Sports

Piscataway High Student-Athletes Get Ready to Perform on the Collegiate Level

3e31df4e25b334c4fdb3_IMG_4147.jpg
National Signing Day 2018 Credits: Chris Nalwasky
2ed090df12c65c9520e9_IMG_4146.jpg
Piscataway High Student-Athletes Get Ready to Perform on the Collegiate Level Credits: Chris Nalwasky
86790c7e5bfdb821fa03_IMG_4141.jpg
Left to Right: Jennifer Majorczak, Caitlyn Erdman and Jessica Alicea, Credits: Chris Nalwasky
f6565ba928839e731716_IMG_4142.jpg
Left to Right: Robert Opitz, Rahul Tanna, Brook Moll and Jennifer Majorczak Credits: Chris Nalwasky
c3dfe42ef9969aa1acf8_IMG_4144.jpg
Football Head Coach Dan Higgins (back) with Demetrius Johnson Jr. (left) and Brijon Artis (right) Credits: Chris Nalwasky
3e31df4e25b334c4fdb3_IMG_4147.jpg

PISCATAWAY, NJ -- National Signing Day is one of a kind. If you are a high school senior that signs on the dotted line to be a student-athlete in college, consider yourself lucky. Only a small percentage of athletes and students get a chance to do that.

While there are multiple signing periods throughout the school year, the first Wednesday in February is still considered the main one. And today inside the library of Piscataway High School, eight Chiefs signed their National Letter of Intent to play their respective sport in college.

The eight are: Brijon Artis (football), American International College; Demetrius Johnson Jr. (football), University of Chicago; Caitlyn Erdman (softball), Franklin and Marshall; Jessica Alicea (softball), Stevenson University; Jennifer Majorczak (softball), Kean University; Rahul Tanna (cross country and track and field), University of Chicago; Robert Opitz (track and field), Montclair State University; and Brook Moll (basketball), Kean University.

Sign Up for E-News

“Very happy to see such a good turnout and that just shows you how much support all of you guys have,” Piscataway Athletic Director Rob Harmer said. “Only three to five percent of all athletes in high school go on to college to play college athletics so you guys are in the elite category here in the United States.”

“This is always one of the best days that I can have as a principal, to see student-athletes doing great things and going off to colleges to do the work that you do in athletics but more importantly to go to school,” principal Jason Lester added. “You wouldn’t have this opportunity if you didn’t take care of business in the classroom first. You’re just getting started. You have a lot of life and things to accomplish. This is just a springboard and PHS allowed you to spring into action.”

Lester would tell the students to thank their parents, teachers, and coaches as well and appreciate them to the sacrifices they made.

Artis was a disruptive force coming off the edge as a defensive end or on the inside when he was at defensive tackle in 2017. The 6-foot-1, 265-pounder finished with 51 tackles on the year with 21 for loss and four sacks. On offense, Artis played along the offense line and helped the Chiefs’ accumulate 2,433 rushing yards en-route to an 8-3 year and birth in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 playoffs. The senior was forced to leave the first-round game against Bridgewater-Raritan early on, and his lack of presence on the field was felt as the Panthers moved the ball up and down the field with ease.

Johnson, Jr. was a standout defensive back as well as a receiver. Even though Johnson is 5-foot-7, and 165 pounds, he isn’t afraid to block. Both Artis and Johnson were part of the 2016 Central Jersey, Group 5 championship team.

“Congratulates to these athletes, to the families, and to ‘Pway’ football nation and to ‘Pway’ athletes everywhere,” Piscataway head football coach Dan Higgins said. “You guys (Artis and Johnson) obviously through all the hard work, commitment, and dedication to academics and athletics have opened the door to the next level. You’ve earned the right to go to the schools where you’re going. There’s nothing better than for me or for anyone who has worn the colors of black and gold to see what you do after you leave. We were all so blessed on Sunday to see one of our former Chiefs win a Super Bowl and represent (us) on the big screen. Whether you go that far or not, the mission is to get a diploma and be a good person the rest of your life and learn from all the lessons that you learn. This will forever be your hometown. You will forever be Chiefs and I’m really proud to be your coach and to have known all you athletes.”

