MEN OF ESSEX 2019 Essex Award Winner

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ALFRED T. CHAWONZA | St. Benedict's Prep

Alfred Chawonza is one of the top track athletes in the United States across all sports. Not only is he highly ranked in the athletic field but he also puts in a lot of hours studying to maintain his 3.6 GPA. A hard-working young man who has earned academic honors every year throughout his time at St. Benedict's, has also captained the track team to two Essex County titles.


As a junior at St. Benedict’s, Alfred qualified for the World Youth Championships, where he represented his home country (Zimbabwe) and became an IAAF Semi-finalist. He has competed on a national level since his sophomore year. This past indoor season, the Benedict’s senior was crowned champion in three different events at Essex County (800m, 1600m and the 4x400m). Following that he went on to break the school record, previously held by Edward Chezerek, with a US number one time of 1:50:57 which was his indoor personal record. Alfred also earned four All American titles in the recent Indoor Nationals to add to the four he already earned, making him an eight time All-American, one of which was a national title in the 4x400m. Over the course of the year, he was able to set three individual records, in the 600m, 800m and 1000m and he was also part of the 4x800m that broke the long-standing Millrose record.

While earning all these achievements, he also secured himself a place on the next level by committing to Texas Tech University where he will continue his education and running career starting in September 2019.


The Essex Award, an annual rite of spring in Essex County Scholastic circles, bestows highest distinction upon the leading scholar-athletes, and athletes, representing Essex County high schools, public, private and parochial. Presented by the Men of Essex, Inc., a service organization of African-American professionals and businessmen, the Essex Awards Ceremony has become recognized statewide as a prestige salute to the ‘best and brightest’ for the past 59 years.

men of essex 2019 Scholar Athletes

Nashwn N. Brooks

Irvington High School


Captain of the football and wrestling teams, Nashawn’s outstanding scholastic achievement’s earned him induction into the National Honor Society. He was selected three - times All - Essex County and All - Conference (2016-2018), and two - times 1st Team All Group IV in Football. His prowess in wrestling earned his selection as 1st Team All-Conference in 2019 and 2nd Team-All Conference in 2018. He is the 2019 Essex County Tournament Champion (220 lbs) and the 2019 Most Outstanding Wrestler of Essex County. Active in civic affairs he has participated in volunteer community projects to rebuild homes and completed a training course in the Irvington Junior Firefighters Academy. He will attend Wagner College in the fall.

Zachary M. Butler

Millburn High School

  

Captain of the Millburn High School Varsity Soccer Team and recipient of the 4-year Varsity Letter Award, Zachary was a selected 1stTeam All-State and 1st Team All Essex and All-Conference in 2018. His outstanding leadership helped his team capture the 2018 Sectional Championship Group 3 North 2. He is ranked nationally in several soccer developmental programs for high school players and was a State Cup Champion Finalist, Semi-Finalist and Quarter Finalist in 2016, 2017, and 2018 respectively. He served a volunteer camp counselor for the ARC of Essex County’s ‘Camp Hope’ and a Peer Leader at Millburn High School all 4 years. Zachary will attend Oberlin College in the fall.

Leigha C. Capra

West Essex Regional High School

 

Captain of the Varsity Fencing and Track & Field teams Leigha was selected 1st Team All-State and 4th in the District in Women’s Epee. Leigha is a Member of the Absolute Fencing All-Academic Team (2016-2018) The multi-talented athlete finished 8th in Shot Put in the 2018 North 1 Sectionals and twice captured 1st place in the Javelin in the Essex County Championships. Her academic prowess earned her induction into the National Honor Society and the National English, Science, and Math Honor Societies. She has volunteered at the Fairfield Public Library and Essex County Environmental Center. She will attend Stevens Institute in the Fall.

