When Eamonn Dwyer was just a young boy, he would spend a lot of his time as a ball boy for the Marist High School girls’ basketball team. His father, Rich, was always at the Marist gym, doing the public address announcing for the Lady Knights, coached by Rich’s long-time friend, the late Bill DeFazio.
It gave Eamonn an introduction to athletics that he hasn’t soon forgotten, as he has now developed himself, through a lot of dedication and hard work, as one of the premier high jumpers in New Jersey.
Last Monday night, Dwyer cemented his place as one of the very best, by clearing 6-feet, 8-inches at the Hudson County Relays Championships at the Jersey City Armory.
The performance, combined with that of teammate Barrington Bennett, enabled the Marauders to capture the high jump relay gold medal and helped the Marauders gain a share of the team title with Memorial at the relays championships.
By clearing 6-8, Dwyer has the best high jump currently in the state and No. 3 nationally.
“I was very happy when I cleared it, but I was really focused on clearing 6-10,” Dwyer said. “I want to hit 6-10, then seven feet. I think I can go that high. I had one good attempt at 6-10 and almost got it. I was tired, but that’s no excuse. I have to go for 6-10 now, then seven feet. That’s the goal.”
Dwyer has been very diligent in his approach to high jumping. He trains six days a week, almost five hours per day. Some days, he spends lifting weights. Others, he’s in the pool in Bayonne working on his strength.
Dwyer has been training with former Olympian Milton Goode, who participated in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
“He took a personal interest in me after seeing me at the [NJSIAA] Meet of Champions two years ago,” Dwyer said. “He noticed that he thought I could go higher than 6-2 and that he could develop me.”
Last May, Dwyer started working with Goode, who resides in Tinton Falls.
“He comes all the way up to train with me,” Dwyer said. “He’s helped me a tremendous amount. He has tremendous knowledge in the sport. I was always a good student of the sport, but he made me more of an educated student.”
So Dwyer is hard at work until 10-10:30 every night to get to the next level.
“I never miss a workout,” Dwyer said. “If I do, it’s always in my mind that I have to work harder than the next person. I have to make sure that no one works harder than me. I have to dig deep down and find it within me to get it done. I’m very dedicated in my craft. I want to be the best.”
Goode eventually jumped 7-3 during his high school days at Monmouth Regional in the 1980s. That’s another goal of Dwyer, to reach what his coach reached before the spring season is over.
“I have a very strict workout plan,” said Dwyer, who has yet to commit to a college, but is considering Rutgers, Penn State and the University of Miami. He wants to major in physical therapy in school.
“I’ve contacted some schools and they told me that if I cleared 6-10, then they would be interested,” Dwyer said. “I don’t think it’s amazing that I’ve cleared 6-8, because I’ve trained so hard. To get the results I want, I have to work so hard. I expect so much of myself. That’s why when I cleared 6-8, I had to shut everyone out, because I wasn’t done yet. I had to go for 6-10.”
Sounds like a very driven young man…
Speaking of St. Peter’s Prep, it has been learned that the Marauders’ hockey team will get the chance to play inside Yankee Stadium later this month, as part of the National Hockey League’s outdoor series.
The league will set up a rink inside Yankee Stadium for the Rangers to face the Devils and the Islanders, but the rink will also enable some of the area’s top high school teams to play on it.
The Marauders will play Chatham, more than likely on Jan. 31. The time has yet to be determined.
“We still have some details to work out, but we will play there,” said Prep head coach Mike Goodrich. “It’s going to be a neat experience for our players and their parents.”
Goodrich, who worked to secure the Devils’ training facility, the Amerihealth Pavilion adjacent to the Prudential Center in Newark, as the Marauders’ home for practices and games, said that he had been in contact with Devils and NHL officials since the NHL announced plans to play at Yankee Stadium last summer.
It will mark the first time that the NHL will play outdoor games in the New York metropolitan area.
“We started contacts with the Devils as soon as I heard, to get the ball rolling,” Goodrich said. “It took a lot of phone calls. We wanted to know what we could do to get involved.”
Now, word has trickled down that it is beyond a possibility.
“The kids have been asking, ‘Is this really going to happen?’ ” Goodrich said. “I didn’t want to say too much. It’s just going to be tremendous, a great experience for our players. It’s something they’re still going to talk about when they’re in their 40s and 50s, saying, ‘Remember when we played in Yankee Stadium?’ It’s very neat to be chosen as one of the schools to be part of it.”
The Marauders have played a very competitive schedule this season, facing the state’s dominant program, Delbarton, as well as Canisius Prep of Buffalo, one of the nation’s best hockey teams….
Bria Smith of NJCU became the first freshman in the school’s history to be named overall New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Week. Smith, the former St. Dominic Academy standout, is well on her way to becoming the league’s Rookie of the Year…
In high school boys’ basketball, Paterson Eastside defeated St. Anthony last week, becoming the first school to send the Friars to defeat before the New Year since December of 2010. Incredibly, the Paterson public school has now already defeated the top three teams in the area, namely St. Anthony, Hudson Catholic and St. Peter’s Prep….
Hudson Reporter Boys’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. St. Anthony (5-1). 2. Hudson Catholic (5-2). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (5-2). 4. Union City (5-1). 5. Snyder (5-1)…
Hudson Reporter Girls’ H.S. Basketball Top Five: 1. Lincoln (5-1). 2. Secaucus (4-2). 3. Bayonne (5-1). 4. North Bergen (5-1). 5-Marist (4-3)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.