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Winter Sports Preview

Joey Belli is one of many standout winter sport athletes at Hills.

NorthJersey.com

Joey Belli is one of many standout winter sport athletes at Hills.

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After an eventful season of fall sports at WHHS, winter sports have much to offer with new athletes, more experience, and the unwavering desire to succeed.

Boys Basketball

The WHHS Basketball team is ready to begin the season with their first game on December 15th against West Milford. Coach Grimes is looking closely at who he wants to add to his roster, as the team looks for much success going into this season.

Joey Belli, Wayne Hills’s top player, has had a great career thus far. He led his team to a 42-12 record over the past two seasons. Coach Grimes very much appreciates the time and effort Joey and the boys put on the court each and every day, and are hoping to win the County Championship next year.

Some other important players on the team are big man Jason Modak, sharpshooting guard Justin WIlls, and stretch forward Patrick Gilmore.

Sophomore star Michael Joyce had some input on the upcoming season, saying, “I think this is going to be a great season and we have a lot of talent to build around.”

This team is hungry for the playoffs and is looking to win it all at the end of the season.

Girls Basketball

The WHHS Girls basketball team is looking for a great year in the upcoming winter season after having an overall record of 15-10 last season. Coach Vincent Porta hopes to lead the girls to a county championship after last year’s previous loss.

Last year’s lineup featured skilled senior athletes like Taylor Rodriguez as well as the captains, Rachel Vellis and Amanda LaGuardia. This year, Lindsey Mahler and Nikki Rigoli are the only two seniors. 

The girls basketball team will have to work extremely hard this year to redeem themselves and make up for the athletes who graduated. Sophomore Laiann Hamdan thinks the season “is going to have some challenges, but we’ll push through it.”

Boys Hockey: Wayne Knights 

The Wayne Knights, coached by Joe Belger, are starting a strong season with a record of 3-0-1. Unlike previous years, the Wayne Knights are a collective group of hockey players from both Hills and Valley.

Andrew Topielski, a former WHHS hockey player, said that “the team will perform great with the addition of new talent from the Valley hockey players.”

In their first four games, the Wayne Knights an had impressive 10-1 victory over West Milford, a 5-2 victory over Ridgewood, and a 5-2 victory against Ramapo. They tied 3-3 against Indian Hills, meaning the team is still undefeated. Senior captain Dean Hulbert of WHHS has been playing especially well, scoring multiple goals and leading the team in the first few games.

The Wayne Knights are not only winning games, but they are bringing Hills and Valley together. Topielski added that the new team “gives all players in the community a chance to play hockey.”

All in all the, the Wayne Knights are looking great so far this season and are practicing hard everyday.

Boys and Girls Track

Led by coaches Jason Staggers, Jaris Rousseau, and Cheryl O’Brien, the winter track athletes practice six days a week in freezing temperatures. They train to compete in a range of events, including sprinting, distance running, and jumping. To the coaches, maintaining motivation and endurance while training outside is the key to a successful season.

“I expect everyone to work hard,” said Coach Rousseau. The head distance coach also added that he hopes for the upperclassmen on the team to be the chief motivators who set an example for the underclassmen.

Important athletes on the team include senior Mylez Frazier, who is especially strong in the 55-meter hurdles event. For the girls, seniors Sami Sklar in the hurdles and mid-distance events and Kaitlyn Rehberger in mid-distance and jumping events will help the team.

The coaches expect an exciting winter track season featuring the experienced upperclassmen athletes and the incoming freshman group.

Wrestling

The WHHS wrestling team is looking to have a comeback year after having a subpar record last year, going 6-17 overall and 2-3 in conference play.

The team will feature a mix of younger and older wrestlers. Coach DiColo is hoping that the underclassmen step up to the plate and perform when they are called upon. He knows what to expect from his season. The team will have to face some tough competition in conference play, however, and will have to work together as one to come out victorious.

The Wrestling team is pumped up and ready to kick off the new season and redeem themselves from last year’s disappointment.

Boys Fencing

The boys fencing team has yet to start the season, but coach Rick Maxwell is working with the foil, saber, and epee squads to compete in their first match against Ramapo on December 15th.

Josh Miller, a senior fencer, has an optimistic mindset for this year. “I think that we’re going to do a lot better than last year.” Miller fences with the foil sword, a small, light-weight weapon. He added, “I think our team is going to grow overall.”

Another senior who will lead the team this fencing season is Justin Park. Considered to be one of the best fencers on the team, Park fences with the saber. This weapon allows the fencer to score with the edge of the blade, so point scoring in matches happens quickly.

The boys fencing team will be also be welcoming new freshmen onto the team. Park, Miller, and the other upperclassmen are ready to begin a new season of fencing and competition.

Girls Fencing

After last year’s season, the girls fencing team lost a number of important and experienced seniors. For the season ahead, there will be a lot of first-year starters for the varsity squads, forcing many fencers to step into new roles.

Head coach Christina Caamaño said she is “excited to see how they rise to the challenge.”

