It’s more than a rivalry this time around. For the first time in recent years, the midseasonmatch up between Brick Memorial and Brick Township high schools slated for Jan. 11 at the Ocean Ice Palace pitted two teams enjoying great starts that are likely to qualify for the NJSIAA Tournament.
Both made it last year and ended their seasons in the NJSIAA Public School quarterfinals. But the solid start by both teams make it a likely bet that they will return this year, which adds some bite to the cross-town showdown.
“The boys have a lot of hustle and are working together as a team,” said Brick Township coach Bob Auriemma, whose team came into the week with a 7-0-2 mark. “They need to stay out of the penalty box and play solid defense.”
Brick Township’s Green Dragons remained unbeaten after a 3-3 tie against Red Bank Catholic on Jan. 8. Red Bank scored the equalizer in the final minute. The Dragons walloped Toms River East, 11-1, earlier last week.
They succeed with the reliable goaltending of Ed Rafferty and Dylan Beaver, who are alternating starts in the nets, and the balanced scoring of Ryan Graf, Connor Noonan, Mike Auriemma, Brendan Dowd and Matt Gumina and defensemen Patrick Kearns, Brian Murphy and Tyler Martin. Graf has been playing with a bruised knee.
Brick Memorial, meanwhile, comes into the week with an 8-3 record that includes a 4- 3 victory over Middletown South, the team that beat the Mustangs in the Handchen Cup finals by the same 4-3 score last season.
“I think we’re playing pretty good hockey,” coach Chip Bruce said. “We played pretty well defensively against Middletown South. I’m pleased with where we are.”
Adam Person scored with :16 left in the second period for a 4-2 lead over Middletown South. Anthony Lobianco scored his teamleading 16th goal, and Sean Hogan connected for his first of two goals for a 2-0 first-period lead. Middletown South pulled to 2-1 before Hogan struck again with less than two minutes left for a 3-1 lead. Middletown South made it 3-2 when Person struck for his key goal. Kevin Talty made 26 saves and has been steady in goal with defensive support from Jason Franceschini and Tom Lindquist.
“The boys are ready,” said Bruce, whose team is off after Monday’s game until next Monday afternoon, when they host Toms River East. “If we play good solid hockey for three periods, we do well.”
There were times in the past when the Mustangs had lapses that left them shorthanded in breakouts by opposing teams and costly penalties in losses. But the Mustangs have minimized those problems and have won their last three games.
Dan Rackliffe at 76 pounds and Cliff Ruggiero at 122 pounds pinned both of their opponents as Brick Recreation Mat Rats I swept Bayshore Youth Athletic Association I, 53- 39, and Hazlet, 70-24, in recent Jersey Shore Junior League action.
Kyle Marino (72 pounds) scored a pin and a major decision, and Brian Alexander (56), Jon Ghione (68), Jack Baker (80), Rob Ruggiero (130), Nick Costa (150) and heavyweight Nick Zbranak each included a pin in two wins. Christian Caselli (100) won by a technical fall and a decision in his two matches as Mat Rats I stretched its unbeaten record to 8-0. Joe Ghione (95) decisioned his two opponents.
Mat Rats II split its two matches, beating Hazlet, 51-38, and losing to BYAA I, 67-32, to go to 6-3. Eric Romano (76) pinned both opponents while Kadin Hickman (56) and Logan Sprague (80) each included a pin in two wins. Dean Sherry won his two bouts by a pin and a technical fall. Conner Mulligan (90), Matt Lyon (100) and Ryan Jachim (114) each won by a pair of decisions.
Mat Rats II lost to Ocean, 60-36, and beat Rumson, 78-24, to go to 6-3 as Matt Schleifer pinned both of his opponents.
— Wayne Witkowski
Devin Biscaha, a District 21 runner-up and fourthplace finisher in Region 6 last year, was ready for his most important challenge at 152 pounds for Jackson Memorial High School’s wrestling team.
