Every year at this time, the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain publishes an edition that asks its writers to take a look into the future and see what might be in store for the coming year.
With that in mind, it’s only natural that the Reporter calls upon the services of the renowned and round prognosticator and soothsayer, the turban-wearing, wand-waving, crystal-ball gazing wonder, The Great Hagueini, to peer into the future and pull out what might happen in local sports for the calendar year of 2010.
As Hagueini peers into the crystal ball, he sees one predominant image for the boys’ high school basketball season, a changing of the guard in local supremacy.
The Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep, led by Keith Lumpkin, Ronald Roberts, Myles Davis, and Dallas Anglin, will supplant the Friars of St. Anthony as the area’s best team. The first test will come in the Dan Finn Classic on Jan. 16, when the two teams meet – a game the Marauders will win.
But the final test will come with post-season hardware. The Marauders will bring home the title from the first-ever Hudson County Tournament and also bring home the NJSIAA Non-Public A state championship, earning a berth to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.
As for the Friars, they will win their customary 24 games, but fall short once again come state playoff time, as St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth will dominate their section as well as the T of C.
In girls’ basketball, Bayonne, led by brilliant sophomore Lisa Rovatsos, will capture the first-ever Hudson County Tournament title.
Secaucus will make a strong run at an NJSIAA Group I title with the play of last year’s Player of the Year Andrea Innis and super teammate Shannon Waters. If they enter, the Patriots could be a serious threat in the Hudson County Tournament as well.
On an individual recognition basis, Roberts of St. Peter’s earns All-State accolades before he heads off to St. John’s.
North Bergen’s Noel Allen earns a Division I scholarship to Monmouth University.
Snyder’s Zamir Thomas will continue his rise toward Hudson County track immortality by capturing two NJSIAA state championships.
St. Peter’s Prep speedster Najee Glass makes another attempt at winning a Non-Public state title.
St. Peter’s Prep’s Kevin Innis will win the 215-pound state championship, becoming the first local wrestler to win a state title in almost 30 years.
Baseball and softball
As the spring rolls around, the local baseball team to watch will be St. Peter’s Prep, with new head coach Kevin Wendolowski. The Marauders, led by returning Hudson Reporter Player of the Year Marc Hanna, will be among the state’s best teams come May and will win the first-ever Hudson County Baseball Tournament.
The Hurricanes of County Prep will make a strong push for a second straight Group I sectional title, thanks to the play of brilliant catcher Rey Rivas.
St. Mary’s of Jersey City will also make a good run in the Non-Public B North bracket, thanks to a young pitching staff, led by Cesar Storm, Mark Peralta, Jordan Caban, Danny Mirabel and Angel Paulino, all of whom return in 2010.
Marist catcher Eddie Sorondo gets selected in the Major League Baseball free agent amateur draft in June.
In softball, the Hudson County Tournament will be a very interesting proposition, with the area’s two top teams, High Tech and North Bergen, destined to finally face each other. High Tech’s brilliant Erica Colon and North Bergen’s sensational Carla Arismendi are the best returning pitchers in the county.
Both Colon and Arismendi will have great seasons once again, and will make that true county finale a memorable one. Hagueini likes High Tech to win, but it will be a classic finale.
However, Hagueini also sees a great season for Shannon Waters and the Secaucus softball team.
Outdoor track Zamir Thomas continues his fine season and career with an appearance at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. Same for Najee Glass. Football
Once again, the Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep will be the area’s best team, with running back Savon Huggins breaking every conceivable rushing record the school has. Huggins repeats as local Player of the Year, but also earns the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year as well. The Marauders make a strong run at winning the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 state crown for another season.
Huggins earns scholarship offers from every college imaginable, but declares his intentions to go to Penn State.
Teammate Sheldon Royster also receives a ton of offers and he decides to head to Pittsburgh.
St. Anthony standout Jidamon Sparkman receives a few scholarship offers as well.
Former St. Anthony player and current Hoboken resident Tyshawn Taylor leads Kansas to the NCAA Final Four.
Other noteworthy items
After coming up short the last two times he was nominated, St. Anthony coaching legend Bob Hurley finally earns induction into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Needless to say, it looks like a fun-filled, action-packed year ahead in Hudson County sports for 2010.
Prediction: Tyshawn Taylor leads Kansas to the NCAA Final Four.
How did Hagueini do?
A year ago, the Great Hagueini made his predictions for 2009. Here’s how the wide turban wearer did with his predictions.
