When the Memorial High School boys’ track and field team competed in the Hudson County Track Coaches Association’s championships during the indoor season, the Tigers struggled to get by.
“We had a lot of things go wrong,” Memorial head coach Julio Lopez said. “We were without two of our best runners, our best sprinter and our best distance man. It was a big disappointment what happened that day.”
The Tigers did rebound somewhat to finish fourth at the NJSIAA North 1, Group IV state sectionals in Toms River, but there was still a lingering taste of disappointment as the outdoor season began a few weeks ago.
The Tigers started off the outdoor season in fine fashion, winning the Season Opener Relays at River Dell High School.
Last weekend, it was more of the same, as the Tigers steamrolled past runner-up North Bergen and third place finisher St. Peter’s Prep to capture the Hudson County Interscholastic Athletic League Relays team title.
The Tigers had 101 points, compared to 79 for North Bergen and 53 for Prep.
“We had this as a payback,” Lopez said. “We were really focused and prepared to do well. Sometimes, you need things like what happened in the indoor season to wake you up.”
The Tigers won six of the 14 relay events in the meet held in Lincoln Park in Jersey City.
Leading the way for the Tigers was junior distance runner Jonathan Matamoros, who was part of three winning relay teams – the distance medley relay, the 4x400-meter relay, and the 4x800-meter relay.
“He was awesome,” Lopez said of Matamoros. “He ran a 1:58 half mile, a 3:15 three-quarter mile in the distance medley and was the anchor of the 4x400 in 51.3. We had a couple of kids who did very well.”
Senior Derek Josselin was also a three-time winner, competing in the 4x100, the 4x200 and the 4x400-meter relays.
Junior Jonathan Ramirez also took home three gold medals, winning the 4x100, the 4x200 and the javelin relays.
“He threw a 144 [feet] in horrible conditions,” Lopez said.
Sophomore Onasi Cuevas was also a three-time winner, taking gold in the 4x100, the 4x200 and the 4x400-meter relays.
Junior Harold Berrio was the second half of the winning javelin relay team with Ramirez and also helped the discus relay to finish sixth and the shot put relay to finish second.
Rafael Hernandez also did well, running in the winning distance medley relay with Matamoros, Kevin Villalta and Marco Morales.
“All of our kids are healthy, so that was a good sign,” Lopez said.
Lopez pointed out that it was the 14th time in 16 years that Memorial won the boys’ title in the league relay championships.
“You don’t realize it’s that many, but we’re very proud of it,” Lopez said. “Last year, we won, but only Jonathan and Harold were part of that team. This was impressive with all the new kids we have.”
Lopez said that he’s priming his team to do well at the upcoming Penn Relays…
North Bergen and Dickinson both won two events….
On the girls’ side, North Bergen ran a solid second to champion Kearny. Carolina Herrera was part of two winning events for the Bruins, the long jump and the 4x100-meter relay.
Nicole Nicholas, a former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week, was part of three winning events for McNair Academic…
Congrats to Dickinson’s Luis Sepulveda, who fired a no-hitter against Hoboken last week. Sepulveda is part of the talented pitching staff that head coach Danny Suarez raved about in the preseason and it’s coming to fruition. Sepulveda, a senior righty, also has a one-hitter this season against Ferris…
North Bergen’s Pasquale Andruela had three hits, including a homer, and three RBI while pitching a shutout against neighboring rival Union City, 10-0, last week. If Andruela can give coach Pat Brady pitching performances such as this, to go along with aces A.J. Gale and Marco Hernandez, then the Bruins are going to be very tough to beat…
In softball, Sarah Beckner has been hitting at a torrid pace for McNair Academic. Beckner has 11 extra base hits and nine RBI already for the Cougars.
All indications are that former St. Anthony All-American Kyle Anderson will return to UCLA next season to play for new coach Steve Alford…
And if Eddie Jordan is able to work out a deal to becomethe new Rutgers men’s basketball coach, look for Jersey City native and former NBA standout Mike O’Koren to follow along as an assistant. Jordan and O’Koren worked together with the Nets, 76ers and Wizards…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Baseball Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (9-0). 2. Marist (7-1). 3. North Bergen (7-3). 4. Weehawken (5-2). 5. Hudson Catholic (5-3).
Hudson Reporter H.S. Softball Top Five: 1. North Bergen (6-1). 2. Secaucus (5-3). 3. Ferris (5-2). 4. McNair Academic (6-2). 5. Hoboken (3-3)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.