Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

Big Warrior comeback falls short

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 02:02 pm

OCEAN CITY – If there was a way to toss aside the first quarter, the Wildwood High School boys basketball team probably would have beaten Pleasantville Sunday afternoon, perhaps by a rather comfortable margin.

Obviously that can’t be done, though, and the Warriors, despite a valiant comeback, wound up on the short end of a 70-65 decision in overtime in the game played at the Ocean City PBA Tip-Off Weekend showcase event.

Wildwood missed each of its first seven free-throw attempts and played porous first-quarter defense as the Greyhounds rushed out to a 25-13 lead. Pleasantville eventually went ahead by as much as 16 points in the second quarter before the Warriors began to chip away. Wildwood outscored Pleasantville by 46-33 over the second through fourth quarters and got a Gerald Gibbs 23-foot three-pointer with two seconds to go to force overtime. Wildwood even held a one-point lead at one stage of the extra session by the Greyhounds finished the game on an 8-2 spurt to win.

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Balanced Crusaders off to good start

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 02:00 pm

OCEAN CITY – We’ve learned through the team’s first two games that there are no superstars on the Wildwood Catholic High School boys basketball team.

But we’ve also learned that the Crusaders seem to have quite a few good players.

Take the team’s scoring statistics, for example.

Wildwood Catholic had no player score in double figures during its season-opening win over Buena on Friday. And at Saturday’s Ocean City PBA Tip-Off Weekend game against Vineland, the Crusaders had six players score at least seven points.

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Rulon shines despite extra attention

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 01:59 pm

OLIVIA RULON OCEAN CITY – In her first three seasons in the Wildwood Catholic High School girls basketball program, Olivia Rulon was a secondary scoring threat.

That has now changed during her senior season. And so far, she’s been excelling in the role of being the team’s top offensive player.

The only accomplished scorer back from last year’s team, Rulon deposited 20 points in each of the Crusaders’ first two games, leading them to a pair of victories. The latest was a 44-41 win over Millville in the Ocean City PBA Tip-Off Weekend showcase event on Saturday.

Wildwood Catholic led by as many as 14 points but endured some anxious moments late after Millville twice cut the Crusader lead to one.

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LCM girls, Tech boys to head south

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 01:55 pm

Ariel Magee scored 16 points for Lower Cape May in its season-opening win. The girls basketball team from Lower Cape May Regional and the boys basketball from Cape May Tech will be spending their holiday breaks in much warmer weather than the rest of us.

Both teams are scheduled to compete in three-game, eight-team brackets at the KSA Holiday Tournament at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Both teams are scheduled to leave the area on Friday and return on New Year’s Eve.

Lower Cape May is slated to open with a game against Cold Springs Harbor (N.Y.) on Saturday. The Lady Tigers will then play second- and third-round games on Dec. 29 and 30. Opponents could include teams from Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Texas. The program will also play three junior varsity games.

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Wrestling: Lower, Middle rebuilding

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 01:53 pm

Senior captains (from left) Elvin Davila, Matt Mills, Matt Guido and John Mooers lead the Middle Township High School wrestling team. The Lower Cape May Regional and Middle Township high school wrestling teams sent rather young teams to their respective tournaments last weekend.

That will remain the theme this winter as both the Caper Tigers and Panthers are in the midst of rebuilding seasons.

The following is a look at the area’s two high school wrestling teams:

LOWER CAPE MAY

Lower graduated seven seniors from last year’s team, including state qualifiers Cory Damiana and Doug Flitcroft, so there’s a lot for the program to replace.

Leading the way is Eric Pruszinski, the team’s lone senior, who is a two-time district and region place winner as well as a two-time state qualifier. Pruszinski brought 70 career wins into the season. He’ll begin the season wrestling at 126 pounds but will likely drop down to 120 by mid January.

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Pruszinski primed for big season

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, December 22, 2014 01:51 pm

ERIC PRUSZINSKI Eric Pruszinski’s high school wrestling resume is pretty impressive.

So is his home workout facility.

In preparation for his senior season at Lower Cape May, Pruszinski and his father, Jamie, built a weight and workout room in the garage of their Erma home. Jokingly dubbed the “Beef Factory,” the small facility has served as a meeting place for Pruszinski, his younger brother, Alex, and other members of the Caper Tiger program.

“My dad bought a lot of the stuff from Atilis Gym (in Wildwood),” Pruszinski said, “and then I kind of added to it. We’ve opened it to the whole team. Everyone can come in whenever they want.”

That, sometimes, means as early as prior to school hours and as late as 10 p.m.

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Island title games highlight Battle at the Boards event

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, December 18, 2014 06:27 pm

For the third straight year, the Boardwalk Basketball Classic will begin prior to Christmas.

The tournament’s Battle at the Boards showcase day, highlighted by the annual Andrew Alameno Memorial Island Championship Games between Wildwood and Wildwood Catholic high schools, is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 23 at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

The event will feature a total of seven games played on the convention center’s two courts, with six teams from Cape May County participating.