In the Coviello boys’ race, the image appears to have St. Peter’s Prep winning a second straight title, with sensational sophomores Keith Lumpkin and Myles Davis leading the way. BINGO! Score one for Hagueini. The Marauders did capture a second straight county crown. In the Coviello girls’ race, it appears to be Bayonne holding the trophy, with Lindia Fischer and Samantha Maggio blazing the trail for the Bees. TWO IN A ROW! Bayonne did win the girls’ basketball title, but it was fabulous freshman Lisa Rovatsos who was the leader. The final boys’ HCIAA Seglio campaign will see a dogfight, with St. Mary’s, Hoboken, and CREATE Charter all locking horns, but the image shows the Red Wings of Hoboken, with Eddie Canary and Mark Moorman holding the trophy. WRONGO!!! In perhaps the most fitting victory in recent years, St. Joseph of the Palisades won the final Seglio title, a division that was named after the father of St. Joseph athletics, Marty Seglio, in a year when the school closed. The final girls’ HCIAA Seglio title will go to defending champ McNair Academic and their fine young head coach Annie Cossolini. WRONGO AGAIN! Holy Family Academy, another school that was on the verge of closing, rebounded to win the school’s first-ever HCIAA championship, a great honor for veteran coach Pat Longo. Lincoln’s boys will successfully defend their NJSIAA Group II state championship, thanks to the play of Duquan Pettiford and Tyquion Miller. WRONG! The Lions lost in the sectional semifinals. As for the schools outside the HCIAA, Secaucus’ girls will make another run at BCSL National and Group I state glory, thanks to the play of sensational sophomore Shannon Waters, who is looking more and more like the real deal. BINGO! Waters and teammate Andrea Innis, who went on to earn Hudson Reporter Player of the Year honors, led the Patriots to a fine season. And as for the Friars of St. Anthony, there will be no magical run come state playoff time. The Friars will reach the NJSIAA Parochial B North sectional title game, but will relinquish their state crown to St. Patrick of Elizabeth. ALMOST DEAD ON. The Friars did turn over the state’s No. 1 ranking to St. Patrick’s, but lost to Paterson Catholic in the Parochial B North semifinals. But Friar standout Dominic Cheek will head off to Villanova with First Team All-State accolades. CORRECT! Cheek did go to Villanova as a First Team All-State player. In the final HCIAA Coviello baseball race ever, it’s only fitting that the school with the highest total of HCIAA baseball titles, namely Memorial, should win the last championship, giving legendary head coach Tony Ferrainolo his 15th HCIAA crown. WRONG! St. Peter’s Prep won the final HCIAA Coviello title, prompting long-time coach Joe Urbanovich to retire after the season. In the final HCIAA Seglio baseball race, it looks as if Hoboken will get a fourth straight title as the Red Wings end the league with a string of dominance. WRONG AGAIN! St. Mary’s, led by coach Pat Laguerre, won the school’s first-ever county baseball championship. In the HCIAA Coviello softball race, look for North Bergen to snare the crown, with pitcher Carla Arismendi leading the way. BINGO! After four tries at winning the HCIAA Coviello crown, the Bruins, led by Arismendi, won the final Coviello title. In the HCIAA Seglio, High Tech will once again rule, thanks to the pitching greatness of Erica Colon. The Lasercats will make another run at NJSIAA state glory, just like they did a year ago. CORRECT-A-MUNDO! Led by two-time Player of the Year Colon, the Lasercats won their second consecutive NJSIAA state sectional title, becoming the first Hudson County program to win two straight state crowns. The Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep will maintain their perch as the dominant Hudson County program, thanks to the quarterback skills of Raphael Ortiz, the running of Savon Huggins, Corey Davis, and Sheldon Royster, and a dominant defense. BINGO! The Marauders were once again the best team in the county and all four aforementioned players had great seasons, earning All-Area honors. Huggins was the Most Valuable Player. Even though the Marauders still don’t have a league to call home for the fall, the team will challenge for a league title in its first year in the new league. BINGO AGAIN! The Marauders won the divisional title in the new North Jersey Tri-County Conference. Ferris’ Bryant Worts will break all kinds of tackle records while playing linebacker for the Bulldogs, and will earn major college attention in the process. TO BE DETERMINED. Worts did have another great season for the Bulldogs, earning All-Area honors for a second straight year, but has yet to declare his college intentions. Hoboken grid standouts Isaac Holmes and Bernardo Nunez will both head to the University of Maryland in a package deal. WRONG, WRONG. Holmes went to Rutgers and Nunez went to Pittsburgh. To keep its football program alive, St. Anthony lures Rob Stern away from Hudson Catholic and Stern leads the Friars to the NJSIAA state playoffs. WRONG, WRONG. St. Anthony hired Sean Fallon, who led the Friars to the state playoffs for the first time ever and earned Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year honors. Jersey City’s Mike Rosario will be named the Big East Rookie of the Year after a sensational first year at Rutgers. NOT QUITE. While Rosario was named to the All-Big East Rookie team, the Rookie of the Year honor went to Greg Monroe of Georgetown. But Rosario had a great rookie campaign, leading Rutgers in scoring. The same for Jersey City native Tyshawn Taylor, who will earn the Big 12 Rookie of the Year award at the University of Kansas. AGAIN, NOT QUITE. Like his friend and former teammate Rosario, Taylor earned All-Big 12 Rookie honors, but was not the league’s top freshman. Bayonne’s Joe Borowski will earn an invitation to spring training to join the bullpen of the New York Mets. WAY WRONG. Borowski announced his retirement from baseball right before spring training was set to open in March. Hoboken’s Chris Lugo will continue his ascent in the Washington Nationals’ organization. SOMEWHAT RIGHT. Lugo did continue pitching in the Nationals’ organization, but he remained at Class A ball, where he’s been for the last two seasons. Jersey City native Ahmad Nivins will head from St. Joseph of Philly, where he has a brilliant senior year, to get an invite to an NBA training camp. EVEN BETTER THAN HAGUEINI THOUGHT! Nivins went on to win the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He is currently playing professional basketball in Spain.
All in all, not a bad year of predictions for the Great Hagueini. – Jim Hague