Following in the footsteps of an older sibling is never easy.
In the case of Danielle Roesing, she had to follow along the same path as her older sister Cory, who was frankly larger than life when she was a three-sport athlete at Secaucus High School.
By the time she graduated in 2007, Cory Roesing was the all-time leading scorer in Secaucus girls’ basketball history, was the school’s all-time leader in home runs in softball, and made All-State twice in volleyball. She was simply the best all-around athlete the school had produced, among both boys and girls.
Roesing, who was named the Hudson Reporter Co-Female Athlete of the Year in 2007, sharing the honor with the brilliant track and field standout Leslie Njoku of McNair Academic, left a legacy of greatness that few Hudson County athletes have ever achieved.
Just coming close to what the elder Roesing accomplished would have been a chore. The specter of Cory Roesing’s achievements hung like a gigantic banner to the entrance of the school.
But Danielle Roesing, six years younger than her legendary sister, never got caught up in any of the family mystique. She wasn’t going to try to be like Cory. She just wanted to be her own person and never once felt any pressure trying to be another Cory Roesing.
“I have always tried to look up to her,” Danielle Roesing said. “I still do. But we’re different in a lot of ways. My family doesn’t try to compare each other. We just always try to do our best.”
“It probably was hard, trying to follow in her sister’s footsteps,” said Secaucus head softball coach Cherryl Bott. “But Dani did things her own way. She never showed that there was any pressure on her. She was going to be her own person.”
Sheila Rivera, the head volleyball coach who also happens to be Danielle and Cory’s aunt, also never sensed any undue pressure being Cory Roesing’s little sister.
“The two of them are so close that there was never any pressure,” Rivera said. “I don’t think Dani ever felt that she was in Cory’s shadow. Cory is Dani’s biggest cheerleader.”
It also helped that the two Roesing sisters played different positions in all three sports.
Cory Roesing was an outside hitter in volleyball (where she played at Caldwell College), a power forward in basketball and a third baseman in softball.
Danielle Roesing is a setter in volleyball, a small forward/guard in basketball and a pitcher in softball.
“Dani just developed into her own person,” said Bott, who coached both sisters in softball and coached Cory in basketball as well. “And she did a great job of it.”
In volleyball, Danielle Roesing broke the school record for assists, becoming the only player to ever register more than 1,000 assists. She finished her career with 1,170 and never missed a serve during her senior year, serving to 100 percent accuracy.
“She never stopped,” Rivera said. “She led by example and expected things to be done a certain way. She just wanted to be the best that she could be.”
In basketball, Roesing was a four-year starter who tallied more than 500 points, almost 500 rebounds and 250 steals and assists. She holds the record for most games started (112) and most games won (94) in her career.
“She was just a quiet kid who always did her job,” Secaucus head girls’ basketball coach John Sterling said. “I never had an issue with her in four years. She was ideal for a coach. When she needed to shoot more, she did. If she needed to play defense, she did. Whatever was best for the team, that was Danielle. I never had to worry about her. She’s just a special kid.”
Softball is where Roesing really shined, leading the Patriots to their first-ever Hudson County Tournament title and their first-ever NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I state title.
Roesing pitched to a 24-7 record with a stingy 0.88 earned run average, striking out an incredible 249 batters while walking just 40. She finished her career with a 71-20 record. The 24 wins for a season and 71 for a career set new school records.
At the plate, Roesing hit .337 with two homers and 23 RBI, scoring 30 runs with 33 hits.
“She knew what she needed to do to get better,” Bott said. “The rest of the team just jumped on board. She absolutely exceeded expectations. She led us to places we had never been to before.”
Roesing wanted to improve as a softball player, especially a pitcher, developing seven different pitches to use, thanks to the efforts of her private pitching coach Jamie Piela, who was a standout pitcher herself at Siena College.
“I would always take one sport at a time,” Roesing said. “But I always found time to work on my pitching. I throw a screw [ball], drop, fastball, riser, curve, cut and changeup. I always wanted to do better. I always felt that if things weren’t going our way, it was my fault, because I was the pitcher. So I just got mentally tough and things worked out.”
They sure did, because Danielle Roesing is the recipient of the 2012-13 Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year, earning the same honor that her sister did six years ago.
It’s the first time that siblings have ever been selected as Athletes of the Year, either male or female, in the 22-year history of the award.
Incredibly, when Cory Roesing was presented with her award in 2007, mention was made of Danielle.
From the July 10, 2007 editions of the Hudson Reporter:
If Roesing has set the bar a little for future athletes, try watching the 12-year-old up-and-coming star in Secaucus, the one who is achieving things like Cory Roesing did at the same age. Her name? Danielle Roesing, Cory’s little sister.
“I don't want to put that kind of pressure on my sister, to make her feel like she has to be like me” Cory Roesing said. “She's going to be better than me”
In six years, maybe a similar presentation will be made to Danielle Roesing. Stay tuned.
Well, that presentation was made last week, with Danielle Roesing receiving the same award her sister did.
“It feels nice that I was able to follow along,” Roesing said. “Cory always wanted me to do better than she did. We always want each other to do well. It’s nice that I got the same award she got. It really hasn’t hit me yet. Everything went so fast.”
For now, Roesing doesn’t know if she wants to compete in athletics in college. She will attend Montclair State University in the fall and wants to possibly major in special education.
“I’m not sure if I want to play,” Roesing said. “I might want to focus on my education.”
Regardless, her legacy at Secaucus has been left, much like the legacy left by her older sister.
“She’s one we will always use as an example,” Sterling said. “She was able to play all three sports and excel in all three. If you want to emulate someone, it can’t get any better than Danielle Roesing.”
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
2012-2013-Danielle Roesing, Secaucus