Among the All-Area Baseball honorees are nine repeaters from the 2007 team and two others who earned All-Area accolades in 2006 and made it back to the elite squad in 2008.
The Hudson Reporter Player of the Year is Randy Estrella of Memorial, who was the inspiration and driving force behind the Tigers' HCIAA Coviello Division championship. Estrella hit .437 with four homers and 39 RBI and is one of the nine players to earn All-Area honors for a second straight year.
The Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year is Julian Diaz of North Bergen, who also earns All-Area for a second straight season. Diaz, headed to Long Island University in the fall, posted a 7-2 record with a 1.50 earned run average and a county-best 96 strikeouts this season for the Bruins.
The Hudson Reporter Most Valuable Player is Memorial's Michael Kuzirian, who had a breakthrough season as a junior, leading the Tigers to the county crown. Kuzirian had a 10-2 pitching record for the Tigers with a 2.93 ERA and 83 strikeouts and batted .380 while leading the Tigers in stolen bases. Only a junior, Kuzirian returns next season as one of the premier players to watch.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honors go to Marist's Ron Hayward, who put together a competitive squad in just his third year as head coach and even knocked off HCIAA Coviello regular season champion St. Peter's Prep in the first round of the Coviello playoffs, becoming the first No. 8 seed to ever knock off the first seed in the baseball playoffs.
The repeat honorees are Sean McGrath, Robert Doughty, and Jack Montanile of Hudson Catholic, Pat Farrell of Marist, Andrew Nasti of Weehawken, Nate Arocho of Hoboken, and Chris McNulty of St. Peter's Prep.
Nick Mitchell of North Bergen and Abel Blanco of Memorial both made the All-Area team in 2006 and return to the team again this year with solid performances.
Among the softball honorees, you find some very familiar names that have been part of the All-Area parade in years past.
Just like their male counterparts, there are nine returning honorees from last year's All-Area Softball Team and some others that have made multiple appearances on the post-season squad.
For example, this year's Hudson Reporter Player of the Year is Grace Keller of Holy Family Academy. Keller was the embodiment of the Falcons' HCIAA Coviello Division champion, pitching and hitting HFA to the title, the last-ever Coviello title the school will own, because HFA moves to the Seglio Division next year.
Keller, who will head to Felician College on a softball scholarship in the fall, also earned All-Area honors in 2005 as a freshman and 2006 as a sophomore. Only a broken ankle kept her away from making the team last year.
High Tech's Erica Colon earns two distinctions this season. A year ago, the flame-throwing Lasercat was simply the Hudson Reporter Pitcher of the Year. This year, by leading the Lasercats to the HCIAA Seglio Division crown and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I title, not to mention a trip to Toms River for the overall Group I state title, Colon earns both Pitcher of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. Not bad for just a sophomore.
The Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year is also a repeat honoree. In 2005, Ravon Anderson earned the nod when he led Hoboken to its first-ever HCIAA Seglio Division championship. This year, the former Hoboken High School football All-American earns the distinction of being the Coach of the Year, after leading High Tech to 26 wins and the school's most successful season ever, capped by the trip to Toms River, unfortunately ending with the loss to Pennsville in the Group I state title game.
Other points of note: HFA outfielder Amanda Coletta, who earned All-Area honors as a freshman in 2005 and a sophomore in 2006, returns to the squad this year. High Tech outfielder Justine Mateo is a repeat honoree from last year's team, but she also earned All-Area honors in 2006 when she was a student at Hoboken, so she earns All-Area for a third straight year.
Holy Family Academy's standout catcher Caitlin Veverka also earns All-Area honors for a third straight season.
The other returning honorees from a year ago not mentioned above are Carlie Tynan of St. Dominic Academy, Johanna Gonzalez of North Bergen, Danielle Dundas of Holy Family, Jenna Totaro of Secaucus, Raquel Roder of Hoboken, and Cristina Centeno of Marist.
Keller, Dundas, Totaro, and Centeno were also honored on the Hudson Reporter's All-Area basketball team in March. - Jim Hague