Kearny’s Aquino named Observer Female Athlete of Year


Photo by Jim Hague Kearny High School’s Janitza Aquino (with plaque) accepts the 2010-2011 Observer Female Athlete of the Year Award from Observer general manager Robert Pezzolla. With Janitza is her mother, Maggie Aquino. Also pictured (from l., in back) are: Kearny athletic director John Millar, girls’ basketball coach Jody Hill, Kearny Principal Dr. Cynthia Baumgartner, girls’ soccer coach Vin Almeida, and softball coach Jim Pickel.

Three-sport standout destined for greatness since young age

By Jim Hague

Being the middle child – and the only girl – in a family of five, Janitza Aquino really had no choice other than to become a standout athlete.
Aquino had two older brothers, Izzy and Gabriel, in front of her, and two younger brothers, Uri and Ezequiel, behind her. If she wanted to be a part of the family fun, Aquino simply had to join in and play sports with her brothers.
“Growing up with all boys, I had to play sports,” Aquino said. “It’s basically all I did.”
When she was 6 years old, Aquino was first introduced to organized sports through soccer. She joined Kearny Recreation soccer and later moved up to the renowned Thistle program.
“Soccer was the first sport for me,” Aquino said. “Everyone my age played soccer in Kearny. I was always with the ball and always wanted to be active.”
Aquino tried T-ball when she was 5, but it was with the boys, so she decided to stick with soccer.

To read the full story, see this week’s issue of The Observer.



Learn more about the writer ...