Redbirds fall short in pursuit of return to state football finals

ALLENTOWN

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Having two 1,000-yard rushers in quarterback Jordan Winston and halfback Joe Mannino running behind a line of second-year starting linemen and a defense with the No. 2 tackler in the state sounds like ingredients for a championship season.

But Allentown High School’s football team fell one game shy of returning to an NJSIAA sectional championship when Brick Memorial High School (9-2) hammered out a 28-7 victory Nov. 20 in the Central Jersey, Group IV semifinals.

“They were tough. They ran their offense extremely well,” Allentown coach Jay Graber said of Brick Memorial’s team that ended Allentown’s season at 6-5. “Our line played OK against them — two or three mistakes that hurt us in the end. We did one or two things out of character. We lost our discipline on one play. When you go into a game like that, it comes down to two or three big plays.”

Allentown struck first, but the Mustangs got touchdowns from Tony Thorpe on consecutive plays and a 23-yard scoring pass as time expired in the first half to give the Mustangs a significant lead en route to securing a spot in the championship game against Jackson Memorial High School at High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University Dec. 5.

Allentown reached the South Jersey, Group III finals last year, losing in overtime to Delsea Regional High School, 42-35.

This year, the Redbirds scored first against Brick Memorial on a 3-yard touchdown run by Ricky Mottram on his only carry of the game before Thorpe scored on a fumble recovery and a 33-yard run. A 23-yard touchdown pass from Tim Santiago to Elie Lavarin made it 21-7. Santiago added a 3- yard rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 28-7.

Winston rushed for 108 yards, while Mottram had 18 tackles in the game against Brick Memorial’s triple option offense, positioning him for second place in the state in tackles. On the season, Mottram had 101 tackles and 42 assists for 143 total tackles — an average of 13 tackles a game. “I can’t say enough about him,” Graber said of Mottram, who returns for one more season along with Winston, Mannino and Aydon Chavis in the backfield.

Winston rushed for 1,676 yards and 17 touchdowns, and Mannino rushed for 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns. Linemen Joe Pritchard, Matt Schreck, Ian Grant and Dan Whalen graduate along with wide receivers Shane Duffy, Matt Hahn, Brett Masci and Rob Mc- Clees and defensive secondary standout Samir Queen, who had a team-best four interceptions. Kicker Matt Fritsky also graduates.

“I thought our line did well. We ran for a lot of yards and controlled the line of scrimmage,” Graber said. “But I thought we had inconsistencies. We played a lot of good teams, and I thought we could play better against some of the tougher teams.”

Allentown was outscored, 342-302, as its defense struggled at times, but its offense broke loose for a wild 81-56 victory over West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North Sept. 18.

Graber said returning players need to remain committed in the weight room and in offseason conditioning as the first step to ironing out mistakes.

“I think our players were upset how the last game went. We played better than the score showed,” Graber said. “They have to be hungry to get into the weight room and do what they have to do to get to the point of doing well.”

Less than a week after the season ended, Graber, as boys basketball coach, was in the gym running tryouts for a large turnout of candidates for a team that lost only four players to graduation last spring.

“A large group of kids came really prepared. A lot of guys came in shape,” he said.

The team has its first scrimmage Dec. 9 at Trenton Catholic Academy.

Although many players return, Graber was noncommittal about where many of them stood for the season ahead until after tryouts were completed.

Dan Bascara, Austin Moy, Hal Shaw and Xavier Roldan graduated, but Hunter Gerling is back and a handful of other players are primed to return from last season, including seniors Bekim Nikovic, a 6-foot-2 swing player, and guard Matt Blazier, as well as junior guard Nahshon Taylor.

Monmouth’s Robinson named National Player of the Week

It’s been a historic season for the Monmouth University men’s basketball team, and December is just beginning.

During the month of November, Monmouth stunned national power UCLA on the Bruins’ legendary home floor, Pauley Pavilion.

The Hawks followed that up at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, by scoring their first victory over a top-25 team when they beat the University of Notre Dame in the quarterfinals Nov. 27.

