Kearny Kids’ Kamp draws crowd of baseball-loving youngsters

Photo by Jim Hague
The campers and counselors get together for a group picture at the fourth annual Kearny Kids’ Kamp, run and organized
by Kearny High School head coach Frank Bifulco (second row, far right).

Although he’s far from actually grabbing a baseball and heading to the pitcher’s mound to throw in a Little League game, Michael Jarquin now feels like he’s more than ready. Little Michael, age 7, was excited after participating in the fourth annual Kearny Kids’ Kamp recently, a week-long baseball learning… Continue Reading

Kearny wins Lyndhurst Junior League baseball crown

Photo courtesy Dan Watson
The 8-year-old Kearny All-Stars celebrate after winning the Lyndhurst Junior
Baseball League Tournament championship last week by defeating Hoboken,
4-3, in the title game, capturing “The Tournament” for the first time ever.

For the last quarter century – 26 years to be precise – Lyndhurst has hosted a fantastic baseball tournament strictly for 8-year-old All-Star teams. The double-elimination baseball bonanza features an amazing 16 teams from four different northern New Jersey counties. The tourney is spread out over three full weeks at the Lyndhurst… Continue Reading

Belleville’s Gencarelli named Observer Male Athlete of the Year

Photo by Jim Hague
P.J. Gencarelli of Belleville High School is the recipient of the 2014-2015
Observer Male Athlete of the Year, receiving his award from Observer general
manager Robert Pezzolla. From l. are Belleville athletic director Tom D’Elia, Belleville
volleyball coach John Spina, Pezzolla, Gencarelli and Gencarelli’s parents,
Kelly and Pat.

Soccer, volleyball standout becomes first Buccaneer recipient The first sport that entered P.J. Gencarelli’s life was soccer. “I started when I was about seven or eight,” said the recent Belleville High School graduate. “When I was little, my Dad (Pat) always pushed me to play soccer. After… Continue Reading

Something new: Boys’ basketball camp in NA

Photo by Jim Hague
The initial group of the North Arlington basketball camp gathered for a group picture last week, under the guidance of
high school head coach Rich Corsetto (far r.).

When it comes to learning about the sport of basketball, there’s always room for growth, always room for improvement and always room for something new. Other towns in the area have offered summer basketball camps for youngsters, but unfortunately, for some reason, North Arlington was always on the outside looking in. In the past,… Continue Reading

Lyndhurst’s Failace signs letter to attend Sacred Heart

Photo by Jim Hague
Lyndhurst’s Jessica Failace (seated) signed her national letter of intent to
attend Sacred Heart University in the fall. With Failace, standing from l., are
Lyndhurst soccer and girls’ track coach Kim Hykey, athletic director Jeff Radigan,
Dawn Failace (Jessica’s mother), Mike Failace (Jessica’s father) and Michael
Failace (Jessica’s brother).

Becomes school’s first-ever Division I track athlete It’s a day that Jessica Failace could only dream of happening, but never thought it could actually become reality. But here was Failace, signing a national letter of intent to attend NCAA Division I Sacred Heart in Connecticut on a track… Continue Reading

Nutley’s Anderson named Observer Female Athlete of the Year

Photo courtesy Jim Hague
Nutley’s Carly Anderson (c.) receives her 2014-2015 Observer Female Athlete of the Year award from sports writer Jim
Hague in front of Nutley High School. From l., are Nutley athletic director Joe Piro, Carly’s parents, Harry and Christy Anderson,
Anderson, Hague, head softball coach Luann Zullo and head girls’ basketball coach Larry Mitschow.

Basketball, softball star becomes 3rd Maroon Raider recipient Carly Anderson was asked how she wanted to be remembered as a two-sport athlete at Nutley High School. “I never tried to show myself over everyone,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t a show-off. I kept everything within myself. Everything I did… Continue Reading

Lyndhurst legend Longo dies at 73

Photos courtesy
George Schifano
The late
Tom Longo is
shown in a jumping
and passing photo
from his days at
Notre Dame.

Dick Vitale, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announcer, perhaps summed up the passing of his friend Tom Longo the best. “Tom Longo is a genuine solid gold Hall of Fame father, grandfather and friend and the best athlete to ever come out of Lyndhurst High School,” Vitale said after the passing… Continue Reading

Kearny’s Yuknalis aiming for national Top Gun at grid competition

Photo by Jim Hague
Kearny resident William Yuknalis, a rising senior at Marist High School in Bayonne,
has received an invitation to participate in Football University’s Top Gun
camp in Dublin, Ohio, later this month.

When William Yuknalis first played for the Kearny Generals youth football program, he longed to get the chance to make tackles. “I just loved playing defensive tackle,” Yuknalis said. “I loved the contact.” After spending less than a month at Kearny High School, Yuknalis transferred to Marist in Bayonne, where his… Continue Reading

Shop Rite wins Kearny Little League World Series

Photo courtesy Mike Landy
ShopRite won the Kearny Little League World Series championship last week for the first time. Front row, from l., are
Adam Juchnik, Donavyn Eakins, Jonathan Crist, Gabe Koby, Michael Bernhardt and Nick Rodriguez. Middle row, from l., are
Jake Landy, Connor MacConchie, Andre Vignier, Chris Serrano and Andrew Fernandez. Back row, from l., are coach Chris
Juchnik, coach Keith Koby, Haven Ortiz and head coach Mike Landy.

