It’s safe to say that McNair Academic senior Omar Lopez is a very cerebral young man.
You can tell by asking the cross country standout what the tattoos on his left abdomen signify.
“One is in Hebrew and it’s the symbol for life,” Lopez said. “The other is Buddhist for tranquility.”
Now, there aren’t many high school kids who would have symbols from two different cultures permanently placed on their bodies.
Lopez had one placed in prominence as a tribute to his uncle, Sharon Sabbach, who passed away in March.
“It reminds me that I can be ready for anything and remain peaceful at all times,” Lopez said.
Lopez tried to remain peaceful at the Shore Coaches Invitational cross country races at Holmdel Park last Saturday, but was a little upset at his fifth place finish in the Varsity Boys E race, crossing the line in an impressive 17:04, some 30 seconds behind race winner Cooper Rudin of Bernards.
“I wasn’t pleased at all,” Lopez said. “I went out too fast in the first mile and then I sort of imploded. I didn’t have the time I wanted. I finished fifth, but I wanted to be in the top three or perhaps win the race.”
Now that fellow Cougar standout Kevin Ratigan has moved on to collegiate running, competing at New Jersey Institute of Technology, it’s up to Lopez to lead the way for the McNair Academic team, which captured the school’s first-ever cross country state sectional crown last year.
“I have to lead the team,” Lopez said. “We have a good team with a lot of depth. We have the potential to go further than we did last year. I hope that I can go faster than what Kevin did last year. That’s my goal and I hope to continue that through the season. I want to be a leader.”
Lopez is certainly doing that – and in a completely conscientious way. Lopez was donning pink socks, shoes and headband to promote breast cancer awareness, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month throughout the country.
“I lost my grandmother and a cousin to breast cancer, so I want to do my part,” Lopez said.
Lopez is certainly an impressive young man with everything he has going for him…
Another McNair Academic product fared well at the Shore Coaches race last Saturday. Sophomore Brittany Gibson finished fifth in the girls’ Varsity Group F race, crossing the line in a solid 20:17. The pair of McNair runners should be ones to watch in the upcoming Hudson County Track Coaches Association championships…
North Bergen head boys’ soccer coach
“I never had anything like it in my life,” Belluardo said. “It was so bizarre, going back and forth. It certainly wasn’t a defensive game.”
Not one bit. Can you imagine that the Bruins would score seven goals in a game and not win?
That’s what happened last Monday, when the Bruins and Columbia fought to an incredible 7-7 deadlock.
“If someone told me that we would score seven goals against Columbia, I would say it was like hitting the lottery,” Belluardo said. “It was a physical battle. It was like every three minutes, someone would score.”
Daniel Arango-Montoya and Walter Salmeron each recorded a three-goal hat trick for the Bruins, yet they didn’t win the game.
Ready for this? The Bruins could have won the game, but hit the crossbar twice in the final three minutes of regulation. And after scoring 14 goals in 80 minutes, the two teams went scoreless in the two extra sessions. Truly incredible.
Belluardo believes that his young team is getting better as the season moves on.
“We’re progressing well,” Belluardo said. “We have only four seniors, so every game has been a learning experience for this team. I didn’t know what to expect, but they’re getting better.”
The Bruins, now 5-6-1 overall, are slated to face Memorial in the quarterfinals of the Hudson County Tournament this weekend.
“Every time we play Memorial, it’s like the World Cup,” Belluardo said.
You can count on it that the match between the Bruins and Tigers will be just a little lower scoring than the one last Monday. That’s the wildest soccer result anyone can remember in Hudson County annals…
Once again, Damien Corredor had a phenomenal game for the Weehawken football team, as the Indians march closer to their first NJSIAA state playoff berth since 2003.
Corredor had 201 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns in the Indians’ 41-0 win over Wood-Ridge last weekend. Corredor has now eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the third straight season and currently leads the entire state in rushing yards. The Indians are 4-1, their best record at the halfway mark of the season in a decade.…
Another team close to clinching a state playoff berth is Hudson Catholic, thanks to the heroics of Champion Smith, who had 203 yards and four touchdowns in the Hawks’ 46-14 win over Snyder. The Hawks improved to 3-2 with the win…
St. Anthony defensive end Darius Roper has been a demon on defense, collecting 12 sacks in the Friars’ five wins, placing him among the state’s best in sacks…
North Bergen’s Danny Melian was shifted from quarterback, where he started for the first five games last season, to wide receiver and that change has paid off, as Melian caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Dominick Trautz in the win over Memorial.
Speaking of Trautz, we received several e-mails last week after Trautz’s Athlete of the Week feature that we underestimated Trautz’s talents as a North Bergen Pop Warner player. Apparently, Trautz was a standout quarterback and middle linebacker throughout his Pop Warner days and a lot of coaches and onlookers back then believed Trautz had the makings of being a top-flight performer, which he certainly has become now. Apologies to those who were offended by the words used in last week’s Athlete of the Week story…
Here’s a brief update on the football power point standings. In North Jersey Section 1, Group V, Union City is fifth with a 3-2 record and 53 points and North Bergen sixth with a 3-2 mark and 50 points.
In North 2, Group I, Hoboken sits atop the bracket with a 4-1 record and 64 points, a solid 15 point lead over second place Bound Brook, so the Red Wings are sitting pretty for the No. 1 seed in the bracket. Aforementioned Weehawken is sixth at 4-1 with 42 points. Secaucus is seventh with a 3-2 mark and 30 points, so the Patriots need to do a little work to secure a berth in the postseason.
In North 2, Group II, Lincoln is currently eighth with a 4-1 record and 46 points. In North 2, Group IV, Ferris is hanging in there with a 2-3 record and 27 points, good for sixth in that section.
St. Anthony (5-0, 58 points) and Hudson Catholic (3-2, 36 points) are third and fifth respectively in Non-Public Group 1. Marist (2-3, 33 points) is fifth in Non-Public Group 2, but will need to win a few more games to get a bid. St. Peter’s Prep (5-0, 67 points) is fourth in Non-Public Group 4, easily the toughest bracket in the state…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (5-0). 2. Union City (3-2). 3. North Bergen (3-2). 4. St. Anthony (5-0). 5. Hoboken (4-1)…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (10-1-1). 2. Union City (9-2-2). 3. Memorial (8-4-1). 4. North Bergen (5-7-1). 5. Hoboken (4-6)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.