Sunday, July 5, 2015

Wrestling: Local greats to attend Newton camp

The third annual Newton High School Wrestling Camp will be held July 13-17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each session.

Chris Skretkowicz instructing at last year's clinic. (Courtesy of Eric Bollette)
Former New Jersey state champions Chris Skretkowicz and Dan Vallimont will be among the guest clinicians, along with two-time runner-up and Division III national champion Kodie Silvestri.

Former state runner-up and current Braves assistant coach Ted Sibblies, and West Morris head coach Ken Rossi, a four-time state placewinner, round out the stellar group.

"We've been fortunate to have great groups every year," Newton coach Eric Bollette said. "We have had D1 and D3 national champs, All-Americans, as well as great coaches."

Up first on July 13 is Skretkowicz, the former Wallkill Valley standout and two-time state finalist. Skretkowicz, who compiled a career mark of 124-13 from 1997-2001, went on to become a two-time NCAA All-American at Hoftsra under coach Tom Ryan, who guided Ohio State to its first national championship this past season. Skretkowicz is now the head coach at Virginia Military Institute.

Vallimont, who will appear on July 14, was a two-time state champion at Jefferson Township High School and a two-time All-American at Penn State, where he qualified four times for the NCAA Tournament and placed second in 2010. He's now an assistant coach at Hofstra.

Rossi also was a star at Jefferson in the early 1990s and a member of the 1992-93 team that won the Group 2 title and was ranked No. 1 in the country by USA Today. He will appear at the camp on July 15, with Sibblies slated for July 16.

Rounding out the five-day event will be Silvestri, a former star at Wallkill Valley (145-18 career mark from 2005-09) who went onto a successful collegiate career at Wartburg, where he also was a national runner-up.

The camp is open to grades 4-12 and registration fee is $200 per family. Walk-ins are welcome. For information, or to register, contact Bollette via e-mail at ebollette@newtonnj.org.

Goles fills out lineup


The 58th annual John Goles Invitational, slated for Monday, Dec. 28 at Warren Hills, will have two new additions this season.

Pope John is back in the tournament after a two-year absence. The Lions, coached by Mark Piotrowsky, were Goles members for 11 straight years from 2002-12, before joining the Mountain Lakes Holiday Tournament.

Warren Hills coach Jarrett Hosbach on Monday confirmed that Palisades (Pa.) will round out the 10-team field.

In addition to Pope John, Palisades and Warren Hills, the 2015 field includes Delaware Valley, Newton and North Hunterdon, along with Edison, Millburn, Scotch Plains-Fanwood and West Morris.


Tournament time


Pending construction at the high school, the 24th annual Kittatinny Tournament is tentatively set for Saturday, July 18. It's a round-robin format and the pre-registration entry fee is $20 (postmarked by July 10). There is a $25 walk-in fee. For information, contact Michele Molfetto at 862-354-4009 or e-mail at tdc3@ptd.net.

The 29th annual Warren County Farmers' Fair Tournament is slated for Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Fair Grounds in Harmony Township. There are youth and high school divisions. High school weights are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 171, 182, 195, 220 and HWT. Weigh-ins will be conducted using the Madison system. Fee is $27 (pre-registered by July 30). No walk-ins.

First session (8-under, 10-under, 12-under) begins at 9 a.m., followed by the 14-and-under and high school divisions at 2 p.m. A $500 college scholarship will be awarded to the outstanding senior wrestler. For information, contact Ron Nauta at 908-684-8853 or send an e-mail to warrenhillswrestlingclub@yahoo.com.

The Red Devil Classic will be held Saturday, July 25 at Hunterdon Central Regional High School. There are youth and high school divisions. Weigh-ins will be conducted using the Madison system and weight classes will be determined after. Fee is $25 (pre-registered or postmarked by July 18) and $30 at the door. You can register online at flemingtonwrestling.com. For information, email flemingtonelkswrestling@gmail.com.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Field hockey: Warren Hills still searching for coach

It isn't exactly ideal to be conducting the search for a new head coach in early July.

But that's what Warren Hills' field hockey program is faced with after last month's surprising resignation by Laurie Kerr, who stepped down after 15 highly successful seasons in charge at her alma mater due to "family reasons." The move was first reported by Open Mike.

The Blue Streaks are coming off their most successful campaign in 50 seasons, finishing 23-4 -- a school single-season record for wins -- and capturing both its 12th sectional title and the program's first state title with a thrilling 5-4 overtime win against nemesis Ocean City in the Group 3 final. It's also the first state championship in any female sport for the Warren County school.

