Cape May County Gazette Leader Sports

Commentary: Wildwood's cloudy football future

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, September 04, 2013 03:34 pm

It’s almost always been a numbers game for the football program at Wildwood High School. Realistically, even for a Group I school, a football program needs at least 30 players to function properly due to the violent nature of the game.

Wildwood, one of the smallest regular public high schools in the state, has survived in the past with much less than 30 players. Last season, the team went a very respectable 6-4 with only about 20 to 22 players in uniform for any given game. The previous time the program experienced a winning season, back in 1999, the Warriors played a game or two with as little as 16 or 17 players in uniform.

And even though there have been tremendous players to have gone through the program over the years – Randy Beverly, Meredith Campbell, Chickie Ludman, Bill Osborn, Ernie Troiano III, Tylee Thomas, Joe Kelly and Wesley Hills immediately come to mind – you’d have to go back a long way to find a Wildwood team that dressed as many as 30 players for a game.

Which brings us to the here and now. So far this preseason, Wildwood hadn’t had any more than 11 or 12 players at any given practice prior to this week, according to multiple sources. On Tuesday, an athletic department source said 14 players attended practice.

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Matt Szczur to be featured on ESPN2 Tuesday evening

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, September 02, 2013 12:55 pm

 

Matt Szczur is scheduled to appear in an ESPN E:60 feature Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. on ESPN2. The E:60 piece will chronicle Szczur’s decision to donate peripheral blood cells to a young leukemia patient during his college days at Villanova.

Szczur, 24, a former football and baseball star at Villanova and Lower Cape May, recently finished his third full regular season in the Chicago Cubs minor league system.

Read more: Matt Szczur to be featured on ESPN2 Tuesday evening

   

MTHS senior could challenge school scoring record

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, August 28, 2013 04:47 pm

When Tara Davies finished her high school soccer career at Middle Township High School in the fall of 2005 with 104 goals before going on to enjoy a productive career at national Division I power Penn State, there was thought that it might be a long time before another player comes along to challenge that record.

Yet less than a decade later, here we are.

Danielle McCann, about to begin her senior season at Middle, brings 77 career goals into the new season, which for her team is set to begin on Sept. 10 at Vineland.

McCann, Cape May County’s active leading career goal scorer, is a major reason why the Lady Panthers have been one of the top programs in the Cape-Atlantic League in recent seasons. She’s netted 30, 25 and 22 goals, respectively, in each of the last three seasons, helping Middle go a combined 48-12-4 with two CAL National Conference titles, one South Jersey championship and a berth in another sectional title game. Her 30 goals last fall tied the program single-season record, first set by Davies as a junior in 2004.

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Anthony Raffa earns tryout contract with top Italian club

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, August 27, 2013 07:21 pm

Anthony Raffa Former Wildwood Catholic High School basketball star Anthony Raffa is now making money to play basketball.

Raffa has signed a tryout contract with Cimberio Varese, one of the top teams in the top division of professional basketball in Italy, according to his friend and agent, Andrew Morrison, also a graduate of Wildwood Catholic.

Morrison said Raffa was traveling to Italy Tuesday evening and was expected to join his team for practice Wednesday afternoon.

Cimberio Varese lost in the semifinal round of Italian Serie A in 2012-13. Due to its success last season, the team has earned a place in the qualifying round for the Euro League, which includes the top teams from across Europe competing for the continental championship, similar to Europe’s Champions League for soccer.

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LCM soccer star chooses Temple

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:58 am

Gabriella McKeown The all-time leading scorer in girls soccer at Lower Cape May Regional High School has made her college choice.

Forward Gabriella McKeown, about to enter her senior season for the Lady Tigers, has given a verbal commitment to play college soccer at Division I Temple University.

McKeown enters her final high school season with 63 career goals, a program record. She netted a program-record 34 goals as a junior to help the Lady Tigers to a 15-3-1 record and the program’s first-ever Cape-Atlantic League National I Division title in 2013.

McKeown initially made a verbal commitment to Division I Iona during her junior year but rescinded her decision after the team’s head coach was let go after last season.

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Scott DeCecco promoted to advanced single A

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, August 21, 2013 09:17 am

Middle Township High School graduate Scott DeCecco has moved up a link on the minor league baseball chain.

