Ocean Township HS Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Sixteen athletes, one coach, and four distinguished alumni were inducted into the Athletic and Alumni Hall of Fame in ceremonies held on February 7, 2020, at the Ocean Township High School. Athletes were inducted by their coaches. The Hall of Fame, which was organized in 1982, has inducted a total of 139 athletes, coaches, and winning teams with graduating classes beginning in 1967, up to and including 2009. Plaques with a photograph and biography of each inductee will be displayed on the “Wall of Fame” in the hallway outside of the school gym. The new inductees were introduced at halftime of the Ocean/Wall basketball game. Those inductees were:

Holly Biro Edling, Class of 2007 – 4-year varsity letter winner in swimming; current school record holder in 3 events; 3-time First-Team All-Shore record holder at LaSalle University.

Nora Bosmans, Class of 2007 -10 varsity letter winner; 3-time All-Shore in Field Hockey; 4-time All-Shore in softball at Monmouth University; named Softball Coach of the Year in 2014 at Holmdel High School.
Danielle Caruso, Class of 2009, 4-year varsity letter winner in swimming; current school record holder in 4 events; led the team to 1st B Central Sectional Championship; Monmouth County and Shore Conference Champ; Scholarship to Lehigh University.

Chris Cerven, Class of 2008 – 4-year varsity letter winner in golf; Champ Wall Invitational;1st Team All-State Group III; 3rd in NJSIAA Tournament of Champions; Clemson University Golf Team; now a PGA Class “A” Professional.

Kaitlin English, Class of 2007 – 4-year varsity swimming; current school record holder in 4 events; All-State Swimmer in 2006; Scholarship to University of Massachusetts.

Joseph Falco, Class of 2007 – All-County in football; 3-time District wrestling champ and 3-time Region Finalist; College football and wrestling

Douglas Friedman, Class of 2003 – All-Shore in Tennis; All-State, 2nd Team; Member of Division, Shore Conference and Central Jersey Championship Teams; career record of 95-8.

Kyle Kiss, Class of 2007 – 4-year varsity letter winner in Wrestling; 3-time District and Region Champ; 4-time State Place Winner; Ranked Top 5 in the country; 3-time ACC Place Winner; Wrestling Scholarship to North Carolina Chapel Hill; currently a coach at Rutgers University.

Michael Lampa, Class of 2009 – NJSIAA State Champion in Tennis; 2-time Monmouth County Champ; 4-time All-Shore; Ranked # 1 in Boys 18 & Under USTA Eastern Section; career record 109-7 at 1st singles; 2-time All-Big East; Tennis Scholarship to St. John’s University.

Carly Lyster, Class of 2007 – 11 varsity letters in soccer, basketball, and lacrosse; All-Shore in soccer & lacrosse; ranked Nationally in lacrosse at Wagner College.

Georgina Nembhard, Class of 2007 – 8 varsity letters in indoor & outdoor track; current school record in 11 events; County & Group III Champ; 1st Team All-Shore & All-State; Track Scholarship to the University of Georgia where she qualified for NCAA Championship.

Laura Pembleton Garofalo, Class of 2007 – All-Shore & All-State Group III in Softball; 3-time All-Shore in Swimming; Shore Conference Champion for 3 years; Current record holder at OTHS in 4 events; Scholarship to St. Joseph’s College.

Dana Sherman, Class of 2007 – 4-year Division Champion Gymnastics Team; State Champ in Balance Beam; All-Shore & All-State Gymnastics Team in 2003.

Jeff Siciliano, Class of 2007 – 3-time District Champion and 2-time Region Champion in Wrestling; State Finalist; Member 4-time CJIII Wrestling Champs; County Wrestler of the Year.

Andrew Van Dyk, Class of 2008 – Member of 3 straight Group III Championship Wrestling Teams; 3-time District Champ; 2-time Region Champ; 4-time State Place Winner; final record 137-28.

