TASTY TIDBITS Union City’s cross country success

Power point update; football musings; soccer tourney update; Top Fives

Last fall, the Union City High School girls’ cross country team made news when the Soaring Eagles captured the first Hudson County championship in school’s history.
Now, it appears as if the boys’ team wants to try to keep up with the girls’ squad.
Both the Soaring Eagles boys’ and girls’ teams won their respective team championships at the recent Brett Taylor Invitational meet at Darlington Park in Mahwah, making it a clean sweep for the Soaring Eagles.
Soaring Eagles boys’ head coach Carlos Sosa was pleased with his team’s efforts.
“To be honest, a lot of these kids have been working together and put in a lot of work in the summer months,” Sosa said. “I think one of the motivating factors the boys had was looking at what the girls did last year. That gave them a boost of motivation to work harder.”
At the Brett Taylor meet, all five of the Soaring Eagle runners posted personal record times.
“I couldn’t believe that all five ran their PRs on the same day,” Sosa said. “For the most part, these kids train on their own and push themselves. I think they wanted to come out and see where they stood. They have been building the chemistry you need to have a good team. They’ve been leaning on each other and learning from each other. It’s been great to watch.”
Junior Joan Martinez, who is the runner with the most experience, finished 21st overall at Brett Taylor.
“He has tremendous work ethic, so that’s why he’s one of our captains,” Sosa said of Martinez. “He’s a program kid who would do anything to help the team.”
Junior Raul Mendez never ran cross country before this fall.
“He came out last winter and spring, but this is his first cross country season,” Sosa said of Mendez. “I believed that he had potential in cross country. He showed a lot of character. His biggest problem was being able to learn how to maintain a proper pace. But he’s doing that now.”
Mendez finished ninth in 17:30.
Senior Xavier Cruz was next in line for Union City, finishing 12th overall.
“He’s another first-year runner,” Sosa said of Cruz, who crossed the line in 17:37. “He’s been improving every race. For the first time running varsity, it’s very impressive. I think he’s out there to prove something.”
Junior Tommy Villarroel finished right after teammate Cruz did, coming home in 17:38 and 13th place.
“He was actually a soccer player, but he liked track so much that he decided to stick with running,” Sosa said. “He’s very consistent.”
Senior Alan Guerrero was next for the Soaring Eagles, finishing 20th in 17:54.
“He’s a swimmer as well, so I think the swimming has helped him as a runner,” Sosa said. “His hard work has carried over.”
Needless to say, Sosa is excited about the championship season that is coming in the next few weeks.
“We’re all very excited about our chances,” Sosa said. “We’re in the hunt for championships this year. The kids are trusting each other and running together as a pack. That helps.”
North Bergen senior Ramses Leon actually won the race, crossing the line in an impressive 16:46, but the team portion belonged to the Soaring Eagles.
It’s the same with the Union City girls, who are trying to reach the same heights this season as they did a year ago.
“Last year was really unbelievable,” said head coach Scott Emmerling. “But they’re doing great things again this year.”
The Soaring Eagles, who were without senior Darlene Garcia at the Brett Taylor race, were led by senior Allison Guajala, who finished second overall in 20:51. Her previous best time at that course was 22:20, so Guajala showed remarkable improvement.
Sophomore Hailee Scarafile was next for the Soaring Eagles, coming in third in 21:17. Senior Ashley Bustamante was fourth in 21:41, with junior Cristina Cazares (10th, 22:36), the starting point guard on the Soaring Eagles’ basketball team, sophomore Emily Garcia (11th in 23:00) and sophomore Jeanne Echeverria (12th in 23:10) also running strong.
“As long as they each get a little faster each time,” Emmerling said. “This Brett Taylor race gave us a different look than other courses. We’re very confident heading into the Hudson County meets. We’ll see how we do. We’re happy with our deep class of sophomores, so the future looks very bright.”
As long as the Soaring Eagles girls’ team can motivate the boys, then all is good in the world…
In the New Jersey Interscholastic Conference championships held last week, Secaucus senior Merek Parikh was second overall in the Meadowlands Division race in 21:48 and her little sister sophomore Saumya was 11th overall in 24:54. On the boys’ side, Daniel Pokras was 15th overall. And Weehawken competed in the meet for the very first time…
On the football side, two Hudson County running backs eclipsed 150 yards last week, both scored three touchdowns and both have similar first names.
Bayonne’s Marquise Manning had 190 yards on eight carries and three touchdowns, while Hoboken’s Marquis Roberts had 170 yards on 14 carries and three scores. Only difference between the two is that Manning has an extra “e” in his first name…
Hudson Catholic continued its shutout streak. The Hawks ran their streak of consecutive shutouts to five by blanking Snyder, 49-0, last weekend. It’s astounding that any team could start a season with five wins and not allowing a single point. The Hawks could legitimately make it six straight whitewashings with a win this weekend over Ferris…
The Hawks currently sit in fourth place in the NJSIAA Non-Public Groups 1&2 playoff standings with 53 power points, behind front-running Montclair Kimberley, Immaculata and St. Joseph’s of Hammonton. The Hawks would prefer to avoid any or all of those teams as first-round opponents and would love to have a home playoff game.
Union City is currently sitting in third place in North Jersey Section 1, Group V, behind Ridgewood and Passaic County Tech. North Bergen is in 12th place in the bracket and in serious danger of not qualifying for the state playoffs this season.
In North 2, Group I, Hoboken is third and Weehawken seventh. If both secure two more wins over the next three weeks, then they are in and could very well face each other in the first round. Stay tuned.
In North 2, Group III, Snyder is currently in 11th place, but the Tigers will need some major help in the next three weeks to get a bid.
In Central Jersey Group II, Lincoln is sitting pretty in fourth place with 48 power points, trailing front-runner Delaware Valley, runner-up Point Pleasant Borough and third place Raritan.
In Non-Public Group 4, St. Peter’s Prep is eighth, but top to bottom is only separated by 20 points with three weeks left, so anything is possible…
The Hudson County soccer tournament boys’ semifinals are set, with Union City and St. Peter’s Prep playing each other representing this side of the Hackensack River and Kearny facing Harrison in the other semifinal for the western side of the Hackensack…
There’s a very interesting video presentation online done by NBA Slam about the Friars of St. Anthony, a five-part video presentation online at http://www.slamonline.com/media/slam-tv. Take a look. It’s very well done…
Rutgers-Newark will be running a two-day basketball clinic for boys and girls ages 6-to-17 years old at the Golden Dome Athletic Facility in Newark. It will be held on Nov. 5 and Nov. 6, the days that the public schools are closed for the teacher’s convention. For more information, contact coach Joe Loughran at (973) 353-1483 or email at Loughran@rutgers.edu…
Hudson Reporter High School Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (3-2). 2. Lincoln (5-0). 3. Union City (3-2). 4. Hudson Catholic (5-0). 5. Hoboken (4-1)…
Hudson Reporter High School Soccer Top Five: 1. Union City (13-1). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (10-3). 3. Dickinson (9-4). 4. North Bergen (8-7). 5. Memorial (5-8). – Jim Hague

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

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