“He’s been very tough this year and been battling through an injury and doing a great job,” said Jackson Memorial wrestling coach Doug Winstanley, after Biscaha scored a first-period takedown and a third-period reversal to beat Alex Guarino, 4-0, in their 152-pound bout.
The win clinched the Jaguars’ 36-19 victory over two-time defending NJSIAA Group IV champion Brick Memorial on Jan. 9 at Jackson.
Dallas Winston, an unbeaten sophomore, won his sixth bout via pin to start off the evening at 171, and Drew Murphy pulled out a 4-2 overtime victory over Brian McCrossan at 189 as Jackson Memorial won six of its first seven bouts, a streak disrupted by a pin when Brick Memorial 215-pounder Bill Miller won by a pin at 3:08.
That eventually brought up the lighter weights, as freshmen Brian Hamann (103), who is 8-3, and Spencer Young (119), who is 8-2 on the season, and Mike Shupin (112) won by major decisions for Jackson Memorial, before D.J. Santos led a Brick Memorial comeback at 125 pounds with a 10-5 decision over Brad Royle. Santos is 10-3.
Jackson’s B.J. Young, a senior who is Spencer’s older brother, got a big win that slowed Brick Memorial’s comeback when he handed Jake Vescovi his second loss in only 13 outings at 135 pounds.
Unbeaten defending state champion Mike Morales of Brick Memorial won an 11-2 major decision over James Updyke for his 12th victory to cut Jackson Memorial’s lead to 28-19 and set the scene for Biscaha.
Brick Township High School, meanwhile, slipped to 1-3 on the season when it lost to Toms River High School South, 35-30. Evan Tarver won by technical fall at 215 pounds, and heavyweight Justin Aeling got a pin in the final two bouts to lift Toms River South (4-1) in a Shore Conference A South match.
Brick Township had taken a 28-24 lead when Dan Brennan (160) won by decision, Vic Rivera (171) got a pin, and Jesse Lyon (189) pulled out an overtime victory.
Ricky Bandejas (119) got a pin in :48 to raise his record to 8-1, while Connor Brennan remained unbeaten in 10 bouts at 140.
Brick Memorial High School’s Peter Kellner expected to be “in the top two” in the 500-yard freestyle at the Jan. 9 Ocean County swim championships at the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River.
That prediction didn’t leave much wiggle room. But Kellner left little doubt as he won the 500 in a school record 4:53, decisively smashing his own previous mark of 5:01.
“He was just consistent all the way through,” Brick Memorial boys coach Don McCarrick said. “I feel good for him that he realized training pays off.”
McCarrick’s sophomore star was pressed by a swimmer from Toms River High School North, who led through the first half of the race before Kellner won by a six-second margin.
And it didn’t stop there. Kellner came in second in the 100-yard breaststroke in :58.02, two seconds off the winning time. What made that all the more impressive was that Kellner had raced the last heat in the individual medley and then the fourth heat in the backstroke, so he didn’t have much time to rest.
Zack Milko was sixth in the 100 butterfly in :58.7. Both swimmers swam the opening legs in the medley relay that finished fourth, along with Jay Spiegel and Tom Vroman. McCarrick also praised the efforts of distance freestylers Nick Brown and Tim Choma.
As for Brick Township High School’s boys team, Tyler Huizing was second in the individual medley in 2:03.74 and second in the butterfly in :55.93, both personal best times.Nick Essington was third in the 200 freestyle in 1:57.98 and fifth in the 500 in 4:58.23. His brother Matt was third in the 100 free in a personal best :51.25 and also placed in the 50 as the Green Dragons placed eighth in the team standings.
“They all swam very well and dropped their times, with 25 of 28 having their best times,” coach Barbara Floyd said.
She also praised Andrew Bajor with a fine 1:11.97 in the backstroke and Kon Goulas with a 1:02.57 time in the 100 free.A
s for the girls, Brick Memorial’s Sonya Pearce broke the school record in the 50 free with a :26.43 that tied her for third place. She was seventh in the 100 free in :58.35, just two hundredths of a second off the school record.
