UNION, NJ - Tapinto Union has named Union High School athletes Nneka Moneme and Nick Zuena February Union High School Athletes of the Month.

Basketball player Moneme averaged 16.2 points, 13.4 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.1 blocks per game, in 14 games in the month of January.

Moneme plans to go to Rutgers in the fall to play soccer and study exercise science.  She also plays soccer and runs track, but “my favorite of all the three is soccer.  I have been playing soccer since I was five and it has become a part of my life.”

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Moneme’s favorite part of being a high school athlete is gaining new friends.  “Since I play sports, I am able to go to different places and play against different teams,” she said.  Moneme said the most difficult thing to overcome as a student-athlete is time management.  “I had to learn how to balance school and sports. Time management has helped me to do better in school.”  She said her favorite subject is math.

She counts being accepted into the National Honors Society as her greatest high school accomplishment because “the club recognizes the hard work of students and all they accomplish.”

When asked who inspires her, Moneme said, “the people who support and believe in me inspire me the most.  Showing that they care helps me to push through the struggles I encounter.”  Moneme said she’d love to spend a day with the U.S. women’s national team “to understand what their life is like and how they balance their athletic career with their personal life.”

“Once you learn how to manage your time, you will see things starting to become easier for you,” said Moneme, offering advice to future Union High School athletes.  “Don’t be afraid to try new things. You may never know whether you like it if you don’t try it.”

Moneme hopes to be a Sports Medicine Physician.  “My goal is to be a physician for a professional athletic team.  Since I have participated in sports for the majority of my life, when I am older I still want to be in that type of environment.”

Zuena is a 152 pound Union County wrestling champion, District 16 Champion, who placed 2nd in the Region 4 NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament.  Zuena will be competing in NJSIAA Finals in Atlantic City on March 3-5. 

When asked who inspires him, Zuena said, “my dad inspires me to be the athlete that I am.”  He plans to attend college next year to study business and to wrestle. 

“I love being an athlete because of the people it brings you around,” said Zuena.  He said his favorite athlete is Jordan Burroughs because “his attitude toward the sport of wrestling is like no other”.  Zuena said if he could he’d like to spend a day with wrestler Kyle Snyder because “I love his style of wrestling.”

Zuena, who also enjoys playing golf, said wrestling will always be his favorite sport.  “My greatest accomplishment in wrestling is being a two-time district champ,” he said. 

Zuena said his best academic subject is science.  When asked the most difficult part of being a student-athlete, Zuena said, “homework is the hardest thing to do while having practice and matches.”

“Just keep working hard and don’t quit no matter what,” said Zuena to future Union High School athletes.  Ultimately, Zuena said he’d like to own a chain of hair salons.