TASTY TIDBITS Secaucus girls’ harriers shine at state sectionals

Hagueini returns with playoff prognostications

The Secaucus girls’ cross country team had a few harried days prior to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2 Group I meet last week at Greystone Park in Morris Plains.
Veteran head coach Stan Fryczynski had to do some masterful juggling with his team prior to the sectionals.
“My fourth, fifth and sixth place runners all had to be shut down,” Fryczynski said. “All they did was go to the trainer, get ice and rest. We had to make some tough decisions.”
So Fryczynski didn’t field entire teams at the North Hudson or the Hudson County Track Coaches Association meets, an idea that ate at Fryczynski because it was the first time in 31 years that Secaucus did not have a full girls’ team together for the county championships.
“I ended up feeling for the kids, but I put it in the hands of our athletic training staff,” Fryczynski said. “I thought we had a chance to medal [in the top five]. It was sad that we couldn’t run in the county, but I thought if we rested a week, waited another week, then maybe they could run in the state sectional.”
Sure enough, that’s what happened. Fryczynski’s bunch recovered in time to finish second as a team and to move on to the state Group I championships this week at Holmdel.
“I was thrilled for them,” Fryczynski said. “I’m not surprised at all. They ran hard all season prior to getting hurt. They ended up running a good race. They ended up feeling fine. The kids really performed. To say that we’re thrilled would be an understatement.”
Leading the way for the Patriots was Roshni Patel, who finished fifth overall in 20:55.25. Patel broke the school record for the Greystone Park course, which is considered to be one of the toughest in the state.
“Any time you run under 21 minutes there, it’s a quality time,” Fryczynski said. “She’s an All-County runner and Mehek is right there.”
Finishing second for the Patriots was Mehek Parikh, who was seventh in 21:12.27.
Patel and Parikh are best of friends and always run together.
“We call them the ‘Wonder Twins,’” Fryczynski said. “They are good kids who are always together. They’re as close as could be.”
Saumya Parikh was 21st overall in 24:41.27.
It marked the sixth straight year that Secaucus’ girls have qualified for the Group championships. Other Hudson County teams to move on include McNair Academic, which finished fifth in North 2, Group II for the first time and Memorial, which was fifth in North 1, Group IV.
Fahn Nasser was 14th to pace the Cougars’ quest for Holmdel, while Memorial was fifth in the toughest section in the state, the North 1, Group IV bracket.
For the Tigers, Jose de la Cruz was seventh overall and Rafael Hernandez was 10th in the section, making sure that the Tigers made the journey to Holmdel. Herrnandez has enjoyed a brilliant cross country campaign, capped by the county championship two weeks ago….
There were some spectacular football performances, but only one can be the Athlete of the Week.
Here are some other worthy candidates for the honor.
We all got to read the Nolan Burns story two weeks ago and how he became a standout running back for Snyder. Well, Burns had another breakthrough performance, rushing 24 times for 252 yards and three touchdowns in the win over Montclair Immaculate last week. What a remarkable story that young man is.
Former Athlete of the Week Johnathan Lewis of St. Peter’s Prep had a great day in the Marauders’ shootout win over Eastern Christian of Maryland. Lewis completed 17 of 21 passes for 325 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns among his 17 carries for 50 yards. A nice performance indeed…
Lewis’ top receiver, Boston College-bound K.J. Gray, had four receptions for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the Marauders’ 52-44 win. Imagine a Rich Hansen-coached defense giving up 44 points and winning?
In any case, without further ado, let’s give a return welcome to the Round Mound of the Ground, the old Wide One, complete with turban, magic wand and crystal ball, it’s the Great Hagueini, who will offer his prognostications on this week’s six first round games of the NJSIAA state playoffs. Just remember all you draft kings and fan duels out there, these picks are not to be used in any monetary exchange, unless it’s for a hot pastrami on rye and a black cherry soda with your Uncle Looie.
Montclair at Union City, North 1, Group V, Friday: This is a rematch of a game held back in Week 2, when the Soaring Eagles defeated the Mounties, 42-34, in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score. The Soaring Eagles are a little banged up, but should recover nicely to move on. Union City 35, Montclair 21.
Notre Dame of Trenton at St. Peter’s Prep, Non-Public Group 4, Friday: The Marauders are the defending champions in the section, but they are no way in any shape or form of last year’s state champs. Johnathan Lewis has played exceptionally well in recent weeks, but the defense has surrendered 40 or more points in three crucial independent games this season. Hagueini goes with the Marauders here _ but barely. St. Peter’s Prep 35, Notre Dame 34.
Roselle at Lincoln, Central Jersey Group II Saturday: The Lions are lucky to be in the new section, because the competition looks a lot easier. Frank Darby, Jason Harrison and the boys are not letting this one stop the state title train. Lincoln 28, Roselle 7.
Glen Ridge at Hoboken, North 2, Group I Friday: Can you imagine a suburban Essex County team actually coming to the Mile Square City and actually trying to win with everything that goes on with Friday Night Lights at JFK Stadium? The shock value is worth two touchdowns alone for the Red Wings, two words. Coach Lou Taglieri will have his team ready. Hoboken 28, Glen Ridge 7.
St. Mary’s (Rutherford) at Hudson Catholic, Non-Public Groups 1 & 2: The Hawks have had a sensational season, putting together a defensive unit that ranks among the best in the state, led by tackle machine linebacker Stephen Harper. Syheim Simmons and DeShawn Decker are two of the best offensive players around. They’ll make the difference. Hudson Catholic 35, St. Mary’s 13.
There you have it, the first of Hagueini. So what if he picked all Hudson teams this time? – Jim Hague

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

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