Monmouth went on to place third in the tournament, defeating the University of Southern California, 83-73, in the consolation game Nov. 29. It was their second win against a Pac-12 team (after UCLA) this year.

Tournament Most Valuable Player Justin Robinson scored 27 points and set a tourney scoring record with his 77 total points in the three games. Robinson’s scoring output topped the record of 73 points set by former NBA first-round pick Michael Beasley in 2007 while playing for Kansas State University.

In addition to being the tournament MVP, Robinson was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Player of the Week and the Lou Jenson National Player of the Week by CollegeInsider.com. Micah Seaborn earned MAAC Rookie of the Week honors. The pair was integral in Monmouth’s third-place finish at the AdvoCare Invitational.

Robinson hit the game-winning free throws in Monmouth’s 72-71 win over No. 17 Notre Dame in the tournament quarterfinals.

Against USC, Robinson finished with 27 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three assists. He shot 9-of-15 from the floor and knocked home five 3-pointers for the second consecutive game.

Seaborn netted a career-high 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, making four threes for the first time in his young career.

Deon Jones added his fifth career double double with 14 points and 10 caroms, shooting 4-of-11 and 6-of-7 from the foul line.

Monmouth, now 4-2 on the season, will open MAAC play on the road Dec. 4, visiting Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and then Niagara University Dec. 6.

The Hawks’ first home game is Dec. 13 against Wagner College and will be televised on ESPN3. The tipoff is at 2 p.m.

Monmouth will not return home to West Long Branch until 2016 when the Hawks will host Canisius and Quinnipiac University on Jan. 4 and 9.

SPORT SHORTS

The Board of Directors of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey elected Mark Ford as its president at a reorganization meeting held Nov. 16 at the association’s offices in Manalapan.

Ford, one of the leading trainers in Meadowlands history, owns and operates the Mark Ford Training Center. He fills the position occupied for more than a dozen years by Thomas Luchento.

“We made tremendous gains while Tom was president,” Ford said in a prepared statement. “And we will redouble our efforts to expand racing opportunities in New Jersey, pushing ahead with plans for an expanded gaming referendum in 2016. We thank Tom Luchento for his leadership and know he will continue to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors.”

In the election of other officers, Mark Mullen was named first vice president, Robert Boni second vice president, Chris Ryder third vice president, Alfred Ochsner Jr. treasurer and Anthony Romano secretary.

New Jersey’s two harness tracks — the Meadowlands and Freehold Raceway — have been awarded a combined 200 racing dates for 2016.

The dates were approved at the New Jersey Racing Commission meeting Nov. 18 in Trenton.

Mark Ford, attending his first commission meeting as president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ), advised the commission that the SBOANJ was reluctantly accepting the Meadowlands dates as an experiment for 2016.

“We are concerned about losing dates in January and February and replacing them with September and October dates,” Ford said.

The Meadowlands requested 90 dates, Fridays and Saturdays only (plus Sunday, May 8), from Jan. 2 through Aug. 6 and from Sept. 9 through Dec. 31 (dark on Dec. 24]. Post time is 7 p.m.

Freehold received 110 dates, racing Jan. 1 through May 21 plus Aug. 26 and 27, and Sept. 2 through Dec. 10. Racing days will be Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays plus three holidays on Mondays — Jan. 18, Feb. 15 and Sept. 5. Dark days are Sept. 1 and Nov. 24. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

Items for the Sport Shorts column may be sent to tmorris@gmnews.com. Please send items at least two weeks prior to a registration deadline or tryout date.

Ravens ice hockey will depend on defense as scoring develops

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Three players graduated from last year’s Allentown-Robbinsville high school ice hockey team (10-9) that lost in the opening round of the NJSIAA tournament to Freehold Township High School, but the remaining players return for what looks to be a stronger season in 2015-16.

“We need more scoring than last year,” said Dan Bergan, head coach for all 10 years Robbinsville has played, including its merger with Allentown as a co-op team in 2011-12. “We need to continue to have strong goaltending. Our defensive group should be solid for us this year.”