Keith Weinkofsky, Class of 2007 – 1st Team All-State, All-Shore & All-County Baseball; State Baseball Player of the Year 2006; Current Shore Conference Homerun Record Holder; All-American at Brookdale Community College, NJCAA National Player of the Year 2009.

Ken Hoff, Coach – Head Wrestling Coach for 10 years; 5 Sectional, Shore Conference Division & District 22 Championships; Coached 35 District Champs; 12 Region Champs; 21 State Place Winners and 2 State Champions.

The following were inducted into the Alumni Hall of Fame:
Guy Thomas Cosentino, Class of 1977 – Brigadier General (retired) US Army; Served 30 years in US Army; Commandant, National War College; Deputy Commanding General, NATO Training Mission- Afghanistan Bronze Star; Legion of Merit; Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.

Joseph A. Palaia (Deceased), Neptune High School – Wanamassa School Principal for 30 years; Mayor Ocean Township; County Freeholder; NJ Assemblyman; NJ Senate 1989-2008.

Carol Samaha Steadman (Deceased), Class of 1970 – Teacher and Innovator at Ocean Township Elementary School.

Marc Swersky, Class of 1978 – 2-time Grammy Award Winning Songwriter; Over 50 million records sold; vocalist mentor, song writer, musician, and producer.

The Hall of Fame Committee plans to induct the next class consisting of graduates from 2010-2012.

Additional photos can be viewed on our sport page on Facebook; The Link Sports

Ocean Township HS Hall of Fame Class of 2020

Shore Regional HS Athletic Hall of Fame 2019

West Long Branch – October 10, 2019 will be the day that Shore Regional High School will be inducting their first Athletic Hall of Fame Class. The ceremony will be held at Branches in West Long Branch on Monmouth Road. Tickets are priced at $75 for individuals and $45 for members of teams being inducted. You can register for the event at www.shorehof.myevent.com Registration closes on September 25, 2019.


Class of 2019

Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2019
Individual Inductees:
Tim Britton (Football and Baseball)
Jessica Coleman (Field Hockey, Basketball, Softball and Soccer)
Bill Dennis (Swimming)
Lou Giglio (Boys Soccer)
Kathleen Kelly (Field Hockey and Softball)
Melissa Lehman (Basketball, Lacrosse and Soccer)
Kevin (Mills Football)
Vanessa Pizzulli (Field Hockey, Basketball and Softball)
Meredith Pizzulli (Field Hockey, Swimming, Track and Soccer)
Paulette Russell (Swimming)
Karen Strollo (Field Hockey, Basketball, Track and Softball)
Ralph Yamello (Track)
Ron Yamello (Track)

Team Inductees:
1963 Football Team
1973 Girls Outdoor Track Team
1981 Football Team
1988 Softball Team
1996 Field Hockey Team

Additional information contact Harry S. Chebookjian III, CAA, Assistant Principal of Athletics & Student Activities 732-222-9300 x2600


Gulls edge Devils 38-22 to win sectional title

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr Photos by Sportshotswlb.com
By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
The Blue Devils wrestling squad entered the 2018 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 tournament as the two seed. On Friday night they were in Point Pleasant Beach to face the top seed Garnet Gulls for the sectional title, but unfortunately for the Devils they lost 38-22.

Following are the match results from the sectional finals.
126 pounds, Al DeSantis (SR) major 16-6 decision over Riley Simon (PB)

132 pounds, Shore Regional forfeited to Pt. Beach

138 pounds, Michael McGhee (SR) beat Jesse Bowers (PB) 5-2

145 pounds, Jarrett Weir (SR) beat Jude Lovgren 5-4

152 pounds, Jimmy Sherlock (PB) pinned Gabe Pesh (SR) at 3:42

160 pounds, Jason Sherlock (PB) beat Ian Smith (SR) 2-0

170 pounds, Jared Hoeler (PB) had a 19-3 technical fall win over Cade Torres (SR)