Evan Chaladoff

Montclair High School

  

Captain of the Varsity Baseball Team, Evan earned selection to the All – Super Essex Conference American Division. His academic prowess earned him induction into the National Honor Society and he is an Executive Member of the Civics and Government Institute at Montclair High School. Additionally, he is a Junior Board Member of the Kortney Rose Foundation and the Mill Hollow Heritage Association. Currently undecided on what College he will attend in the fall, Evan has been accepted to Columbia University, Emory University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst College.

Xarial A. Chandler

University High School

  

Captain of the Varsity Volleyball Team, Xarial was selected 1st Team All-Conference and 1stTeam NJSCA All -State Sectional and All-City in Volleyball (2016-2018). She is the NJSIAA Scholar - Athlete of the Year,  and is a Member of the Atlantic Valley Volleyball National Team. Her academic prowess earned her induction into the National Honor Society. She is an active member of the Pentecostal Church of God, Newark, N.J. She will attend Jersey City University in the fall.

Peter Corso

Cedar Grove High School

  

A talented two – sport athlete, Peter was Captain of both the Tennis (2017-2018) and Cross Country Teams. He was selected All Conference in Tennis (2018 – 2019) . Active in his local church, he served as a Member of the St. Peter’s Church Youth Group and is President of the Choir. Undecided on his College of choice he plans to attend the College of New Jersey or Marist College in the fall.

Patrick J. Flint

Montclair Kimberley Academy

  

Since his selection as Rookie of the Year ( 2015-2016) Patrick has amassed an enviable career record as a swimmer. He was elected Captain of the Boys Swimming Team in both his Junior and Senior years. His 1st place finishes in the 200 Individual Medley and 500 Freestyle at the 2019 Super Essex County Championship set new school records with times of 1:54.26 and 4:47.29, respectively. His achievements beyond the pool are equally formidable. He has risen to earn Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout. Peter will attend Towson University in the Fall as a Member of the swim team.

Rayna M. Katzman

Millburn High School

  

Captain of the #1 ranked Varsity Tennis Team in the State over the past six years, Rayana was selected First Team All – State, Group III, in 2018. Her leadership helped her team capture the Essex County Girls Teams Championships and the NJSIAA State Sectional Championships, Group III, North II, and American Division Champions, her entire high school career (2016,2017,2018). As a talented photographer, Rayana has published and co-authored a book and was selected a Photography Finalist at the County College of Morris. She will attend Union College in the fall.

Helen X. Liu

Millburn High School

  

As Senior Leader of the Field Hockey team, Helen helped lead her team to the Group III, North II Sectional Championships in 2018. She was selected First Team All Union/Essex County (2018) and Second Team Super Essex Conference American Division (2018). Active in school and community affairs Helen served as Class Treasurer, Red Cross Club President and Youth Delegate to the Board of Directors and Co-President of Habitat for Humanity Club. She will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall as a member of its Field Hockey Team.

Derek P. Lombardi

Belleville High School 

  

As a talented two-sport athlete in baseball and wrestling, and Captain of the Varsity Wrestling Team Derek was selected 2nd Team All Conference (2018). He received Honorable Mention All - Conference SEC in both baseball and wrestling in 2017. Active in school and community affairs, Derek is Editor of the Yearbook, Mr. Belleville Representative, Student Ambassador, and volunteer at the Holy Family Feast. Undecided on his colleges of choice, Derek is deciding between Essex County College, Rutgers or Montclair State Universities.


Meredith J. Meyer

Columbia High School

  

As Captain of the Soccer Team, Meredith was selected 1stTeam All – Conference American Division (2018). She was selected 2ndTeam All Conference Super Essex Division and Honorable Mention All – Conference American Division in 2016 and 2017, respectively. She is the Girls Soccer Program MVP and Coaches’ Player (2018) and Girls Soccer Program Players’ Player (2017). Her academic prowess earned he induction into the National Honor Society. She will attend Case Western Reserve University in the fall as a Member of the Varsity Soccer Team.

