High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Christian Brothers Academy

The Top 10 Stories of the Year in New Jersey

December, 29, 2011
The year 2011 is winding down to a close and what a year it was in sports. Here are the top 10 stories from the New Jersey high school sports scene:

10. Pin 'Em Down
Andrew Campolattano epitomized dominance on the mat, capping his prep career with a fourth state wrestling title (215 pounds). The Brook Bound senior also set a state record in career wins (178) and pins (117) and lost just once in four years. He's now a freshman wrestler at Ohio State.

9. What a Farewell
Vincent Ascolese's final football game as coach on the North Bergen sidelines was one he'll never forget. Bruins wideout Debray Tavarez caught a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired to stun previously undefeated Montclair, 14-13, in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 championship.

8. Gillie the Kidd
Michael Gilchrist may have fallen short of a perfect season and state title as a senior at St. Patrick, but one of the greatest players to come out of New Jersey still made his mark. Gilchrist earned Mr. Basketball USA honors before being named co-MVP at the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. Now known as Michael Gilchrist-Kidd in honor of his late uncle, he's holding his own as a freshman swingman for Kentucky.

7. California Love
Kyle Anderson could have gone anywhere in the country to play college basketball, but on the day before his birthday (Sept. 19), the St. Anthony senior committed to UCLA. Anderson's decision was huge for the Bruins, who snagged the nation's fifth-best senior recruit.

6. No Gray Area
Winning a state title is nothing new for St. Benedict's Prep — the Gray Bees copped their 23rd straight Prep A crown this past fall. But the Gray Bees ended a five-year drought atop the national standings by going 24-0 and finishing atop the POWERADE FAB 50. Christiano Francois led the way with 43 goals and 22 assists.

5. CBA Runs Away with State, National Titles
Christian Brothers Academy tore through the regular season before winning its record 17th Meet of Champions crown and extending their national-record dual-meet win streak to 315 (and counting). The Colts went on to finish first at the prestigious Nike Cross Nationals meet with a meet-record 91 points and a course-record average of 15:58.99.

4. Perfect Saint
St. Anthony entered the season with a couple new faces, as Kyle Anderson and Myles Mack joined the Friars after Paterson Catholic was forced to shut down. The duo turned out to be the biggest reasons behind the Friars' 33-0 season, state title and top ranking in the final POWERADE FAB 50.

3. King Edward
With the Rosa twins and Lukas Verzbicas gone, Edward Cheserek wasted little time picking up the baton as the nation's best cross country runner. The St. Benedict's junior harrier won all eight of his races this season, setting course records in the first seven before winning the prestigious Foot Locker Nationals meet.

2. The Don
After beginning the year at No. 1 and with a bevy of tough opponents on the schedule, Don Bosco Prep's football team passed the test with flying colors. Led by a suffocating defense, the Ironmen went 11-0 en route to their sixth straight Non-Public Group 4 title and second national crown in three years.

1. Who's No. 1?
Perhaps it's fitting the top story was the epic battle for the state and nation's top spot on the hardwood when No. 2 St. Anthony and No. 1 St. Patrick met in the Non-Public North B championship. The Celtics led for most of the way, but the Friars put together a late run in the fourth quarter to take control and win, 62-45, at the RAC.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

CBA caps perfect season with NXN title

December, 6, 2011
Believe it or not, of all the impressive marks Christian Brothers Academy has achieved as a cross country program, the Colts had never captured the ultimate team accomplishment of a Nike Cross Nationals title — until now.

The Colts used a late-race rally to barely best Southlake Carroll (Texas) at this past weekend's Oregon meet and cement its place atop the national rankings. After the Dragons blazed to an early lead, the CBA quartet of George Kelly (23rd place), Jack Boyle (29), Tim Gorman (36) and Mike McClemens (61) surged past several runners to pull out the 91-95 win.

CBA won the national meet in record fashion, tallying 91 points and an average 15:58.99 to set new marks at the Portland Meadows Race Track. What's more, with coach Tom Heath saying before the year that "anything less than a national title this season is a disappointment," it helped the Colts find complete satisfaction in a campaign that already included a state-record 17th Meet of Champions title and a national-record 315 consecutive dual-meet victories (and counting).

And get this — the Colts still don't sound totally satisfied. Heath told the Star-Ledger this:
"This is the best team ever at CBA, and this was the only thing left to do. But now we have to come back and become the first team to win it twice.''

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Fall postseason update

November, 16, 2011
From the nation's No. 1 team (Don Bosco Prep) to the nation's No. 5 baller (Kyle Anderson of St. Anthony), I know you've heard plenty about football and basketball of late. But don't think I've forgotten about the equally important and intense postseason battles taking place in the other fall sports of soccer and cross country. Here's an update on how things have shaken out:

*Surprise, surprise. Christian Brothers Academy, No. 3 in the Dyestat rankings, won its 23rd cross country team state title, tying Bernards for the most in state history. The Colts broke their own meet record with an average mark of 16:11. CBA senior George Kelly took the individual crown with a time of 16:05, helping the Colts down rival Don Bosco Prep, 18-45, in the Non-Public A race.

*Tim Ball of Piscataway looked impressive entering this weekend's Meet of Champions, running a time of 15:38 to capture the Group 4 title. Click here to read more about the group championships at Dyestat.

