When the Hudson County Schools of Technology announced two years ago that it was eliminating all interscholastic athletics, Sybil Lynch had no idea what her future would be like.
A Hoboken resident who attended High Tech High School, Lynch didn’t know what to do. She liked going to High Tech, but she also wanted to continue her athletic career.
“I actually thought that I wouldn’t be able to play for another school,” Lynch said. “I bet there were others who thought the same thing. With the sports being cut at High Tech, it was very hard to handle and very emotional for all of us. I had no idea what was going to happen.”
As it turned out, Lynch was able to return to her home school district, in this case, Hoboken, to play sports while still attending High Tech for her schooling.
But that was a little difficult, considering that Hoboken was one of Lynch’s fiercest rivals, especially on the softball diamond.
“It was a little weird,” Lynch said. “I felt like I was home at my school. Now, I felt like a visitor. To play for the school that was once my rival was definitely a little weird.”
It also meant a tremendous sacrifice for Lynch, who played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and softball in the spring. It meant that she would have to leave High Tech every single day, travel by bus back to Hoboken in order to get to Hoboken High School in time for games and practices, most of which took place right after school.
“It wasn’t easy,” Lynch said. “Commuting from school to school was tough. I would say that was definitely the worst part. I didn’t have much time to warm up. Sometimes, I just put on my shoes and the game was ready to start.”
But Lynch made no bones about what she wanted to do.
“I just love sports too much to stop playing,” Lynch said. “If that’s what I had to do to play, then I was going to do it. I couldn’t see myself not playing. Whatever it was going to take, I was going to do it. One of my biggest traits is that I never want to quit. I always want to achieve in every single sport I play, every single play I make. I wanted to get better all the time.”
Playing three sports has always been a major part of Lynch’s life. She started playing soccer in Hoboken at age 6, followed by softball at the same age, then basketball a year later.
“It’s what I just loved to do,” Lynch said. “I just played to have fun.”
When Lynch was allowed to play at Hoboken, the coaches welcomed her with open arms.
“I had no concerns at all about whether she would fit in,” said Hoboken girls’ soccer coach Joanne Deni. “I was actually grateful for the rule. We lost a bunch of seniors to graduation before Sybil came. I was worried whether we had enough girls to play. I saw Sybil play in grade school and saw that she was so fast. When I heard that she could play for Hoboken, I thought it was a blessing for us. It was a huge bonus for us.”
“I knew her from playing against High Tech and she put 20 on us one time,” Hoboken girls’ head basketball coach Ryan Sorafine. “I knew that she could definitely change the game and she had so much potential.”
Softball head coach Carmine Ronga felt the same way.
“It was a natural fit,” Ronga said. “Any stigma was eliminated because the girls on the team liked her so much. The transition went quite easy and went naturally. She also was willing to do anything.”
So Lynch was a High Tech student by day, a Hoboken athlete by afternoon and night. And she almost instantly became one of the best all-around athletes to ever participate in girls’ sports at Hoboken.
“She dominated in all three sports,” Sorafine said. “She made all three teams better. She actually made the seasons for all three teams.”
In soccer, Lynch became the Red Wings’ leading scorer in each of her years with the program, scoring a total of 15 goals over two seasons as the team’s top forward.
“We were able to play a lot of long balls because she could simply outrun everyone,” Deni said. “She could really take off. She scored the majority of our goals. Besides being a solid player, she was also a role model for the others, both on and off the field. She dictated the way everyone went.”
In basketball, Lynch thoroughly flourished. She scored more than 1,200 points during her high school career and averaged 19 points per game her senior year. At one point during her senior season, Lynch was actually ranked third in the entire state in scoring. She earned Hudson Reporter All-Area Third Team honors as a junior and was a First Team honoree as a senior.
In softball, it was more of the same. Lynch was the centerfielder for the Red Wings, a team that won 24 games and went all the way to the county tournament title game. She batted. 382 with two homers and 12 RBI as the Red Wings’ leadoff hitter. She scored 40 runs and stole 31 bases, also earning Hudson Reporter All-Area honors.
