Tag: Rutgers

South Brunswick’s Patel earns Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors for Rutgers

Back in high school, Jai Patel was 78-for-78 on PAT attempts. After his senior year, he was named Central Jersey Sports Radio Special Teams Player of the Year for 2021.

This past Saturday night for Rutgers he was 3-for-3 on field goal attempts in a 36-7 win over Temple, earning himself Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He’s the first Scarlet Knight to be honored in that category since they joined the league in 2014.

While his season long field goals as a junior and senior for the Vikings were in the 40s, Patel nailed a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter Saturday to give RU a 10-0 lead. It was the seventh longest field goal in program history, and the first RU field goal of 50-yards or longer since 2019.

READ MORE: Patel’s Perfect! 78-of-78 on PATs, strong FG kicking game, nets South Brunswick senior Special Teams Player of the Year honors

He also kicked a field goals of 43 and 23 yards later in the game, while going 3-for-3 on PATs, logging 12 points in the game.

Patel – in his second season at Rutgers – earned the starting placekicker job this season. At South Brunswick, he finished with school records for extra points, field goals (22) and touchbacks (67).

Rutgers is back in action Saturday for a 3:30 home game against Virginia Tech.

Future Rutgers stars Goldan and Konstantinovsky: the unflappable vs. the unhittable

Andrew Goldan is hard to rattle. As a sophomore, in his first varsity season at St. Joseph of Metuchen, he calmly, coolly, and collectedly, went the distance in the 2021 GMC Tournament championship game for the win.

In this year’s semifinals, with Donovan Zsak laboring through three innings, still getting a little twinge in that Tommy John-repaired elbow, Goldan – a full-time starter – jumped in as a reliever and kept Woodbridge off the board for the final four innings en route to a 9-1 win and a berth in this weekend’s finals.

Zack Konstantinovsky is hard to hit. The North Brunswick junior had an impressive sophomore campaign, striking out 70 and walking only ten. That’s a tough act to follow.

But follow it, he did. This year? Heading into Saturday’s GMCT finals, he’s racked up 101 strikeouts. And he’s walked only a single solitary batter.

Just one.

How impressive have both of them been? Well, both are going to play major Division I college baseball in the near future. And neither will be playing too far from the high school fields they currently call home.

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Goldan’s family just has to head a little further down Route 27, and Konstantinovsky’s just up Routes One and 18 to Piscataway, where both will soon call Bainton Field home, as they play for the Steve Owens’ Scarlet Knights.

Goldan will join them next year; Zack in a couple of years. They’ll be joined by JT Kroner of Colonia, another solid GMC arm.

And when they get there, they’ll find Chris Brito, a Perth Amboy alum who is RU’s full-time first baseman this season as a redshirt junior.

The two will square off this Sunday as the starting pitchers in the GMC Tournament Championship Game, which will be played at noon at Ray Cipperly Field at East Brunswick Tech. It was rescheduled from Saturday, due to thunderstorms in the forecast.

You can hear the game on Central Jersey Sports Radio with pregame beginning at 11:30 am. Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action; click here to listen.

Click below to hear Zack Konstantinovsky and Andrew Goldan talk about their decisions to go to Rutgers, their connection with the GMC, and Saturday’s matchup:

Rutgers’ WRSU celebrates 40th anniversary of Lady Knights’ AIAW National Championship with Grentz, Coyles and more

As the NCAA tournament rolls on, Monday will mark 40 years to the day since Rutgers won a hiostoric national championship.

On March 28, 1982 at the Palestra in Philadelphia, the Lady Knights – led by players like Mary and Patty Coyle, Chris Dailey, June Olkowski, and trailblazing head coach Theresa Grentz – beat heavily-favored Texas to win the final AIAW national title, in a year that was a crossroads for the sport.

That was also the first year the NCAA sponsored a national women’s basketball tournament, and women’s basketball programs were split. Some went with the NCAA, others stuck with the AIAW.

The Rutgers Lady Knights won the AIAW National Championship 83-77 over Texas at The Palestra in Philadelphia in 1982. (Source: Rutgers)

Since then, RU’s national title has largely been ignored. The NCAA, obviously, doesn’t recognize it, and Rutgers never really embraced it, particularly after Grentz left for Illinois in the mid-’90s (Athletic Director Fred Gruninger let her walk) and C. Vivian Stringer promised “the Jewel of the East.”

