HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - The Hasbrouck Heights cross-country team was among those groups honored at the February Board of Education meeting.

Head coaches Mike Ryan and LeighAnn Ruroede recognized the success of both the girls and boys cross-country teams from the fall 2019 season. 

He thanked the administration, Board, high school staff, Linda Simmons (principal), athletic director, athletic trainer Justin Schmarek, and the parents "for all their support that they give us throughout the season. None of what we've done over the past four years would not be without them."

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"This year's girls team is what I'm most proud of all the championships we've won," said Ryan. "We were a small team this year, and we had some really major injuries."

A freshman and younger runners stepped up, according to Ryan, and were "able to win their third straight League and County Championship this year."

"After last year's team, I didn't think we could top what we did last year," Ryan said about the boys team. 

The boys team won six championships, 3 invitationals, and third straight League and County championship, placed third in the Bergen County Meet of Champions, and won their first NJSIAA state sectional title since 1974, and finished fourth in the Meet of Champions.

The meeting got on with regular business after the presentations of the new football coach, and coding/robotics clubs. In his report, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Matthew Helfant said the school had its regularly scheduled QSAC review from the state. Final results won't be in for a couple of months, but he will hold a public meeting to announce the findings. The district has begun planning for the annual NJSLA testing (previously known as PARCC) by testing the technology and infrastructure. The district is getting regular updates from the county on the corona virus and will share vital information as it is received.

In Personnel, the Board accepted the resignation of E. Trexler (effective June 30) and K. Doyle (effective February 4.) Hires for the 2020-2021 school year include A. Dinallo, High School Technology, and B. Dolce, HS Science, replacing K. Doyle and E. Trexler.

The open hearing portion of the meeting was dominated by recreation soccer parents and players who arrived en masse to address the Board, filling the school's media center. (the meeting was moved from the auditorium due to rehearsals.)

Speaking first was Mike Karcic, the president of the Hasbrouck Heights Soccer Association. He outlined the scope of the multi-season sport, that offers playing and training opportunities from elementary through high school students. He said the organization has 600 players, and that one in three are involved in the youth sport. He and the group are asking for the Board to include "small-sided lines" for youth soccer when Depken Field is re-turfed this summer.

"You are the Board of Education for every kid in this town," said Karcic. "At Depken Field, there is an opportunity for every kid to be represented in our town." He noted that other youth programs, like youth football, rec baseball, rec track all use Depken.

"As representatives in our town, we should be doing everything possible for the children in our town," he said. Karcic offered to discuss possible financial assistance, and ways to effectively put down lines. He explained that while the group helps maintain the field in Teterboro, it is in poor shape, and the lack of playing fields forces some teams to play needless games on the road. He observed that Saturdays and Sundays Depken sometimes sits empty, when youth soccer could be playing games.

"Hasbrouck Heights, when I moved in, has been a great football town," Karcic said. "It's about time that Hasbrouck Heights becomes a great sports town."

Parent Chris Ferdinand pointed out the earlier presentations of high school athletes and robotics/coding students who were recognized by the Board, saying "no matter what the activity was, they represented the town." Saying he saw the pride of the children and their parents of their accomplishments. 

"What we are asking for in Heights soccer, is to allow boys and girls age, six to 13, to feel that same pride that all other athletes who play at that field can experience," said Ferdinand. "And as parents, to watch our children excel...on a beautiful field." 

He noted that sometimes Woodland Park is underwater, sometimes referees condemn field and games get canceled. 

Two youth players also spoke. John Luka and William both asked to be able to play their soccer games at Depken Field.

Tara Eckert brought up the possibility of installing lights on the Hitchcock Field, where the rec softball games are played. She noted that rec games can't begin until after high school games finish, and they "hope to get four innings in" before it gets dark. 

"If you don't have space, you need time," she observed.

Parent Tom Kelly noted the conditions at the Teterboro field, including flooding, divots, and the fumes from the jets at the airport.


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