By ANDY LOIGU
Anthony Gonzalez of Hackettstown and Danielle Profita of Warren Hills were honored with scholarship awards in recognition of their perseverance and rigorous rehabilitation efforts at the 37th annual Hunterdon/Warren Scholar Athletes Luncheon on April 25 in Phillipsburg.
St. Luke’s University Health Network presented each of the athletes a $1,000 scholarship award. St. Luke’s spokesman Nick Avallone, who played football for Princeton University from 1993 to 96, described the athletes as “truly amazing in their determination and recovery.”
He told the audience at Flynn’s on the Hill that Gonzalez suffered a shoulder injury while wrestling and was told he needed surgery. Gonzalez wanted to finish the season and then get the surgery. Then, when football started, he tore his ACL. Again, surgery was recommended, but Gonzalez did not want to miss his senior season and played the final four games after doing intensive rehab, and then wrestled.
The Fairfield University-bound Profita, a member of a Warren Hills field hockey squad which sets higher performance standards than most sports programs, tore her ACL and “defied all science” in coming back to captain a state champion team.
Each Warren County high school recognized one male and one female scholar athlete at the luncheon.
Belvidere honored basketball player Dan Penna, who will attend Drexel University, and soccer player Sarah Casterline, who will attend Central College in Iowa.
Hackettstown honored football and basketball player Ryan Gallagher, who will attend the University of Alabama, and cross country, basketball and softball player Hunter Ruppel, who will attend Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Both North Warren honorees took part in track and cross country. Dillion Johnstone will attend either Northeastern or the University of Southern California. Cilenna Colon will attend either Cornell or Northeastern.
Phillipsburg honored football, basketball and baseball player Zachary Troxell, who will attend Lehigh University and lacrosse player and swimmer Megan McCormick, who will attend Rutgers.
Warren Hills honored soccer and tennis player Samuel Teets, who will attend Clemson, and Profita, who will attend Fairfield University.
Officials Recognized, Too
Hank McClary, a 1967 graduate of Washington High School, the last class before it became Warren Hills Regional, was presented the Joe Steinhardt Officials Award. McClary has officiated basketball games in the area since 1991, softball since 1995 and soccer since 1997.
The award honors longtime Washington/Warren Hills teacher and coach Joe Steinhardt, who had the distinction of refereeing the Army vs. Navy game and Big 10 Conference football games.
The local sports scene will face a problem in the future, as the dedicated men and women who officiate games get older. Young people are not stepping forward to do this service, which does not pay very much and requires a great sacrifice of time and travel.
“The students in this room will be the leaders of the future,” Avallone said. “At Princeton, our motto is education through athletics,” he continued. “It’s not easy, you need to learn time management and to do academic work when you are physically tired. There are not many places in adult life where you can do it all on your own. Sports teach teamwork, the ability to work together for a common goal.”
On With The Games
In baseball, Warren Hills eliminated Hackettstown from the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Tournament on April 19 with a 6-2 win over the Tigers.
P.J. Hanisak was 3-for-3 with two doubles and 2 RBI to lead the Blue Streaks offensively. They scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to make Peter Warsen the winning pitcher. Warsen helped his own cause by going 2-for-2 at bat with a solo homer and two runs scored.
In the next round of the tournament, the Blue Streaks will travel to High Point, at a date and time to be determined.
It has been an up and down start for the 4-3 Tigers, but the thunderous bat of Jake Hall has been consistent. Hall has batted over .450 in the first seven games, with three homers and 14 RBI without striking out.
On the mound in a win over North Plainfield on Saturday, Hall struck out 10 batters while pitching six scoreless innings. Peyton Stewart contributed with two runs batted in while going 2-for-4.
Hall plays right field when he’s not on the mound.
The strong point for the Tigers has been its outfield with rifle armed Hall and gazelle-like centerfielder Matt Arcona roaming the green pastures.
The Hackettstown girls (6-4) romped over Hopatcong 16-1 in their first round H/W/S advancement, but were eliminated from the tournament on Saturday by Kittatinny, 7-3.
In a non-league game, the Tigers lost 6-3 at Roxbury on April 20. Roxbury is also 6-4.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.