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So. Cape May County boys hoops preview

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:36 am

Seniors Rob Darby (left), James Holmes (center) and Cameron Freeman are the leaders of the Cape May Tech boys basketball team. For many in Cape May County, following high school basketball is a wonderful way to help make our long winters seem just a bit shorter.

The Wildwood Catholic boys team took us on a wonderful ride last season, resulting in a Cape-Atlantic League championship and rankings among the top five teams in South Jersey in most media polls.

But as we embark on the 2014-15 season, there doesn’t appear to be a dominant team locally.

Wildwood Catholic will still be OK; in fact, the Crusaders might end up being better than some people think right now.

Middle Township, coming off a rare down year, should be better. But by how much?

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So. Cape May County girls hoops preview

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, December 18, 2014 10:21 am

Junior Jacqui Schmucker (left) and senior Jen Woolley are captains of the Cape May Tech girls basketball team. Collectively, the 2014-15 high school girls basketball season was one of the best in recent memory for the local teams.

Middle Township and Wildwood Catholic played one another for the Cape-Atlantic League championship. Middle won it, later advanced to the South Jersey Group II title game and finished 24-6. The Crusaders posted their best season in years, winning 21 games.

Lower Cape May and Wildwood each posted winning seasons, both teams also experiencing success in the state tournament. The Lady Tigers also qualified for the CAL playoff tournament.

And Cape May Tech also had its moments, picking up a couple of upset victories.

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From MTHS athlete to TV reporter

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, December 10, 2014 01:47 pm

MTHS graduate Alison Mastrangelo is a TV news reporter for Fox 21 in Colorado Springs When Alison Mastrangelo was young, she was a huge fan of ABC’s World News Tonight.

“I always had the biggest crush on (anchor) Peter Jennings,” she said with a laugh. “My mom (Fran) always says whenever they’d turn on the TV and it was on that I’d stop everything I was doing to watch him.”

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Kerr's dagger sinks Drexel in upset (video)

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, December 05, 2014 10:29 am

USciences athletics/Middle grad Garret Kerr and Wildwood Catholic grad T. John Casiello (background) helped University of the Sciences upset Drexel Thursday evening Ever since Garret Kerr began playing basketball at Division II University of the Sciences, some have wondered how he would have fared had he played at the Division I level.

After Thursday’s performance, it’s pretty easy to tell he would have done rather well.

Kerr, a 2011 graduate of Middle Township High School, sank a three-pointer with two seconds to play as Sciences shocked Division I Drexel, 54-52. Wildwood Catholic graduate T. John Casiello assisted Kerr on the winning shot.

Kerr finished with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-19 shooting. He made both of his three-point attempts. Kerr added 10 rebounds and four assists and committed just two turnovers.

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So. Cape May County swimming preview

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, December 03, 2014 04:29 pm

MTHS swim captains Tom Sykes, Elliot Dingler, Zach Sykes and Molly Faulkner MTHS swim captains Tom Sykes, Elliot Dingler, Zach Sykes and Molly Faulkner. While area high school basketball wrestling teams were scheduled to hold their first official practices on Monday (although “tryout” practices were permitted last week), high school swimming teams have already started their regular seasons.

It’ll be a transition year for quite a few of the local swimming teams, since many of them graduated quite a few talented seniors from last year’s clubs.

The state playoff system has changed a bit. A new Public “C” classification has been added and many of the top seeds in each section will receive first-round byes.

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LCM inducts latest class into Hall

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, December 03, 2014 04:20 pm

CAPE MAY – Four of the best athletes of recent times from Lower Cape May Regional High School were inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame during a banquet held at the Grand Hotel Friday evening.

The South Jersey champion 1989 boys soccer team was also inducted.

Bill Damiana, Matt Dicken, Matt Szczur and Victoria Wermuth were the individual inductees.

Damiana, a 2009 graduate of the school, is regarded as one of the best wrestlers in school history. He holds the school record with 137 wins and is the only wrestler in school history to win 40 matches in back-to-back seasons, which he accomplished as a junior and senior. Damiana was a two-time District 32 champion, two-time Region 8 medalist and two-time state tournament medalist.

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Middle drops Anchor on LCM

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, November 27, 2014 02:09 pm

Middle Township's seniors celebrate with the Anchor Trophy CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The Lower Cape May Regional High School football team got off to a great start against Middle Township Thanksgiving morning.

It was the Panthers, though, who finished with a flourish.

After watching the Caper Tigers march down the field and complete a 25-yard touchdown pass from Dylan Harrison to Cory Carlson for a 7-0 lead, Middle went on to score four touchdowns in the final eight minutes of the first half and coasted to a 49-13 victory.

The win was Middle’s third straight in the Anchor Bowl series and 11th in 19 games since the game was moved to Thanksgiving Day in 1996. Middle upped its all-time lead in the series to 57-36-5.

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