Anyway, my attitude toward all these Facebook people telling me what a blast they’re having while I’m working, is reflective of my attitude toward post cards. (Someone please tell the kids what a post card is). When my friends went on vacation, my parting words always were “Have fun but don’t send me a post card. I’m not interested in your good time.”
* * * *
I was very bummed out this past week to hear that Steinert’s Amber Dietrich has had her senior season of field hockey cut short due to a torn ACL. Dietrich hurt it when she caught it in some high grass at Robbinsville (the turf field was unavailable).
Amber is a great kid and anyone that knows her, hopes she can get back for her final season of softball. I spoke with her today at the Nottingham-Steinert football game and she is going to see a doctor Monday. She’s hoping to be back in six months, which would get her back by March and in time for softball.
Good luck Amber!!!
* * * *
Another thing that happened since the last blog (and no Mr. Costantino, not the discovery of electricity) is that I am now writing for the Hamilton Post newspaper. The reason I say this is to support their fine website, mercerspace.com, which does a great job covering the county, and especially this township, with its news and sports coverage.
(How’s that Joe and Rob? Do I still have a job!)
* * * *
I couldn’t agree more with Steve Young concerning the lockout with the NFL officials. In case you missed it, Young said that as long as people keep filling the stadiums and as long as ratings are up, why should Roger Goodell care about the replacement refs and their flaws. In the NFL, the bottom line is the buck. Who cares if games are screwed up or, worse yet, players are crunched.
I have a close friend who worked for the NFL for years. . .in the same office with Paul Tagliabue, in fact. She and her husband moved from New York to Los Angeles a few years ago and she now works for the NFL Network.
But she told me stories that blew my mind about how cheap the NFL is. A multi-gajillion dollar corporation treated regular old workers, like maintenance men, office employees and custodians like dirt. That’s why Young’s words hit home with me, because it mirrored everything my friend told me.
* * * *
Kudos to everybody’s favorite trainer, Trenton High’s Poppy Anderson. A Hamilton resident, Poppy is the male honoree this year by the Trenton Select Club. There is truly not a classier guy associated with Mercer County athletics.
* * * *
More kudos, to Hibernians soccer coach Tom Bayless, who is being inducted into the Mercer County Soccer Hall of Fame. Tom is originally from Lawrence but his Hamilton roots run deep with all he’s done in the township.
And he’s almost as classy as Poppy! Just don’t ask me to define almost.
Love ya Bayless!
* * * *
Rutgers football beat Arkansas on the road last night and every time the Razorbacks applied the pressure, Rutgers answered. Could be an interesting year in Piscataway and no one will be happier than our JoJo's friend Andy.
* * * *
Gotta love this second wildcard in baseball. Hey, it kept me interested in the Phils for about 6 weeks longer than if there wasn't one.
* * * *
Another NHL lockout? Damn! Some of my greatest memories are of NHL games in October, when the baseball post-season is unfolding and college and pro football are in full bloom.
* * * *
Well, that’s about it folks.
See ya in 5 months . . . or whenever Haley’s Comet comes by again.