182 pounds, Vincent Storino (PB) pinned Brendon Denovaes (SR) at 5:31

195 pounds, Liam Buday (PB) beat Taylor Sosa (SR) 3-2 in UTB

220 pounds Santino Giampa (PB) beat Michael Rosati (SR) 3-2

285 pounds, Antonio Lipari (PB) beat Balint Bognar (SR) 3-2

106 pounds, Jack Maida (SR) won by forfeit

113 pounds, Will Jarvis (PB) beat Matt Klemser (SR) 4-3

120 pounds, Brad Smuro (SR) pinned Mike Duffy (PB) at 5:26
Shore Regional had a very impressive 52-18 semifinal win over sixth seed Maple Shade. Here are those match results from February 7.
106 pounds Jack Maida (SR) pinned John Galloway (MS) at 5:19

113 pounds Matt Klemser (SR) by forfeit

120 pounds Brad Smuro (SR) pinned Roger Hof (MS) at 2:24

126 pounds Brayden Milller (MS) by forfeit

132 pounds Al Desantis (SR) major 10-1 decision over Max Ormsby (MS)

138 pounds Michael McGhee (SR) beat CJ Thompson (MS) 8-3

145 pounds Jake Ormsby (MS) beat Gabe Pesh (SR) 5-1

152 pounds Jarrett Weir (SR) pinned Anthony Veneri (MS) at 3:52

160 pounds Ian Smith (SR) beat Jamar Scott (MS) 2-1

170 pounds Alex Herrmann (MS) beat Cade Torres (SR) 8-1

182 pounds Taylor Sousa (SR) pinned Mike Sabo (MS) at 1:31
195 pounds Michael Rosati (SR) by forfeit

220 pounds John Stanton (MS) pinned Joe Graci (SR) at 1:26
285 pounds Balint Bognar (SR) by forfeit
The opening quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 tournament had the Blue Devils hosting and beating seventh seed Riverside 66-12. Following are those results from February 5.
106 pounds, Jack Maida (SR) by forfeit