The Ravens, who have qualified for the state tournament all but their first season, play their first four games at Mercer County Park, starting at 8 p.m. Nov. 30 against Ocean Township High School. They follow Dec. 3 (6 p.m.) against West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North and Dec. 4 (3:30 p.m.) against Wall High School. The schedule is peppered with top 20 caliber teams in Montclair High School, Kinnelon High School, Wall, Roxbury High School, Governor Livingston High School, Monroe Township High School, River Dell Regional High School, Paramus High School and Edison High School.

Playing in the Colonial Valley Conference Colonial Division, the Ravens scrimmaged Nov. 18 against Princeton High School and jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Bergan then gave his bench players opportune playing time while holding on for a 6-5 victory.

“We have a mix of forwards this year that remain relatively intact other than the major losses of Anthony Pluchino and Dom Rubino to graduation,” Bergan said. Pluchino is playing club hockey at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and defenseman Jim Kenna is the other significant graduate. “While most high school teams run in four-year cycles, we have been fortunate to be able to have a sustained run moving forward for seven consecutive seasons before hitting a reload season in 2014-15. With the graduation of the three important seniors, we are looking for incremental progress for the 2015-16 campaign.”

Captain John Francis, one of five seniors on the team, will anchor the offense with support from seniors Matt Kalczynski and Ben Solomon, who is a student at Allentown. Bergan looks to junior Shawn Camisa taking on the big role as the go-to scorer this season, while junior Aidan Fredericks of Allentown is expected to emerge as an important contributor after developing in the Ravens’ system the past two years. Josh Rosenbaum brings many seasons of travel hockey experience, while Joe Pontrelli got ample experience as a freshman last season.

Brian Eider, a sophomore from Allentown, is looking to anchor his own line this season and become a major cog on the forward lines, Bergan said.

The other forwards include Liam Hartmann, a freshman from Allentown who has shown good skill, while sophomore tryouts Andrew Laurits of Allentown and Matt LaPreta show a lot of promise despite being inexperienced skaters, Bergan said.

Freshman Frankie Marra also could earn minutes from the start.

Senior Joey Nolan and junior Nick Koch, both from Allentown, shared most of the minutes in goal last season and are ready to compete for the starting job, while sophomore Luke Young and freshman Justin Cooper are backups being primed for the future.

They’re supported by a defense that remains solid, despite the loss of Kenna, behind senior John Martin, who Bergan said is coming on very strong in every way as a leading All-Colonial Valley Conference All-Star candidate. Ryan Van Duren stepped in during his first season and played major minutes as a freshman last season.

“He has developed into a force at the blue line,” said Bergan, who also believes sophomore David Canizares has made big strides over the offseason to play a dependable role.

Newcomer Ryan D’Auria of Allentown has the size and work ethic to be a force on defense. Freshman Daniel Simone shows potential to contribute down the road.

Joining Bergan on the bench are assistant coaches Mark Phillips, who has coached all 10 seasons with Bergan; Dan Greb, who is coaching his eighth season; Dennis Green, who is coaching his seventh season; and Connor Given and Richie Flocco, who are starting their second seasons.

After a 4-20 debut season, the Ravens have gone 113-62-14, winning two Patriot, two Colonial and one Valley Division championship over the last eight years and suited up three CVC Players of the Year, including Allentown’s Logan Fredericks. The Ravens’ defining moment came in the 2013 NJSIAA Tournament quarterfinals when they took perennial power Randolph High School into overtime before losing, 3-2.

Brookdale women win 3rd straight NJCAA soccer title

By TIM MORRIS
Staff Writer

All that was left for head coach Katie Miller to do was admire what unfolded on the soccer pitch. Her Brookdale Community College women’s soccer team played flawlessly, just as she had envisioned all year.

In the semifinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Division III National Championship Tournament at Ocean County College in Toms River, the Jersey Blues, who looked to make junior college women’s soccer history, turned in their greatest performance of the season against SUNY Broome Community College.

