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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Recognize New Jersey

ESPN RISE Magazine

Baseball - Seton Hall Prep

If Seton Hall Prep doesn't win a state championship this season, it won't be for a lack of experience. The Pirates consistently pump out elite teams, and last year they were oh-so-close to winning it all  only a tight, 3-2 loss to powerhouse Don Bosco Prep in the North Jersey finals kept them from going all the way (a Pirates runner was thrown out at home to end the game). "We were close," says coach Mike Sheppard Jr. "And that's going to help us in the long run, I think." So Sheppard doesn't have to worry about experience, but what about the talent level? Another nonissue, as Seton Hall Prep sports a pair of ESPN RISE All-Area first teamers in Nick Ammirati and Sean O'Hare. Ammirati is one of the best two-way catchers in the state, and O'Hare provides rare pop from his shortstop position. With those two seniors anchoring the lineup and seniors John Muha and Chris Weber setting the table, Seton Hall Prep can score runs without a problem. "The pitching has to step up," says Sheppard. "We need someone to come up big and give us good, winning [performances] every time out there." Sheppard believes the mound depth is there. If the Pirates' pitching is up to the task, they won't come close this year  they'll be champions.

Girls' Track - Montclair Immaculate

Dominique Booker won the 55 at the indoor Meet of Champions, running the fastest time in the country. The junior blazed a 6.92 on Feb. 20, setting an M of C record and putting her name on the short list of the nation's best sprinters. Booker finished third in the 100 and the 200 at the outdoor championships last year and could be geared to win it this time around. Montclair Immaculate should also receive a strong season from senior Shantal Athill, one of the state's best long jumpers.

Boys' Lacrosse - Mountain Lakes

After taking the Tournament of Champions crown last season, the Lakers are once again the team to beat, thanks to the unmatched superstar duo of Chase Winter and Jake Tripucka. The Mountain Lakes attack is virtually unstoppable when the senior midfielders have it working. Tripucka and Winter are equally adept in the transition game or executing their set offense. Winter has signed with Johns Hopkins, while Tripucka will attend Duke next year.

Girls' Swimming - West Windsor-Plainsboro South

West Windsor-Plainsboro South made it to the Public A state finals in each of the past two years, only to go home disappointed at the hands of Westfield. Things were different this season, however, as the teams met in the championship round again and the Pirates came away victorious by a score of 90-80. WW-Plainsboro South's 400 free relay crew of Brynja Winnan, Amanda Grant, Rebecca Lewinson and Meredith Ketchmark clinched the title by winning the final event.


BOYS' FENCING  RIDGE Fourth-seeded Red Devils upset No. 1 Voorhees and went on to reach the state finals. GIRLS' LACROSSE  NORTHERN HIGHLANDS Senior attack Evan O'Neill powers the Highlanders. BASEBALL  MARIST Senior pitcher Fabian Roman and junior catcher Eduardo Sorondo form a great battery. SOFTBALL  RARITAN New coach Aado Kommendant has a career record of 170-32-1.