113 pounds, Ross Dougherty (SR) by forfeit

120 pounds, Matt Klemser (SR) pinned Ian Horn (R) at 1:01

126 pounds, Brad Smuro (SR) pinned Louis Vasquez (R) at 2:17

132 pounds, Al Desantis (SR) pinned Timmy Damico (R) at 1:09

138 pounds, Michael McGhee (SR) pinned Alex Tolbert (R) at 5:45

145 pounds, Gabe Pesh (SR) pinned Richie Stoerr (R) at 1:20

152 pounds, Jarrett Weir (SR) pinned Kevin Tosta (R) at 3:46

160 pounds, James Frith (R) beat Ian Smith (SR) 7-2

170 pounds, Chuck Bluhm (R) pinned Brendon Denovaes (SR) at 2:12

182 pounds, Cade Torres (SR) pinned Jenson Arias (R) at 0:52

195 pounds ,Michael Rosati (SR) pinned Ariel Carreno (R) at 2:23

220 pounds, Taylor Sousa (SR) pinned Gavin Otto (R) at 0:42

285 pounds, Johnny Delima (R) beat Balint Bognar (SR) 1-0




Spartans top Falcons 65-39

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
One of the surprise teams in the Shore Conference this basketball season has been the boys at Ocean Township High School. The Spartans play in the B North division with powerhouse programs like Manasquan, Red Bank Catholic, both Middletown North and South, Wall Township, Long Branch and Monmouth Regional.
What’s surprising this season is Long Branch and Wall are near the bottom with Monmouth Regional, while Ocean Township is near the top with Squan and the Caseys.
Last week Ocean hosted Monmouth Regional, which has been struggling for the past few years.
The Falcons came into Ocean winless a 0-12 in the division and 1-17 overall. On the other hand, the Spartans entered at 7-5 in the B North, sitting in third position with Manasquan at 11-2 and Red Bank Catholic ahead of them at 9-4.
During the first quarter the Falcons played their best basketball and only trailed the Spartans 12-9. However, from the second quarter on MR just imploded, making errors in basic basketball skills; traveling/walking, missing layups, bad passes and not boxing out under the boards.
Monmouth Regional has the talent, and it’s obvious that once they fall behind the mistakes are more frequent as a result of frustration. That is understandable as the team has had a few different head coaches over the years and developing an identity has been difficult.
Ocean on the other hand has had steady leadership with John Terlecsky and his staff. They also have one of the best centers in the Shore Conference with Andrew Seager, who stands 6’8” and plays bigger.
Ocean outscored Monmouth Regional 21-13 in the second quarter, 16-9 in the third and 16-8 in the fourth taking the 65-39 victory.
Seager finished with 24 points to lead all scorers. He also had six rebounds, five assists and two blocks for Ocean. Luke Yates scored 13 points and had three rebounds and four assists. Jack Miller was right behind Yates with 12 points, five assists, one block and one rebound. Ocean had one other player reach double digits in scoring; David Yatcilla finished with 10 points, five rebounds and five steals.
The Falcons had only one player in double digits. Sean Gades finished with 10 points. Teammates Ryan Cronin scored nine and Kerron Holley had eight. Monmouth Regional is now 0-13 in the B North and 1-18 overall.
Ocean Township improved to 8-5 in division games and 13-8 overall. Terlecsky is looking for a good run through the Shore Conference Tournament, however Raney School, Mater Dei and CBA are of course the big heavy favorites. However, when the state tournament is announced within days, Terlecsky is hoping for a high seed and home game.


Long Branch wins NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 title

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Long Branch had two relatively easy opening rounds in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 wrestling tournament. As top seed, they faced Brick Memorial, the third seed, in the finals on February 9.

The championships on Friday resulted in a tie, as both schools finished regulation matches with 29 points. When that happens the officials go to a tiebreaker using criteria of most bouts won. Long Branch had eight while the Mustangs of Brick Memorial had only six. That gave the Green Wave the 30-29 win and their sixth sectional title since 2008.
The Green Wave of Long Branch have five NJSIAA Sectional Titles; 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. In Group Tournament they have won in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Match results of the 02-09-18 NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional finals:
106 pounds, Joe Rotondo (BM) beat Dylan Keller (LB) 12-2

113 pounds, Vincent Santaniello (BM) beat Rey Guzman (LB) 14-4
120 pounds, Ryan Zimmerman (LB) beat Michael Richardson (BM) 6-0

126 pounds, Chris Dean (LB) major 15-6 decision over Liam Rivera (BM)

132 pounds, Strivani Silva (LB) pinned Ryan Andrus (BM) at 1:43

138 pounds, Caleb Alvarado (BM) pinned Jaya Mathews (LB) at

145 pounds, Isaac Shohet (LB) major 10-0 decision over Brian Alexander (BM)

152 pounds, Louie Saez (LB) major 11-3 decision over Bryan Willson (BM)

160 pounds, San Szuba (BM) ultimate tie breaker 3-2 over Luke Arnold (LB)

170 pounds, Ean Mueller (BM) pinned Edgar Padilla (LB) at 5:11

182 pounds, Daniel Santos-Silva (LB) beat Ron Hopping

195 poundsl Peter Wersinger (LB) technical fall 19-4 win over Roberto Herrara

220 poundsl Sam Williams (BM) pinned Chris Mitler (LB) at 3:59

285 poundsl Kevin Cerruti (LB) beat Christopher Mittler (BM) 7-0
The semifinals had fourth seed Colts Neck on February 7, in Long Branch, who won 48-17, following are those match results.
126 poundsl Dyon Womack (CN) major decision 11-1 over Steven Pabone (LB)

132 poundsl Chris Dean (LB) beat Justin Pierre-Louise 8-4

138 pounds, Ryan Carey (LB) beat Anthony Lombardo 9-7

145 pounds, Issac Shobet (LB) pinned Joseph Barsky at 4:12

152 pounds Louie Saez (LB) major decision 13-3 over Jake Lupo
160 pounds, Luke Arnold (LB) pinned Daniel Moldaver at 2:25