“The team truly came together on Nov. 13,” she said about the semifinal game. “They played the way I wanted them to play all year.

“Everybody had a part in it. We owned the midfield. We won every 50/50. No one gave up on anything. The defense was great. [Goalkeeper] Marti [Stewart] made a huge save. Broome didn’t know how to mark us. It was a team effort through and through.”

Stewart (Marlboro), who had the best seat on the field, agreed with her coach’s assessment of the game.

“It was exactly the way coach Miller wanted us to play,” she said. “Everybody played their best game. It was great seeing them attack everything.”

Ashley Cafarella (Old Bridge) and Brianna Penix (Ocean Township) led the midfield charge that owned the 50/50 balls. The defense really clicked in Toms River with sweeper Michelle Montefinese (Monmouth Regional), stopper Colleen Branagan (Matawan), Meredith Parleman (Middletown North) and Alexandra Montefinese (Monmouth Regional) clearing everything, and what did get through was smothered by Stewart. The Jersey Blues did not allow a single goal in the tournament.

Speedy Heather Arbachesky (Wall) and Aubrey Jones (Manasquan) were the players Broome didn’t know how to mark.

Brookdale beat Broome, 3-0, and carried its near-perfect play over to the championship match Nov. 15 against Oxford College of Emory University.

A header off a corner kick in the 74th minute was all the Jersey Blues needed to win the match, 1-0, and capture a record-setting third consecutive national championship — an unprecedented achievement in junior college women’s soccer.

“That’s ridiculous,” Miller said. “I’m so proud of this team. They never gave up on each other.

“They’re such a close team. This team made a commitment back in August, and it’s great to see their hard work rewarded.”

Stewart, a sophomore who picked up her second national championship ring to go with last year’s, said the team was motivated by the opportunity it had to make history.

“That drove us,” she said. “There was so much to play for.”

Fittingly, the championship-winning goal came off a play the Jersey Blues spend a lot of time working on: a corner kick.

Miller spends the early practices in the summer looking to see which players are aggressive going up for the ball. They’re the ones who will be placed in front of the goal. She then looks to her midfielders to see the players best suited to make the long kick.

“We work so hard [in matches] in getting corners,” Miller said.

In the national finals, the recently inserted Simone McEnough (Neptune) rose to the occasion and delivered the game-winning goal, heading in a serve off the foot of Amanda Karabin (Wall).

“What a game-changer,” Miller said of McEnough. “Simone is very aggressive in the box.”

This was McEnough’s second championship ring as well. She was there for the first of the trio of titles in 2013. As a member of the National Guard Reserves, she was overseas last year, missing the 2014 season. She returned this fall and was indeed a difference-maker.

A corner kick figured prominently in the national semifinals. Cafarella scored the first of her two goals off Karabin’s corner kick. Arbachesky notched the second goal of the game before Cafarella closed out the scoring.

Weather gave the Jersey Blues the opportunity to prove they are adaptable and can play in any condition.

In the tournament opener Nov. 12, the game was played in the rain on a slick turf field — the great equalizer. The match with Suffolk County Community College was scoreless through regulation, with Brookdale winning on Aubrey Jones’ goal in the second overtime, 1-0.

The semifinals against Broome were played in a strong breeze, but that didn’t prevent the Jersey Blues from dominating play or playing the possession game.

The sun was out for the finals and shined on the three-time champions.

Brookdale players swept the tournament awards. Cafarella was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, McEnough earned Offensive Player of the Tournament honors and Stewart took Defensive Player of the Tournament. Those three and Arbachesky were All-Tournament Team picks. Miller was the Coach of the Tournament.

What Miller said she will remember most about the 2015 Jersey Blues, who were 19-1, was that the team never gave up.

With their third title, the women’s soccer team tied Bo Scannapieco’s softball team for the most national championships at the school.