Warren Hills athletic director Pete Lubrecht said "a few" candidates have applied or interviewed for the job, but he declined to reveal names. According to multiple sources, former Warren Hills star player Toni Popinko, now an assistant coach at Phillipsburg, interviewed for the Streaks' job.

Popinko, a four-year starter from 2006-09 and a key player on the '09 team that won a sectional title and reached the Group 3 final, ranks fifth all-time on the Streaks' career points list with 117 and is among the top 10 in career goals (39) and assists (27).

"This is an important spot, we recognize that. But it's important to strike a balance. We are giving it our due diligence like any other position, but we don't want to sacrifice being thorough to rushing into something. We are sensitive to the time [of year] and I don't want to be here in August having the same conversation."

Kerr's top assistant coach Josie Potter (nee Schantzenbach), another former standout player for the Streaks and team MVP in 1998, also resigned from the coaching staff in June. Laura Blackwell, who is highly regarded as the program's middle school coach, supposedly has not applied for the varsity job.

Another in-house candidate, Courtney Hoffman (nee Fritts) and former top player for the Streaks, confirmed via text message that she will not seek the job due to family reasons. Hoffman was an assistant coach at Ocean Township for several seasons.

One potential sticking point for a new hire is also getting a teaching position. Currently, there are no physical education openings at Warren Hills and most positions for the next school year are typically filled during the spring. The superintendent of schools can approve a coaching hire at any time to expedite the process. The next board of education meeting is scheduled for Aug. 23.

With the fall sports season scheduled to officially begin in mid-August, time is certainly of the essence to getting a head coach into place. Lubrecht said there is no specific time frame to hire a coach, as the school wants to get the best person for what's been a high profile program in all of New Jersey.

Kerr, a former star player at Warren Hills and 1987 graduate, turned the program into a state powerhouse during her 15 seasons at the helm. Her teams went 264-71-12 overall and won or shared six Skyland Conference Delaware or Raritan Division titles and the school's only county championships in 2009, '11, '13 and '14.

In addition, the Streaks claimed eight of their 12 sectional titles and appeared the Group 3 finals seven times under Kerr, who surpassed her predecessor and coach Luanne Ferenci (226-101-41 from 1981-99) as the winningest coach in program history.

The Washington/Warren Hills program is 601-250-92 overall in 50 seasons. The 600th win came on Nov. 12, 2014, a 6-1 victory over Northern Highlands in the Group 3 semifinals. A 4-2 loss to Oak Knoll in the school's first Tournament of Champions appearance ended an 11-game win streak.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wrestling: Phillipsburg sets schedule for 2015-16

Phillipsburg coach Dave Post confirmed that his schedule for the 2015-16 season is complete. 


Post said that Hanover Park, which came to The Pit last season, is back on the schedule after the Group 2 champion Hornets switched around some dates to allow the Stateliners to come to Morris County this season for the rematch on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, the final day of the regular season.


Phillipsburg, the defending Group 4 champ, scored a 32-21 victory over Hanover Park on Feb. 4 in the first meeting between the schools.

Post said both Group 5 champion Brick Memorial and Group 2 champion Delsea were interested in wrestling Phillipsburg, which had no open dates to accommodate those schools, had that Saturday date in February opened up. P'burg has gone a combined 37-1 the last two years, including 19-1 this past season.

"We would have loved to wrestle those schools -- Brick Memorial being the Group 5 champ and Delsea the Group 3 champion -- but Hanover Park came to The Pit last season and we wanted to return the favor" said Post, whose teams are 79-14 overall with four sectional and two Group 4 titles in his five seasons in charge of his alma mater.

One notable new addition is Lenape Valley, the Group 2 runner-up last season. Coach Doug Vetter's Patriots dropped a 48-18 decision to Hanover Park in the state title match in Trenton. P'burg leads 3-1 in the all-time series dating to 2005, including a 38-24 win at The Pit in the last meeting on Jan. 17, 2009. Lenape's lone victory was 37-24 at home in 2006.

The annual matches against Pennsylvania's District 11 are also on the docket -- Northampton (Jan. 2), Parkland (Jan. 6) and Easton (Jan. 16). The 'Liners have beaten Easton the last two seasons, including a 30-23 victory on Jan. 17. It was the first time they've earned back-to-back wins in the series since ripping off nine in a row against the Red Rovers from 1963-71. However, Easton still leads 62-16 overall since the storied rivalry began in 1947.

In addition, P'burg will once again open the season at the Beast of East Tournament in Delaware.