170 pounds, Daniel Santos-Silva (LB) beat Kenneth Koenig 4-2

182 poundsl Michael Janucci (CN) beat Edgar Padilla (LB) 4-0

195 poundsl Peter Wersinger (LB) technical fall 16-1 win over AJ Royle

220 pounds, La’Qym Morris (LB) pinned Thomas Lidondic at 3:25

285 pounds, Kevin Cerruti (LB) pinned Jovani Velazquez-Ruiz at 0:51

106 pounds, Logan Waller (CN) technical fall 17-2 over Dylan Kelleher (LB)

113 pounds, Ryan Zimmerman (LB) pinned Nicholas Moldaver at 0:51

120 pounds, Joseph King (CN) technical fall 15-0 over Rey Guzman (LB)

Burlington County was the first victims of the Green Wave run to the sectional finals. Long Branch hosted and beat them 61-9.
Following are the match results from that February 5, quarterfinals.
106 pounds, Dylan Kelleher (LB) pinned Shahid Khan at 1:43

113 pounds, Ryan Zimmerman (LB) win by forfeit

120 pounds, Rey Gizman (LB) pinned Shariel Ramos at 0:38

126 pounds, Chris Dean (LB) pinned Alex DeAngelis at 0:58

132 pounds, Craig Cook (BT) beat Steven Pabone (LB) 6-2

138 pounds, Stivini Silva (LB) win by forfeit

145 pounds, Issac Shohet (LB) win by forfeit

152 pounds, Michael Limone (BT) pinned Jack Friedman (LB) at 1:23

160 pounds, Luke Arnold (LB) pinned Lucas Britton at 2:42

170 pounds, Edgar Padilla (LB) beat Jake Marshall 7-1

182 pounds No Match

195 pounds ,La’Qym Morris (LB) major decision 14-5 over TreVonne Black

220 pounds, Peter Wersinger (LB) win by forfeit

285 pounds, Kevin Cerruti (LB) win by forfeit

Devils wrestle three wins on Saturday

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr.

This past weekend the Blue Devils of Shore Regional hosted three school in nondivisional wrestling matches. They crushed Neptune 68-9 and walloped JFK Iselin 70-12.

However, before they beat those schools they faced off against rival Red Bank Regional. It was the closest score of the day, but the Devils still walked away with the 46-27 win. Those wins give the Blue Devils a 20-4 overall record and they are in second place in the Shore Conference B Central division with a 4-1 record.

Match results against Red Bank Regional

138 pounds, Michael McGhee of Shore had a major decision 14-0 over Luke Devine.

145 pounds, Gabe Pesh of Shore beat Jonathan Ponce 8-6.

152 pounds, Sam Goldweig of Red Bank Regional beat Jarrett Weir 5-2.

160 pounds, Ian Smith of Shore beat Will DalPra 7-2

170 pounds, Cade Torres of Shore pinned Michael Espinoza at 2:40. 1

82 pounds, Tylor Sousa of Shore pinned Vincent DeLorenzi at 3:30. 1

95 pounds, Michael Rosati of Shore pinned Nicholas Principe at 1:53.

220 pounds, Edison Quesada of Red Bank Regional pinned Joe Graci in 26 seconds.

285 pounds, Justin Gooding of Red Bank Regional pinned Balint Bogner at 2:30.

106 pounds, Jack Maida of Shore won by forfeit.

113 pounds, Matt Klemser of Shore pinned Tucker Cochrane at 5:10.

120 pounds, Brad Smuro of Shore pinned Anthony Ciccone at 1:28.

126 Finn Smith, of Red Bank Regional won by forfeit. 1

32 pounds, Erik Olsen of Red Bank Regional won by forfeit.


Ocean skating on thin ice this season

By Coleen Burnett

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Last week the Spartans ice hockey team which consists of players from both Ocean Township and Shore Regional high schools were on the road for an away game facing Freehold Township. They didn’t have to travel far for the game as Freehold plays in the same arena, just on another rink.

