NEWTON, NJ – Dignitaries, families and fellow students gathered to honor the Newton Boys Soccer team at their Ring Presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 20. On Dec. 1, 2012, the team made Sussex County History by being the first team ever to win the SIAA Group 2 State Championships.
The evening began with the National Anthem. Athletic Director Kurt Weaver then introduced each team member to the crowd. Weaver congratulated them and recounted their progress throughout the season.
Then Newton High School Vice-Principal Kurt Walton unveiled the new sign in the gym.
Weaver thanked the communities of Newton, Andover and Green Townships, as well as Kate Castle, Booster Club President, Brian Bennington and the CAD lab, and the maintenance staff.
Principal James Tasker spoke next. After welcoming everyone, he commented that the team’s success was based on a team effort.
He admonished the boys, saying, “Remember how you got there. Remember the Youth Soccer League, the Traveling League, all of your coaches along the way, and most of all, your family.”
Tomorrow, the entire team, along with Principal Tasker, will travel to Trenton, to be honored on the floor of the Assembly at the State House, at the invitation of Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose.
Tasker continued by thanking Newton, Andover and Green, saying, “A high school is only as good as the community where they are based.”
Assistant Coach Brian Martin said that early on in the season, he felt that winning state champs was possible. He told the crowd that this team has “toughness combined with their skills.” He recounted the long and grueling practices, which they endured with no complaints.He proudly recalled the welcome home the town gave them the night they won, the news traveling home ahead of them, they returned to a fire, police, and ambulance squad escort, with neighbors and friends lining the streets, cheering for their team. “Newton is a special community. We are all very proud to represent this community.”
Head Coach Pat Brennan congratulated his team, and thanked the board of education, the principal, and superintendant Dr. Ken Greene for all their support. He recalled how good he felt when Greene shook his hand in congratulations.
Greene himself shared his memories about winning the state championships in basketball, 30 years ago.
He said, “After many years and many achievements, far more important than state championships, including marriage, and running this fine school system, I still feel very honored that at one time, I achieved the pinnacle of the activity I engaged in. Nothing can replace that.” He congratulated the team, saying “I wish you all the success in life.”
Greene then read the Joint Proclamation from the Newton Town Council and the Newton Board of Education, which was issued in December. “With boundless pride and genuine appreciation” it recognized the efforts of the team and coaches for their accomplishment.
Mayor Sandy Diglio and board of education President Rick Heckman then presented that proclamation to Head Coach Pat Brennan. Diglio also presented the town council trophy to Brennan.
Team Captains Brady Castle, T.J. Chrustic, Brett Conrads, Kyle Morel, and Andy Weber then got up. Two of the captains spoke, and described how much the support of the community meant to the team. They shared about games that were played an hour away, where the Newton team had as many or more fans than their opponents, and how these crowds encouraged the players. They told of how much it meant to return to town to the reception they got, the night they won.
Greene and Kate Castle then called each player up to receive his ring.
The presentation ended with Weaver encouraging everyone to take a program, as it included a CD containing all the highlights of the season. “This can be sent to those far away, who couldn’t be present tonight.”
All were invited to stay for cake and coffee, provided by the Booster Club.
The members of the Championship Team are: Luke Butler, Ryan Brewster, Brady Castle, Matt Cespedes, TJ Chrustic, Brett Conrads, Nick Cowie, Ryan Cronin, Tanner Euston, Chris Guth, Jake Gutkowski, Jeremy Henegan, Frank Heter, Paul Kelusak, Chris Marin, Kyle Morel, Ethan Muller, Jamie Power, Leo Recalde, Kevin Sosa, Andy Weber, and Melanie Rudio, statistician. Their coaches: Pat Brennan, Head Coach, Sue Desautels, Assistant, Brian Martin, Assistant, Dan Carbone, Volunteer Assistant, and Tyler Conrads, Volunteer Assistant.
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