Cecilia M. Munoz

Columbia High School 

  

As Captain of the Varsity Soccer Team, Cecilia was selected Most Valuable Offensive Player (2016-2018) and recipient of the Coaches’ Player Award. Her contributions helped capture the Super Essex Conference Liberty Division Champions in 2016. She received Honorable Mention in the American Division (2016) and Liberty Division ( 2017 and 2018). Her academic prowess earned her induction into the National Honor Society. Active in school and civic affairs she served as President of the Math Team/Club and volunteered for Jersey Cares. Undecided on her college of choice, Cecilia is deciding between the Massachusetts and California Institutes of Technology.

Christopher K. Stultz

East Orange Campus High School

  

As a talented two-sport athlete and Captain of both the Football and Track Teams, Christopher was selected 1st Team All-Conference, 1st Team All-County and 2nd Team All-State Group 5. He is an American Bowl nominee and received recognition by the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. His academic prowess earned him selection as a National Honor Society nominee and he is a previous recipient of the Essex Award as a Scholar - Athlete in 2018. Christopher will attend American International College as a member of the Varsity Football Team.

Kamil B. Vickers

 Newark Collegiate Academy 

  

As a talented two-sport athlete and Captain of the Varsity Football and Track Teams, Kamil was selected 3rd Team All-State, 1stTeam All – County and 1st Team All- Conference in 2018. His academic prowess earned him induction into the National Honor Society. Active in school and civic affairs, Kamil is Editor -in -Chief of the Yearbook, Student Government President and a volunteer in My Brothers Keeper Mentoring Organization. Undecided on his college of choice, Kamil is deciding between, Boston College, Villanova University or Morehouse College.

Christian Voicu

Bloomfield High School 

  

As a talented Member of the Varsity Volleyball Team, Christopher has been a starter since his sophomore year. He was selected All-Conference and First Team American Division in 2018. He is recipient of the Varsity and Scholar - Athlete Awards in consecutive years, 2016-2018. His academic prowess earned him induction into the National and World Languages Honor Societies. Active in school and civic affairs he is Treasurer of the National Honor Society and a volunteer at Mountainside Hospital. Christian will attend Rutgers University in the fall.


William L. Schiffenhaus

 Montclair High School 

  

As Captain of the Varsity Hockey and Lacrosse Teams, William was selected 1st Team All-Super Essex Conference in Lacrosse,  and 1st Team NJ Public A in Hockey (2019) and 1st Team All NJIIHL McInnis Division in 2018. He was selected as a Member of the Under Armor National lacrosse Team and was named by NJ.Com as the “top Attackman to Watch” in 2019. He has also been a member for the past six years of the Building Blocks Black Lacrosse Club in addition to coaching youth Lacrosse programs over the past 6 years. Since 2017, William has been committed to play lacrosse for the United States Naval Academy.

Raquel R. Winer

Millburn High School 

  

As Captain of the Field Hockey team, Raquel was selected 1stTeam All-Conference, 2nd Team All-County and All-Group 3 and NJ.Com Player of the Week. Her contributions helped lead her team to the North 2, Group 3 Sectional Championship in 2018 — the first time in 36 years. She has been starting goalie since her freshman year and has amassed a career record of 591 saves. Active in school and civic affairs, Raquel was selected to participate in the National Student Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., in 2018, and has mentored Syrian Refugees as a Member of the Peer Leadership Program. She plans to attend Tufts University in the fall.

Columbia High School

Montclair Kimberley Academy 


 As a talented 3-sport athlete in Field Hockey, track and Lacrosse, Lindsay has been selected 1st Team All-State and 1stteam All-Conference in 2018 and recipient of the 1st Team All-Conference Coaches’ Award in 2017. She was an All-Prep B selection (2017-2018). She is ranked by Max Field Hockey as one of the Top 50 Players in the Nation and was selected to play at the Junior National Camp representing the USA in the Summer of 2018. Active in civic affairs, she is a volunteer at Toni’s Kitchen, Covenant House and Think Pink Organization. Lindsay plans to attend Columbia University in the fall. 

