VERONA, NJ – He had 107 strikeouts for the Hillbillies last season.  He has 63 strikeouts in four games so far this season and has helped lead his team to an 8-2 record.  Collin Kiernan is TAP into Verona/Cedar Grove’s Hillbilly Athlete of the Week.

Kiernan said he was surprised when he heard of his nomination as Athlete of the Week.  “It feels great to be nominated.  It’s a real honor,” he said.

Verona is currently on a winning streak having beaten North 13th Street, Cedar Grove and Lyndhurst last week and besting Glen Ridge in extra innings on Monday night.  Kiernan has pitched four games so far with three wins and one loss to his credit. 

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“We have a nice winning streak going on right now and that feels pretty good,” Kiernan said of his team’s four consecutive victories.  “I think we can keep working on that and keep the streak going.”

Kiernan has high hopes for his team this season, noting the strong defense they’ve displayed so far and feeling confident that hard work can overcome any offensive issues they face.  “Our offense is definitely our biggest challenge right now, but we’re working on that,” he commented.  “Our defense and our pitching staff are doing really well though so that is our strength and will help us keep winning games.”

With more than half the season left to play, Kiernan is taking things one game at a time and currently has his eye on the county tournament and then of course at run at the state tournament. 

“Our next goal as a team is to do well at the county tournament and then the state tournament and I think we can do very well,” he noted. “We have a good team this year and I think we can keep winning baseball games.”

As for the future, Kiernan is already committed to play ball at Rutgers University when he graduates next year.  In the meantime he is focused on helping his team finish the season strong.

“Personally my goal is to keep pitching and to keep helping my team win baseball games,” he stated.

Editor's Note: The "Athlete of the Week" is a weekly reoccurring feature story that highlights an individual student-athlete's success. The Verona High School Athlete of the Week is selected with the assistance of the school's athletic director and coaching staff