Every year at this time, the Hudson Reporter newspaper chain publishes an edition that asks its writers to take a look into the future and see what might be in store for the coming year.
Hagueini predicts big things for local sports.
With that in mind, it’s only natural that the Reporter calls upon the services of the renowned and round prognosticator and soothsayer, the turban-wearing, wand-waving, crystal-ball gazing wonder, The Great Hagueini, to peer into the future and pull out what might happen in local sports for the calendar year of 2009.
Here’s what Hagueini has collected for the year to come.
As the crystal ball gains focus, Hagueini sees some major images in the final year of HCIAA basketball.
In the Coviello boys’ race, the image appears to have St. Peter’s Prep winning a second straight title, with sensational sophomores Keith Lumpkin and Myles Davis leading the way.
In the Coviello girls’ race, it appears to be Bayonne holding the trophy, with Lindia Fischer and Samantha Maggio blazing the trail for the Bees.
The final boys’ HCIAA Seglio campaign will see a dogfight, with St. Mary’s, Hoboken, and CREATE Charter all locking horns, but the image shows the Red Wings of Hoboken, with Eddie Canary and Mark Moorman holding the trophy.
The final girls’ HCIAA Seglio title will go to defending champ McNair Academic and their fine young head coach Annie Cossolini.
Lincoln’s boys will successfully defend their NJSIAA Group II state championship, thanks to the play of Duquan Pettiford and Tyquion Miller.
As for the schools outside the HCIAA, Secaucus’ girls will make another run at BCSL National and Group I state glory, thanks to the play of sensational sophomore Shannon Waters, who is looking more and more like the real deal.
And as for the Friars of St. Anthony, there will be no magical run come state playoff time. The Friars will reach the NJSIAA Parochial B North sectional title game, but will relinquish their state crown to St. Patrick of Elizabeth.
But Friar standout Dominic Cheek will head off to Villanova with First Team All-State accolades.
Baseball and softball
The images in the crystal ball remain very clear as the spring months arrive and the focus on the local sports scene goes outside.
In the final HCIAA Coviello baseball race ever, it’s only fitting that the school with the highest total of HCIAA baseball titles, namely Memorial, should win the last championship, giving legendary head coach Tony Ferrainolo his 15th HCIAA crown. Michael Kuzurian will once again pitch the Tigers to greatness.
The player to watch in the county will be Marist’s incredible junior catcher Eddie Sorondo, who will continue to draw raves and attentions from college and pro scouts alike.
In the final HCIAA Seglio baseball race, it looks as if Hoboken will get a fourth straight title as the Red Wings end the league with a string of dominance.
In the HCIAA Coviello softball race, look for North Bergen to snare the crown, with pitcher Carla Arismendi leading the way.
In the HCIAA Seglio, High Tech will once again rule, thanks to the pitching greatness of Erica Colon. The Lasercats will make another run at NJSIAA state glory, just like they did a year ago.
The Marauders of St. Peter’s Prep will maintain their perch as the dominant Hudson County program, thanks to the quarterback skills of Raphael Ortiz, the running of Savon Huggins, Corey Davis, and Sheldon Royster, and a dominant defense.
Even though the Marauders still don’t have a league to call home for the fall, the team will challenge for a league title in its first year in the new league.
Ferris’ Bryant Worts will break all kinds of tackle records while playing linebacker for the Bulldogs, and will earn major college attention in the process.
Hoboken grid standouts Isaac Holmes and Bernardo Nunez will both head to the University of Maryland in a package deal.
To keep its football program alive, St. Anthony lures Rob Stern away from Hudson Catholic and Stern leads the Friars to the NJSIAA state playoffs.
Jersey City’s Mike Rosario will be named the Big East Rookie of the Year after a sensational first year at Rutgers.
The same for Jersey City native Tyshawn Taylor, who will earn the Big 12 Rookie of the Year award at the University of Kansas.
Bayonne’s Joe Borowski will earn an invitation to spring training to join the bullpen of the New York Mets.
Hoboken’s Chris Lugo will continue his ascent in the Washington Nationals’ organization.
Jersey City native Ahmad Nivins will head from St. Joseph of Philly, where he has a brilliant senior year, to get an invite to an NBA training camp.
All in all, it will be another great year of local sports in Hudson County and one to watch.
How did Hagueini do?
A quick look at last year’s predictions and results
Last year, the Great Hagueini waved his magic wand and peered into the crystal ball and came up with some pearl-like predictions. Let’s take a closer look at how the Wide One did:
Anyway, it looks as if the Marist girls’ basketball team, with standout do-everything guard Cristina Centeno and powerful forward Ebony Thomas, will be the ones holding the HCIAA Coviello trophy come March.
BINGO! Centeno, who earned a scholarship to Siena College, and Thomas, who went on to become the Hudson Reporter Player of the Year, not only won the HCIAA title, but added the NJSIAA Non-Public B North state title as well.
Among the boys’ teams, Hagueini sees Lincoln, with standout forward Daquan Pettiford, winning top honors in the HCIAA Coviello for a second straight year.