MEN OF ESSEX 2019 OUTSTANDING ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT

Nick Maldonado

Baseball – 2nd Team Non Public  

Seton Hall Prep

  

In 2018, Maldonado was one of the state's best all-around players positioned at both Pitcher and Short Stop. The Prep Pitcher allowed one run or less in 17 games, a year ago. Nick was selected 2nd Team Non-Public by NJ.com/Star ledger and is considered a top contender for New Jersey High Schools baseball previews for 2019.

Marty Higgins

Baseball – 3rd Team Group 3 

Nutley High School

  

Last spring, Higgins had 44 hits, five home runs and 28 RBI's as a Catcher and Short Stop. Marty was selected 3rd Team All-Group 3 by NJ.com/Star Ledger and previewed as a player to watch in 2019. As a basketball player, Higgins was ranked fifth, state-wide, making 89 long range 3-point field goals. Marty will attend St. John's University this coming fall.

Mya Bembry

Basketball (G) - 2nd Team All-State 

West Orange High School

  

The Penn State commit is a two time Men of Essex award winner. Bembry put up 19.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 4.6 steals, 3.3 assists and 2.2 blocks per game as a junior and led West Orange to its first ever sectional title. In her senior year, Mya averaged 17.2 points with 276 rebounds and 92 assists. Bembry was selected 2nd Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.

Anas Amos

Basketball (B) –  2nd Team All-State Newark East Side

  

In 2018 the scrappy fourth-year starter averaged 7.8 points, 3.3 assists and proved stifling defense to help claim the Essex County Tournament title and reach the Group 4 semis. This past season, Amos was named second-team All-State last month by NJ.com, and was the Player of the Year in the Super Essex Conference. Amos will take his talents to Divison II Felician University next fall after leading Newark East Side to the Group 4 State Title.


Michael Liu

Bowling – 3rd Team All-State Livingston High School

  

Michael Liu was the hottest bowler in the league this past season with back-to-back 700 series, only to follow it with a record setting 804. Last year he rolled the first 300 in program history a week before dominating the North Jersey, Section 2 tournament, recording the high game (272) by 22 pins and the high series (758) by 65 pins. Liu was selected 3rd Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.

Anna Schaller

Cross Country (G) - 

3rd Team All-Non Public 

Montclair Kimberley 

  

Schaller, a junior who was third last year, won a great duel this year running18:47 to become the first girl from MKA to capture the Essex County Cross Country title. At the NJISAA Prep Cross Country Championships in Blairstown, Anna had a strong finish taking third-place. She was selected 3rd Team All-Non-Public and named the Super Essex Runner of the Year.

Philmon Mehari

Cross Country (B) – 

1st Team All-Group 4 

Livingston High School


Philmon, a junior was viewed as a runners to watch. Mehari took first place in the 5,000 meters at the Super Essex Conference Championship timed at 16:21.5.  LHS cross country stand-out Philmon Mehari returned to the indoor track after a brief hiatus following his successful fall season. Mehari was selected 1st Team All-Group 4 by NJ.com/Star Ledger.


Grace Van Atta

Fencing (G) – 

1st Team All-State (Sabre) 

Montclair High School


Van Atta dominated District 5, winning all 17 bouts to claim the title and qualify for states, where she finished fifth. At state squads, Van Atta won 16 of 19 bouts to propel her team to second place. In the final of the state team tournament against Ridge, Van Atta opened the match with a critical victory against freshman Zoe Kim, the highly touted international fencer. Grace was selected 1st Team All-State (Sabre) by NJ.com/Star Ledger.