DeCecco, a member of the Seattle Mariners organization, has been promoted from the single A Clinton (Iowa) LumberKings to the High Desert Mavericks of the advance single A California League.

DeCecco, a left-handed pitcher, is scheduled to make his first start for the Mavericks Wednesday evening against Rancho Cucamonga.

With Clinton, DeCecco went 9-8 with a 4.49 earned run average in 24 starts. He struck out 77 hitters against 42 walks in 132.1 innings pitched.

Read more: Scott DeCecco promoted to advanced single A

   

Margate crew wins island row

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, August 19, 2013 02:01 pm

NORTH WILDWOOD – Carl Smallwood and Chris Graves were repeat winners of Monday’s Bud Tarbotton Memorial Around The Island Row hosted by the North Wildwood Beach Patrol.

This, however, was the first time the pair earned victory in the event as partners.

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Quigley, Reich beat large field to win Tri The Wildwoods triathlon

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Written by Brian Cunniff Sunday, August 18, 2013 01:26 pm

NORTH WILDWOOD – Brian Quigley and Susan Reich were the respective male and female winners of the 10th annual Tri The Wildwoods triathlon Saturday morning.

The event, which began and ended near 15th Avenue and the beach in North Wildwood, featured a quarter-mile swim, 10-mile bike and 5K run. The swim was held in the ocean at 15th Avenue. The bike traveled through North Wildwood and out of the resort into Stone Harbor before returning toward 15th Avenue. The run was held on a combination of the beach and the boardwalk.

Quigley, 33, of Yardley, Pa., posted a time of 54 minutes even to beat his closest competitor by exactly 1 ½ minutes. Tom Lennon, 33, of Ridgewood, was second in 55:30 and Max Fennell, 26, of King of Prussia, Pa., placed third in 55:54.

Read more: Quigley, Reich beat large field to win Tri The Wildwoods triathlon

   

Crest native qualifies for triathlon world championship

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, August 14, 2013 01:02 pm

Joe Maloy While the rest of us were enjoying summer right here at the Jersey Shore, Joe Maloy was traveling Europe to chase his dream.

The work done by the Wildwood Crest native and Wildwood Catholic High School graduate has paid off to this point.

Maloy, 27, who competed in triathlons in Spain, Germany and Hungary over the last month, has qualified for the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in London in mid September. This is the first time in Maloy’s pro career he’s qualified for the event.

Maloy narrowly missed qualifying for the U.S. Olympic team last year. He will be competing on the same triathlon course that was used at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

“This is the first time I’ve ever qualified for the world championships, which is really neat,” said Maloy, who’s back in the States for the time being before he goes back overseas in early September. “I’m showing up a year late but at least I’m getting there.”

Maloy is one of only three Americans to qualify for the World Triathlon Grand Final. He qualified by earning points via his performances in other ITU-sanctioned events earlier this year, including the three races in Europe.

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NWBP chief celebrating 40th summer as a lifeguard

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Written by Brian Cunniff Wednesday, August 14, 2013 01:00 pm

Tony Cavalier By the close of this year, Tony Cavalier will have outlasted the terms of 13 New Jersey governors, eight U.S. presidents and four North Wildwood mayors over the course of his career with the North Wildwood Beach Patrol.

Cavalier, 66, the North Wildwood Beach Patrol’s longtime chief, is celebrating his 40th summer as a lifeguard. He worked his way up the ranks since first joining the patrol as a 19-year-old in 1966. Cavalier became a lieutenant in 1972 and was named captain in 1976 before leaving the patrol for six years after the summer of 1978. He rejoined the patrol as chief in 1985.

Cavalier’s love for the beach started as a 14-year-old in the early 1960s, when he worked at an umbrella rental stand on the North Wildwood beach. He joined the patrol a year after graduating from Wildwood Catholic High School.

Earlier this summer, Cavalier was honored for his years of service at the Beschen-Callahan Memorial Lifeguard Races, a competition the patrol has hosted for 45 years to honor two of Cavalier’s former co-workers on the patrol, Jim Beschen and Mike Callahan, who were both killed during separate incidents in the Vietnam War.

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OC edges Upper for South Jersey lifeguard title

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Written by Brian Cunniff Saturday, August 10, 2013 11:50 am

MARGATE – Five of the last six South Jersey Lifeguard Championship titles had been won by either Margate or Ventnor.