WRONG! St. Peter’s Prep surprised everyone by going from the No. 8 seed to HCIAA champion, but Pettiford and Lincoln made history by winning the NJSIAA Group II state title.
In the HCIAA Seglio, the crystal ball sees CREATE Charter, with its standout Walik Albright, getting the school’s first-ever county title to go along with the state sectional title it won a year ago.
RIGHT AND WRONG AT THE SAME TIME! CREATE Charter and Albright did win the HCIAA Seglio title on the floor, but after it was revealed that the team used an ineligible player, the Crushers were stripped of their first-ever HCIAA crown.
But the real story in basketball will be the fabulous Friars of St. Anthony, who will once again be a major force come NJSIAA state playoff time. In fact, the Great Hagueini sees the deep and talented Friars steamrolling through the regular season, toppling St. Patrick’s of Elizabeth in the Parochial B North finals, ending the Celtics’ string of domination against the Friars, and winning the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions for the record 10th time.
The Friars will then secure the national record for state championships and will do so in undefeated fashion, returning the school on Seventh Street to its place of prominence with a national championship. Michael Rosario will once again earn All-State honors, as will Dominick Cheek.
The Friars will be the story of the year in local sports as they flirt with an undefeated season and another year to add to their incredible legacy and immortality.
BINGO, BANGO, BOINGO!!! Hagueini nailed this one on the head. The fabulous Friars did exactly as predicted, running the table undefeated and winning both the NJSIAA Parochial B and Tournament of Champions honors. Rosario was All-State, with the Villanova-bound Cheek earning Third Team All-State honors. Some predictions do come true.
In the baseball race, Hagueini sees a tightly contested HCIAA Coviello season once again, but the team to beat will be the team that won a year ago. Led by All-Area pitchers Sean McGrath and Robert “Hammer” Doughty, the Hawks of Hudson Catholic will make it a repeat in the county.
WRONG! Memorial won the HCIAA baseball title for the record 14th time under head coach Tony Ferrainolo.
In the HCIAA Seglio, look for Hoboken to make it a “three-peat,” thanks to the exploits of sensational hitter Nate Arocho and a host of talented newcomers.
CORRECT! The Red Wings did make it a three-peat, defeating St. Mary’s of Jersey City in the title game.
In softball, defending champion St. Dominic Academy looks like the prohibitive favorite in the HCIAA Coviello, with ace pitcher Carlie Tynan returning, but don’t rule out a run by Holy Family Academy, now that standout Grace Keller has fully recovered from last year’s ankle injury.
PARTIAL CREDIT. Holy Family Academy, led by Hoboken native Keller, did win the HCIAA Coviello crown for the final time, as the Falcons become a Seglio Division team in 2009.
In the Seglio, look for the two perennial rivals High Tech and Hoboken to knock heads once again, with Hoboken ace Raquel Roder and High Tech’s top hurler Erica Colon both returning. The two will be embroiled in some classic battles, but Hoboken will win the HCIAA Seglio crown this time around.
WRONG! Sure, the two rivals did embroil themselves in some epic battles, but High Tech won both the HCIAA Seglio title and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I title over Hoboken. High Tech went to the overall Group I title.
St. Peter’s Prep will once again dominate locally, with running back Nyshier Oliver becoming the next in a line of great Marauder running backs, earning All-State honors and a scholarship to Rutgers. It will be a ninth straight season with an HCIAA title for the Marauders of Grand and Warren.
But the real player to watch will be Savon Huggins, who will emerge as a budding superstar for the Marauders.
However, the Marauders make it back to the Meadowlands for another state showdown with Don Bosco Prep, but fall short once again.
ALMOST TOTALLY RIGHT! The Marauders did make it a record ninth straight HCIAA title, but Oliver, who took a scholarship offer to Notre Dame, earned All-State as a defensive back. Huggins did have a solid year in the backfield for the Marauders and they did lose to power Don Bosco Prep in the state playoffs, but in the semifinals this year and not the state finals in the Meadowlands.
The newly formed Union City High School dominates in the first year of HCIAA play, with the powerful coaching tandem of Angelo Avella an Ben Perez combining to take the Soaring Eagles to a county title in the first year.
WRONG! North Bergen was the dominant team in the HCIAA, winning their first league title since 1992. Avella and Perez were not the coaches of the Soaring Eagles, having both retired prior to the season.
Brandon McGowan of Jersey City earns a starting job full-time with the Chicago Bears.
WRONG! McGowan, battling injuries, has been fighting for playing time all season with the Bears.
Joe Borowski of Bayonne has another solid year with the Cleveland Indians, but the Indians fall short of repeating as division champs, surrendering the title to the Detroit Tigers, who win the World Series.
WRONG! Borowski struggled for the Indians, who later released him. The Indians also struggled, falling to recover after a slow start. Borowski is currently without a contract.
Chris Lugo of Hoboken earns a promotion to Class AA with the Washington Nationals’ organization.
CORRECT, SORT OF. Lugo did receive a promotion to a higher level of Class A ball and is still considered a prospect by the Nationals’ organization.
All in all, not a bad year for predictions from the Great Hagueini. – Jim Hague