High-SchoolNew-Jersey: St. Benedict's Prep

After games on Tuesday, Jan. 17

They're the defending POWERADE FAB 50 CHAMPS, boast the nation's No. 5 recruit in Kyle Anderson and have won 45 straight games, but St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley says the Friars are far from peaking.

"I hate to tell you this because I don't think you're going to believe this, but this is an absolute work in progress," Hurley said Monday after the Friars' impressive 60-48 win against Miller Grove (Ga.) at the Hoophall Classic. The Hall of Fame coach cited the Friars' effort against St. Benedict's Prep, a game in which they won by one point and "left there very confused offensively."

But with Anderson facilitating the team and a lockdown defense that's held opponents to 27.8 points per game (!), Hurley feels confident that his work in progress will evolve into another masterpiece season.

"This is as good a St. Anthony defensive team as I've had," Hurley said of his fourth-ranked POWERADE FAB 50 squad. "We follow the scouting report pretty good and we have real good length, so we don't give up a lot of easy stuff."

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City) 12-0 (1)
Friars ran their win streak to 45 games with an impressive win against Miller Grove (Ga.) at the HoopHall Classic. Next up: Life Center Academy.

2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone) 9-2 (2)
Knights remain perfect in the new year, downing North Hunterdon, Immaculata and Ridge this past week. Next up: Hillsborough on Friday.

3. St. Benedict's (Newark) 15-1 (3)
Gray Bees had their way with Upper Room Christian (N.Y.) and Patterson (Md.), pushing their win streak to five games and their scoring average to more than 100 points during this string. Tyler Ennis had 14 points and 10 assists in the win against Patterson. Next up: NIA Prep on Friday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey hoops rankings.

No. 1 St. Anthony looks to defend state title in New Jersey

October, 19, 2011
The good news for the rest of the Garden State is that the likes of Michael Gilchrist, Myles Mack Derrick Gordon and other stars from the St. Anthony and St. Patrick powerhouses aren't around to dominate the state and national scene anymore.

The bad news is that coach Bob Hurley and Kyle Anderson are back with plenty of help to defend St. Anthony's crown. Anderson, a UCLA commit who has lost just once in his prep career, headlines a Friars team filled with tough players like Jerome Frink and Jimmy Hall. This nucleus placed the Friars at No. 9 in the POWERADE FAB 50 preseason rankings.

With a new coach and standout underclassmen Dakari Johnson and Austin Colbert transferred, it could be a relatively off year for St. Patrick, leaving upstarts like St. Benedict's Prep and Gill St. Bernard to push ahead as a result.

Here are how the preseason state rankings shake out:

1. St. Anthony (Jersey City)
2. Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone)
3. St. Benedict's Prep (Jersey City)

Click here for the full POWERADE preseason New Jersey basketball rankings

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.
The October issue of ESPNHS magazine hits schools this week, and wouldn't you know that St. Benedict's Prep just took hold of the top spot in our latest POWERADE FAB 50 soccer rankings. Needless to say, the Gray Bees were represented well on this year's All-State soccer team. See who else made the cut in the Garden State:

New Jersey All-State Soccer

Starting 11
[F] Brandon Allen, St. Joseph (Met.), Senior, Red Bulls Academy
Georgetown commit racked up 30 goals and four assists last season

[F] Ismar Tandir, Hackettstown, Junior, Match Fit Chelsea
Recorded 10 goals and two assists in breakout sophomore season

[F] Scott Thomsen, Christian Brothers, Senior, Red Bulls Academy
Expected to have big senior year after missing 2010 with knee injury

[MF] Mael Corboz, Pingry, Senior, NJSA 04
Rutgers pledge had four goals and 14 assists as a junior

Read More »

St. Benedict's Prep soccer takes over nation's top spot

September, 27, 2011
With Jesuit (Calif.) boasting a 67-game win streak, it seemed as if St. Benedict's Prep would be stuck at No. 2 in the national rankings all season. But a not-so lucky draw for Jesuit and dominant play by the Gray Bees has allowed them to inherit the top spot in the latest POWERADE FAB 50.

Want to know how good the nation's new No. 1 squad is? Look no further than this stat: In 10 games, the Gray Bees have scored 47 goals and allowed only 20 shots on goal to their opponents.

In other soccer news around the state, Scotch Plains-Fanwood coach Tom Breznitsky notched his 600th career win last Tuesday. He's the fourth coach in the Garden State to reach this mark. Read more in this Star-Ledger report.

Also, check back here tomorrow to find out who made our annual All-State soccer team.

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.

Edward Cheserek goes the distance for St. Benedict’s

September, 27, 2011
It only took one meet for Edward Cheserek to make his mark on the 2011 cross country season. The St. Benedict's junior shattered the Garret Mountain course record by 22 seconds, blazing a time of 14:53 at this past Saturday's Passaic Coaches Invitational. What's more, Cheserek beat the field by a whopping 107 seconds!

But for all of Cheserek's accomplishments, his life journey may be his greatest feat.

We spoke with Cheserek in September for a story that appeared in the October issue of ESPNHS magazine.

Last year, Sandburg (Orland Park, Ill.) distance superstar Lukas Verzbicas accomplished just about everything a runner can in one year. He became the first to win both the Nike Cross Nationals and the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in the same year, broke the four-minute mark in the mile, won the Gatorade National Cross Country Runner of the Year award and was lauded as the next great young distance runner.

And yet, at the NXN meet in Portland, Ore., last December, a difference of only two seconds could have shifted the entire discussion.

That’s because St. Benedict’s harrier Edward Cheserek, a Kenyan-born distance phenom, was nipping on his heels the whole race before finishing a close second.

Now, in just his second year in the United States, the junior has a chance to do everything the Lithuanian-born Verzbicas did last season.

Read More »

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.

Cheserek tops Dyestat rankings

August, 29, 2011
Here's a shocker: Edward Cheserek is ranked No. 1 in the first DyeStat individual cross country rankings. The St. Benedict's Prep junior and Kenya native certainly earned, finishing first in the 5K at New Balance Outdoor Nationals and second at the NXN National meet. Here's what they had to say about the elite harrier:
No matter how you look at it, Cheserek earns the preseason #1. Coming over from Kenya as a soph, his XC season began with a Great American Independent Schools win and ended with an NXN runner-up finish behind Verzbicas. He backed it up in track, with a US#2 8:42.66 2M indoors, a #4 4:03.29 mile outdoors and he bookended NBON with his 5k triumph and winning DMR anchor. He’s the man to beat, no doubt.

New Jersey runners actually bookended the Top 25, as Piscataway's Tim Ball rounded out the list. See what Dyestat experts had to say about Ball and the rest of the top boys harriers by clicking here. And for the best girls XC runners, click 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.

New Jersey soccer preview

August, 25, 2011
Last, but certainly not least, we round out New Jersey's fall sports with soccer. And boy, is there a lot to talk about on the futbol scene.

Of course any conversation about soccer must start with St. Benedict's Prep, which has won a ridiculous 22 consecutive state titles. And get this — the Gray Bees could field one of their best teams ever this fall. All eleven, count 'em, 11 starters are slated to be Development Academy players, led by senior midfielder Christian Hernandez. Needless to say, the Gray Bees enter the season slotted second in the POWERADE FAB 50 rankings, with four other local teams joining them on the list.

Want more local soccer news? Our resident futbol expert Sheldon Shealer has got you covered with preseason rankings and an in-depth state preview, which highlights the top players as well as games to watch in New Jersey this year.

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.