Pearce also swam the butterfly on the medley relay that finished eighth in 2:09.14, just one hundredth of a second off the school record.
Abby Wulfekotte led it off in the backstroke, her sister Jesse anchored in the freestyle, and Shanna Rodgers swam the breaststroke.
Rodgers was ninth in the 500 free in 6:07.95. She swam on the 200 free relay with the Wulfekotte sisters and Pearce that clocked a school record 1:52.51. That time was good for sixth place, but the team was later disqualified because of movement on the starting block.
“I thought the girls did a really nice job, one of their best showings in the last five years,” coach Todd Estelle said.
Estelle praised the efforts of Deanna Amodeo (1:21.47) and Jessica Urciuoli (1:21.77) in the butterfly and Kim Rusoff (1:34.43) in the backstroke. Jesse Wulkekotte clocked a :27.98 in the 50 free that qualified her for the Shore Conference championships next month in that event.
BRICK TOWNSHIP — The Huizing twins, juniors on Brick Township High School’s girls and boys swim teams, are looking forward to competing in the Ocean County championships at the YMCA this weekend.
The boys will swim at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9 and the girls at 3 p.m. on Jan. 10.
Kaitlyn Huizing will compete in the backstroke and 500-yard freestyle events. She qualified for both events based on her time for the Shore Conference championships that take place next month, as well as in the butterfly, 50 freestyle, 200 free and individual medley.
“I love to swim those events,” she said.
Kaitlyn swam the backstroke and 500 free in the county meet last year and placed in both. “I hope to better my times, and in backstroke I want to get my time under 1:06.”
Her brother Tyler is the defending county champion in the distance medley, with a time of 2:07, and has swum it only once this season, clocking a 2:10. Tyler is close to the school record in the individual medley and has qualified for the Shore Conference meet in that event as well as the butterfly, 50 freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke.
Tyler will also swim the butterfly event in the county meet, where he is getting close to the state championships cutoff time of :55.21 for qualifying with a :56 season best.
Both also will swim for their school teams’ medley relays, while Kaitlyn will swim the 4×50 relay and Tyler the 4×100.
Both also swim for the Ocean County YMCA club team. They’ll be rooting for each other this weekend.
“We’re always cheering for each other at races,” Kaitlyn said. “Our entire team comes out to cheer for everyone [on the boys team].”
And does Tyler, who is nine minutes older than his sister, give advice?
“Not really. Sometimes,” he said with a laugh. “He’s ready,” Kaitlyn said of her brother and the county meet.
“She should be in the top 10 in her events, at least,” Tyler said.
No pressure there.
They carry the hopes for their respective teams for a competitive showing in the county meet, despite their teams’ winless starts in dual
“We have 10 to 15 best times per meet. They’re not qualifying times, but they’re dropping times, and that’s good,” said first-year Brick Township High School girls coach Darren St. Jean.
“We have a lot of new freshmen, and they never swam, but all their times are improving, and that’s great,” Kaitlyn said.
Also qualifying for the Shore Conference championships and carrying high hopes in the county girls meet are junior Jess Joseph and sophomore Mikayla Serafin.
Joseph has qualified for the Shore Conference championships in the breaststroke and has the 500 free qualifying time within reach. She’ll swim the 50 freestyle and the breaststroke in the county meet. Serafin qualified in the individual medley and is close to qualifying in the breaststroke and will swim both in the county meet.
Senior Sam Sabo is another valuable contributor in the medley relay and 200 freestyle relays that are expected to pick up some points.
Kaitlyn will start in the backstroke in the medley relay, followed by Joseph in the breaststroke, Serafin in the butterfly and Sabo as freestyle anchor. The order changes in the 200 free relay, where Joseph leads off, followed by Serafin, Sabo and Huizing as the anchor.
St. Jean also praised Tiffeny Ring for giving the team some depth in the butterfly and sprint freestyles.