Ben Levitt

Fencing (B) – 

1st Team All-State (Sabre) 

Livingston High School

  

The Livingston Sabre squad had a dominating year and it all revolved around Levitt, who led the Essex County school to the state team tournament championship, the program's first Cetrullo title, the District 4 championship and the State Squads crown in Sabre. Selected as The Fencer of the Year, he lost only one bout the entire season in team matches. Levitt was selected 1st Team All-State (Sabre) by NJ.com/Star Ledger.  


Jack Woods

Fencing (B) -

1st Team All-State (Foil)

Columbia High School

  

After missing the entire 2017-18 season, Woods came back strong, winning State Individuals and the District 5 title. Woods went just 3-2 in the first round but won all 13 bouts in the next two rounds to be crowned champion at State Individuals. Already an accomplished international fencer, Woods showed his strength at the state level even while missing a year of training. Jack was selected 1st Team All-State (Foil) by NJ.com/Star Ledger.


Ellie Decker

Field Hockey - 1st Team All State 

West Essex High School

  

The Columbia University commit was the NJ.com/Star ledger Player of the Year. Decker led West Essex to the NJSIAA Group 2 championship. Ellie led the state with 116 points as the go-to player with 36 assists. Despite an injury to her hip, Decker also went 100 percent. She scored five goals in the first game of the season, topped over 100 goals for her career – just the sixth school player to hit that milestone.

William Perez

Football (U) –  1st Team All-State 

West Essex High School

  

An All-Purpose Player, Perez finished with 68 tackles and one pick-6 at safety, but was also one of the state's most dangerous offensive players. As a tailback, Will ran for 741 yards and 13 touchdowns on just 63 carries. He added 364 yards receiving, with four additional touchdowns on 13 catches. The Princeton University commit was selected 1st Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.

Mohammed Kamara

Football (D) – 2nd Team All-State 

Newark Central High School 

  

Kamara, was selected 2nd Team All-State by NJ.Com/Star Ledger for his line-backer skills. Mo lead Central's defense with 96 solo tackles, 10 quarterback sacks and 6 forced fumbles. At 6-2 200 pounds and a NJ.com top 50 recruit, Karmara has committed to Colorado State to play football next fall.

Jack Strippoli

Golf – 3rd Team All-State 

Verona High School

  

A third-team NJ.com All-State selection a year ago, Strippoli captured the NJSIAA North 2, Group 1 individual title with a 72, three shots better than the field. One week later, he took home the Group 1 individual title, shooting a 75 (32 on front nine), a stroke better than Newton's Tyler Wilson. Strippoli will be a golfer to watch in the state in 2019, especially as Verona transitions into a Group 2 program.

Jackson Crutchfield

Lacrosse – 2nd Team Group 1 

Glen Ridge High School


 Jackson is a high caliber prospect with the combination of athleticism, IQ, and desire that are highly sought after at the next level. His footwork, positioning and ball skills are areas of strength. Jackson's tenacity is unrivaled and he brings his physicality, molded during football season, to the lacrosse field.

Last Spring, Crutchfield was selected 2nd Team All-Group 1 by NJ.com/Star Ledger. 

Natalie Nevins

Soccer (G) – 1st Team All-State 

West Orange High School

  

Nevins has been an impact player since she stepped on the West Orange field. Her team won its first-ever Essex County championship and its first North 1 Group 4 title. Natalie, a St. Joseph, commit came through with 17 goals and 21 assist. Nevins was selected 1st Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger

Phillip Cubeddu

Soccer (B) – 1st Team All-State 

Montclair High School

  

Montclair mounted a crazy successful season and Phillip was the heart of that success. His dominant play in midfield helped Montclair win its first 18 games and claim its first Essex County Tournament since 2013. Cubeddu posted five goals and led his team with 13 assist. Phillip was selected 1st Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.


Aldan Dunphy

Soccer (B) – 1st Team All-State 

Seton Hall Prep

  

This past season, Dunphy moved from forward to midfield and was the focal point of Seton Hall's offense. Aidan finished second on his team with 11 goals and 15 assists, but his leadership in the center of the field were more valuable than all those stats. The junior was selected 1st Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.

