BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - While Gov. Livingston sports season is uncertain, "we are working hard through this uncertain time, to maintain our training and our bond," said head girls lacrosse coach Chloe Griffin.

"We held a fundraiser to help those who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19 with the HEADstrong Foundation and their Virtual 5k. It is a way that the girls can get involved, do some good and still practice safe social distancing," said Griffin. The team participated in the virtual race on April 6, which was National Student-Athlete Day.

"We are proud student-athletes.  While our season is postponed, we are putting our efforts into helping those who need it," said the Highlander girls lacrosse team's pledge page. "We are participating in the 'last shift of 2020' in support of cancer patients who are at the HIGHEST RISK of contracting the COVID-19 virus by participating in the Last Shift Virtual 5k Race." 

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The HEADstrong Foundation offers financial, residential, and emotional support to families affected by cancer providing resources for patients and their families who are receiving specialized cancer care throughout the country.  For more information on the campaign CLICK HERE

This is Griffin's fourth season as head coach of the Highlander girls lacrosse team, with an overall 24--31 record. The majority of starters are coming back, and she looks forward to getting her team back on the field.

Not surprisingly, Griffin said the team’s biggest strength is the experience they bring.

As for how the team’s lineup will look, seniors Skylar Dowling and Ava Reiner and juniors Mia Maguire (81 points) and Emma Priore will drive the attack. 

Dowling, one of the team's captains, holds the school record in assists and is three goals away from 100. She will be attending Misericordia University in the fall to play basketball.

The team’s defense will comprise of senior Brenna Rielly, juniors Kelsey DiStaso (captain), Emily Haines, and Julia Raimondi, who will split her time between defense and midfield. 

Senior Ma'yan Amkraut returns as the team’s goalie while senior captains Valerie Diamond (75 points) and Mackenzie Lloyd [who will continue her lacrosse career at Susquehanna University next year] will hold things down at midfield. They will be joined at midfield by sophomores Julia Byrne and Gianna Ciccimarra.

Newcomers that will see time are junior Amanda McInityre as Goalie; sophomores Dani Kang  and Jayden Riggi  at attack; sophomores Katelyn Paliwoda and Lauren Paprocki at defense and freshmen Arden McDonald will split her time between attack and midfield. 

The team will look to replace the scoring pace of graduated Elena Gerrato, who scored 200 career goals at GL and is now playing for Union College.

With Diamond back from her ACL injury and "ready to go," and the strength of the team's experience, Griffin's outlook on the season, when they are able to compete, is very positive. "We have a great group of girls who are ready to get on the field and play," she said. 

NJSIAA provided the following update regarding Spring Sports as of April 10, 2020:

“The return-to-school date and related public health guidelines will continue to determine the viability of a spring sports season. As noted, NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season.

“Along with our leagues and conferences, NJSIAA has determined and communicated with member schools that if competitive events are possible, they will conclude no later than June 30.  Various models have been established based on potential return dates that range from mid-May to the end of that month, and leagues and conferences will be given substantial scheduling flexibility.

“Depending on the eventual date of return, a modified tournament may be offered, subject to availability of venues and ability to comply with any health-related restrictions that may still be in effect.  At this stage, based on the return date, post-season play could range from a sectional tournament to only regular season play without a post-season.

“All sports, except golf, would be subject to a six-day, mandatory practice period.

“NJSIAA will continue holding teleconferences and virtual meetings with leaders of our various leagues and conferences to monitor the situation and assess options.”

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Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.