There was a time in his life when Mike Landy was a successful high school football and baseball coach at Harrison High School. But Landy, the long-time Harrison administrator and current Kearny councilman, stepped away from coaching high school sports a decade ago to focus on his other duties – being… Continue Reading

Long-time friends Malanga, Nisivoccia reunite at All-Star Classic

Photos by Jim Hague
From l., childhood
friends Frank Malanga
of Nutley and
Nutley native Vincent
Nisivoccia of Seton Hall
Prep were reunited
as teammates for the
North squad in the 37th
annual Phil Simms New
Jersey North-South
All-Star Football Classic.

UNION –  Frank Malanga and Vincent Nisivoccia are longtime friends, going back to their middle school days in Nutley. They also played youth football together and were extremely close. “Our mothers are best friends,” Nisivoccia said. “We definitely grew up together.” But when it came time to go to high school,… Continue Reading

Kids in North Arlington learn fundamentals of baseball

Photo by Jim Hague
The first-ever North Arlington Vikings Baseball Camp was a rousing success as
evidenced by the attitude and enthusiasm of the campers shown here with
camp director and North Arlington head coach Paul Marcantuono (back row,
c.) and some of his players.

For several years, youngsters in North Arlington never had a chance to enhance their baseball skills. So when their respective Little League seasons were over, the bats and balls went into the closet until the next spring. However, that wasn’t the case this year, when North Arlington High School… Continue Reading

Glover Jr., son of grid legend, gets chance to move Blue Tide forward

Photo by Jim Hague
New Harrison head football coach Rich Glover Jr. (c.) leads his new team through a blocking drill during a workout last

HARRISON –  Rich Glover Jr. is too young to remember the incredible athletic exploits of his legendary father. At age 32, the younger Glover can only read about his father, the College Football Hall of Famer, the 1972 Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top lineman out of the… Continue Reading

Atlantic Sun shines bright on NJIT

Photo by Jim Hague
From left, former New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey, men’s basketball head
coach Jim Engles, athletic director Lenny Kaplan, Atlantic Sun commissioner
Ted Gumbart, school president Joel Bloom, State Sen. Paul Sarlo and Newark
Mayor Ras Baraka all celebrate NJIT’s entrance into the Atlantic Sun Conference,
ending the school’s stint as the lone NCAA Division I independent.

NEWARK –  Ever since he took over the job as the head men’s basketball coach at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Jim Engles would always hear one question when he approached possible recruits. “A lot of the kids I recruited always asked me first, ‘What conference are you in?’” Engles… Continue Reading

Local grid stars have one last game to remember

Photo by Jim Hague
From l., Dominic Reo of North Arlington, Giuseppe Gugliuzza of North Arlington, Kearny resident
Kevin Woupes of St. Mary’s of Rutherford, fellow Kearny resident Keon Banks, also of St. Mary’s
and Peter Urgola of Lyndhurst were all teammates on the South All-Stars at the annual Bergen
County Senior All-Star Football Classic last Friday night, a game won by the South, 21-10.

Strange twist of fate reunites Banks, Urgola OAKLAND –  Kearny native Keon Banks and Lyndhurst’s Peter Urgola had a fateful encounter on the football field when both were freshmen at their respective schools – Banks at St. Mary’s of Rutherford and Urgola at Lyndhurst. “Keon broke my nose,” Urgola said. “I… Continue Reading

Locals shine in East’s big win in annual Robeson Classic

Photo by Jim Hague
From l., Michael Ramirez of Belleville, Nick Restaino of Bloomfield, Victor Olapinsin of Bloomfield, Kevin Davis of Nutley
and Peter Russo of Nutley were all on the winning East All-Star squad, who defeated the West, 28-8, in the 22nd annual
Paul Robeson All-Star Football Classic at Robeson Stadium in East Orange last Tuesday.

EAST ORANGE – Michael Ramirez played wide receiver and defensive end on a Belleville High School football team that posted a 2-8 record last fall. Let’s face facts. There aren’t many All-Stars that are selected from teams that finish with such a poor record, especially in the rough-and-tumble world of… Continue Reading

Former Kearny grid coach Edwards now QP baseball coach

Photo by Jim Hague
North Arlington resident Nick Edwards, the former head football coach at
Kearny, has been appointed as the new head baseball coach at Queen of

Nick Edwards just couldn’t stay away from coaching that long. Just three months after he resigned as the head football coach at Kearny High School, the 39-year-old Edwards has signed on to become the new head baseball coach at Queen of Peace. The North Arlington resident grew up literally right across the street… Continue Reading

Nutley bowler Lentini tackling biggest foe: leukemia

Photo by Jim Hague
Nutley resident Francesca Lentini is not about to let a bout with leukemia
get her down. She is currently in remission and competed in the Valerie Fund
Walk to help raise money last Saturday.

Francesca Lentini is a vibrant, alive, energetic freshman at Nutley High School. Lentini is a member of the Nutley girls’ bowling team that won the Essex County Tournament championship this past season. At one time in her life, Lentini also played softball and thought about trying out for the volleyball… Continue Reading