Alexa Raphael

Softball –  1st Team All-State 

Mount St. Dominic

  

Last spring as a freshman outfielder, Raphael led the state with 68 hits, which included four doubles and four triples. Alexa drove in 15 runs, scored 52 runs and collected 10 walks. Her school came up just short both in the Essex County Tournament and Non-Public A finals but Raphael is back this season to contend for both. Alaxa was selected 1st Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger.



Isabella Chen

Swimming (G) - 3rd Team All-State Livingston High School

  

100-YARD BREASTSTROKE-Chen has been one of the top breaststrokers in the state since she broke onto the scene and has been a star for Livingston. She proved as much again with a third-place finish at the Meet of Champions. Isabella, a junior, was the Essex County Champion in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:05.26.

Roo Fenton

Swimming – 2nd Team All-State 

Seton Hall Prep

  

50-YARD FREESTYLE: Fenton has been a star for Seton Hall Prep, and has helped the Essex County squad sit as one of Non-Public A's best teams. Fenton is a stellar sprinter who is hard to beat in the freestyle events. Roo was selected 2nd Team All-State by NJ.com/ Star Ledger. Fenton, a senior, will continue swimming at University of Connecticut and was named the Boys Cullen Jones Award Winner for Most Outstanding Swimmer for the third straight year. 

Eric Wang

Swimming - 2nd Team All-State 

Millburn High School

  

100-YARD BREASTSTROKE: Wang has consistently been one of the best breaststrokers in the state and has been a mainstay for Millburn for years. He finished second in the 100 breast at the Meet of Champions. Eric was selected 2nd Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger. Millburn’s Eric Wang won the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.90 at the Essex County Championship.


Rayna Katzman

Tennis (G) – 

1st Team All- State (Doubles) 

Millburn High School


Katzman and her first doubles teammate, Anna Bansal, paired up for the first time this year and won the state doubles title, giving the Millers four-straight doubles championships. Katzman, a first year starter as a senior, went 20-1 with Bansal. Their only loss came in the T of C final to Holmdel in a 10-point tiebreaker, though the team match was also already won by Millburn. Katzman helped Millburn win its sixth T of C title in a row as well. 


Anna Bansal

Tennis (G) – 

1st Team All-State (Doubles) 

Millburn High School

  

Bansal, a sophomore, was also a first year starter and was effective up at the net. Bansal and Katzman won the Essex County doubles crown as well. Bansal will contend for a singles spot next year with two of the spots open. This season, in team matches, Bansal was one half a duo that dropped just three sets. 

Leo Kupferman

Tennis (B) – 3rd Team All-State 

Montclair High School

  

Last season, Kupferman made it through three rounds of the NJSIAA individual singles tournament, but fell short of advancing to the semifinals with a three-set loss. He was selected 3rd Team All-State by NJ.com/Star Ledger. This is the season for senior Leo, one of the best players in the state, to reach his potential as a first singles player. After a junior campaign where he took a massive step forward as a player, this season will showcase his true talents.

Nyjah Young-Bey

Track (G) - 2nd Team All-Group 4 Montclair High School

  

Montclair's Nyjah Young-Bey returns as one of the top athletes in Essex County this spring.  

Young-Bey won four major individual titles in the 200 last spring, including the North 1, Group 4 sectional title. She went on to take seventh at Groups and 13th at the Meet of Champions in the event. This winter, the sprinter qualified for the indoor MOC in both the 200 and 400, finishing 14th and 9th, respectively. Nyjah was selected 2nd Team All-Group 4 last spring.

