WEST ORANGE, NJ - In the world of high school sports, not many can say that they are the best. However, Mark Starbinski, goalie of the West Orange High School (WOHS) Hockey Team, certainly can. With 811 saves on the season, Starbinski leads the state of New Jersey. Therefore, this week, TAP into West Orange unanimously selected Starbinski as Athlete of the Week.

Some people may be surprised that someone as young as Starbinski could do so well—he is only a sophomore at WOHS. After sitting down and talking with him, an even more surprising fact came up—he has only been playing hockey for about three years.

“As a sophomore, he [Starbinski] is a solid goalie and very poised,” said Hockey Coach Eddie Scafidi. “He is our MVP of the season. He keeps us in every game.”

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Mark has been a bona fide athlete throughout his life, competing in swimming, wrestling, and football as well as hockey. He also participates in spring leagues and summer camps and hopes to play in college.

When asked if he is a team leader, he modestly replied, “Yes,” saying “people count on me and look up to me.”

Senior teammate Tyler Viezel agreed, noting some of Starbinski’s strengths. “He has a great blocker side and he’s strong on low shots,” said Viezel.

Starbinski also said that his level of play has grown exponentially since last year, and that he hopes for that to continue. With six upcoming freshmen and a new league to look forward to for the hockey team, Starbinski has high hopes for next season.

“Mark is the state leader in saves,” said Coach Scafidi. “We are very lucky to have him for two more years.”

Indeed, West Orange should be proud of its student athletes, especially those like Mark who have put in so much effort and hard work.