When he was just starting out as the head track and field coach at St. Dominic Academy, John Nagel thought of a way to give his team some camaraderie and unity.
To achieve that goal, there’s nothing better than a road trip over the Christmas holidays.
“When we started this, we thought that the girls had worked hard enough to gain some exposure against the best competition,” said Nagel, who now also doubles as the school’s athletic director. “We figured it was a good way to give them a taste of college life.”
So Nagel took his team over the Christmas break to compete at what was then called the Brown Invitational (now the Rhode Island Invitational), first on the campus of Brown University and now at an adjacent track and field facility.
When Nagel took the Blue Devils to the meet Dec. 28, it marked the 30th straight year that the Blue Devils competed in that meet.
The Blue Devils were the only New Jersey team to compete in the tourney.
Just like they have for the last three decades, the Blue Devils were bunked together with teammates they might not have known well before the trip.
“We put promising kids in the same room with a wily veteran,” Nagel said. “We wanted to see how that worked. It’s fun. The kids get to know each other better. The younger ones grow up a lot. It’s fun.”
Plus, it could also lead to better things down the road.
For example, in 1994, former Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Year Cheri Selby was spotted by the Northeastern coaching staff at the Brown Invitational and that led to Selby earning a scholarship package to Northeastern.
This year, Celeste Aurora of the Blue Devils drew some interest from the college recruiters. The Blue Devils’ talented senior workhorse Malia Gray is also a senior without a college home yet.
Gray was seventh in the long jump, sixth in the high hurdles and was part of the high jump relay team that finished third with more than 80 schools in attendance.
“They get to say that they won a medal at an Ivy League school,” Nagel said. “There’s no substitution for that. The whole team goes there to compete.”
This weekend, the Blue Devils hit the road toward New England again, this time New Hampshire and the Dartmouth Invitational, which is a sporadic regular on the Blue Devils’ schedule.
But Brown has been an annual sojourn for the last 30 years. The officials who run the Rhode Island Invitational as it is now called honored Nagel and St. Dominic for the program’s commitment to the event.
“Thirty years at Brown, well, it means we’re getting old,” Nagel said. “I think it’s a great experience for them.”…
Just a few months after ruffling a host of feathers with controversial personnel moves as the new athletic director at St. Peter’s University, Belinda “Boe” Pearman is no longer employed by the school, gone after just 15 months on the job.
For the interim, Dr. Eugene Cornacchia has placed the athletic program in the hands of Weehawken native and St. Peter’s graduate Dave Bryngil, who has worked in the athletic department in some capacity for the last 30 years.
Bryngil, who was in charge of the operations of the Yanitelli Center for the last decade, started his career as a student assistant with the sports information department in the late 1980s and is now in charge of the entire department. It’s a great success story for Bryngil, who was a track and field athlete at St. Peter’s during his years there.
But Pearman’s departure ends a brief deplorable tenure at the school, changing people’s lives forever before finding the door herself…
Staying on the college front and moving down Kennedy Boulevard south, New Jersey City University’s men’s basketball program was nationally ranked before suffering a tough loss to Montclair State Tuesday night.
The Gothic Knights found themselves at No. 23 nationally by D3Hoops.com, the first time that NJCU was ranked by the organization. They had won nine straight games, but lost 48-46 to Montclair, more than likely ending their stint among the top NCAA Division III teams in the nation.
In a competitive league like the NJAC, it’s remarkable that the Gothic Knights were able to run off nine straight wins. Knowing head coach Marc Brown and his staff and players (especially Jersey City native and University Charter grad Chinwe Wosu), they will be back in the rankings very soon…
However, from the NJCU women’s basketball front, it was ridiculous and embarrassing that the school promoted and praised a victory over Vaughn College, an aeronautic school near Kennedy Airport, winning the game 123-44.
Say what? Was that a misprint? The Gothic Knight women, who have struggled mightily in recent years, actually ran up a score to win by 80? Then, there’s the audacity to praise the win, citing all the records the team broke for points and assists and field goals and rebounds. Even in the press release, it stated that the Gothic Knights “annihilated a 31-year-old single game scoring record.”
“The Gothic Knights led, 60-18, at halftime and 94-25 after three periods,” the release read.
Does anyone at NJCU remember what it was like to be on the losing ends of games to Kean by the score of 93-45 or William Paterson by a 94-38 margin? Those games occurred in 2012, when the Gothic Knights were 4-21.
So not only does NJCU run up a score on a team to “annihilate” an opponent, they promote it as such. Teams with 4-9 records, like the Gothic Knights’ current mark, don’t deserve the right to win by 79 points. Sorry, there are better ways to win than winning by 80. It’s called stop scoring. The Gothic Knights had to be pressing and trapping in order to score 123 points in 40 minutes. That’s a disgraceful result, one that cannot be overlooked. Vaughn also had similar blowout losses to Centenary College and the College of St. Elizabeth, losing by 70 (89-19 to Centenary) and by 47 (83-36 to St. Elizabeth). Vaughn has a 2-7 record. Wonder what those two teams that Vaughn beat are like…
St. Anthony guard R.J. Cole has been nothing short of brilliant in the early going, playing like what legendary Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley predicted before the season. Cole scored 31 points in consecutive games for the Friars against Brighton of Massachusetts and Atlantic City at the revived Skyline Classic in Jersey City. In the Brighton game, Cole reached the 1,000-point total in his career, which began at Newark Tech.
Before the season began, Hurley predicted that Cole would “be the best guard in the state” and would average higher than any Friar player has in ages. Sure enough, Cole, bound for Howard University next year, is averaging 26 points per game and the Friars are 7-0.
But NJ.com’s ranking has the Friars at No. 4 in the state. They haven’t lost now in 39 straight games and yet they’re No. 4? This is also a state-wide ranking that has St. Peter’s Prep at No. 20 and Teaneck at No. 14, but the Marauders just defeated the Highwaymen by 20 (45-25). So go figure…
Hudson Reporter Boys’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (7-0). 2. Hudson Catholic (6-2). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (5-1). 4. North Bergen (6-1). 5. Dickinson (5-1)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ High School Basketball Top Five: 1. Marist (7-0). 2. Bayonne (6-1). 3. Lincoln (5-2). 4. Secaucus (5-2). 5. Hudson Catholic (5-2). – Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com