Both teams play in the Shore Conference A Central division where Manasquan leads all 10 team with a perfect 8-0 record. Freehold Township is now sitting in third position at 4-1-1 while the Spartans after losing 6-1 to Freehold Township falls to sixth in the division at 4-3-1.

The roster for the Spartans is rather thin to previous seasons. Not having as many players effects the shifting which is so very important in the sport of hockey. Lines are usually on the ice for less than a minute, as the players work so hard. Some of the players on the Ocean team are on the ice for nearly all of the game.

Freehold Township took advantage of that fact and opened a 3-0 lead on the Spartans in the first period. Ocean settled down in the second period and only allowed Freehold one goal.

In between the second and third periods the players headed to the locker rooms while the ice is refinished.

Freehold Township started the third period with a goal and took a 5-0 lead on Ocean. However, at 2:28 in that final period Ocean finally found the Freehold goal. Dylan Haar scored off an assist from Kenny Maxwell. The last goal was scored by Freehold Township who took the 6-1 victory. In the goal for Ocean was Sean Harrington who had 20 saves in the loss. Photo: 8 Scott Sirianni (8) a sophomore from Shore Regional is a starting defensive player on the Ocean Township HS ice hockey team. Photo: 9 Senior forward and captain of the Spartans is Tommy Stuppi (9). Photo: 12 Freshman Kenny Maxwell (12) on the Ocean squad looks to clear the puck during the Freehold Township game. Photo: 28 Alternate captain Dylan Haar (28) junior at Ocean Township HS was the only Spartan to score in the 6-1 loss to Freehold Township.


Monmouth Regional gets first win of season

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr, Photos by Sport Shots WLB.com

Last week the Falcons of Monmouth Regional notched their first win in 15 games this season. They traveled to West Long Branch and faced the boys basketball team at Shore Regional High School.

Monmouth Regional is currently 0-10 and last place out of the eight teams in the B North division of the Shore Conference. Overall, the Falcons are now 1-14 after beating the Blue Devils 56-51 on January 22.

Shore, which plays in the A Central division of the Shore Conference, started out well taking an 18-15 lead on the Falcons. However, all it takes is one bad quarter in high school hoops to ruin a game plan. And for the Blue Devils it was the second quarter as they allowed Monmouth Regional to add 13 points to their total and Shore was only able to score three. Going into the halftime break Monmouth Regional held a 28-21 lead on Shore.

The second half was close as Monmouth Regional took a 16-15 edge in the third quarter and the Devils outscored the Falcons 15-12 in the fourth.

Leading all Falcons was Kerron Holley with 23 points. He also had three rebounds and two assists. Ryan Cronin and Dayshawn Porter each finished with 12 points. Porter also pulled down eight rebounds, had nine assists and two steals.

Shore Regional fell to 6-10 overall and in the A Central they are 3-6, which is sixth out of the seven teams. They regrouped on January 24, and traveled to Long Branch to face the Green Wave in another nondivisional game.

Shore shocked Long Branch taking the 42-36 win, and didn’t allow a single Wave player to score in double digits. Long Branch dropped to 5-10 overall and are 3-5 in the B North, which puts them in sixth out of the eight teams.


Ocean blows past Wave 52-32

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

Last week the gym at Ocean Township High School was packed for the boys basketball game. The Spartans were hosting rival Long Branch in a Shore Conference B North divisional game, beating them 52-32.

There was a lot of buzz before the game as several college football scouts from Syracuse, Monmouth University and Pat Narduzzi, head coach of the University of Pitt, were all in attendance. They were there to watch and support Long Branch High School football star Kamar Mimes, who also plays on the Green Wave hoops squad. There appears to be a lot of interest from the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in Mimes.

Mimes has not yet officially committed to play football next year with any particular university. We will keep you posted when he makes his selection.

Of the four quarters played on January 23 in Ocean, the Spartans outscored the Green Wave in all of them. Two were close and two were not so close.

