TASTY TIDBITS 11-20-2011 Locals Kendall, Ratigan, Ortiz head to Meet of ChampionsHagueini makes state playoff semifinal picks

The NJSIAA cross country Meet of Champions will take place this weekend and there will be local representation. Snyder’s Kali Kendall will run in the girls’ race and McNair Academic’s Kevin Ratigan and Omar Lopez will participate in the boys’ race, with both races slated for Holmdel Park in Holmdel.
Kendall earned her spot in the M of C by finishing 10th in the overall Group II championships, crossing the line in an impressive 19:31. With that finish, Kendall becomes the first female athlete from Snyder to ever compete in the cross country M of C and only the second Snyder athlete ever, joining former Tiger great Isidro Pimentel more than a decade ago.
“It’s great to know,” Kendall said after she was told that she was the first Snyder girl to ever qualify. “It’s great for Jersey City and it’s awesome for my school.”
Kendall said that she had a tough start, due to the slippery conditions at Holmdel.
“I had a tough time keeping my footing, because I knew that if I fell, I would have been in trouble,” Kendall said. “But I kept a cool head about me and kept going. I maintained control throughout. My goal was to break 20 [minutes] and I was happy with that. It is very impressive that I get a chance to come back [to the Meet of Champions]. I actually enjoy this course.”
Kendall broke onto the scene last spring, when she came out of nowhere as a transfer from New York and became the first Snyder girl to ever claim an overall Group state championship in track and field, winning the gold medal in the NJSIAA Group II 800-meter run last June.
Now, she’s creating more history – and she’s only a junior.
“I love cross country and I’m learning to enjoy it even more now,” Kendall said. “For me, this is a really big honor, representing the whole school, the city, and the county.”
Kendall won the Hudson County Track Coaches Association championship in the snow in late October.
“It’s been a big difference for me, running cross country,” Kendall said. “But I’m really getting to enjoy it.”
Ratigan, the boys’ county champion, finished third overall in Group I with a time of 17:06, with Lopez finishing fifth in 17:13. While the Cougars just missed qualifying as a entire team, placing fourth overall, the McNair banner will be carried proudly by the school’s two athletes who will compete in the boys’ M of C….
Not going to make a mountain out of a molehill, but what were the county’s elected officials and the Hudson County Schools of Technology leaders thinking when they approved an $850,000 upgrade to the gymnasium at High Tech in North Bergen?
There are no athletic programs at the school anymore, so why spend money to fix a gym? Strictly for gym class? Maybe to rent out the facility?
And here’s the other rub. If there was a way to find $850,000 to fix a gym, then wasn’t there a way to find only $300,000 to keep the athletic programs operational in the first place? In this corner, it all seems to be totally hypocritical….
Another local boxing card, the one that was supposed to feature local hero Danny McDermott at Schuetzen Park last week, was cancelled due to an “unforeseen injury” to one of the fighters on the card.
It’s about the sixth boxing card in northern New Jersey that has been cancelled this year alone. And these fight experts wonder why the sport is dying? Here’s a hint to the promoters, trainers and what have you: Let’s not promote something as happening until you’re damn sure it’s going to happen, because frankly, it makes everyone involved look real bad…
The Great Hagueini went 4-1 with his playoff picks last week, misfiring only on the Hoboken-Weequahic result. Hagueini even picked North Bergen to win 21-14 and the final score was 20-14. Not bad.
So without any further ado, let’s go to Round 2 of the old wide one’s selections. Remember, it’s not to be used for any wagering, unless it’s for a tuna melt and a birch beer with your Uncle Looie.
North Bergen at Union City, North 1, Group IV
: The two teams met on Halloween weekend ant the Soaring Eagles came away with the two-point win, 14-12. This time, it’s for a trip to the state finals in the Meadowlands. Hagueini likes the karma coming from Coach Vince Ascolese’s last stand. North Bergen 14, Union City 7.
St. Peter’s Prep at Bergen Catholic, Non-Public Group 4: These two teams also met in the regular season, also on the same night that Union City and North Bergen met the first time (Friday, Oct. 28), with the Marauders coming up on the short side of a 27-18 decision. In fact, amazingly, the Crusaders have not played a game since. Bergen Catholic has too much firepower for the Marauders to contend with. Bergen Catholic 35, St. Peter’s Prep 14.
There you have it. They’re not selections that are going to please fans of the Soaring Eagles or make the Marauders happy, but you can’t please everyone even some of the time, especially when the turban, wand, and crystal ball are out…—Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.

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