Defense leads the way as Redbirds move to semifinals

ALLENTOWN VARSITY REPORT

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

 Allentown High School’s Ricky Mottram tries to ward off a tackle attempt by Freehold High School’s Xaviere Madera during the Nov. 14 NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV playoff game in Freehold. The Redbirds edged the host Colonials, 10-7.  SCOTT FRIEDMAN Allentown High School’s Ricky Mottram tries to ward off a tackle attempt by Freehold High School’s Xaviere Madera during the Nov. 14 NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV playoff game in Freehold. The Redbirds edged the host Colonials, 10-7. SCOTT FRIEDMAN Allentown High School’s football team stepped out of character and into the semifinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV playoffs with a 10- 7 opening-round victory over Freehold High School.

Usually a high-powered offensive machine with two 1,000-yard rushers, the Redbirds relied on their defense to make the plays when it mattered most.

Next up for the Redbirds (6-4), who have won their last three games, is a semifinals showdown at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at topseeded Brick Memorial High School (8-2). The Mustangs run the triple option with clockwork precision behind quarterback Tim Santiago, a 1,000-yard rusher who ran 32 yards for a touchdown in Brick Memorial’s opening-round 38-8 victory over Jackson Liberty High School (4-6).

Jackson Memorial High School (6-4) plays Steinert High School (7-2) in the other bracket.

Freehold’s season ended at 6-4. “Brick Memorial is big, physical and tough, and they play a great schedule,” said Allentown coach Jay Graber, whose team played only one other option team this fall when it scrimmaged South Brunswick High School. “We’ve started to play well at the right time. We just have to play disciplined, read our keys and keep our eyes on the right spot all the time. They’re hard to track — a lot of reads.”

But Allentown advanced in a way different from its normal strategy during the season of simply outscoring teams off its high-powered offense, which twice had three 100-yard rushers from its backfield in the same game.

This time, the defense set the tone.

“I think it was [our best defensive game],” Graber said. “We bent but didn’t break and made a lot of big plays.”

While Allentown quarterback Jordan

Winston had 100 yards rushing and 124 yards passing, including a 43-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the third quarter, and Matt Fritsky connected on a

24-yard field goal in the second quarter,

Allentown’s defense withstood three Freehold threats in the red zone.

“It took a team effort, different guys coming up big at different times,” Graber said of the defense that included Ryan

Huth, Sean Beckett, Makeli Quinones and Joe Pritchard up front with Taylor Campbell rotating in; linebackers Ricky Motttram, Shane Duffy and Drew Whalen; and defensive backs Samir Queen, Ryan Locke, Aydon Chavis, Brett Masci and Winston sharing time in the secondary.

“Over the course of the season, our defense has gotten better,” Pritchard said. “With the triple option they run, we have more specific responsibilities than usual. It’s a lot of reading and each player doing his job. If not, [opposing teams] will get a touchdown.”

Huth at tackle and Pritchard at guard have been integral on a cohesive, solid blocking front line that includes center Matt Schreck, tackle Ian Grant and guard Whalen.

“It starts with us opening the holes for them to make the big plays,” Pritchard said. “Our offense has been playing pretty well all year long and our offensive line has been able to get the push to open the holes.”

Allentown’s offense was its best defense at the end. It ran off the last 6:30, as Winston completed a key third-down pass to Masci and ran 18 yards on another play, while Joe Mannino also picked up some good rushing yardage on the closing drive.

Mannino finished with 132 yards to put him at 1,075 for the season. Winston has 1,549 yards rushing on the season.

Allentown has been outscored, 295-314, but outscored its last three opponents, 80- 51. Brick Memorial High School has outscored its opponents, 335-126, including 103-20 the last three games.

Some lucky bounces also figured in Allentown’s victory over Freehold, including a mishandled snap from center that Winston picked up on a bounce and threw to Mottram for the go-ahead touchdown after Freehold went into halftime ahead, 7-3.

“That happens when you work hard and are in the right position,” Graber said. “When you have a chance to make a big play, you have to make it whether it comes off a lucky bounce.”