Here's the complete P'burg schedule:

Dec. 19-20 -- at Beast of the East Tournament in Newark, Del.
Dec. 22 -- West Morris
Dec. 23 -- Voorhees
Dec. 28-29 -- at Bethlehem (Pa.) Holiday Classic (Liberty High School)
Jan. 2 -- Northampton (Pa.)
Jan. 6 -- at Parkland (Pa.)
Jan. 7 -- Raritan
Jan. 9 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament (at Hunterdon Central)
Jan. 13 -- Delaware Valley
Jan. 14 -- Howell
Jan. 16 -- at Easton (Pa.)
Jan. 20 -- at Bound Brook
Jan. 21 -- North Hunterdon
Jan. 23 -- at High Point
Jan. 27 -- at Hunterdon Central
Jan. 29 -- at Warren Hills
Jan. 30 -- Southern
Feb. 3 -- at Kittatinny
Feb. 4 -- Lenape Valley
Feb. 6 -- at Hanover Park
Feb. 10 -- Sectional semifinals
Feb. 12 -- Sectional finals
Feb. 14 -- Group championships at Toms River North
Feb. 19-20 -- District 1 Tournament at Warren Hills
Feb. 24, 26-27 -- Region 1 Tournament at Wallkill Valley
March 4-6 -- State Tournament at Atlantic City

Note: Bold indicates Skyland Conference Raritan Division matches.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Field hockey: Kerr to resign as Warren Hills coach

There's something to be said for going out on top.

For Laurie Kerr, the time was right to step down at Warren Hills after 15 seasons guiding one of New Jersey's premier field hockey programs.

"I'm doing it for family reasons," Kerr said during a phone conversation on Saturday evening. "I told the team [I was stepping down]."

Laurie Kerr with her team after winning the North 2, Group 3 title.
Kerr, who also stepped down as the girls lacrosse coach, said her resignation has not been made official. All fall coaching positions at the Warren County school per its policy are open, and any new hires will be pending board of education approval. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 9.

Kerr said that assistant coach Josie Potter (nee Schantzenbach), another former standout player for the Streaks and team MVP in 1998, is also resigning from the coaching staff.

Athletic director Pete Lubrecht would not comment on any potential hires or resignations when reached earlier this week.

Warren Hills completed the greatest field hockey season in its history last fall, finishing 23-4 -- a school single-season record for wins -- and capturing both its 12th sectional title and the program's first state title with a thrilling 5-4 overtime win against nemesis Ocean City in the Group 3 final. It's also the first state championship in any female sport for the Blue Streaks.

Kerr, a former star player at Warren Hills and 1987 graduate, turned the program into a state powerhouse during her 15 seasons at the helm. Her teams went 264-71-12 overall and won or shared six Skyland Conference Delaware or Raritan Division titles and the school's only county championships in 2009, '11, '13 and '14.

In addition, the Streaks claimed eight of their 12 sectional titles and appeared the Group 3 finals seven times under Kerr, who surpassed her predecessor and coach Luanne Ferenci (226-101-41 from 1981-99) as the winningest coach in program history.

The Washington/Warren Hills program is 601-250-92 overall in 50 seasons. The 600th win came on Nov. 12, 2014, a 6-1 victory over Northern Highlands in the Group 3 semifinals. A 4-2 loss to Oak Knoll in the school's first Tournament of Champions appearance ended an 11-game win streak.

Warren Hills will sorely miss both Kerr and her six graduating seniors -- Nikki Profita (Rutgers), Jessica Nissen, Sydney Muntone (Drexel), Amanda Crampton (East Stroudsburg University), Amanda Oberly (Southern Connecticut) and Allie Brouhard (Sacred Heart).

Crampton, a stellar defensive player, scored the game-winning goal against Ocean City.

"Those girls have been like my own daughters," Kerr said.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex standings

   (Through Friday's games)