In the spring of 2017, the Chiefs’ softball season didn’t go so well as they went 3-14, but Erdman batted a team-best .396 with 19 hits in 48 plate appearances with 15 runs scored, and 12 RBI. Alicea hit .327 with 16 hits and 13 runs scored, and managed seven walks. Majorczak batted .300 with 15 hits, 13 runs scored, eight RBI, four doubles, and five walks. From the pitching circle, Erdman tossed 74.1 innings and won three games. She struck out 29 batters.

“Congratulates to all of you. Having been a former college athlete myself, these next four years are going to be the best of your life,” said second-year softball coach Lauren Straube, who won four state championships at Immaculate Heart Academy in Bergen County, played in two NCAA Division III national championship games for Montclair State and then at The College of New Jersey. “Having been a student-athlete here at PHS, you are more than prepared. You feel that ‘Pway’ confidence when you walk in the door and practice on the first day. I can’t really take credit for these three since last year was my first year. If anything, I’ve learned more from them. I do know that their leadership on our team is phenomenal and I can’t wait for this season. I wish you all the best of luck.”

Moll plays a key role at guard and forward for the Lady Chiefs, who sport a 17-3 record this winter. While she just scores on average 3.1 points per game, her assists numbers up. She also has a 3.9 GPA.

“As far as Brooke goes, she’s a coach’s dream,” PHS head varsity girls basketball coach Chris Puder said. “You tell her where to go and she does it. It’s one instruction and she’s there. It’s hands up all the time and its always communication. I know Kean is getting a special player.”

Tanna made the Greater Middlesex Conference All-Red Division team this past fall and was an All-Conference At-Large selection track last winter. According to NJ MileSplit, Tanna’s personal records are, 1:00.40 in the 400-meter dash, 1000m (in) - 2:43.83, 1600m (in) - 4:28.60, 1600m - 4:28.16, 3200m (in) - 9:33.82, 3200m - 9:45.79, 5K (xc) - 16:16.32, and 5K - 16:10.46.

For Optiz, his records are, 1000m (in) - 2:53.73, 1600m (in) - 4:50.19, 1600m - 4:41.79, 2.5 Mile (xc) - 16:33.00, and 5K (xc) - 17:41.03.

“It’s a special honor to be a collegiate athlete,” Piscataway Track and Field and Cross-Country coach Pete Buccino said. “It takes great commitment but I think any kid coming out of this school is going to have an edge. They have an edge not only as an athlete but as a student. You will be well prepared and you all come from great families.

“I coach Bobby and I coach Rahul and they give us three seasons. That’s special. I wish you guys personally nothing but the best success.”

TAPintoPiscataway.net is an online newspaper serving the Township of Piscataway.

Sign up for our FREE daily eNews. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @PiscatawayTAP.

Businesses: Advertise with TAPinto Piscataway. Click here for more information.

Download the TAPinto App!   Click here for Android.  Click here for iOS.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Piscataway

Staci Berger for Ward 3 Piscataway Township Council, June 5 Democratic Primary

April 24, 2018

1. Why are you running for election for Piscataway Township Council, Ward 3?

I am running for the Piscataway Township Council Ward 3 position because our community needs new leadership. I will be the independent, principled, and collaborative advocate our neighborhood deserves.

I have been a Piscataway homeowner for 20 years.  I am proud that my husband, Bill Irwin, and I are raising ...

Dr. Jacqueline Littlejohn - Candidate for Piscataway Town Council

Why are you running for election to the Piscataway Township Council?

I am running for election to the Piscataway Township Council because I believe that a vibrant democracy only flourishes when the governed have a voice in their government, be it in the form of compromise, protest, or even becoming viable candidates themselves. I have chosen the latter approach. As a candidate I want to be the ...

