TASTY TIDBITS 08-15-2010
New league for Weehawken, Secaucus this fall
County Prep student Martin excels at National Junior Disability Championships
by Jim Hague
Aug 15, 2010 | 1111 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MEDAL COLLECTOR – Jersey City’s Raymond Martin, shown here after collecting four medals at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in June, won nine track and field medals, as well as a table tennis and archery gold medal at the National Junior Disability Championships in Chicago last week.
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Secaucus High School and Weehawken High School will find themselves in a new athletic league beginning this fall.

The two local schools will compete in the new North Jersey Interscholastic Conference (NJIC) beginning with the upcoming fall campaigns.

The new 38-school NJIC will feature many of the schools from the old BCSL Olympic, American, and National leagues (Secaucus and Weehawken were members of the BCSL National for more than 30 years), as well as the B-PSL.

Secaucus athletic director Stan Fryczynski has been selected to serve as the executive director of the new league.

Both Secaucus and Weehawken will play in the Meadowlands Division of the NJIC. There are three divisions of the new league: the Colonial, the Meadowlands, and the Patriot.

There are also subdivisions of each division, so Secaucus will be paired competitively with Lyndhurst, Harrison, North Arlington, Becton, and Queen of Peace, while Weehawken will be joined by Saddle Brook, Hasbrouck Heights, Wood-Ridge, Wallington, Immaculate Conception of Lodi, St. Mary’s of Rutherford, and Eastern Christian of North Haledon.

Fryczynski is excited about the new conference and the school alignments.

“We were able to keep the relationships we had with the old schools from our league and add some new schools,” Fryczynski said. “It’s made for a very interesting concept. We tried to keep some of the traditional rivals. We definitely needed some depth in the league. I think we’re being innovative and expanded our league. I’m upbeat about it. It’s exciting and new, while it’s also old as well.”

It’s also enabled Secaucus, which has had a dominant football program over the last decade, to upgrade its schedule. In addition to playing its divisional rivals, the Patriots will also have NJIC independent crossover games this fall against Manchester Regional, Glen Rock, Rutherford, Hasbrouck Heights, and Cresskill.

“The amount of man hours put into this has been staggering,” Fryczynski said.

However, there is one downside to it.

Secaucus and Weehawken have been forever linked, going back to the days when residents of Secaucus had to attend Weehawken High School. There’s been a close rivalry and a good working relationship between the two schools. At one point, the two schools shared a wrestling cooperative. The two schools played every year for their annual Thanksgiving Eve football rivalry.

This new formation separates the two schools a little, although they will still play each other at least once in other sports outside of football.

And in that respect, it’s an end of an era of sorts.

“Our communities have changed a lot over the years,” Fryczynski said. “I think there are very few kids in either school who realize that there once was a relationship between the two. The times have changed. Some of the parents and grandparents may remember, but it’s not the way it was 20 or even 10 years ago. I appreciate the old guard and I definitely understood the relationship, but in all fairness, things had changed.”

It’s just not going to be the same not having neighboring rivals Secaucus and Weehawken battle for league championships like they once did….

In June, the incredible exploits of Raymond Martin, the County Prep junior, were featured here after Martin captured four medals at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions, competing in the wheelchair track events.

Well, after receiving an e-mail from Raymond’s mom, we learned that Raymond competed in the 2010 National Junior Disability Championships in Chicago recently, participating with his team, the Navigators, an eight-member team that also featured Jim Cuevas and Crystal Orihuela of Jersey City.

The athletes competed not only in track and field, but also swimming, archery, and table tennis.

At the event in Chicago, Martin won six medals in track, including a gold medal in the 1,500-meter event. He placed second in the five other events. He also won the shot put, discus, and javelin, won first place in table tennis, and broke the national record in archery, shattering his own record for the third year in a row.

Martin and Cuevas are now off to the 2010 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Junior World Championships, being held in the Czech Republic next week. More than 200 athletes from 25 different countries will compete in the Junior World Championships.

It’s safe to say that these athletes are tremendous inspirations…

Weehawken resident Simon Nee has been named as the new head soccer coach at Felician College. That school definitely has a host of Hudson County people among their coaching ranks…

Here’s to hoping that the bleachers at Caven Point Cochrane Stadium get repaired in time for the start of the football season next month. The bleachers were deemed unsafe and major repairs were called for. The grid season kicks off exactly one month from this weekend and with six schools using the facility as its home field, it’s essential to get those bleachers fixed in time…

It was great that Jersey City Recreation showed a little hospitality in welcoming a basketball team from Holland to play the Summer League All-Stars in two games at Hamilton Park and the Golden Door Charter School last week. The team from Holland was very competitive and gave the locals everything they could offer in the two games. But it’s excellent to see international diplomacy taking place in Jersey City during the summer months…

As the college football season draws closer, we’ll keep an eye out for some local talents, guys like former St. Peter’s Prep greats Will Thompson at Boston College, Will Hill at Florida, and Kee-Ayre Griffin at Temple, as well as former North Bergen standout Evan Rodriguez, also at Temple, and Duval Kamara, Notre Dame’s fine wide receiver out of Hoboken.

All five should be stars at their respective schools this fall.

And let’s not forget about Rutgers linebacker Manny Abreu, who begins his second season as a starting linebacker with the Scarlet Knights. Abreu was a standout during his high school days at Union Hill. Betim Bujari, the former Secaucus standout, is a freshman with the Scarlet Knights, trying to find a way onto the regular roster…--Jim Hague Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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