The St. Peter’s Prep wrestling team had a great season all around and it was capped by the Marauders having five wrestlers earn medals at the NJSIAA state championships at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Michael Russo finished sixth in the 113-pound bracket. The Burkert twins, Connor and Ryan, both earned medals. Connor Burkert finished seventh at 132 pounds, while brother Ryan was eighth at 138 pounds.
Jordan Fox lost in an early round match, but managed to wrestle back to earn a sixth place medal at 182 pounds. He’s definitely following in the footsteps of his older brother, James, who won a state title for the Marauders in 2011.
And Jose Palomino, perhaps the greatest story of them all, finished eighth in the heavyweight division. A year ago, as a freshman, Palomino was a member of the Prep junior varsity team and a year later, he’s standing on the podium in Atlantic City collecting a medal.
“He made unbelievable improvement,” said St. Peter’s Prep head coach Anthony Verdi. “By far, he’s our most improved wrestler. Jose also lost to kids earlier in the season who he came back to beat in the Districts, Regions and states.”
By having five wrestlers earn medals at the state tournament, the Marauders set a new record for most medalists in a single season from Hudson County. Two years ago, the Marauders had four grapplers standing on the podium in Atlantic City.
“In terms of individual honors, it’s our best season,” Verdi said, “It’s the best showing we had as a team at the state tournament. And it’s great in the way that they did it, coming back after losing to earn medals. Jordan Fox had to win four matches on Saturday to get a medal. Now that’s a tough kid. A lot of times, when you lose in the states, there’s a mental letdown, but I’m very impressed with our kids’ attitudes after they lost. They turned it around pretty quickly. The switch went on and they had to win the next one and the next one. They did a good job putting their losses behind them.”
The good news for Verdi and his program: All five of those wrestlers will return next season. Russo is a junior. The other four are sophomores.
“We’re young, so a lot of good things can happen next year,” Verdi said. “This has been an amazing run for us and the kids all feed off each other. We’ll be back.” …
Guess St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley knew what he was talking about when he said his Friars “weren’t that good” two weeks ago. The Friars lost in the Non-Public B state championship game to Roselle Catholic Saturday, the first loss to an NJSIAA school in over three years.
We doubted Hurley when he said his team wasn’t that good, especially with their defensive prowess. But it proved to be silly to doubt a Hall of Fame coach when the Friars fell 48-44 in the title game….
It was a great run for the St. Peter’s Prep basketball team, which won the Non-Public A North state sectional crown over Seton Hall Prep, but lost to
Speaking of Prep basketball, former Marauder standout Ronald Roberts was honored as a Third Team All-Atlantic 10 Conference selection.
Roberts, who was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, averaged 11.6 points and 8.5 per game this season. He had 13 games where he had double figures in points and rebounds…
Last week, in honoring the late Harry Anderson and mentioning players who scored 50 or more points in a single game, former McNair Academic head coach Mike Reilly pointed out that his player, Jerry Garuba, scored 48 and 52 in consecutive games in 1994. Those are games that definitely flew under the radar, but certainly achievements in themselves…
Speaking of McNair Academic, track star Nicole Nicholas, a recent Athlete of the Week honoree, finished fourth in the Emerging Elite 800-meter run at the New Balance Nationals at the New York Armory.
Nicholas becomes the fourth Cougar runner to earn a medal at the Nationals, along with former Reporter Female Athlete of the Year Leslie Njoku (2006 through 2008), Reginald McLeod (2008) and Allen Walton (2012)…
The NJCU baseball team is off to a solid 6-4 start, thanks to the exploits of former Hudson County standouts Wendell Rodriguez (County Prep), Mike Martucci (St. Peter’s Prep) and
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.