But on Friday night, a pair of Cape May County patrols battled it out for South Jersey supremacy.

Ocean City, the largest beach patrol in the South Jersey Chiefs’ Association in terms of number of lifeguards, tied with Upper Township, one of South Jersey’s tiniest patrols, for the team championship under somewhat stormy conditions.

Ocean City, by virtue of its higher finish in the doubles row, the traditional South Jersey tiebreaker, was declared the champion and will host the 2014 event next summer. The championship was Ocean City’s fifth in the last 10 years.

Ocean City and Upper were the only patrols to score in all three events. Each finished with nine points in the competition that scores first through fifth places on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis.

For Ocean City, Matt Garbutt and Dylan Kosten placed third in the doubles row, rookie lifeguard Anthony Czar was fourth in the swim and Kosten was second in the singles row.

Meanwhile, for Upper, Dan Palombo won the singles row, giving his patrol its first-ever individual South Jersey champion. He also teamed with Joe O’Neil to place fifth in the doubles row, with rookie lifeguard Kevin Gill adding to Upper’s total with a third-place effort in the swim.

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Success for Diamond Crush 16U softball

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Written by Brian Cunniff Thursday, August 08, 2013 09:54 am

The Jersey Shore Diamond Crush 16U softball team finished its 2013 summer season recently by finishing in second place in the USSSA End of Summer Blowout Tournament in Cape May Court House.

After going 1-2 in games on Saturday, the Diamond Crush were seeded eighth out of 11 teams in the tournament. The Diamond Crush responded by gaining victories over Montgomery Twisters (4-2), Long Island Hellcats (10-3) and Hot Shots (11-5). The team went on to fall in the championship game against the Northern Valley Cyclones despite big hits by Gia Tammaro and Brianna Lagroteria.

The team finished the 2012-13 season at 18-19-2, placing second in two summer tournament.

Ryann Guy led the team with a .457 batting average. Guy, along with Jaclyn Gehring and Morgan Brown, struck out over 60 batters. Malia Hindle had a perfect season in the field. 

The Diamond Crush 16U team was made up of players from Atlantic and Cape May counties.

   

Locals help Avalon win Kerr race

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, August 06, 2013 10:14 am

AVALON – There are only a couple current members of the Avalon Beach Patrol who knew David Kerr, the 1981 South Jersey doubles rowing champion who passed away a year later after a battle with cancer.

But that doesn’t mean they don’t understand the significance of the races held in his honor each summer.

“Every year, on the Saturday before the race, (Avalon Beach Patrol captain Murray Wolf) talks about him and what he meant to the patrol,” said Matt Wolf, Murray’s son and 13-year lifeguard. “I think the biggest thing that sticks out to all of us is that David came from a rather well off family and he could have done anything he wanted after he got diagnosed. He could have gone on some big vacation, he could have gone pretty much anywhere or did whatever he wanted. But when he got told he only had four to six months to live, he chose to be here on the beach patrol that summer working. And he still rowed every day until they made him get out of the boat. I think that story is inspirational to everyone around here.”

Avalon used that inspiration to record its third straight victory at the David J. Kerr Memorial Lifeguard Races Sunday night. And they did it behind the strong efforts of three local natives.

Matt Wolf, his younger brother, Erich, and Jacob Enright -- all graduates of Middle Township High School -- each won an event and scored points in another at the five-event competition.

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Syrnick, Dorsey win Crest 5K Beach Race

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Written by Brian Cunniff Monday, August 05, 2013 08:26 am

5k Crest WILDWOOD CREST – Mike Syrnick of the Wildwood Beach Patrol and Raven Dorsey of Wayne, Pa., were the respective male and female winners of the annual Wildwood Crest 5K Beach Race Saturday morning.

The race, held on an out-and-back all-beach course that began and ended near the Wildwood Crest Beach Pier, drew approximately 270 runners, the most in the six-year history of the event.

Another couple dozen people participated in the event’s one-mile fun run/walk.

Syrnick, 27, a former Division I cross country and track athlete at Penn State and resident of Philadelphia, posted a time of 17 minutes, 14 seconds.

Read more: Syrnick, Dorsey win Crest 5K Beach Race

   

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