TASTY TIDBITS

Weehawken’s Possick headed to Youth Fencing World Championships; Secaucus’ Mack transfers to Youngstown State; fine local representation in ‘March Madness’

Weehawken teenager Lola Possick is once again making headway with the sabre, as the 15-year-old Possick has earned a right to compete in the world fencing championships upcoming in a few weeks in Egypt
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Weehawken teenager Lola Possick is once again making headway with the sabre, as the 15-year-old Possick has earned a right to compete in the world fencing championships upcoming in a few weeks in Egypt

She might have just turned 15 years old, but Lola Possick has already enjoyed a pretty fulfilling life – all thanks to her proficiency in the sport of fencing.

Possick, who has been capturing championships in the sport since she was a toddler, just recently earned the No. 1 ranking in the world in the cadet (ages 17 and under) category.

Because of her status in the world rankings, Possick will now head to the overall world championships in Egypt next month.

Possick, who is now a sophomore at the prestigious Kent Place School in Summit, already has four national championships in her age bracket in the sabre weapon. There are three different weapons in the sport of fencing – epee, foil and sabre.

Possick considers herself fortunate to be able to travel to a world championship event in the midst of the still-ranging COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no national tournament this year,” Possick explained. “So to qualify, I had to be in the top three in the country. Last year, I was fourth, so I couldn’t go if the team was going.”

The pandemic was just reaching its apex in April 2020, so the world championships were put off to this year.

“But this year, I moved up the ranks to the cadet category,” Possick said. “It’s my first year in the cadet category.”

To prepare for the world championship event, Possick has competed in four qualifying tournaments, events that Possick won locally.

“I won all of the ones held in New Jersey,” Possick said. “The pandemic really did slow me down. But I was also able to get some practice in.”

Possick says that some practice line with her tongue placed firmly in her cheek. Her dedication to her craft is astounding.

“It’s definitely been tough getting my work in,” Possick said. “I did a lot of Zoom practices to work on my footwork. There was no real sparring. I just had to work when I had the chance.”

That chance took place practically every single day.

“I would go to my fencing club three or four times a week,” Possick said.

Possick’s training club is called Advanced Fencing and Fitness, which is located in Garwood in Union County. Possick has been training at the location for the past few years.

“I love training there,” Possick said. “There are a lot of girls to fence with there.”

Twice a week, Possick participates in weight training, where she lifts weights and works on her stamina and conditioning.

That leaves Sunday, her rest day.

“But I’m usually training every other day,” Possick said. “I really love it.”

Certainly seems demanding for a budding teenager.

Possick really didn’t know if she was going to get the opportunity to go to the world championships.

“I wasn’t sure at all if this was all going to happen,” Possick said. “I’ve been third the whole time, so I was ready to go if there was going to be the championships.”

Possick received notification last month that the tourney was going to take place, so she’s been going full throttle now in preparation.

“When I heard the news that it was going to happen, I started training a little extra,” Possick said. “I feel ready for it now.”

Still, there are the concerns that have gripped the world for a little over a year. The sports world came to a complete halt on March 12, 2020.

“I’m definitely worried being on a plane for 10 hours in a mask,” Possick said. “Then I’ll get tested and be quarantined in my room in the competition bubble. We’re only allowed to stay in the venue. There are a lot of precautions. I think we’re all going to be worried about COVID. It’s going to be a lot different than any other competition.”

Possick has never been to Egypt and was really hopeful to get the chance to see the great pyramids of the Nile.

“I’m excited just to be able to have the chance to go,” Possick said of the tourney that begins April 4. “It’s the biggest competition of my life. I’m just going to be training a little harder, then see what happens. I’ve been competing internationally since 2018, but this is the world championships, so it’s all new to me. I feel like I’m prepared. I’ve been working hard for it.”

Possick said that she’s excited to be competing in a “nice big stadium,” as opposed to the smaller club drops. It’s a 25,000-seat stadium that should be filled.
“I like it when there’s a lot of hype around me,” Possick said. “It really gets me going.”…

Former Secaucus High School standout girls’ basketball player Lindsey Mack, a two-time Hudson Reporter All-Area honoree, has decided to withdraw from Fairleigh Dickinson University-Teaneck and will transfer to Youngstown State in Ohio, where she will have two years left of eligibility there.

Mack, whose father Kenny saw his Secaucus all-time boys’ school scoring record fall in the final game of the season to Jamling Lama, averaged 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, The Knights had a successful season, posting a 16-8 record, including a seven-game win streak right as the season wound down…

There is a strong local participation in the NCAA Tournament that tipped off last Thursday.

First, former two-time Hudson Reporter Player of the Year Jahvon Quinerly is doing exceptionally well now at the University of Alabama.

Quinerly, the Hudson Catholic product who had a tough go of it at Villanova and decided to leave there after one year, is averaging almost 13 points per game for the Crimson Tide. He was a young man without a lot of options and now he’s played into one of the top point guards in the NCAA Tournament…

Another local product doing very well is former St. Anthony standout R.J. Cole, who is doing a great job playing in the backcourt for Danny Hurley at UConn. Cole, who suffered a concussion in the Big East Tournament last week, received late clearance to play in the NCAAs to face Maryland in the opening round. Cole is averaging 12.3 points per game…

Talk about bad timing. Three local products just missed making history with their respective schools if they had one more year of eligibility. Former Hudson Catholic All-American Louis King is now in the NBA’s developmental G-League with the Westchester Knicks, coached by former Hoboken product Derrick Alston.

Former St. Anthony standout Hallice Cooke was at Oregon State, which hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament in decades, but made it this year, unfortunately without Cooke.

And former Hudson Catholic standout J.R. Lynch, who had a great career at the University of Hartford, moved on after his playing days were done and carved a nice niche as a professional basketball player in Puerto Rico. But this year, the Hawks made the NCAAs for the first time ever, just missing to make the Grand Dance with Hoboken native Lynch. Luck just wasn’t on their sides…

Don’t forget that next week, the Hudson Reporter All-Area High School Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball teams will be announced. We know that it was a shortened season due to the pandemic, but there were very worthy performances that deserve to be recognized. So make sure to log on next week or secure a copy of the paper to see who earned the right to be All-Area. – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com