SCOREBOARD Hoboken’s Mixson named Reporter Female Athlete of the Year

Basketball, softball standout becomes third Redwing to capture award
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REPORTER FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Hoboken High School senior Nyasia Mixson (fourth from right) receives the 2017-2018 Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year Award from Hudson Reporter co-publisher David Unger for being the top multi-sport female athlete in the Reporter circulation area. Pictured from left are Hoboken athletic director Derek England; Tamara Groomes, Mixson’s mother; James Mixson, Mixson’s father; Unger, Mixson, assistant softball coach Ashley Roskowski, head basketball coach Ryan Sorafine and head softball coach Vinnie Johnson.
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REPORTER FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR – Hoboken High School senior Nyasia Mixson (fourth from right) receives the 2017-2018 Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year Award from Hudson Reporter co-publisher David Unger for being the top multi-sport female athlete in the Reporter circulation area. Pictured from left are Hoboken athletic director Derek England; Tamara Groomes, Mixson’s mother; James Mixson, Mixson’s father; Unger, Mixson, assistant softball coach Ashley Roskowski, head basketball coach Ryan Sorafine and head softball coach Vinnie Johnson.
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Nyasia Mixson was always a softball player, first and foremost.
“I started playing softball when I was nine years old,” Mixson said. “I just loved playing softball. I was a shortstop right away from the minute I started playing.”
One day when she was about 13 years old, Mixson’s older brother, Ramel, was joking around with his sister in the playground, trying to coax her into playing some hoops with the boys.
“He didn’t understand why I wasn’t into it,” Mixson said. “I just liked playing softball.”
Later that fall, Mixson gave in to her brother’s wishes and became a basketball player for the first time.
“I went to a couple of games,” Mixson said. “It looked like it was a lot of fun.”
Mixson immediately took to basketball. She had the help of her older brother to learn the game and she picked it up quickly.
“There was a grammar school league, so I joined the league,” Mixson said. “I was pretty good in basketball right away. I practiced a lot and got even better. Basketball wasn’t really that easy. I had to work hard at it. I started to love basketball even more than I loved softball.”
When the time came to join the sports teams at her native Hoboken High School, Mixson was poised to play basketball and softball. At the time, the multi-talented Mixson also played soccer, but she only played soccer for her first two years of high school to concentrate on the other two.
“I just felt more comfortable playing the two sports,” Mixson said.
Hoboken head softball coach Vinnie Johnson has been coaching Mixson since she was a toddler. So there was an easy transition for Mixson to be Johnson’s shortstop with the Redwings.
“She’s always been a second baseman or a shortstop,” Johnson said. “She just comes to play. She just wants to put the ball in play and do her job. She doesn’t want to be the leader. She’s not the leader type. But she’s been a solid player for us for all four years.”
Johnson said that Mixson was always a clutch performer.
“She would come up with the big hit and the big RBI,” Johnson said. “I had others on the team who could lead the team. It was a lot easier for her to relax and do her part.”
Johnson had one firm belief about Mixson.
“I’ve coached her since she was eight years old,” Johnson said. “I always thought that softball was going to be her best sport. She had great athletic ability. She’s very athletic.”
Mixson batted .415 this season with 27 hits, 23 RBI, six doubles and 14 stolen bases. She also had 24 runs scored, earning Hudson Reporter All-Area honors in both her junior and senior year.
But basketball eventually became Mixson’s better sport, leading the Redwings to three consecutive berths in the NJSAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I sectional semifinals.
“She played all four years,” said Hoboken head coach Ryan Sorafine. “You could tell right away that she had that natural ability. But her confidence grew every year. She had a better understanding of the game and became our best offensive threat, both shooting from outside and in transition. She really was a versatile player. She was a silent leader. She wasn’t very vocal, but considering she was the one with the ball in her hands, everyone had to listen. She led by example and picked everyone else up.”
Mixson went from a little used performer as a freshman to a two-time Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree, leading the Redwings to 88 victories in her four years of high school.
As a senior, Mixson averaged 14.8 points per game and ended her career with 883 career points.
She scored 30 or more points four times in her career, including big wins over Snyder and McNair Academic in the same week.
“She came a long way,” Sorafine said. “She never played basketball before high school, but she picked it up quickly and became our best player. Her athletic ability just catapulted her past the competition.”
And it has enabled Mixson to be named as The Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year for the scholastic sports season of 2017 through 2018.
Mixson received her award recently from long-time Hudson Reporter Publisher David Unger, who has been an advocate for the only annual award presented to the top male and female athletes in the Reporter circulation area that participate in more than one varsity sport.
The Reporter has been presenting the annual award to the top local athletes every year since 1992. The Hudson Reporter Male Athlete of the Year presentation will be featured in next week’s Scoreboard feature.
Mixson becomes the third Redwing female to earn the year-end honor, joining Ashley Barron (2009-2010) and Sybil Lynch (2011-2012).
Mixson was aware of the Reporter’s Athlete of the Year award, but wasn’t sure that she was a candidate to receive it.
“I know it’s a really big deal,” Mixson said. “I really didn’t know that I had a shot. It’s a really big honor and it actually shocked me.”
Mixson’s coaches both believe that she will be sorely missed in the Mile Square City.
“She was always the first one with the ball in her hands,” Sorafine said. “She was the first one to practice and was the one who didn’t want to leave when we were done. She picked up the others As things come to a close, we hope that we can have someone to step into her shoes.”
“She always had the knack of doing the little things, bunting, base running, stealing a base,” Johnson said. “She just always wanted to play. She also had the knack of getting the big hit in big situations. I wish her well in college.”
Mixson said that she plans on trying to walk on to the basketball team at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania in the fall. She is undecided about her major, but she’s sure she can play basketball in college.
“I went to talk to the coaches when I went for my visit there,” Mixson said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Mixson was asked how she would like to be remembered in Hoboken.
“I want to be remembered as the most athletic player and the best shooter,” Mixson said. “I wanted to be remembered as a girl who could basically do it all.”
Mixson certainly did it all — enough to be the top female athlete in Hudson County for 2017-2018.

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com. You can also read Jim’s blog at www.jimhaguesports.blogspot.com.