To start the game, the Spartans jumped out to a 14-11 lead on Long Branch. They used aggressive defense, smart passing and the superior play of 6’8” senior center Andrew Seager, who finished the game with 25 points., five rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in the 52-32 win over Long Branch.

It was the second and third quarters were the Spartans pulled away and the Green Wave fell behind where they couldn’t recover. Ocean closed out the first half with a 15-8 second quarter performance taking a 29-19 lead into the break.

Starting the second half of action, the Spartans played their best defense in the third quarter only allowing Long Branch to score five points, while they added 12 more to their total. To close out the game the Wave played a little better in the fourth quarter, as Ocean bested them 11-8.

Jack Miller was second high scorer for the Spartans with 18 points. He also had three assists and three steals. Only two other Ocean players scored in the victory over Long Branch. David Yatcilla had six points and Gage Hutzley finished with three. With the win Ocean is now 9-8 overall and 5-5 in the B North which is good for fifth place.

Long Branch drops to 5-10 with the loss and are 3-5 in the division. Marc Dennis was high man for the Wave with 10 points. Tyree Morris scored seven, Juwan Wilkins and Mark Hill finished with three points, Latrell Bennett and Matt Clarke each had a basket and Kahil Campbell made a foul shot.


Wave downs Spartans and Larueano sets personal record

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr

January 23, the girls basketball team at Long Branch High School hosted Ocean Township in a Shore Conference B North divisional match-up. The Green Wave downed the Spartans 38-23, and in the process of the win, Keidy Mar Laureano, senior center for the Wave set a personal record.

During the first quarter of the game Laureano grabbed her first rebound, hit an outlet pass and Long Branch scored. On the Wave bench Shannon Coyle, head coach, signaled for balloons and banners to be brought onto the floor. On the next rebound attempt for Larueano she was knocked over and smacked her head on the floor and had to leave the game.

They had been preparing to celebrate her 500th career rebound. The festivities would have to wait until the second quarter with 5:40 to play in the first half and Long Branch leading Ocean 11-6. That’s when Laureano reentered the game and finally pulled down her record-setting rebound.

“I started playing basketball when I was 10 years old,” said Laureano. She has always played under the boards as either a forward or center. When asked who was the biggest influences on her athletic career, she stated her late dad. “My father played basketball and shared that love for the game with me.” Her dad was also a decent boxer in his native Puerto Rico.

One of her biggest successes in getting so many rebounds, according to Laureano is her ability to box out. “My height is an advantage (5’11”) and I box out hard and grab every ball I can,” she said. When she was asked to reflect on her high school career and asked what game has stood out more than any other, her answer was the game against Ocean. “Getting my 500th career rebound is the biggest accomplishment of my career.”

Coyle, who is in her sixth season as head coach has really turned the program around. She has not only instilled discipline into the system, but a winning and competitive attitude. Laureano has said that Coyle has been a big influence in her life on and off the court. “She has taught me to play hard and play with confidence. She’s also showed me how to push myself beyond my limits and never give up,” added Laureano.

During her career in Long Branch Laureano has worn number five, her reason was that number was always lucky for her. Elite athletes are usually superstitious before a game or something with their uniform. For Laureano, she says that before every game she must pray. She will be attending college in North Carolina and majoring in nursing.

“I’m beyond proud of myself and all my accomplishments. However, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my coach, family, and team pushing me to go hard. Every rebound I got was because of them,” said Laureano.

In the win over Ocean, Laureano finished with 11 rebounds, three steals, one block and four points. Leading the Green Wave in scoring was Anyssa Fields who had 12 points, six rebounds, two assists, and four steals. With the win Long Branch improved to 6-8 overall and are 3-7 in the B North.

Ocean remains winless in the division at 0-11 and are 2-14 overall. Morgan Bartlett was high scorer for the Spartans with 14 points. She also had seven rebounds, one steal and one block. Three Ocean players each finished with three points; Alex Ardizzone, Jasia Green and Madison Volek.