Graber said his team is ready to do whatever it takes to get back into the sectional finals for a second straight year after reaching the Central Jersey, Group III finals a year ago, an overtime loss to Delsea Regional High School.

“When you get into this part of the season, it’s hard to win games and to score points,” Graber said.

“I feel we have what it takes to win it all if we play like we can play and play hard. We were right there last year when we played Delsea,” Pritchard said.

Graber said no injuries will keep any starter out of the lineup against Brick Memorial.

Girls’ cross-country

Sophomore Devon Hoernlein led Allentown’s girls cross-country team at the Group III championships with a time of 20:14 for 22nd place at Holmdel Park, short of advancing to the Meet of Champions. Juniors Jesse Bragger finished 69th in 21:28 and Sara Gutter finished 88th in 21:59, as the Redbirds placed 18th in the team standings.

“It was not the way we had hoped to end the season,” coach Brian Harshman said. “We were hoping for a stronger performance but overall had a very successful season. For this team to make the groups meet two years in a row is quite an accomplishment.”

Hoernlein was among the top 15 runners after the first mile and faded back a little before picking up her stride in the latter stages of the race. It was not enough to move into one of the top 10 qualifying spots, though.

Hoernlein had finished fifth in the Central Jersey sectional meet. Only one runner in the lineup — Sami Tendler — graduates.

“They should be excited about next year,” Harshman said. “We have nearly the whole team back. They could be amazing for next year.”

Frick leaving Allentown to pursue Olympic gold

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

Justin Frick, a 10th grade English teacher at Allentown High School, will be leaving his three-year position to renew his quest for a spot on the U.S. Olympic track and field team in the high jump at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“I’ve been training for a couple of years now and it’s going well, but it’s tough to balance working full time and training three to four hours a day,” Frick said. “I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity in this career at Allentown. I’m forced to focus on what it is I’m doing. I have to take it very seriously.”

Frick will be competing for a spot July 1-10 in Eugene, Oregon. He competed there in the 2012 trials, finishing fifth in a personal best of 7-4½ (2.25 meters). The top three jumpers qualify. The Olympic standard was 7-7 (2.31 meters) that year but is lowered to 7-5½ (2.29 meters) for 2016. He has consistently come close to 7-4½ but is looking to reach the extra inch needed when his training accelerates.

“I’ve done a lot of research in the event and proper training techniques,” Frick said.

Frick won the high jump in the NJSIAA Outdoor Meet of Champions as a junior in 2005 while at Freehold High School with a jump of 6-10 and was second indoors at 6- 8. In his senior year, he was third in both seasons, clearing 6-6 outdoors and 6-2 indoors. Frick went on to compete at Princeton University, where he also competed in the long jump, hurdles and heptathlon under head coach Fred Samara, who still works with Frick along with Lenape High School trainer Mike Pascuzzo.

An All-American in the high jump, Frick was a four-time heptagonal champion in the event and qualified for the NCAAs six times in his career. He competed in the championships four times, once indoors where he had his best performance. Frick placed ninth to earn All-America honors with a height of 2.09 meters (6-10¼). At the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships, Frick was 11th with a mark of 2.14 (7¼) and in 2010, he was 16th at 2.10 (6-10¾). He also competed in the NCAA Outdoor Championships as a sophomore.

It was during his sophomore year that Frick was named the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association Mid-Atlantic Field Athlete of the Year. The following outdoor season, he was the East Region champion in the high jump. He ranks fourth all-time in the outdoor high jump at Princeton at 2.20 (7-2½) and placed third indoors with the same mark. Frick returned to his Princeton alma mater as a volunteer assistant coach for the men’s track and field team in 2012, working with weight training and conditioning.

A graduate of Princeton in 2010, Frick’s degree work concentrated on film studies and post-modern English. He went on to the University of Oregon, where he pursued a master’s degree in teaching and training and returned to New Jersey to teach for one year in the Princeton Elementary Schools system before landing his position at Allentown three years ago. He teaches European literature and poetry, which he said he especially enjoys teaching.

