Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

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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Finally, a rivalry renewed for LCM, MT

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, November 25, 2014 04:39 pm

There will be a game.

The Lower Cape May Regional and Middle Township high school football teams will renew their rivalry at the varsity level for the first time in two seasons when the clubs meet Thanksgiving morning at 10 at Memorial Field in Cape May Court House.

Last year at this time, the two teams ended their seasons in rather bizarre fashion.

Lower was forced by the Cape-Atlantic League to forfeit its final three games after the Caper Tigers decided to forfeit a contest against Holy Spirit on Oct. 25 due to a lack of healthy players. The Tigers played a handful of junior varsity games to close out the season, the final one coing the Friday before Thanksgiving against Middle’s junior varsity squad.

Middle Township, meanwhile, was awarded a forfeit victory over Lower Cape May in the varsity contest. So rather than ending its season with the pageantry of a Thanksgiving morning game, Middle’s last played game occurred in a 54-14 victory over Pinelands in an NJSIAA consolation contest a week and a half prior.

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Senior can't play, but he sure can lead

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, November 25, 2014 04:32 pm

JAMES SMITH James Smith enjoyed a promising junior season for the Middle Township High School football team. He contributed some on offense, but was a major force at linebacker for the Panthers, ending the season as a second team Cape-Atlantic National Conference all-star.

Smith was supposed to be one of Middle’s top players in 2014. Instead, he never played a down in a regular-season game.

Smith suffered a major injury to his right knee on the third play of his team’s first scrimmage back in August.

“I thought it was just a minor injury, definitely not as bad as it came out,” Smith recalled. “I wanted to go back in. I remember our trainer told me to start sprinting on the sideline and I thought I was going to go back in. But then it felt like my knee was popping in and out of place. It didn’t really hurt, but it didn’t feel right.”

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New hoops coach at Cape Tech

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, November 25, 2014 04:24 pm

JOSH MERCADO Cape May County high school basketball hadn’t seen a head coaching change at any school in nearly five years before Bob Ridgway stepped down at Cape May Tech in late August. Ridgway had led the Hawks for 16 seasons.

Josh Mercado, an assistant under Ridgway for four seasons, has taken over the program.

Mercado, a social studies teacher at Cape May Tech, was scheduled to be in the gym early this week for tryout practices, now that the NJSIAA is allowing high school basketball programs to hold such sessions during the three days prior to Thanksgiving.

“We’re ready to go,” Mercado said. “We’re gung-ho and super excited.”

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Kerr dominant at Division II

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, November 25, 2014 04:17 pm

GARRET KERR Garret Kerr has heard the talk for the better part of three years now. And he wants nothing to do with it.

People have seen the numbers he’s put up for the Division II men’s basketball team at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and have wondered – often aloud and sometimes even to Kerr – if he could have played college hoops at a higher level.

“I would never say I can’t play at that level because I think I could,” said Kerr, a 2010 graduate of Middle Township High School. “But I came here and it ended up working out great for me. For a lot of kids, I think it’s an ego thing that they want to got Division I and everyone gets caught up in that. For me, I wanted to play close to home, get a good education and get a chance to play a lot. This has been pretty much perfect.”

It’s hard to argue with his statement.

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Football fans can give thanks

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Written by Tom Williams Monday, November 24, 2014 11:27 pm

There are lots of things that should cause football fans to give thanks.

Those from Mainland, who will watch the Mustangs host Egg Harbor Township on Thursday, can be thankful that the Mustangs won two crucial games to end the regular season and qualify for the NJSIAA playoffs. Longtime Mainland fans remember Thanksgiving battles with Oakcrest featuring the likes of George Landis, Steve Parker and Greg Buttle. And recent battles with EHT, including the first overtime Thanksgiving game. Those from EHT are thankful for the great facility they call home and memories of players like Cory Collins, Scott Parker and Aaron Bullock.

Holy Spirit fans are thankful for the two great performances by the Spartans in the NJSIAA Non-Public playoffs that have moved them into yet another championship game after a regular season in which they struggled. They remember a long tradition of football success guided by coaches like Stan Marczyk, Lou Paludi, Jim Gallagher and Ed Byrnes, among others. Atlantic City fans are thankful for their beautiful turf field and another appearance in the playoffs, led by former ACHS star Thomas Kelly.

 

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Cooper is Middle’s Mr. Versatility

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, November 19, 2014 06:51 pm

COLIN COOPER CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – The 2014 season hasn’t gone as planned for the Middle Township High School football team. Loads of injuries and some disciplinary measures have left the team shorthanded in many of its games.

But one of the constants for the Panthers this season has been the versatile play of Colin Cooper.

Cooper is a senior defensive back, split end, halfback, punt and kick returner and punter. Offensively, while he doesn’t get the amount of touches as some of Middle’s other skill-position players, he’s made the most of his chances.

Cooper scored one of Middle’s touchdowns on a running play in its 22-0 win over Audubon in an NJSIAA consolation game late last week. Cooper ran seven times for 49 yards and his score and also caught four passes for another 47 yards. His punting was also excellent. He averaged 39.7 yards on his three kicks, with a long of 51 yards.

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