Lyndhurst’s Guerriero signs with Monmouth on track scholarship

When Petey Guerriero decided to leave St. Mary’s of Rutherford three years ago and transfer to hometown school Lyndhurst to try a different way of life, he really had no idea how his athletic life would totally change.

“It’s definitely wild,” Guerriero said. “It’s amazing how everything worked out.”

Guerriero left St. Mary’s and thought that he was headed to Lyndhurst to play baseball and basketball.

“I hold myself to the highest of standards,” said Guerriero, the recent Lyndhurst High School graduate. “I pride myself at being a Division I athlete. It’s what I wanted.”

At the time, it was believed that the route to a scholarship was going to be on the baseball diamond. But Guerriero decided to join the track team at Lyndhurst as a sprinter and jumper, running the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as well as the long jump and triple jump.

It turned out to be a smart move, because Guerriero was a natural in track and field. He also had secured a financial aid package to attend Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and he was all set to go there.

However, as the high school season was winding down, the coaches at Monmouth University became very interested in Guerriero’s services.

“It was very emotional for me and my family,” Guerriero said. “I had all these ups and downs. I would much rather run for a Division I track program than a Division III school. I had all the schools thinking I was going to play football. Monmouth was the first school to show interest in me in track. I was very excited when they were interested.”

After the All Group II track championships in Northern Burlington three weeks ago, a meet where Guerriero finished third in both the 100 and 200 meter dashes, Guerriero had the scholarship offer he truly wanted.

It was a shame that he had to go back on the commitment he gave to Coastal Carolina, but there was no signed agreement in place.

So last week, Guerriero signed the national letter of intent to attend Monmouth.

And Guerriero will only have to worry about track at Monmouth. He won’t carry the additional burden of playing basketball and football like he did at Lyndhurst.

Guerriero said that he loved everything about Monmouth.

“I loved the coaches and loved the campus,” Guerriero said. “I was amazed how everything was. I’m definitely glad how it all worked out.”

Lyndhurst head track and field coach Tom Shoebridge was pleased how everything worked out in the process.

“When Petey came to me and said that he was reconsidering schools, I had to work and call some of the coaches I knew,” Shoebridge said. “But the coaches at Monmouth were very interested in Petey. They have first class athletes and have won a bunch of league titles in a row. It’s a very good program. They had a bunch of kids who advanced to the NCAAs (national championships). The last two weeks have been going back and forth. I know that Monmouth was looking at other athletes, but they wanted Petey.

Added Shoebridge, “It’s a good situation for Petey. The school is close to home. It’s a good school. It’s a great program. He’s going to be immediately a major part of their program. It’s a great fit for him. They know him as an athlete. I think he’s going to flourish there.”
Guerriero is already aiming high.

“For the next four years, I’m going to get a chance to shoot for Oregon (and the NCAAs),” Guerriero said. “That’s the first thing I thought about. I thought I had a chance to qualify for that for four years. I’m going to try my hardest to do that, now that I’ll be focusing on track. I don’t have to worry about football or basketball. This was it.”

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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”