The Piscataway Democratic Organization Names its 2018 Ward Slate

The Piscataway Democratic Party is putting forward an incredible slate of ward candidates for the Township Council.  “Frank Uhrin, Jim Bullard, Steven D. Cahn and Michele Lombardi have brought us a 12 percent drop in the tax rate, many new job opportunities for hard working residents, and a rise in property values,” party chair and former mayor, Ted Light said.  ...

2 city men among 4 indicted in fatal shooting

April 26, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - Two city men are among four suspects charged in the shooting of an East Brunswick who was fatally wounded outside a Union County restaurant earlier this year.

 
Tyquan Fuqua, 23, and a relative, Almalik Fuqua, 27, both of New Brunswick, were indicted on charges of murder and other crimes for the Jan. 14 killing of Tryone Osorio, 30, outside a restaurant on the 500 block ...

Obituaries

Piscataway – Reinhard Rudolf Kiefer, 85, died Sunday March 11, 2018 at home. Born in ...
Read more
Piscataway, NJ – Manuela Cruz, 94, born July 17, 1923, passed away peacefully on March 8, ...
Read more

Rutgers Varieties Take Center Stage this Saturday at AG Field Day on Cook Campus

April 26, 2018

RUTGERS UNIVERSITY - New Jersey gardeners will have an opportunity to try the latest and very best vegetable and small fruit varieties from Rutgers University’s New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station this Saturday at Rutgers Day aka “Ag Field Day” at the Cook Campus, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences in New Brunswick, NJ off of college farm ...

Westfield Residents Host 6th Annual Massive Tag Sale to Benefit Furniture Assist

If you like a bargain, love antiques or collectibles, or need furniture/household/clothing/children’s items, please visit the upcoming 6th Annual Massive Tag Sale Friday & Saturday, April 27-28, starting at 9 a.m., to benefit Furniture Assist. The sale is held at 816 Prospect Street, Westfield, NJ, and attracts bargain-hunters, antique dealers and collectors from all over New ...

Ready for Rutgers Day this Saturday?

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - RU ready for Rutgers Day?

You will not want to miss the university’s annual welcome and show-and-tell for New Jersey residents of all ages. It all takes place this Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

It is already thr 10th anniversary of Rutgers Day, There will be more than 700 free performances, demonstrations and interactive activities. Last ...

Holy Savior Academy Excels in the Arts - Annual Spring Musical, Art Show to Take Place in May

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The students and staff at Holy Savior Academy, a pre-K3 through eighth grade AdvancedED accredited Middlebrook Deanery Catholic School located in South Plainfield, have been busy gearing up for two widely anticipated spring events. In May, the drama club will present its 4th annual Spring Spectacular Musical and a school wide art show will also take ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_e1c86484bd07288a6140_bike_blessing_sickle_cell

Sat, April 28, 11:00 AM

New Market Firehouse, Piscataway

Sickle Cell Fundraiser and Bike Blessing

Education Giving Back

Sat, April 28, 7:00 PM

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Plainfield

Plainfield Symphony Mahler's 9th Symphony

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_f725af9823f099a5b919_pway_5k_full_flyer

Sun, April 29, 9:00 AM

Piscataway High School, Piscataway

PWay 5K Run/Walk 2018

Education Sports

Sun, April 29, 2:00 PM

Otto Kaufman Community Center, Skillman

Relax, Rejuvenate, Renew

Health & Wellness

Mon, April 30, 7:00 PM

Somerset Valley Playhouse, Hillsborough

Auditions for Smokey Joe's Cafe: The Songs of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Somerset 4H Hopes to Braid its way into Guinness Book of Records

April 26, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - For the several months, over 200 Somerset County 4-H members and adult volunteers, some from Hillsborough, have been stripping fabric and braiding sections to create the World’s Longest Textile Braid, in hopes that it would be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Well they did it!

To qualify, the braid had to be at least 800 meters,  the ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...