GLEN RIDGE, NJ-- Glen Ridge High has a new head swimming coach in Sarah Melnik, a Clifton, NJ native who is loving her new job.
"We have a great group of kids," said the effervescent Melnik, herself a successful swimmer in high school, at Clifton, and later on the collegiate level, at the University of Scranton. "The team came into the season in pretty good shape and we're improving with each practice.'
Glen Ridge opened the 2019-2020 season with matches against Millburn and Verona, for both the boys and girls teams. The girls also had an additional meet against Mount St. Dominic Academy. Both the Glen Ridge boys and girls teams defeated Verona while the boys lost to Millburn and the girls dropped meets to Millburn and a close one to Mount St. Dominic.
Versus Verona, the girls team was led by the 200 meter relay of Jordyn Parker, Skyler Segal, Isabelle Deubner and Marlane Hlawaty, which finished in 2:23.61. Hlawaty also won the 200 freestyle (2:18.86) and 100 free (1:03.81), Deubner won the 200 IM (2:36.74), Segal captured the 500 free (6:22.45), Parker won the 100 back stroke (1:14.10) and Jamie Newman was first for the Ridgers in the 100 breaststroke, with a time of 1:27.74.
In its win over Verona, the GRHS boys were paced by Enzo Wood, Liam Hood, Mert Erden, Cooper Voss and Sam Auborn.
The team captains are Auborn and Hood, both seniors, for the boys while the girls captains are seniors Hlawaty, Segal and Isabella Vellucci. Melnik noted that Auborn will be a key in the breaststroke for the Ridgers and Hood is one the team's most versatile swimmers.
The girls roster consists of team managers Caroline Auborn and Allie Bushue, Avery Brown, Deubner Avery Dowd, Macy Eaton, Kelly Egan, Hayley Foster, Hallie Gailbraith, Kaitlin Leas, Samantha Lee, Lily Malone, Mia Manzo, Newman, Parker, Laura Reynolds, Schuyler Ross, Abby Song, Franny Tedesco, Blake Velardi, Ava Walton, Alex Wecler and Defne Zeybek.
"Kaitlin Leas is a freshman, and a very good addition to the team," said Melnik. "Mia Manzo is a sophomore and top leader in the breaststroke. Schuyler Ross is a sophomore and will be one of top point leaders of the team."
The boys roster features Jack Bryne, Erden, Houston Fisher, Grant Heinicke, Ryan Smith, Sawyer Smith, Craig Stites, Connor Vigna, Voss, a freshman who has been contributing right away, Jordan Wecler and Wood, a sophomore who is the top point leader of team in the early going.
Glen Ridge will get back to work after the holiday season, with a meet against West Orange. on Jan. 7, at Rutgers-Newark, beginning at 4 p.m. The Ridgers practice at the Rutgers-Newark pool, but that meet will technically be a home match for West Orange.