PISCATAWAY, NJ - The end of the school year is upon Piscataway High School, with many students participating in end-of-year activities and studying for final exams, and others looking forward to next week’s graduation ceremonies.
And for those who could fit it into their schedules, some student-athletes from the Chiefs' spring sports programs gathered in the school's Performing Arts Center in the Patton Building Tuesday evening, to be honored by their coaches for their successes on and off the field during the final sports season of the school year.
Rob Harmer, Piscataway's Athletic Director and host for the event thanked the student-athletes for their dedication to their sports and for being able to attend the awards' night when many needed to study for their final exams.
Coaches spoke highly of their teams, noting many successes and strides gained during the past season.
The Chiefs' Golf program, a co-ed team, "posted 10 wins this year, the most in 15 years," said Coach Righ Zirin who recalled their final match of the season where they lost by one shot to keep from advancing in the GMC Finals.
He named Cyril Maandal, a Senior as MVP.
"Maandal became a top-3 player last year, his first season on the team," Zirin said. "He carried his work ethic with him this year to become even better."
Dana Strafer coached the Boys Tennis team amid what she said was a season filled with some struggles including scheduling and bussing issues with other schools and tournaments, and frequent rain which limited practice times on the courts.
"We graduated 8 seniors last year, almost half of our team," said Strafer, adding how proud she was of the new players who adjusted well to the sport as they learned the rules for their first times.
Scott Gleichenhaus, now in his third year as head coach of Chiefs' Baseball thanked his coaching staff for their contributions to the team.
"For the first time our Freshman and JV programs both had pretty solid seasons," said Gleichenhaus, stating how the JV team had 11 wins and the Freshman team had 12 wins. "Both teams were over .500 which are excellent accomplishments."
The Varsity team finished the season 13-13, "the first time the baseball program has been .500 in a long time," he said describing the level of resilience the players displayed after facing some tough opponents. "I couldn't be any prouder of these guys."
"The track season is one that is very busy and very long, particularly the spring season," said Girls Spring Track coach, Keith Brunson who highlighted some of the team's many accomplishments including their GMC Championship win in the 4 x 100 Meters, Shaina Smith's 3rd place finish in the high hurdles at Sectionals, and Jayda Osborn's advancement to State competition after clinching the GMC Championship in the 100 Meters, and other state qualifiers.
"These ladies have remained committed, a lot of them for three seasons with Cross Country, Winter Track, and Spring Track," he said, noting how it takes a lot of time, effort and late nights to put in this level of dedication. "They do the job on the track and in the classroom and continue to give us a lot to be thankful for."
Student-athletes on the Boys Spring Track team posted similar accolades, finishing their dual-meet season with a 5-1 record, and continuously placing in the top 5 at invitational, county and state championship meets including the 4 x 100 relay team's win at the Penn Relays, said Coach Pete Buccino.
"In New Jersey Track, perhaps the best reflection of your team's growth and depth is the number of athletes that you advance to the Group 4 State Championships held in Egg Harbor every year," Buccino said, where the team competed in jumps, distance and relay events.
He listed a number of team and individual accomplishments, highlighting Larry McCullum and Justin Peace who both qualified to participate in the prestigious New Jersey State Meet of Champions last Saturday.
"You have truly experienced Chiefs Nation at its finest," said Harmer, thanking parents and coaches for their tireless support throughout the season. "To our student athletes, our final analysis made it all worthwhile."
Most Improved Players and Most Valuable Players
MIP - Cyril Maandal
MVP - Robert McEvoy
MIP - Teja Nath
MVP - Karthik Iyer
MIP - Alexander Lopez
MVP - Eric Hollenbach
MIP - Caitlyn Erdman
MVP - Ariana Percivale
MIP - Parris Washington
MVP - James Ingram
GIRLS SPRING TRACK
MIP - Tyra Tucker
MVP - Shaina Smith
BOYS SPRING TRACK
MIP - Ediberto Castro
MVP - Larry McCullum
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