The legacy that Dickinson sensational track athlete and cross country runner Jose Veras has already carved for himself continues to grow and grow.
Veras, who already blazed a trail last year as perhaps one of the most versatile track and field athletes in Dickinson history, winning multiple events as a runner and as a jumper, has taken his talents to the cross country courses this fall, doing some more amazing things.
First, Veras went to the Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park two weeks ago and finished eighth overall in the Varsity Boys A race in an astounding 16:31 against some of the best distance runners in New Jersey.
Veras’ performance enabled the Rams to finish a very respectable fourth as a team that day.
A week later, the Dickinson boys traveled to the Brett Taylor Memorial Invitational at Darlington Park in Mahwah and Veras was at it again, winning the race in 16:17, leading the Rams to the overall team title at that Varsity Boys A event.
It’s an incredible feat, considering that Veras is not considered to be a good distance runner – but he’s certainly proving to be one.
“This is way harder than track,” Veras said. “Doing the high jump and the hurdles? That’s easy. In track, I have to be able to give my all for those four events, but it doesn’t compare to this. The longest race I do in track is 800 meters. This is three miles. I can’t go all out like I do in the other events. I have to pace myself.”
But amazingly, Veras is finding the same amount of success in cross country that he had in track and field – and those were astounding achievements on their own.
“It’s good that I have a good group of teammates,” Veras said. “We push each other well and they make me work. It feels good to do what we’re doing. I’m always working with my team. Cross country is a team sport and this is all for the team.”
At the Shore Coaches Invitational, senior Jose Rivera was 29th in 17:11 and senior Jose Aguilar was 43rd in 17:28.
At the Brett Taylor Meet, Aguilar was sixth overall in 16:44, with Edwin Young ninth (16:49), Rivera 10th (16:50) and Luis Reyes 12th (16:54).
That’s incredible team balance and one that could very well carry the Rams to another county championship in the coming weeks, as well as a strong performance in the upcoming NJSIAA Group IV state sectionals Nov. 6….
Some grid observations from Week 5 of the high school football season: The idea that St. Anthony defeated Lincoln in the battle of the undefeated teams last weekend is not shocking. But the final score definitely was.
The Friars totally dismantled the Lions, 42-16, in a contest that wasn’t even close.
“It’s the biggest win we’ve had,” said Friars head coach Sean Fallon. “It’s the first time we’ve beaten a really good team.”
It’s only the third year of the St. Anthony varsity football program, the second under Fallon, who was named the Hudson Reporter Coach of the Year in 2009. But this was a statement-making victory. The Friars are definitely for real and the program is certainly on the map.
“We knew that they were explosive and had some very good players, but we also felt coming in that we were going to move the ball on them,” Fallon said. “We felt that we were a lot better upfront and that we could run the ball.”
Which is exactly what the Friars did, collecting more than 300 yards rushing as a team with David Coleman, Daryl Wilson and Jidamon Sparkman leading the way. Coleman had 138 yards rushing, with Wilson going over 100 and Sparkman collecting 94. Sparkman had three touchdowns, running for two and catching one TD pass.
“We spread the ball around and all three had big games,” Fallon said. “We were committed to stop [Ty] Stevens [Lincoln’s fine running back] and that’s what we did. It was a huge win in terms of the conference and the state playoffs.”
The big win already clinches one home game in the state playoffs for the Friars. It’s definitely a program on the rise…
Here’s the latest in the NJSIAA football state playoff power point standings. Only a handful of Hudson County teams have a chance to qualify for the state playoffs.
Three of Hudson’s teams are all battling for a berth in the North Jersey Section 2, Group I bracket. Undefeated Secaucus (5-0) has 59 power points, good for second in that bracket behind Glen Ridge. Hoboken (5-0) appears to have secured a berth once again and the Red Wings are fourth with 56 points. Lincoln (4-1) dropped to sixth in that section with 54 points. So the three local teams are separated only by a total of five points. It’s going to be a dogfight for seeds, but it appears that all three look solid for playoff appearances in that bracket.
In North Section 1, Group IV, North Bergen (3-2) is currently fifth in a wide-open bracket with 48 points. Two more wins for the Bruins will secure a second straight berth to the state playoffs and 22 appearances out of 23 years.
As mentioned before, St. Anthony (5-0) is atop the Non-Public Group 1 bracket with 70 points and if they keep going, they could nail down a chance to play for a state title in the New Meadowlands Stadium in December, quite an accomplishment for a third-year program.
St. Peter’s Prep (4-1) sits in fifth place in the Non-Public Group 4 bracket, behind Don Bosco Prep, Seton Hall Prep, Notre Dame of Lawrenceville and Bergen Catholic, with 65 points.
The only other teams with outside chances are Union City (2-3) and Memorial (2-3) in Group IV, but one of those teams will be eliminated after this weekend, because the two teams face each other…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (4-1). 2. Secaucus (5-0). 3. St. Anthony (5-0). 4. Hoboken (5-0). 5. Lincoln (4-1).
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. Union City (8-2-1). 2. Bayonne (7-3-1). 3. St. Peter’s Prep (8-4). 4. North Bergen (7-4-1). 5. Secaucus (5-5-1)….—Jim Hague