Kyle Teterski

Track (B)- 

1st Team All Group 2 (High Jump) 

Caldwell High School

  

At the NJ.com's 2018-19 boys winter track All-Group, All-Non-Public, All-Prep selections. Kyle won the sectional championship in the high jump and advanced to the state group championships. At the Super Essex County Conference Indoors Meet, Teterskis had a first place finish jumping 6 feet. Kyle was selected 1st Team All-Group 2 by NJ.com/Star Ledger. .Conference Indoor  

Jessica Sanderson

Volleyball (G) – 2 Team All-State 

Mount St. Dominic

  

Sanderson made Mount St. Dominic history with a sensational senior season. She hit double-digit kills in 24 of her 30 matches. All of those kills added up to 1,266 on her career, becoming the first player in program history to surpass 1,000. Don't think she's a one-dimensional player. Sanderson also set new highs with 30 blocks, 83 kills and 278 digs during her final 11 matches. Jessica was selected 2nd Team All-State by Nj.com/Star Ledger.

Hunter Coppola

Volleyball (G) – 2nd Team All-State Verona High School

  

Coppola finished her career with 787 kills, collecting 226 of them this season. She matched a career high with 77 blocks and established a new high with 22 aces. The senior had at least two blocks in nine of her final 11 matches. She combined for 83 kills in that span. The Hillbillies rolled to an American Division crown with a 11-1 record, topped Caldwell to win the Essex County Tournament and marched all the way to the Group 1 final for the third consecutive year. Hunter was selected 2nd Team All-State.

Daniela Tacuri

Wrestling (G) – 2nd Place All-State 

West Orange High School

  

Daniela took second place in the inaugural State Tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. She won the North Bracket 111-pound Championship at the first-ever NJSIAA girls wrestling state regional tournament. Tacuri also became the first girl wrestler in school history to beat a boy wrestler when she decisioned Nutley’s Justin Eltzholtz, 5-3. 

Jaala Williams

Wrestling (G) –  2nd Place All-State Montclair High School

  

Williams was part of a historic event in New Jersey sports history as the state celebrated the first season of girls wrestling as an independent sport.At the 136 pound class, Jaala took second place at the inaugural NJSIAA State Championship. This happened after earning a third-place finish at the North Region Championships. Williams was seeded fifth out of six entrants in the 136-pound bracket in Atlantic City. 

Bardhyl Gashi

Wrestling (B) –  2nd Place All-State 

West Essex High School

  

The West Essex junior was the state runner-up at 285 pounds and capped a trans-formative season after finishing 9-21 a season ago. Gashi was the only wrestler from the Super Essex Conference to wrestle in a state final and won a region title as the bracket's No. 7 seed. To put that in perspective, Bardhyl was one of three wrestlers from Region 3 to finish in the top five at the NJSIAA State Championships in Atlantic City.

MEN OF ESSEX 2019 Essex Award Keynote Speaker

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Men of Essex 2019 Essex Awards Keynote Speaker Larry White NJSIAA Executive Direct

Larry White first rose to athletic prominence as a youth baseball player in Penns Grove in the late 1960s. Now, the West Deptford resident is the eighth executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association.The NJSIAA executive committee voted unanimously to appoint White. 


The NJSIAA governs most New Jersey high school sports and has 436 member schools. “My whole career has been involved with education as a teacher, a player, a coach and an official,” White said. “I’ve been intertwined with interscholastic sports my whole life. Now, after 12 years as an assistant director, I figured this would be the final segment in a career that hopefully has been well-lived and well-done.”


As an assistant director, White oversaw some of the state’s most high-profile sports, including basketball and baseball. He also supervised the organization’s transfer and eligibility policies. White knows better than anyone one of the biggest issues facing New Jersey high school sports is the transfer of high-profile athletes. 


White graduated from Penns Grove High School in 1971. He taught at several schools, including social studies at Williamstown High School. He was an assistant principal at Pine Hill Middle School. White was a minor league umpire from 1989-94. He coached baseball, basketball, golf and boys and girls tennis. 


At  LaSalle College,White received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Comprehensive Social Studies Education. He later received his Master of Arts at Rowan University.