*Christian Brothers also found success on the soccer field, completing a 21-0 season with a 1-0 win in the Non-Public A championship against Delbarton. Scott Thomsen provided the winning goal just over a minute into the first overtime period, pushing the Colts to their first title in nine years and the No. 4 ranking in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

*Freshman Malcolm Dixon stepped up in a big way in the Non-Public B title, knocking a deflected shot into the net to give Montclair Kimberley a 1-0 overtime win against Gill St. Bernard's for the state crown.

*On Thursday and Sunday, Groups 1-4 will play their respective soccer championships at The College of New Jersey. Here's how the schedule looks:

Group 4: Bridgewater-Raritan vs. Cherokee
Group 3: Ramapo vs. Timber Creek

Group 2: Bernards vs. Holmdel
Group 1: Waldwick vs. Haddon Township

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Cheserek sets record, CBA is perfect...again

October, 4, 2011
Now that football rankings and Monday Morning Quarterback talk is out of the way, it's time devote some much deserved attention to New Jersey's domination of the cross country scene.

Let's start with Edward Cheserek. The St. Benedict's Prep junior has run just two races this year and in each, he's set a new course record. A week after shattering the Garret Mountain mark with a 14:53 at the Passaic Coaches Invitational, Cheserek put his name atop arguably the state's most prestigious course record book: Holmdel Park.

The Kenya native ran another 14:53 to best the old mark of 14:56 set two years ago by legendary West Windsor-Plainsboro North runner Joe Rosa.

Meanwhile, top-ranked Christian Brothers Academy averaged 16:08 among its first five runners, barely missing the record for course average. No sweat for the Colts, though — they already held the mark after running a 16:06 at last year's Meet of Champions.

Nonetheless, the Colts proved impressive, placing the next five runners after Cheserek to produce a perfect score of 15. West Windsor-Plainsboro South finished second with 80 points.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Six pack of New Jersey soccer teams in POWERADE FAB 50

September, 13, 2011
St. Benedict's Prep passed its first major test of the season, defeating New York soccer power Chaminade, 3-1, on Sunday behind Pablo Perez's two goals. The win solidified the Gray Bees' No. 2 national spot, but they aren't the only New Jersey squad representing well in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Coming in after the Gray Bees are Pingry at No. 6 and Christian Brothers Academy at No. 10 following victories in their first contests of the year.

See which other two Garden State programs made the national rankings by clicking here.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Christian Brothers Academy ranked No. 1 in POWERADE FAB 50

August, 30, 2011
New Jersey's domination of the national cross country scene continues, as Christian Brothers took the top spot in the first POWERADE FAB 50 team rankings of the season. (Just yesterday, Edward Cheserek of St. Benedict's Prep earned the No. 1 spot in the Dyestat individual rankings.)

The Colts' ranking comes as no surprise. They return five runners from a squad that won its 16th Meet of Champions in record fashion, took fifth at the NXN National meet and is currently riding a national-record streak of 309 straight dual meet wins.

Granted, CBA isn't the only squad from the Garden State on watch this season. West Windsor-Plainsboro South, which should get more attention now that the Rosa twins have graduated from the North school, and Don Bosco Prep also made the top 50. Click here to see where they landed and here to read more about the powerful Colts squad.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

New Jersey cross country preview

August, 25, 2011
Today we'll branch out to cross country — you know, the sport that makes most of us look ridiculously out of shape.

Much of the national attention will be on New Jersey this year, as arguably the top runner and team reside here. Despite losing leader Mike Mazzacarro to graduation, Christian Brothers Academy has the tools for another big year and is ranked tops in the nation entering the season. It'll be hard to top 2010, when the Colts averaged a record 16:05.3 at Holmdel en route to another state title, but they will be pushed by the desire to continue their national record of 309 straight dual meet wins.

On the individual side, there's Edward Cheserek. Since the junior runs at St. Benedict's, he's not in line to win a state title, but that won't stop him from making his mark at the national meets. Here's what DyeStat's Marc Bloom has to say about the upcoming season:
It’s rare that one state has the nation’s top team and individual, but the Garden State has that honor with the fall season coming up. Christian Brothers Academy--Northeast Regional winner that took 5th at NXN and will be seeking a 17th state Meet of Champions title--returns 5 varsity runners with a 9:29 3200 average in track and will be tackling a tough schedule from the get-go.

While some may debate whether the Colts should be #1, there’s no argument on Edward Cheserek, the Kenyan star from St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark. Stepping out from the shadows of Lukas Verzbicas and the Rosa twins, Cheserek--NXN runner-up with an 8:42.66 indoor 2-mile and 4:03.29 outdoor mile (all behind Verzbicas)--should have any race to himself this fall.

CBA, led by 4:14 miler George Kelly, has 4 seniors and 3 juniors in its top 7. The Colts will run the Bowdoin Classic in Wappingers Falls, New York, on Sept. 24, to review the regionals course. As great as they are, CBA cannot sit pretty because both former champion Don Bosco and especially 2010 3rd-placer West Windsor Plainsboro South (not North, the Rosas’ team) have powerful teams that loom as regional threats. Cheserek’s school does not compete in state events. The MOC individual ranks are wide open.

Click here to get the cross country scoop on all 50 states and here to get an idea of how the girls competition could shake out.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.