The Hudson County Track Coaches Association championships were held last weekend at Secaucus High School and, incredibly, four meet records fell in the process.
On the boys’ side, Dickinson’s sensational Shaquille Sutherland continued his masterful season by setting a new meet record in the 800-meter run. Sutherland’s winning time of 1:54.41 bested the time set two years ago by former Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year and fellow Dickinson product Jose Veras, who incredibly has helped to train Sutherland in the past year and now watches as Sutherland takes down his meet record.
Much like Veras, Sutherland also won the gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles.
Just as a note, Memorial’s Johnathan Matamoros also finished the 800-meter race in meet record time, but finished second to Sutherland.
Among the girls, Nicole Nicholas of McNair Academic broke the 800-meter meet record set two years ago by Cecelia Sabbers of St. Dominic. Nicholas crossed the line in 2:13.10, some four seconds better than Sabbers’ previous mark.
Nicholas’ McNair Academic teammate Brittany Gibson broke the meet record in the 3,200-meter run. Gibson’s time of 11:28.30 broke a record that stood for 30 years.
Zemora Matthews of Lincoln broke the meet record in the triple jump by a half inch, but the triple jump has only been offered as an event at the county level for the last few years.
Matthews also won the HCTCA gold medal in the 100-meter dash. Gibson also won the 1,600-meter run gold medal.
Secaucus’ sensation Carleisha Forteau continued her mastery of late, winning both the 200 and 400-meter dashes, finishing second to Matthews in the 100-meter dash and fourth in the high jump.
Forteau helped to lead Secaucus to a second place team finish, the Patriots’ highest finish at the county championships in recent memory. Forteau won four medals at the NJIC Liberty championships two weeks ago and four the county meet last week. That’s an impressive array of hardware for the Patriot sophomore.
Forteau’s teammate Kaitlin Norris won the gold medal in the discus.
On the boys’ side, St. Peter’s Prep edged out Memorial to win the team title, winning 123.5 HRto 116.
Eamonn Dwyer won the high jump in a battle with Orel Thompson of North Bergen, both young men clearing 6-2. Dwyer has been the county’s best in the high jump all year.
Minkah Fitzpatrick, who is a standout football player as well, won the 200-meter dash gold medal for the Marauders, Fritz Heinrich won the 3,200-meter run and Randall Wall won the 110-meter hurdles, helping the Marauders’ winning cause.
Memorial dominated the field events, with Harold Berrio winning the discus and Jonathan Ramirez taking the javelin. Ramirez earned a rare double, also winning the gold medal in the 100-meter dash. Ramirez also finished second in the 200-meter dash behind Fitzpatrick. It was a fine meet for the Memorial junior.
Teammate Onasi Cuevas won the 400-meter gold medal and ran the opening leg in the Tigers’ winning 4x400-meter relay team.
The Tigers had more champions, but the Marauders had more depth and that’s what enabled the Marauders to capture the team title.
All the locals move on to the NJSIAA state sectional championships this weekend…
St. Peter’s Prep sophomore Paolo Matti shot a blistering round of 75 to finish among the top eight in the state and fourth among Non-Public A golfers at the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions at the Hopewell Valley Golf Course in Hopewell Monday.
Matti’s score of 75 was the best score ever recorded by a Prep golfer at the Tournament of Champions.
“It’s a good feeling,” Matti said. “I played really well. Putting was the key for me. The greens were pretty soft and that was something that fits my game perfectly. It’s not a bad way to end the season. I really wanted to play well.”
It sets Matti up well for the future, as he will have three more chances possibly to better his score at the T of C….
As it turns out, Tony Romano wasn’t the only coach to lose his basketball coaching job at Marist.
Alice DeFazio, who returned to the sidelines two seasons ago to restore some of the prestige that the spot had when her late husband Bill was the coach, was told that she was not being retained as the head girls’ basketball coach at the school, even though DeFazio was not collecting a dime as the head coach of the Lady Knights. It was a strictly volunteer position for DeFazio.
Marist athletic director Ron Hayward said that the school wanted to have a coach who was more hands-on and available.
DeFazio was juggling her duties as the athletic director at New Jersey City University while trying to coach the girls at Marist. Hayward, who is also the head baseball coach at Marist, said that the school wanted to go in a different direction.
But the powers-that-be have now removed a highly successful boys’ coach and a Hudson County Sports Hall of Famer in one swift move. That’s not an easy thing to do, especially with the impeccable reputations that Romano and DeFazio have.
Let’s face it, Alice DeFazio was coaching on the floor that is named after her late husband with a huge banner donning the wall of the gym with his lasting achievements as the all-time victory leader among Hudson County girls’ basketball coaches.
DeFazio only went back to coach at Marist, because she wanted to try to maintain the program established by her husband – and wasn’t getting paid to do so to boot.
Now, she’s gone. That’s a move that took a lot of guts. Have to hope the move works out for Hayward, because he’s certainly put his neck on the line with these coaching moves…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (23-3). 2. Weehawken (17-8). 3. Bayonne (19-6). 4. North Bergen (17-8). 5. Hudson Catholic (14-7)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. Secaucus (21-6). 2. North Bergen (20-6). 3. Ferris (15-8). 4. McNair Academic (21-6). 5. Hoboken (13-11)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.