RANDOLPH, NJ- RANDOLPH, NJ- In one of the more impressive recent accomplishments for Randolph high school athletics, the 2017-18 boys swim team took home their third straight title in the North 1 Group B State Sectional tournament on Friday Feb. 16, by defeating Ridgewood 100.5 to 69.5.
Winning one state sectional title is an accomplishment on its own, and winning two in a row is difficult and even more impressive. But winning three in a row makes a powerful statement about the strength of a school's program from top to bottom.
“This was the sweetest of the three because it was such a team victory,” said Rams captain Patrick Lucas. “We have some fantastic swimmers that anchor our team, but so many [others] have contributed to each and every success. The depth of our team is really the star of the RHS boys swim team.”
That depth has propelled Randolph to one of the best seasons in school history, as the Rams currently hold an unblemished, 11-0 record so far this season and now advance to the Regionals.
“This was a goal we had since last season’s win, to do it again by putting in the work from November to March to make sure that it could be possible,” said Assistant coach Krystal Hoffman. “It was 1 hour practices swimming 3,000 plus yards, and double Saturday sessions of 6,000 plus yard with distance endurance sets. It was a commitment to swim for each other, to never give up, and to make ourselves, family, friends, and community proud.”
The 200 medley relay, consisting of Vinny Marciano, Danny Dubij, Josh Zitomer, and Chris Ross, started the momentum for the Rams with a big 1st place win, while the B relay of Dylan Demuth, George Kromidas, Jason Gu, and Eric Clemson came up big with a 3rd place finish to put Randolph up with a 10-4 advantage right out of the gate.
Randolph knew the 200 free was going to be a battle due to the depth of Ridgewood, but the outside lane swimming of Aiden St.Peter secured a 2-3-4 finish and a personal best swim. Zitomer, Eric Clemson, and Darren Reisner were looking to make a statement, and did just that when they all swam personal bests in the 200 IM that added an incredible 1-3-4 finish.
Andrew Matjucha and Robbie Reiger grabbed more points for the Rams with a 1-2 finish in the 500 Free, while their teammate James Archer wore out 2 Ridgewood swimmers and got a personal best time. Marciano and Reiger dominated with another 1-2 finish in 100 Backstroke, as the trio of breaststroke efforts from Dubij, Clemson, and Jake Wagner would add to the Rams lead. The 400 Free Relay topped it off with a 1-3 finish by Zitomer, St Peter, Matjucha, and Marciano.
“Winning for the second time last year was unbelievable because so many top swimmers had graduated after that year, but to three-peat this year has been mind blowing,” said Lucas. Our coaches have done an incredible job putting all the right swimmers in the right positions to take advantage of our team depth. Coach Poppy, Hoffman and Altis have been so supportive, and kept things loose, but also always kept us on track.”
While Lucas cited his coaches influence on the victory, Hoffmann did the opposite, praising the kids hard work and camaraderie.
“The kids in this program are strong willed kids that never give less than 100 percent, both the club swimmers and non-club swimmers,” said Hoffmann. “They love to see each other succeed, and from the novice swimmers to the seasoned club swimmers they are all cheering each other on. It is fun to watch them all interact with each other and constantly joke around, but be serious when they need to be.”
JW Mackay, the Rams other captain, added a "before and after" synopsis of the coaches message to the team on Friday night.
"Before the meet, our coaches told us to believe in ourselves, and reminded us that we were ready because of all the hard work we had put in throughout the year," said Mackay. "After the meet, they told us they were proud of us for working together to achieve our goal."