SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The boys' and girls' track and field teams at Jonathan Dayton High School have both been extremely successful this season. But behind the winning performance is the support of a booster club that looks to make sure the teams are equipped with everything they need.

The Bulldog Track & XC Booster Club was initially proposed by the coaches to help enrich the two sports programs with financial, volunteer and moral support, as well to encourage the spirit of sportsmanship and cooperation throughout the year, club fundraising chair Sarah McTernan said,

"As the largest participatory sport at Dayton, the coaches of track and cross-country wanted to utilize a parent organization that could help build awareness, fundraise and provide post-season recognition via scholarships," McTernan said. "The coaches understood that a club such as this could contribute to these objectives, providing support to its student-athletes and driving morale and positivity. "

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McTernan said that head track coach Matt Van Deursen played a key role in the creation of the booster club along with several instrumental parents, namely Amy Cohen who initiated the first meeting and took the lead.

For the booster club, which consists of President Amy Cohen
, Vice Presidents Susie Tiu and Coach Matt Van Deursen
, Treasurer Beata Barrasso
, Recording Secretary Jennifer DeJohn, Corresponding Secretary Jen Potito
, Fundraising Chairs Sarah McTernan and Rachel Gary and Trustees Dave Campbell, Jennifer Martinez, Greg Salmon, Chris Adams, Bryan Balletto, the goal is simple.

"We hope to recruit more parents in assisting the organization and helping the program thrive," McTernan said.

To that end, the mission of the booster club is as follows:

  • Provide scholarship funds to graduating senior athletes.
  • Cover travel expenses for athletes and/or coaches attending events not covered by the Board of Education budget, if needed.
  • Purchase equipment, uniforms, and capital improvements beyond what the school athletic budget allows.
  • Furnish food/drinks for meets, spirit nights and other social functions and,
  • Provide community support for families of athletes in need.

Fundraising initially came from the alumni community, who helped to pitch in with donations. After that, according to McTernan, the first major fundraiser was a SnapRaise Campaign in which all the student-athletes reached out to their family and friends asking for donations.

Some of the other fundraising activities included the student-athletes also provided bagging services at ShopRite in Springfield for tips and canning for money outside of Bagel Supreme.

All that fundraising paid off. for the first time at last year's senior night awards. There, the Bulldog Track & XC Booster Club presented scholarships named for two legendary Dayton coaches, the Martin Taglienti Award and Bill Jones Memorial Scholarship Award.

Each award provided a $1,500 scholarship to two of the seniors. Coach Taglienti was on hand to present his namesake award last year, and according to McTernan, has agreed to attend this year’s event as well. Dayton alumni Trish Taylor will also be on hand to present the Bill Jones Memorial Scholarship.

Along with the two scholarships mentioned, an additional Coaches Award was created last year that provided a $500 stipend.

After fundraising this year from activities and alumni, the booster club will be awarding a total of $4000 to six student-athletes at this year’s Senior Awards.

In addition to the distribution of scholarships and senior awards, the booster club also provided each member of the track and cross-country teams with a branded bag for their gear and hosted a team pasta dinner.

Some of the upcoming projects for the group include helping with the purchase of pole vault equipment for the upcoming season, which will allow Dayton to have pole vaulting at its track events for the first time. According to McTernan, the club is also purchasing plaques to be hung on the halls of Dayton listing the recipients of the scholarship awards.

Residents interested in helping the booster club can join in by attending the monthly meetings held at Jonathan Dayton. Several board positions are also open as children graduate. There are also opportunities to plan fundraising and recognition events for the team.

For more information on how to get involved with the Bulldog Track & XC Booster Club or to donate, residents can email jdhsbulldogboosters@gmail.com, or join the club’s Facebook page - BULLDOG TRACK & XC BOOSTER ASSOCIATION of Jonathan Dayton High School.

The Bulldog Boosters’ next meeting is on June 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Jonathan Dayton High School in room three.