While at the University of Oregon, he used his final year of eligibility to clear 2.23 meters (7-3¾), the third-best mark in school history. He also qualified for the NCAA Championships and finished 19th at 2.10 (6-10¾).

For now, most of Frick’s training involves running, including on hills, plyometrics and weight room conditioning, and he will concentrate on high jumping after he leaves his teaching position at the end of January.

But Frick’s training differs from four years ago when he trained alongside twotime Olympian Jesse Williams, the 2011 World Champion.

“He’s a great high jumper and a great guy, a great person,” Frick said of Williams, who had made the American team for the second time. “This is not like when you’re working with world champions, so it’s a little tough working alone.”

Frick said he endured some minor injuries around that time that encouraged him to step away from training and from pursuing corporate sponsorship as a professional competitor. He went into his main career interest of teaching English after that until rekindling his goal of competing in the Olympics.

His style is the Fosbury Flop first introduced by Dick Fosbury 50 years ago that has been the standard technique for virtually all high jumpers — clearing the bar backward — that replaced the roll-over technique and scissor jump.

“Some [high jumpers] have a natural spring and some rely on being fast, and I fall in between,” Frick said. “I use strength, speed and a lot of attention to technique.”

Frick said he looks to compete in meets this spring in Germany and in Croatia before the Olympic trials. He said he also plans to compete in international meets, even if he doesn’t qualify for the U.S. Olympic team.

SPORT SHORTS

The Saint James boys soccer team had a record-setting season this year culminating in winning the Monmouth County Intermediate School Soccer League Conference Championship, defeating Lincroft’s Oak Hill Academy 5-3.

Saint James Elementary School, a pre-K through eighth grade Catholic school, serves students and families in the greater Red Bank/Middletown area. For more information, visit www.mysaintjames.com or call 732 741-3363.

Hoernlein leads Redbirds at sectional cross-country meet

ALLENTOWN VARSITY REPORT

By WAYNE WITKOWSKI
Correspondent

 Allentown High School’s Morgan Gravatt (24) kicks the ball upfield to a teammate during the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III quarterfinals against Wall High School Nov. 5. Wall ended the Redbirds’ season with a 3-1 triumph.  FRANK WOJCIECHOWSKI Allentown High School’s Morgan Gravatt (24) kicks the ball upfield to a teammate during the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III quarterfinals against Wall High School Nov. 5. Wall ended the Redbirds’ season with a 3-1 triumph. FRANK WOJCIECHOWSKI Allentown High School sophomore Devon Hoernlein awoke the morning of Nov. 7 to a sick stomach and pains, but she was determined not to let that stop her from running in the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group III cross-country meet at Thompson Park in Jamesburg.

“At first I thought maybe it was nerves, but it wasn’t going away and I was feeling really sick,” Hoernlein said. “But this was a big meet.”

She didn’t let it slow her down, as she ran the course in 20:10.74 for fifth place. She was glad she ran because right behind her in sixth and seventh place were junior teammates Sara Gutter, who finished in 20:21.07, and Jesse Bragger, who was timed in 20:28.12 — both personal bests this season.

Add to that a time of 23:49.87 for 57th place by Sami Tendler, who is the only senior on the team, and junior Hadley Borkowski’s 25:44.64 mark for 71st, and Allentown finished fourth in the team standings. The top five teams advanced to the Group III championship at Holmdel Park Nov. 14.

“Devon was ill and probably a minute slower than expected, but I’m proud of her for what she went through. She really performed,” coach Brian Harshman said.

As for Gutter and Bragger finishing right behind and advancing the Redbirds into the group meet for the second year in a row, Harshman said, “We expected they would have a shot, but that they would have to run very well and they did. They went out very well, competitive from the start.”

Hoernlein said she was excited about the achievement for a team that lost two freshmen to injuries who were potential lineup runners.

“I’m proud of my team,” Hoernlein said. “The girls worked hard all season and put in good times in this meet.”

