SOMERSET, NJ - Franklin High School honored the senior athletes who are enduring a challenging time in their lives by putting together a video showcasing where they have committed and some of their accomplishments as Warriors.

Information was gathered by the school’s Athletic Academic Facilitator, Susan Burd, and the video itself, which you can watch in its entirety here, was touched up by Computer Animation and Web Design teacher, Howard Gaber.

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“We wanted to give them their time to shine,” Burd said.

Fall and winter athletes were able to participate in their respective sports, but COVID-19 shut down everything and spring sports were cancelled officially recently by the NJSIAA after New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy ordered that schools remain closed for the rest of the academic year.

With “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor playing in the background, the video started out with a brief text message to the kids.

“Even though we are not together, we are still Warriors,” the message read. “Four years of hard work, hopes, and dreams have brought us this far. We celebrate the effort of these seniors, some of whom have lost their opportunity to play in their final high school season.

“Others played in the fall and winter, but little did they know that they would not see their teammate for a large part of the spring. We want to celebrate all of their hard work and dedication to their sport, their team, and their school for four years.”

One of the students who was featured in the video is Rutgers wrestling commit Marcus Estevez, who will be a strong walk-on at heavyweight for the Scarlet Knights. Estevez went 121-36 in his career, was a three-time state tournament qualifier, two-time placewinner (finished in fourth this past winter and sixth as a junior), two-time Region champion, 2020 District 17 champ, 2020 Somerset County Tournament first place finisher, and was named the Skyland Conference Wrestler of the Year for 2019-20. This winter, he went 44-3, with the 44 wins being a school record. He was selected as FHS’ Outstanding Winter Athlete.

Estevez, who is slated to major in criminal justice at Rutgers, shared his thoughts on the video and why he chose to grapple for head coach Scott Goodale and the Scarlet Knights.

“The video was nice to see because all of the senior athletes got a chance to be recognized for their decision and where they are going to continue their athletic career. This whole pandemic has had a toll on all of us, but seeing that video brightens the mood a bit,” Estevez said.

“I chose Rutgers because everything I need in order to become a successful athlete and student Rutgers has. I really like the coaching staff. They are going to push you to be a better athlete and as a person. I’m also friends with some of the incoming class because we all trained at the SKWC, so we are going to watch out for one another. Rutgers was just the perfect fit for me and there’s no place I’d rather be and I’m ready to compete wearing the red ‘R’ on the front of my singlet.”

Franklin Athletic Director Ken Margolin recently said that the school plans to honor the spring athletes who had their final season stripped as well.

“Being that the season was just officially cancelled, we have a few things set up,” he said. “We’re still going to give out varsity letters to those athletes that we feel would have attained that status this year. Some individual coaches are going to give out senior gifts, stuff like that, with the money that we have in their accounts. That’s really about it. We might do a virtual varsity letter presentation online.”

Check out some tidbits on each of the athletes in the commitment video below and click here to watch a video regarding presenting the student-athletes with senior awards from the Franklin Booster Club.

Asare Bampoe-Parry, Track and Field, Rutgers-Newark: Mechanical Engineering major, Somerset County/Skyland Conference high jump champion, Central Jersey, Group 4 champ, back-to-back Indoor/Outdoor Group 4 winner, All-Skyland Conference First Team selection, New Balance Nationals All-American.

Nadell Booker, Baseball, Arcadia: Sports Management and Economics major, three-year letterwinner, member of Ultimate Warriors/Captain’s Leadership Council.

Marcus Estevez, Wrestling, Rutgers: Criminal Justice major, 121-36 career record, went 44-3 in 2019-20, three-time state qualifier, two-time placewinner, three-time Region qualifier and two-time champ, 2020 District 17 champ, Somerset County champ, Skyland Conference Wrestler of the Year. FHS winter Most Outstanding Athlete.

Kevon Gordon, Football, Western Connecticut State: Criminal Justice Major, Mid-State 38 Second Team All-Delaware Division selection on offense at quarterback.

Ryan Hanna, Baseball, Misericordia: Sports Management major, four-year letterwinner at catcher, Skyland Conference scholar athlete, member of Ultimate Warriors/Captain’s Leadership Council.

Sarah Hnasko, Soccer, Rutgers-Newark: Marketing major, minoring in English with Pre-Law track, three-year letterwinner at midfielder and defender, plays on a club team named the Jersey Knights Soccer Club.

Andrew James, Football, Western Connecticut State: Business major

Jordan Leake, Track and Field, Shippensburg University: Civil Engineering major, two-time Group 4 state champion, four-time Skyland Conference champion, North 2, Group 4 sectional champ, two-time Somerset County gold medalist, Vice President of Black Student Union, two-year varsity member.

Danish Nadeem, Baseball, Drew: Marketing major, three-year letterwinner, member of Ultimate Warriors/Captain’s Leadership Council.

George Wade, Swimming, Arcadia: Biology on a pre-Physical Therapy (DPT) track major, four-year letterwinner (three at Franklin) three-time Meet of Champions qualifier (two with Franklin), eight-time YMCA National Qualifier with club team SVY.

Cyre Hooper, Track and Field, Mount St. Mary’s

Follow Chris Nalwasky on Twitter @ChrisWasky.

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