As for the boys’ team, Tyler Huizing and the Essington brothers, Matt, a senior, and Nick, a junior, are the only swimmers with ample experience from last year’s team that had 11 seniors. The graduated standouts include Travis Spier, Josh Lyons, Mike Bange, John McQuilken, Mike Neigel, Pat Schaefer and Colin Crilley.
This year’s roster carries 17 swimmers, 12 fewer than last year and the lowest since the 2006 season, when it had 16 on the roster.
“We’re off to a slow start but we’re not swimming badly,” coach Barbara Floyd said. “It’s a very young team. The guys are improving individually and swimming well. In our first meet, we had 42 best times, and in the second meet the number was in the 30s and then 22 in the third meet.”
“All the guys we have are swimming better times than last year,” Tyler said.
Along with Huizing, the Essingtons qualified for the Shore Conference championships in a good number of events. Matt is six-tenths of a second away from the school record in the 50 free and qualified for the Shore Conference meet in that event as well as the 100 and 200 freestyles, the individual medley, backstroke and breaststroke. Nick qualified for the Shore Conference meet in the distance freestyles, the butterfly, breaststroke and individual medley.
Matt will swim the backstroke and 100 free in the county meet, and Nick will swim the distance freestyles.
Three juniors provide the bulk of the depth — Andrew Bajor in the backstroke and individual medley, and Brandon Gardner and Michael Delpome in the butterfly and individual medley. Sophomore Brian Mayer is at his best in the sprint freestyles.
“After that, we’re pretty young with nobody really standing out, but we’re coming along,” Floyd said.
BRICK TOWNSHIP — Peter Kellner of Brick Memorial High School’s boys swim team will be in familiar surroundings when he competes for the Mustangs in the Ocean County championships at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.
The girls compete at 3 p.m. on Sunday, with Brick Memorial senior co-captains Sonya Pearce in the sprint freestyles and Shanna Rodgers in the distance freestyle events leading the way.
Kellner exudes confidence as he looks to surpass last year’s third-place finish in the 500 freestyle for the boys team.
“I’m looking to be at least in the top two in the 500 freestyle and the top three in the 100 backstroke,” the talented sophomore said.K
ellner set a school record 5:01 in the 500 freestyle in a dual meet against Jackson Memorial High School before the Christmas break, the only time he was pressed in that event all season. And he has a season-best :58.2 in the backstroke that puts him in the company of the top contenders. Both times, he easily made the cut for the Shore Conference championships coming up in March.
And Kellner will be swimming at the same pool where he competes for the Ocean County YMCA team. He qualified for the state Y championships in March in the 100 and 200 butterfly events, the 200 backstroke, and the 200 and 500 freestyle events.
“That program helped me get ready for this season because of all the dry-land work we did beforehand,” Kellner said.
“He’s one of the top six in the 500 in the county,” Brick Memorial coach Don McCarrick said. “He’s maturing physically and has a great attitude toward the sport. He could be a [NCAA] Division I prospect.”
Zack Milko, another Brick Memorial sophomore with experience as a year-round swimmer with the Atlantic Club team, has qualified for the Shore Conference meet with a 1:01 time in the butterfly and a 2:12 in the individual medley. Milko and Kellner will swim on the medley and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Kellner also is excited about his high school teammates, who have performed better than the 3-2 record in dual meets thus far would indicate. The team is rebuilding from last year, when it had its first winning season at 8-3.
“Things are going pretty well, which shows what kind of team we have,” said McCarrick, whose team’s only losses so far were to defending Ocean County champion Toms River High School South and a close loss to Jackson Memorial High School.
“I’m just happy with how we’re doing, because we lost so many seniors from last year,” Kellner said. “But I’m not surprised.
We were confident going into the season.”
Certainly, there is a dedicated supporting cast inspired by the team’s success last season.
