Prayers for Nagel; NB’s Rondon blazing courses Weehawken mourns a loss; Maietta back on the job

John Nagel is one of the truly good guys in Hudson County sports. You probably know him as the long-time athletic director and track coach at St. Dominic Academy. In fact, Nagel is currently celebrating the 30th anniversary of his first season as the cross country coach for the Blue Devils.

Nagel has also worked for the Jersey City Recreation Department for the past decade or so, organizing the department’s summer camp program as well as running the track and field events that take place at the refurbished Jersey City Armory.

But you also may know Nagel for his work as a public address announcer at local sporting events. He’s the voice of Hudson Catholic football and St. Anthony basketball and all of Bayonne High’s sporting events.

Nagel is also a dutiful member of the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame, an organization which he has already been inducted into as a member.

Right now, John is in a little bit of a battle outside the world of sports. He recently underwent a few surgeries as he takes on perhaps his biggest challenge – namely colon cancer. He’s still in Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital in New York, but he’s determined to make it back to the local sports scene, fully recovered.

On a personal side, John has been a long-time friend, going back to our days together at the now-defunct St. Paul’s of Greenville, a great athletic school in its heyday, where John and several other local coaches, including St. Anthony’s Bob Hurley, Marist’s Bill DeFazio and his wife, Alice, who is the athletic director at New Jersey City University, and Cathy Meyers O’Callahan, the girls’ basketball coach at St. Anthony, all got their start.

No one should ever be faced with battling cancer. It’s a disgusting, hideous, unwavering and uncaring disease that has taken far too many good people over the years, people who I loved and cared for.

Here’s to hoping and praying that John Nagel makes a complete recovery. Here’s to hoping that he’s back coaching his Blue Devils very soon and he’s back doing what he does, which is care about others…

Speaking of cross country, has anyone noticed the brilliant season that North Bergen senior Danny Rondon is having?

Rondon has been nothing short of brilliant in the early stages of the season, finishing second at the Passaic County Invitational two weeks ago and taking seventh at the very competitive and tough Shore Coaches Invitational at Holmdel Park last Saturday.

Rondon was second at Garret Mountain in West Paterson in a fantastic time of 16:05, trailing only Taro Shigenobu of Ridgewood.

At Holmdel Park, in perhaps the deepest race there, Rondon ran a 16:32, which is an excellent time, considering the race and the conditions there. It’s shaping up to be a very nice season for Rondon.

Speaking of North Bergen, it’s good to see that athletic director Jerry Maietta has cleared up his legal woes and was able to return to work. Maietta was arrested in the spring and hit with several gambling charges and promotion of gambling, but he decided to enter pre-trial intervention and will be exonerated in a year if he remains clear of any wrong doing….

Condolences to the family of former Weehawken basketball legend Danny Gabbianelli, who died last week at the age of 85. Gabbianelli was a charter member of the Weehawken Hall of Fame when that organization started in 1994, after leading the Indians to a state title in 1940, then later playing at Georgetown. He was inducted into the Hudson County Hall of Fame in 2002 and was able to enjoy that evening. He was a pleasurable man who had many stories to tell about his playing days and he will be sorely missed… — Jim Hague

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