Skyland Conference
Delaware Division
Overall
Division
x-Bridgewater-Raritan
(21-6)
(12-1)
Hunterdon Central
(23-7-1)
(8-4-1)
Immaculata
(15-13)
(8-5)
y-Hillsborough
(12-11)
(6-7)
Watchung Hills
(16-13)
(3-10)
Raritan Division
Overall
Division
x-Ridge
(18-9-1)
(9-3-1)
Montgomery
(15-11)
(8-5)
y-North Hunterdon
(21-9)
(7-6)
Franklin
(5-15)
(2-11)
Phillipsburg
(6-19)
(1-12)
Valley Division
Overall
Division
x-Somerville
(18-9)
(10-0)
Bernards
(21-6)
(7-3)
Delaware Valley
(11-14)
(4-6)
Voorhees
(9-13)
(4-6)
Warren Hills
(9-16)
(3-7)
Rutgers Prep
(9-16)
(2-8)
Mountain Division
Overall
Division
x-Gill St. Bernard's
(21-8)
(10-2)
Pingry
(16-11)
(9-3)
North Plainfield
(11-11)
(8-4)
Belvidere
(14-10)
(7-5)
Bound Brook
(6-15)
(4-8)
South Hunterdon
(6-16)
(4-8)
Manville
(4-14)
(0-12)
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Freedom Division
Overall
Division
x-Hackettstown
(19-6)
(6-2)
High Point
(16-9)
(5-3)
Jefferson
(19-10)
(5-3)
Lenape Valley
(7-14)
(4-4)
Sussex Tech
(8-19)
(0-8)
American Division
Overall
Division
x-Pope John
(16-14)
(6-2)
x-Mount Olive
(21-10)
(6-2)
Morris Hills
(11-18)
(3-5)
Vernon
(10-15)
(3-5)
Sparta
(8-16)
(2-6)
Colonial Division
Overall
Division
x-Wallkill Valley
(12-12)
(6-2)
x-Newton
(11-11)
(6-2)
x-North Warren
(10-12)
(6-2)
Hopatcong
(7-14)
(1-7)
Kittatinny
(3-22)
(1-7)
x-division champion
y-county champion


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Baseball: HWS schedule for May 25-30

Tuesday, May 26


(All games 4 p.m.)

NJSIAA Playoffs

North 2, Group 2

Whippany Park at Hackettstown in semifinals

Central Jersey, Group 4

Freehold Boro at Hunterdon Central in semifinals

Non-Public North A

Pope John at Seton Hall Prep in quarterfinals

Friday, May 29


(Both games 4 p.m.)

NJSIAA Playoffs

North 2, Group 2

Bernards at Hackettstown in championship

Central Jersey, Group 4

Old Bridge at Hunterdon Central in championship

Tuesday, June 2


NJSIAA Playoffs

Public state semifinals, TBD

Saturday, June 6


NJSIAA Playoffs

Public state finals at Toms River, TBD

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex standings

   (Through Wednesday's games)

Skyland Conference
Delaware Division
Overall
Division
x-Bridgewater-Raritan
(21-6)
(12-1)
Hunterdon Central
(21-6-1)
(8-4-1)
Immaculata
(13-11)
(8-5)
Hillsborough
(12-10)
(6-7)
Watchung Hills
(14-12)
(3-10)
Raritan Division
Overall
Division
x-Ridge
(16-7-1)
(9-3-1)
Montgomery
(13-11)
(6-5)
y-North Hunterdon
(21-7)
(7-6)
Franklin
(5-14)
(2-10)
Phillipsburg
(6-18)
(1-11)
Valley Division
Overall
Division
x-Somerville
(16-8)
(10-0)
Bernards
(18-4)
(7-3)
Delaware Valley
(11-14)
(4-6)
Voorhees
(9-13)
(4-6)
Warren Hills
(9-16)
(3-7)
Rutgers Prep
(9-15)
(2-8)
Mountain Division
Overall
Division
x-Gill St. Bernard's
(19-7)
(10-2)
Pingry
(15-10)
(9-3)
North Plainfield
(11-11)
(8-4)
Belvidere
(13-9)
(7-5)
Bound Brook
(6-14)
(4-8)
South Hunterdon
(6-15)
(4-8)
Manville
(4-14)
(0-12)
Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference
Freedom Division
Overall
Division
x-Hackettstown
(17-5)
(6-2)
High Point
(16-9)
(5-3)
Jefferson
(18-9)
(5-3)
Lenape Valley
(7-14)
(4-4)
Sussex Tech
(8-19)
(0-8)
American Division
Overall
Division
x-Pope John
(16-12)
(6-2)
x-Mount Olive
(19-9)
(6-2)
Morris Hills
(11-16)
(3-5)
Vernon
(10-15)
(3-5)
Sparta
(8-15)
(2-6)
Colonial Division
Overall
Division
x-Wallkill Valley
(12-11)
(6-2)
x-Newton
(11-11)
(6-2)
x-North Warren
(9-12)
(6-2)
Hopatcong
(7-13)
(1-7)
Kittatinny
(3-22)
(1-7)
x-division champion
y-county champion