But in 2017, Rutgers’ campus radio station WRSU had the good fortune to connect with Jim Berman, Class of ’82, who had a cassette of the original audio broadcast. A few interviews and a lot of research later, the station aired a documentary – written and narrated by WRSU Sports junior Dom Savino – featuring the full game broadcast on Rutgers Day that year.

From that project, Berman and his classmates Jon Newman and Geoff Sadow had the idea to produce a film documentary on the team, calling it “Forgotten Champions.” The film would be completed over several years, narrated by U.S. National Soccer star (and Rutgers alum) Carli Lloyd, and it was set to debut this Winter at a gala in New Brunswick, but those plans were waylaid by the Omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former Rutgers women’s basketball coach Theresa Grentz (back, left) and some of her players pose with their 1982 AIAW national championship trophy, nearly 40 years later, at The Palestra in August, 2018. (Photo by “Forgotten Champions”)

This Monday, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the historic title, WRSU will rebroadcast the original documentary, which includes the full game broadcast, at 6 pm. Immediately following, at 8:30 pm, a special “Alumni Knightline” will follow, hosted by Newman and Sadow, along with Berman and Savino, and they’ll be joined in studio by Grentz and the Coyle twins. Several other teammates and prominent figures from the era will phone in. And listeners are invited to share their memories by calling in at 732-932-8800.

To listen, tune in to 88.7 FM or click on wrsu.org.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko – Rutgers Class of ’00 and WRSU’s full-time faculty advisor – talk with 1982 alum Jim Berman about Monday’s show and the “Forgotten Champions” documentary:

Amankwaa set to graduate Hillsborough early, join Rutgers in January

Thomas Amankwaa – now a state champion – plans to graduate Hillsborough High School early and enroll at Rutgers for the Spring semester, once he signs his National Letter of Intent on December 15th, the first day of the “early” signing period.

Amankwaa spoke of his decision exclusively with Central Jersey Sports Radio Wednesday afternoon.

Amankwaa and the Raiders are coming off a perfect 13-0 season, the first in school history, and their first state championship in 21 years. That came three weeks ago when they beat North Brunswick for the Central Jersey Group 5 title at Noonan Field.

READ MORE: Hillsborough’s Amankwaa gets offer from Rutgers, verbals to Knights, all within 48 hours

Not only was it an all-time best year for Hillsborough – the first school in Somerset County ever to win 13 games in a season – but Amankwaa had a record-setting career. He owns the school marks for touchdown catches (28), total TDs (50), and total points scored (304), as well as receiving yards, breaking Jackson Parham’s mark (2014-17) in Saturday’s regional championship game win against Kingsway, finishing with 2,184.

This season, he began taking the ball at running back to help replace some of the productivity of the graduated Sean Levonaitis, and had career bests at both positions: 853 receiving yards and 12 TDs, along with 1,125 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

Amankwaa had a number of Power 5, FBS and FCS offers heading into this season, but was waiting for an offer from Rutgers, which came in-person from Scarlet Knight head coach Greg Schiano when the Hillsborough senior was on the field for the Delaware game. He committeed two days later.

Click below to hear Tommy Amankwaa talk about his decision to graduate high school early, and enroll at Rutgers for the Spring:

Hillsborough’s Amankwaa gets offer from Rutgers, verbals to Knights, all within 48 hours

Hillsborough standout wide receiver/cornerback Tommy Ammankwaa had numerous Division I football offers as of Friday afternoon. Among the most prominent were two from Power 5 conference schools: Syracuse and Pittsburgh.

But there was one more he appeared to be waiting for, and he got it Saturday before Rutgers’ game against Delaware.

Just after 2:30 Saturday afternoon, less than an hour before kickoff, Amankwaa tweeted the news:

And then, Sunday, he jumped on the opportunity:

In his tweet, Amankwaa said he’s been “praying for this day to come,” and thanked “god (sic), my family, my coaches, my friends and their families, and this community for cheering me on and watching me grow up throughout the years and believing in me.

“I am proud to announce that I will be staying home to further my academic and athletic career at Rutgers University.”

Amankwaa was the Week 2 Bellamy & Son Player of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio, scoring two critical touchdowns and a two-point conversion to tie Phillipsburg in a top ten clash two weeks ago, then sealing the win in overtime with an interception.

