With Friday’s Young Alumni Night and Knights’ Café marking the season openers for varsity basketball and fencing, we took a moment to check in with Athletic Director Tim Davis and the coaches for a preview of our varsity teams this winter.
With a mix of talented newcomers and skilled veteran players, the varsity boys' basketball team looks forward to an exciting season and possible contention for another county title. Adam Mitola '16 will lead the team this year, taking on a larger role in the Knights’ offense. The team will look to Michael Morreale '17 for some big plays, especially in the scoring department. Other top returning lettermen include Connor Klementowicz '16 and Julius Stoma '16. Returning to point guard, Alexander Schachne '18 will expand his role this season, and on defense, Dallas Hoffman '18 should prove a valuable rebounder and shot blocker. Newcomers Evan Storch '17, John Yoss '18, Jake Betlow '19 and Paul Mulcahy '19 have the talent to contribute to this year’s fast-paced team, and important contributions can be expected from returning players Scott Begane '18 and Timothy Chaney '18.
Knights fans should watch for key non-conference matchups against perennial powerhouses Roselle Catholic, Seton Hall Prep, St. Mary's Elizabeth and Newark Eastside. Key conference games come against Ridge High and Rutgers Prep.
All indicators suggest another strong season for girls' basketball. Leading the team will be Fairfield University-bound Samantha Kramer '16, who averaged just shy of 14 points per game last season. Completing the senior ranks are other key veteran contributors: Madeleine Gallic '16, Lauren McBride '16 and Kennedy Whitehead '16. Alexia Allesch '17, an important component of last year’s powerful offense, is poised to have a big year. Rounding out the team's deep junior lineup are Allison Coffey '17, Emma Dean '17, Katherine Howard '17 and Nyla Mulcahy '17. Newcomer Nisani Santiago '19 has the talent to garner immediate court time, and other newcomers Emma Fetrow '19, Gillian Fritzlo '19, Hayley Goldin '19 and Ansley Hopton '19 will add depth to the roster.
The Knights will look to challenge Rutgers Prep this season – a team comprised of returning starters from last year’s squad of county champions. At the state level, fans should anticipate a very tough field in the Non Public B South, but Gill has the talent and the chemistry to stay competitive.
With 40 players, this year's fencing team boasts the largest roster in the school’s history. Leading the team will be Colette Bilynsky '16 and Samuel Zimmer '16, who return this year to captain the foil squad. Veteran fencers Jada Davis '16 and Luke Fischer '16 return as captains of the epee team, and Jacqueline Luberto '16 and Landon Braemer '17 will captain the sabre team. For those unfamiliar with the various weapons, foil is the lightest of the three and fencers are only allowed to target the chest area. Epee is the heaviest of the weapons, and fencers may strike anywhere on the body. Sabre is the fastest of the blades, and the target area runs from the bottom of the torso to the top of the head.
With six experienced fencers as squad captains bolstered by other returning veterans, the team has been working hard to prepare for this year's competitions. Key matchups will be the season opener against North Hunterdon on December 18, followed by the first round of the Somerset County Championship on December 19. Heavy competition is expected in January as the team prepares for the NJISAA Prep B Championships. Last year, the girls took third. This year’s men’s and women's lineups have the experience to finish in the top three.
The hockey program looks to build this season under the direction of its new head coach Jourdan Ozga and returning coach Pete Roslund. Ozga has garnered respect and acclaim throughout the state, and his leadership is expected to move the team toward greater competitiveness and success.
Among the seniors, key returning are Ryan Chestnutt, Gavin Ferruggia, George Harris and Patrick Janas. Top juniors include Nathaniel Bess, Nathan Crystal, Isaac Ling, Jennifer Lowe, Christian St. Germaine, Graham Valentine and Grayson Valentine. Rounding out the returning lineup are sophomores Tyler Schrecengost and Ryan Turse. The team will look to newcomers Augustine "A.J." Donofrio '19 and Mark Lewis '19 to help build the program.
The Essex County Holiday Tournament will be an important test for this year’s team.
This year's team will compete in some big invitational tournaments, beginning in December with the Spiked Shoe at the New York City Armory and immediately followed by the Somerset County Championships on Dec. 29. Both the girls' and boys' rosters boast a combination of talented veteran athletes and promising newcomers.
Key competitors in jump /sprint events for the girls will be veterans Jacqueline Roettger '16, Ludi Zhu '16 and Erica Phiansunthon '17, along with newcomers Olivia Wilson '17 and Alicia Amoroso '19. In distance events, newcomer Lily Fischer '19 will join key contributors from last season: Sahara Ensley '16, Lillie Wilson '16, Samantha Bittman '17 and Nicole Johnson '18.
On the boys’ side, powerful sprinter Paul Kruger '16 returns to the team this year. Distance competitors include key veterans Michael Iannaconi '16 and Mathieu Petit '17, who will be joined by promising newcomers Robert D'Angelo '18 and Ronald "Joe" Johnson '18. Throwers for the boys include veterans Gregory Niccolai '16, William Metzler '16, John "Will" Dadouris '17 and newcomers Christopher "C.J". Licata '18 and Mark Giordano '19.
This year's swim team is the largest in recent history. Although the season began with losses to Hackettstown and Newark Academy, individual performances were strong. Seniors Carter Silvey, Jennifer Montejo and Elisabeth Middleton '16 and freshman Christian Ernst have posted some impressive times. Newcomers Michael Urowsky '16, Jake Panza '19 and Preston Reep '19 will help to round out the boys' team. On the girls' side, the team will look from contributions from returning letter winners Sophie Connell '16 and juniors Carolyn Brand, Gabrielle Breuer and Mikaela Gegelys. This season, returning sophomores Giselle Garcia and Sabrina Sukhin have proven their strength early on.
Among the goals the team will work toward this season are three significant meets: the Skyland Conference, Somerset County championships and Prep B championships.