For Hoernlein, it’s an opportunity she missed a year ago as a freshman when she was injured. She then rehabbed during the indoor season and picked it up in a strong outdoor season.

“I like going out to a good start with the front of the pack and then picking up the pace and picking off girls and then kicking hard at the end,” she said.

The boys did not qualify like they did last year when both squads advanced to the group meet in the same season for the first time.

Nat Byrnes was 23rd in 17:37.68, followed by Matt Gregor in 31st (17:52.21), Tom Bethea in 34th (18:02.61) and freshman Charlie Carey in 37th (18:03.23). Hunter Mulryne, the lone senior, was 46th in 18:21.56.

Allentown finished sixth in the team standings, just 16 points behind the fifth and final qualifying team, Toms River High School East, for the group meet. “The boys were very disappointed, and I was as well,” Harshman said. “We had a good meet and needed to have a great meet. We competed very, very well with a very young team that has only one senior and a freshman group coming up from this season that is outstanding. We’re set up very well for the future.”

Along with Carey, Harshman feels he also can look next season to freshman Colin Harvey and Sean Kirgan, who were on the edge of making varsity, according to the coach. They’ll add depth to the team along with any other emerging prospects in summer workouts and pre-season training.

Football

Junior quarterback Jordan Winston scored three touchdowns — giving him 17 for the season — and was one of three 100- yard rushers in the game for Allentown (5- 4), which beat Trenton Central High School, 43-27, Nov. 7.

Winston rushed for 179 yards on 28 carries, while Ricky Mottram had 13 carries for 111 yards and two short touchdown runs and Joe Mannino carried 24 times for 112 yards. Allentown had 402 rushing yards as a team.

Allentown trailed, 21-6, early and eventually took a 29-27 lead following a touchdown run by Winston and a safety. That began a string of 23 unanswered points and assured the Redbirds of no worse than a .500 season as they head into the playoffs.

Allentown, seeded No. 5, begins its quest for a second straight trip to the Central Jersey, Group III finals when it travels Nov. 14 to No. 4-seed Freehold Borough High School, which comes off a 38-7 loss to uneaten, top-ranked Middletown High School South that snapped a four-game win streak.

“It’ll be a tough challenge,” Allentown coach Jay Graber said of the playoff game. “They have a very good running back and a good quarterback who spreads it out.”

Although it does not have home field, Allentown has one advantage making its fourth straight trip to the NJSIAA playoffs — a return trip for many on the team.

“We have a lot of experience going into the playoffs, but this is a new challenge, a one-game season, but the players have settled in well [lately].”

Allentown reports no injuries that will sideline any players for the game.

Field hockey

Allentown suffered its first loss of the season, 2-1, to Moorestown High School in the Central Jersey, Group III championship game.

In a showdown of the top two seeded teams, Kayla Peterson connected for a goal off a pass from Mary Bellott to trim a two-goal lead for Moorestown (14-4-1), which scored its two goals in a two-minute span. All scoring came in the first half.

Allentown (16-1-3) won the Colonial Valley Conference Freedom Division championship and Mercer County Tournament title.

“Despite the loss, I really could not be any more proud of these girls,” said Allentown coach Dana Thompson.

Boys’ soccer

Andrew Bardiwil scored off a pass from Mohammed Kotby after West Windsor- Plainsboro High School North went up, 3-0, in the Central Jersey, Group III tournament. The Redbirds lost, 3-1, ending their season at 4-11-1.

After the game, coach Andrew Plunkett lamented his team’s slow start but said the young team had been playing its best soccer of late. Bardiwil is the only senior in the regular starting lineup.

SPORT SHORTS

Rowan College at Burlington County is hosting a four-week baseball camp starting Jan. 3. Rowan College at Burlington head coach Jason Leta will direct the program in conjunction with U.S. Baseball Academy.

Classes are available for players in grades 1-12 and are limited to six players per coach. Sessions are offered in advanced hitting, pitching, catching, fielding and base-running.

Space is limited. Registration is now under way. For more information, visit www.USBaseballAcademy.com.