READ MORE: Big plays in big spots earn Hillsborough’s Tommy Amankwaa Week Two Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors

He has 10 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a new wrinkle and sometimes lining up at runningback, where he has 17 carries for 186 yards.

In three years as a starter, he has 72 catches for 1,566 yards and 18 touchdowns, and is poised for a big season with veteran QB Jay Mazuera leading an offense that includes bruising senior Tyler Michinard at runningback.

The Raiders are 3-0 and ranked third in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

RU’s recruiting class for 2022 is ranked 19th in the nation and 4th in the Big Ten by 247sports, which doesn’t yet list Amankwaa among 15 commitments. The Knights’ class is ranked 16th in the country by Sports Illustrated.

Hillsborough has sent numerous players to the Division I football ranks over the years, and even on to the NFL. Among the most notable, Ricky Proehl (’86) went to Wake Forest and played 17 years in the league. he went to four Super Bowls and won two, one with the Rams as part of the “Greatest Show on Turf” and another with the Colts.

And, of course, there’s Shaun O’Hara, who started as a walk-on at Rutgers but eventually received a scholarship, then made his way to the Giants, where he was a three-time Pro Bowler and won Super Bowl XLII with Big Blue. He’s now a color analyst for NFL Network and ESPN Radio.

Murphy extends parent/guardian fan admission to college athletics, to open other sports venues to limited fans next week

New Jersey Governor Murphy last week opened up high school athletic venues to two parents/guardians per student-athlete, with three weeks left in Season 2, which includes high school basketball.

Now, he’s extending that allowance to college sports – like Rutgers – as long as capacity limits aren’t exceeded, effective immediately.

He made the announcement around 11:30 this morning on the Moose and Maggie show on WFAN 660 AM in New York.

In addition, Murphy is allowing all sports – professional and college – and entertainment venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more o open to ten percent capacity effective Monday, March 1 at 6 am. Outdoor venues can open to 15 percent. The opening also affects entertainment venues such as concert halls and amphitheaters.

That means for the Prudential Center in Newark, which has a hockey capacity of 16,500, as many as 1,650 fans could potentially be allowed.

Parents and guardians will be able to attend the last men’s basketball home game of the year – Wednesday against Indiana – and the last women’s home game of the year, which is slated for March 4th or 5th against Ohio State.

But while the Governor said on the ‘FAN that opening all indoor venues to ten percent capacity could allow the general public to go to games at the RAC, it’s too little to late, and a moot point at the same time.

Wednesday’s last home game for the Rutgers men falls before the new regulations go into effect. The women’s team’s last game comes after the new rules take effect, but the Big Ten has not been allowing fans all season, in order to keep a level playing field among teams in states with varying degrees of regulation.

CLICK HERE to listen to Murphy’s full interview with Moose and Maggie on WFAN.

New York recently announced it would open sports venues to limited capacity as well, with the first to be the Barclays Center for a Brooklyn Nets game Tuesday But while fans there will be required to show negative PCR tests, Murphy said such a requirement will not be in effect in New Jersey.

Rutgers adds 23 on Early Signing Day; Union’s Igbinosun among 11 from Jersey

by Mike Pavlichko

Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano used his typical mid-week game week press conference today to unveil a 23-member recruiting class that features eleven from the talent-rich Garden State, and 14 early enrolees.

All have signed their National Letter of Intent on the first day of the Early Signing Period.

Only one played in the Big Central Conference this past season, Union’s Desmond Igbinosun, listed by Rutgers as a 6-3, 200-pound defensive back.

READ MORE: Desmond Igbinosun recaps Union season, Rutgers commitment

The class also includes three players each from Ohio and Florida, two from Pennsylvania and one each from Maryland, Virginia, Illinois and Colorado.

Click below to hear Greg Schiano’s meeting with the media on Early National Letter of Intent Signing Day:

AUDIO: Rutgers QB decision an “ongoing competition” that’s coming into focus

With just two weeks to go before the start of the season, Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano says “I’m a little more informed today than I was at this time last week,” but still hasn’t made a decision on a starting quarterback.

Schiano made those comments to the media on a weekly virtual conference call with reporters Monday.

“We’ll let the string play out and that’s how we’re going to play it,” says Schiano.

Either way, he says he’ll be adaptable to whatever comes out of the ultimate decision, and unafraid to change it if need be.

Click below to hear the full conference call.