Tag: Rams

Wardlaw-Hartridge putting together another solid year under Wagner, earns top seed in its GMC pod

You can only talk about St. Joe’s and South Brunswick and St. Thomas Aquinas and Colonia for so long.

There were two teams that went unbeaten in Greater Middlesex Conference play this year. One was Aquinas, who finished 5-0 against the league.

The other? Wardlaw-Hartridge.

Brendan Wagner, who won a GMC Tournament title in 2006 as the seventh man playing for Ken Pace (and later for Justin Chiera) at Colonia, is in his second season at the private school in Edison. After an 18-7 season in his debut campaign where the Rams went 14-2 against the GMC, they’re now a combined 29-9 over nearly two full seasons, and 25-2 against the league.

Wagner spoke with Central Jersey Sports Radio this week about his team’s run, and their top-seed in the “Taylor Family Pod” in this week’s GMC postseason, where they’ll host 4th-seed Monroe tomorrow night.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko’s interview with Wardlaw-Hartridge Head Coach Brendan Wagner:

South River Board of Ed OKs fall sports; Rams will play on

by Mike Pavlichko

Fall sports are on in South River.

The local Board of Education Thursday night approved the playing of fall sports – including football – after parents, students and alumni grew concerned this week that the Rams might join the handful of other schools around New Jersey – including Piscataway and Carteret in Middlesex County – who have cancelled their fall sports season.

“It is the Board’s position, and it was unanimously agreed by all board members, to move forward and allow the fall sports season,” announced Board of Ed President Cynthia Urbanik during a virtual Zoom meeting.

But the good news for student-athletes didn’t come without a little sweating it out. The Board met in closed session for more than an hour before the announcement was made.

“As you know this board spent quite a bit of time in closed session, not only tonight, but since July,” Urbanik told the meeting, “not only discussing return to school, but among other things, fall athletics.

Urbanik said the Board has been doing extensive research on the return of athletics since July.

The only sport that will not be played this fall at South River will be volleyball, which will take place during later in the school year during what the NJSIAA is calling season three. Indoor sports such as volleyball are considered higher risk for athletes, coaches and fans to catch to coronavirus.

South River Booster Club President Tammy Torok, whose son Joseph Lepore plays on the football team, helped organize a “Rams Speak” rally Thursday morning outside the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street.

South River football player Marcus Granadiero – a junior, left – and Austin Soares – a senior who also plays baseball – talk about why they want to play fall sports at a rally Thursday morning in support of their cause, in front of the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street, on Thursday, August 27, 2020.

She told Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday there had been rumors after Monday night’s agenda meeting that the Board wanted to cancel fall sports, and she thought students should explain why they want to play.

Watch Central Jersey Sports Radio’s coverage of Thursday’s “Rams Speak” rally here.

Torok was one of many watching the virtual school board meeting Thursday night. Some couldn’t even get in, as the meeting was capped at 100 participants.

“My family was here. My nieces and my son were here,” said Torok shortly after the announcement. Her nieces also are involved in cheerleading.

“I think we had just a mixed bag of feelings, to be honest,” Torok said about the moment the board went into closed session. One resident – before the closed session – told the board during a public comment session that he felt the panel should have been more clear after Monday night’s meeting about what its intentions were.

Hear South River Booster Club President Tammy Torok’s interview with Mike Pavlichko here.

Torok says she had a good conversation Thursday morning with South River Schools Superintendent Sylvia Zircher, telling her, “If you take football out of this town, you take everything away. It’s just not the same.” She encouraged Zircher and the board to listen to what residents have to say and take their opinions into account.

The Rams have one of the most storied football programs in the state, sending several players on to the NFL, including Joe Theisman, Drew Pearson, Kenny Jackson, and Alex Wojciechowicz. Head coach Rich Marchesi is heading into his 34th season at the helm of the program, and has won over 200 games in that time, making him the winningest coach in South River history.

WATCH: South River student-athletes, parents, alums push to keep fall sports season alive

A group of dedicated South River High School students who play sports from football to soccer and cheer took to Montgomery Street in front of the South River Board of Education offices Thursday morning, intent on letting the district’s governing body know they want to play this fall.

Organizer Tammy Torok, president of the South River Booster Club, says she got wind that discussion of the topic at an agenda meeting Monday night wasn’t favorable, and decided to make sure students – including her son, who’s on the football team – knew what might happen if they didn’t speak up.

A handful of districts around New Jersey have cancelled fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though Governor Phil Murphy and the NJSIAA support outdoor sports like football and soccer being played, believing the season can take place safely if proper protocols are met.

Torok says she wanted to see a positive, proactive approach.

The theme for Thursday’s rally was “Rams Speak.” Watch the video below for a recap:

AUDIO: Parents, student athletes in South River plan rally Thursday to save fall sports

by Mike Pavlichko

A group of concerned parents and student-athletes from South River High School are expected to hold a rally – they’re calling it a “Ram Speak” – Thursday morning to show support for playing sports this fall. They’ll gather outside the Board of Education offices on Montgomery Street at 11 am.

South River Athletic Director Carl Buffalino would only confirm to Central Jersey Sports Radio that the Board of Education has an item on its agenda for Thursday night’s meeting where athletics will be discussed.

A handful of other districts around the state – including fellow Middlesex County schools Piscataway and Carteret – have cancelled fall sports in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, the majority of schools around the state still plan to play, as of this moment.

Consider the rally a proactive approach.

In an interview Wednesday afternoon, Tammy Torok – President of the South River Booster Club – told Central Jersey Sports Radio the event is not a protest. She wants to keep the message positive.

She is hoping for at least 100 people to attend, getting out the word to the football, soccer, and other teams at the school, asking them to attend and make signs to make their voices heard. She’s also alerted alumni, many of whom still live in town.

Scroll down to the bottom of this story to hear the full interview.

“Basically all we’re looking for is to show the Board of Education that these students are working really hard. They want to come back to school. They want their fall sports season,” she says.

South River just celebrated its 100th year of football in 2019.

Torok’s son, Joseph Lepore, is on the football team and entering his sophomore year. She also has two nieces on the cheerleading squad, one of whom is a senior.

“My first and foremost concern is the mental health of our children here in South River,” says Torok. “We’re not going to know how this pans out unless we try.”

She says fall sports have the support of the governor and NJSIAA, and believes that should be good enough for South River.

“We need to get back to some sense of normlacy for our children,” she says.

Torok says she knows several people whose parents or uncles have passed away from COVID-19, but says she does not fear for her children if they were to participate in fall sports.

“Concerned? Yes,” she says. “Afraid? No.”

Tammy Torok, President of the South River High School Booster Club, speaks to Central Jersey Sports Radio about a rally planned for Thursday morning in support of playing sports this fall. The Board of Education has an item on its agenda for its Thursday night meeting where the status of fall sports will be discussed.