And for her efforts, Lynch has been selected as the recipient of the Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year for 2011-2012.
Lynch becomes the second female from Hoboken to receive the honor. Ashley Barron, who played the same three sports as Lynch, earned the distinction in 2009-2010.
Lynch never dreamed that she could be considered as Hudson County’s premier all-around female athlete.
“I didn’t think anything like this could happen,” Lynch said. “I just played because I loved playing. I wanted to have fun. But to be honored with this award is amazing. I’m happy with the way my skills have grown over the years. I wouldn’t think in a million years that I could receive something like this. It’s pretty amazing.”
Ronga had nothing but praise for Lynch, who was once a rival and turned into one of his top players.
“I asked her to catch last year, because we didn’t have a catcher and she made All-County,” Ronga said. “She’s just a great athlete who could fit into anyone’s system. She plays with such enthusiasm and spirit that she makes me look good. She’s everything you could want in an athlete. She’s always been there with her enormous smile.”
Deni was impressed with Lynch’s versatility.
“You don’t find many kids who want to play three sports these days,” Deni said. “For someone to do that and to excel in all three says a lot. We’ve had some struggling records and we’re still looking to improve, but Sybil was there all the time. I’m proud of her and what she’s accomplished. She’s the most athletic kid I’ve coached in my 10 years of coaching [at Bernards and then Hoboken]. I’m glad she chose soccer as one of her three sports.”
Sorafine loved the way Lynch took over games.
“She could definitely change the game with her speed and defense,” Sorafine said. “She had that breakaway speed that became a huge part of our game. Her speed, her ability to play pressure defense and her ability to score in transition were big. But she worked on her shot and that improved tremendously. When I got the call that she was receiving this award, I was happy because I thought she deserved it.”
Sorafine honored Lynch’s perseverance.
“She had a choice to give it up or continue and find another way to play,” Sorafine said. “It shows how much she loves sports. She also remained focused on the sport she was playing. There were times the softball team was working out and we had basketball practice. She said to me, ‘Coach, I don’t even want to think about the other sport until the one I’m playing is over.’ That says a lot about her character. If she could, she’d play sports every minute of the day. She’s a competitor like I’ve never seen.”
Lynch will now take her talents to Pine Manor College in Boston, where she will major in business, with the hope of getting into the merchandise and fashion industry. Lynch’s cousin, Angielica Camacho, played basketball and softball at Pine Manor, so that’s how Lynch learned about the school.
However, she’s unsure about what sports she will play at Pine Manor.
“I’m still undecided about that,” Lynch said. “It could be one or all. I don’t know. It’s going to hard to decide on just one.”
But Lynch is amazed how everything turned out.
“It almost seems fake, like it didn’t happen,” Lynch said. “Once High Tech stopped the sports, I didn’t think any of this could happen. It was really the worst of times for me. But it turned out great. I had a great time playing for different coaches, different teammates. It’s really amazing. I still wonder what if the school still had sports? Would have I had the opportunity to do what I did? I don’t know.”
Chances are that Lynch would have been a success anywhere she landed. She was that good.
HUDSON REPORTER FEMALE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
1994-1995-Cheri Selby, St. Dominic Academy
2000-2001-Tiffany Aciz, Secaucus
2003-2004-Mercedes Nunez, Memorial
2004-2005-Christine Capetola, St. Dominic Academy
2005-2006-Nicole Degenhardt, Secaucus
2006-2007-Leslie Njoku, McNair Academic & Cory Roesing, Secaucus
2007-2008-Jenna Totaro, Secaucus
2008-2009-Jennifer Mateo, Union City
2009-2010-Ashley Barron, Hoboken
2010-2011-Shannon Waters, Secaucus
2011-2012-Sybil Lynch, Hoboken
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com. You can also read Jim’s blog at www.jimhaguesports.blogspot.com.