“That gave them reason to work harder,” McCarrick said. “Success breeds success. They want to continue to do well. Our top guys set the example and give them the others the push to want to do that.”
Four seniors share the captain role. Nick Brow is a distance freestyler, Chris Pionegro qualified for the Shore Conference meet in the butterfly, Jay Spiegel qualified in both sprint freestyles, and Tom Vroman qualified in the breaststroke.
Tim Choma, a junior, qualified for the Shore Conference in the 500 free and can help in the distance events on Saturday.
“He grinds it out,” McCarrick said. “He always gets points for the team.”
Pat Brow, Nick’s brother, swims the sprint freestyles and the breaststroke. Pat Vaughn, a junior, swims the individual medley and the breaststroke.
“We lost 12 from last year’s team, but we have 11 juniors this year who will be coming back,” the coach said.
As for Brick Memorial’s girls, who are off to a 2-4 start in dual meets, Pearce and Rodgers each qualified for the Shore Conference meet in their two freestyles. They also will be the key for the Mustang girls in the county meet on Sunday in the medley and 200 freestyle relays, along with sisters Abby and Jesse Wulfekotte. Abby is a senior and Jesse is a junior.
“The thing is, their times have kept going down,” coach Todd Estelle said.
Kim Rusoff, a senior, swims the breaststroke and also is on the 400 freestyle relay with senior Stevie Schipani, junior Jessica Urciuoli and sophomore Jessica Dow.
DeAnne Hahn of Brick is revamping her style in the shot put as she trains for the start of the indoor track and field season at the University of Minnesota.
“I’ve switched to a spin (move),” said Hahn, whose glide move in high school rated her among the best in the nation and a perennial Meet of Champions medalist. “In practice, I’m hitting anywhere from 40 to 50 feet. I just started working on it in October.”
The new move takes some of the strain off her knees, she said.
“It’s brand new, but I’m not expecting a miracle,” Hahn said.
She will put it to the test in her first indoor meet Jan. 9, a four-team invitational at Minnnesota. It’s the only meet until the Big 10 championships in March.
“By outdoors, I’m hoping to throw in the 50s,” Hahn said. “The farthest I’ve thrown was 48-11, and that was gliding. Hopefully this will put a lot less stress on my body. I see better things coming from spinning than gliding.”
Although Hahn had her quietest indoor season of her career as a freshman at the University of Minnesota, she started recapturing the spotlight by the outdoor season last spring.
In the Big 10 championships, Hahn was third in the hammer throw with a measure of 176 feet, 6 inches, which put her 3 feet away from second place. She hit the best throw on her second attempt in the preliminaries. It was short of her 181-foot measure earlier this season that put her in sixth place on the all-time list at Minnesota.
“I felt good,” Hahn said. “It was a pretty decent throw.”
She also got the last medal spot in the shot put with an eighth-place distance of 46-6. In the discus, Hahn threw 137-1 for 13th place, leaving her short of reaching the final round.
Hahn’s efforts helped Minnesota finish in third place in the team championships. In the Midwest Region of the NCAA championships at the University of Oklahoma, Hahn fell short of advancing in the hammer throw with a 165-7 best for the day and in the shot put where she got off a fine throw of 46-9½.
Now, she is getting ready for the weight throw, an 8.8-pound weight on a metal trianglewith two chain links. Then, she gets ready for the outdoor season for the shot put and hammer throw, which has become her favorite event, as she had expected after graduating from high school.
Her interest in the hammer throw has prompted her to abandon the discus that she competed in for Minnesota last spring and where she perennially ranked among New Jersey’s high school elite outdoors. The hammer is a 20-pound weight on a 2-foot wire.
“You have to have a stronger back, a stronger core and tighter turns,” said Hahn, who remembers her high school days when her strength helped her get off some explosive throws in the shot put that electrified the crowds at the state meets.
She credits her development in the shot put to the coaching staff at Minnesota.