Last year’s season was full of experience and victories after the foil and saber squads qualified for the State Squad Championships. For the upcoming season, some important fencers are seniors Audrey Hong, the only returning starter for the Saber squad, Kaitlyn Langschultz for the Epee squad, and Jessi Chen and Sandy Yang for the Foil Squad.

After last year’s success, the team expects a productive season led by both experienced fencers and new faces. Like the boys fencing team, their season will officially begin on December 15th in their match against Ramapo.

Boys and Girls Swim

The WHHS swim team is expecting an intense season competing against teams from all around New Jersey.

Coaches Michael Shale and Jacqueline Bayliss are both working hard to get their respective teams into shape for the upcoming meets. Last year, both teams ended with a solid record of 4-5 and the swimmers are hoping to do even better in their upcoming season.

One, freshman, Yulieanna Sim is a club swimmer and says the practices are easier and have “less sets” than usual club practices and is “Excited to swim for the season”.

A returning sophomore to the team, Afi Ibragimov comments that she feels “good to be back” and feels that this year, “you know more what you’re doing and more what to expect”.

Comp Cheer 

The WHHS Comp Cheer team is preparing for their 2017-2018 as they are practicing very hard.  Delaney May has been a member of the Comp Cheer team since she was a freshman.  She has been working hard for her upcoming sophomore year of Comp Cheer.

In regards to improvement, May said, “I acquired new tumbling abilities and more strength to enhance my season this year.”

May recently broke her foot, which could be a disadvantage for the team. “My broken foot restricts me from practicing with the team and practicing tumbling on my own.”

The girls Comp Cheer team will also be going to Orlando this season to perform in a competition, and May predicts the team will succeed. “We practice hard everyday and we are trying out new techniques this year that we did not do last year, and they seem to be working very effectively,” she added. 

All in all the Comp cheer team is looking great so far this upcoming season.

Winterguard

The WHHS Winterguard are practicing basics to prepare for learning their 2017-2018 show, “Tis the Season”.

Under the direction of Thomas and Patricia Darnsteadt, the group is learning all of the essential flips required for winterguard and their show. This year, the winter guard captains are seniors Brandon Anderson and Pooja Loka, and junior Bridget Puglia.

Puglia commented that she was “grateful for the new experience” and “love leading people”. She says that she’s very excited for a “successful season” as there are a lot of “stuff in store”.

One freshman, Julianna D’Amico just joined winterguard this upcoming season, describing the practices to be “hard when you first start, but once you start to learn what to do, it becomes easy”. Along with other newcomers who will have to learn the art of winterguard, D’Amico is excited for the upcoming show.

Boys Bowling

The Boys Bowling team, coached by Coach Richard Basilicato, is coming off a great season last year in which they finished with an 11-4 record. This year’s returning seniors are Tyler Berkman, Nick Kent , Justin Zieger, Mason Smith, Eric Rudow, Matt Klarberg, and Steven Neri.

The seniors will provide leadership and experience to the team’s underclassmen. The underclassmen will be key to the success of the team as well. Tom Luchetta, a sophomore bowler, spoke on the subject. “They will be very important. Success can come at any age or grade. Not only for us underclassmen, but for the upperclassmen as well. If we can work together and help each other out when in need, then we will do our very best and possibly even win a championship. The thing that will get us there is teamwork. If all of us contribute and put all of our hard work and dedication into winning, then we will.”

With another season coming up soon, the boys will have to work harder than ever to bring home counties.

Girls Bowling

The Girls Bowling team is also looking to improve from last season, in which they finished with a 5-9 record. Although this is not the result Coach Keogh and his team wanted, they will use last season as motivation and try their hardest to get better.

The team will feature a lot of older talent, with returning seniors Nicole Joachim, Brooke Liebchen, and Gianna Spatola. The team also features some younger bowlers with 3 juniors and 2 sophomores, including Grace Kelly and Kristen Gilmore.

The Girls Bowling team will look to rebound from last season and have a great year.

Ski Team

The WHHS ski team is looking to have a great season on the slopes as we are approaching what is expected to be a brutal winter. The team has been practicing three times a week to prepare for their races. Coach Peter Strandes is focusing on condition and fitness before the team goes to Mountain Creek to train.

The date of their first race is to be determined since the weather is an obvious contributor to the sport. At each race, the WHHS skiers race against Don Bosco, Delbarton, Newton, Vernon, West Milford, and Wayne Valley. Once the season officially begins, there is usually a race once a week.

Sophomore skier Ben Kressaty says that the first race will be Giant Slalom (GS), which is a longer race that involves skiing between a set of poles that are a moderate distance apart. The other race is Slalom, a shorter race where the skiers must make quick turns between poles that are placed close together.

Kressaty added that Hailey Montanaro, another sophomore, is a skilled skier who is expected to make an impact on the team. As the seniors all return as well, this talented group is looking to lead the skiers to a countless number of wins.

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"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."
Winter Sports Preview