ROXBURY, NJ – Imagine, for a moment, what it would be like for Roxbury High School if the possibilities expressed by athletic director Stuart Mason all came to fruition. It would be quite a year, indeed.
In discussing this year’s Roxbury High School fall sports teams, Mason used the word “championship” quite a few times. He said championships are goals he believes are attainable by at least several of the Gaels squads now kicking off their seasons.
“I’m really excited,” said Mason. “Coming off the success our athletics program had last year and even several years prior, I’m really excited for this year. We have an outstanding senior class across the board, a great group of student athletes, good leaders that are dedicated to doing things the right way and representing Roxbury the way we want them to, whether we win or not.”
As for that last part – the “or not” part – Mason quickly added he’s “really hopeful” there won’t be too many games ending in that category.
“Our football team is pre-season ranked in the state,” he said. “We are looking forward to building off last year’s record-breaking season and taking it to the championship level.”
To do that, the football squad, which plays its first game on Friday against Sparta at home, will definitely have to push hard to beat its prior accomplishments. “Last year, (quarterback) Grant Dixon shattered the record for most touchdown throws in a season,” said Mason. Dixon threw for 27 touchdowns. “We scored more points than we had in the past and we really had an explosive offense,” said Mason. “I think we caught a lot of teams by surprise.”
The team lost a shot at a state championship when it was beaten 21-0 by Paramus in an NJSIAA North 1 Group IV semifinal game.in the playoffs. But it’s a new year and Mason doesn’t think the team has lost its edge. “Grant Dixon worked incredibly hard last year,” said the athletic director. “We expect him to have even more success”
Mason also has high hopes for other returning players, including wide receiver Steven Loreng. “Last year he broke all Roxbury records,” noted Mason, adding that the 5-foot, 11-inch, 175-pound senior was considered one of the top wide receivers in the state last year.
“I’m really excited to see him come back,” said Mason, adding he also expects senior running back Craig Roumes to do great things. “He’s one of toughest competitors I’ve ever seen at the high school level,” said Mason.
The “championship” word again came up when Mason turned to discussing Roxbury’s girls volleyball program. Last year’s team had a 24-4 season, but lost in the Morris County tournament. “We think this year they have good chance to win that game and make it to the championship,” said Mason. “Lauren Kornmann been identified as one of the top athletes in the state and our coach, Beth Glasso, does a phenomenal job … We are no longer trying to be like the top teams, we are one. We’re really considered one of top teams to beat in the state.”
Although the girls soccer team lost star player Paige Monaghan and a few other seniors to graduation, Mason thinks the team is talented enough to, yes, “be contesting for a championship this year.” He said the boys team, which will return its starting goalie, Jason Adamo, also stands a good chance at having a winning season.
“They really established a reputation as one of the more difficult teams to play in the county,” said Mason.
The athletic director said the girls tennis team, with new coach Pete Flynn, is still in a “building” phase. “He is optimistic the tennis program will continue to improve,” said Mason, who also expressed optimism about the field hockey team. “It looks like this year they have more team speed than they had in the past,” said Mason. “They worked incredibly hard all summer to be ready for the season, coming in twice a week at 7 o’clock in the morning.”