“(Bill) Brunner (her coach at Brick Township High School) was great and helped me get over the humps,” Hahn said. “I miss him so much. But here, I have a throwing coach and a weightlifting coach. I can’t ask for a better staff to help me move on to the next level.”
Kyle Marino pinned both opponents at 72 pounds, while Dan Rackliffe at 78 pounds, Brian Matthews at 107 and heavyweight Nick Zbranak raised their records to 60 as the unbeaten Brick Recreation Mat Rats I swept both matches in the Jersey Shore Junior Wrestling League at Stafford.
The double-dual meet was rescheduled from last month because of a scheduling conflict with Ocean County middle school wrestling teams competing in a major meet.
All three unbeaten wrestlers each had one pin as Mat Rats I beat Stafford I, 58- 26, and Barnegat, 81-15.
Jon Ghione (68) and Rob Ruggiero (130) each had a pin included in two wins.
Brian Alexander (56), Joe Ferigne (60), Joe Ghione (65), Cliff Ruggiero (122), Rob Triano (140) and Nick Costa (150) each won two bouts by decision. Joe Ghione, Cliff Ruggiero and Triano are 6-0.
Mat Rats II, meanwhile, beat Barnegat, 62-33, and lost to Stafford, 58-40, to slip to 4-2 on the season as Bill Breen (60) and Ryan Jachim (114) each had two pins. Kyle Wojtazzek (90) had a pin and a major decision. Alec Donovan (107) had one pin while Eric Romano (76) and Dan Sherry (95) each won two decisions.
Mat Rats I and II will host BYAA I and Hazlet, and Brick II will wrestle Ocean and Rumson at Colts Neck starting at 9 a.m. Jan. 9.
— Wayne Witkowski
BRICK TOWNSHIP — It’s early for Brick Memorial High School girls basketball coach Rayna Post to get a reliable reading, especially with the havoc of postponements from the snowy weather during the first two weeks of the basketball season.
But Post is encouraged with what she has seen so far, despite her team’s 2-2 start.
“Jackie Caravella and Stephanie Fish are doing a good job doubling in the post and getting rebounds,” Post said. “When they do a good job of that, we do well. If not, it affects our game. It’ll come.”
What the Mustangs miss in their veteran lineup from last year that went all the way to the NJSIAA Group IV Central Jersey semifinals is the outside touch of Kathyrn Lamastra. Lamastra is now at Montclair State University, where she has scored 10 points in four games played for the 7-5 Red Hawks coming into this week.
“I think we’re doing OK,” said Post. “In our conference [Shore Conference A South], there are no easy games. We’re just missing some of that outside shooting we got from Kathryn Lamastra stepping up.”
But Post praised the “nice job” Kristen Brown has done running the offense at the point.
The Mustangs showed balance in their season-opener one-point victory over Toms River High School South, with three players hitting double figures.
Brick Memorial lost two games in its own holiday tournament against Mater Dei and Hunterdon Central, along with a victory in the tournament over Monroe. The title game was postponed because of the weather, but Mater Dei was declared tournament champion because of its record.
“Jessica Ball also is doing it in some games with rebounds and some points,” Post said. “It’s a good core group. They’re on or they’re off; there’s no in-between.”
As for the boys’ team, Brick Memorial lost in the finals of the WOBM Classic for the second straight year, this time to Shore ConferenceASouth rival Jackson Memorial High School, 57-43, on Dec. 30. Ironically, both teams were slated to resume their schedule after the holidays in a head-to-head game on Jan. 4 at Jackson.
Joe Perri scored 12 points, and he and Alex Sliazis were selected from Brick Memorial (4-1) for the WOBM All-Tournament team.
Jackson Memorial (4-1) coach Joe Fagan said after the game that it was “by far our best game of the season.” The team took control in the second quarter, when it widened its 15-11 lead to 31-18.
Brick Memorial coach Ed Sarluca faulted his team’s defense in the first half.
“We didn’t come out the way we wanted, and [Jackson Memorial] did a good job of getting their shots,” Sarluca said.