It’s hard not to describe what the Lyndhurst High School track and field has accomplished other than using one word.
And it has nothing to do with Joan Collins and Linda Evans.
There’s a legitimate dynasty going on at Lyndhurst with their two track teams.
The girls’ team just captured their fourth straight NJIC-Liberty Division championship, winning by more than 100 points. The Golden Bears collected 229 points at last week’s meet at Emerson Borough High School. The closest competitor was New Milford, which had 97. That’s just incredible.
If that’s incredible, try this one on for size.
The Lyndhurst boys’ team just won their seventh straight divisional title, almost winning by 100 points. The Golden Bears had 182 points compared to runner-up Secaucus’ 86 points.
It’s complete domination year after year. That’s what dynasties are made of. The New England Patriots are a dynasty in football and any team that LeBron James plays for has to be considered a dynasty.
And that’s what Lyndhurst track is _ a pure dynasty.
The creator and mentor of this dynasty is long-time Lyndhurst coach Tom Shoebridge, who has turned this program into a well oiled machine.
“We have an amazing coaching staff,” Shoebridge said. “They really work hard with the kids and get three kids for every event. When one kid graduates, we have the next group ready to step up and contribute.”
Shoebridge said that being able to send his younger kids to freshman, junior varsity and novice races helps tremendously.
“We’re able to send those younger kids to the freshmen and novice meets so they gain experience,” Shoebridge said. “We have a motto that we live by. It’s pride and tradition never graduates. It’s true. Our younger kids understand that it’s going to be their turn very soon. We’re fortunate that we have good kids who work hard. They realize that if they work hard at it, they will improve and they will get a chance to be successful. We’ve been very lucky.”
One of those graduation situations involves the Golden Bears’ sprinters on the boys’ team.
A year ago, they had the wonderful Petey Guerriero taking care of their sprints, the do-everything Observer Male Athlete of the Year who dominated the track like no other Lyndhurst runner.
In comes Kevin Santos, fresh off a solid football season, being asked to do the things that Guerriero did.
“Petey was one hell of an athlete,” Santos said. “I wasn’t looking to be the next Petey. I don’t want to follow in his footsteps. I want to create my own path.”
There were a slew of injuries to the Golden Bears’ sprinters.
“We had kids with sore hamstrings and a groin pull,” Shoebridge said. “But we had other kids who stepped up and made things happen.”
And much like Guerriero before him, Santos went out and won both the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
“I’m creating my own,” said Santos, a senior. “I want to create my own legacy. How I do is how I want to be remembered. We’re a team. When we win, it’s all of us. We actually tied school history, which is pretty nice. I had no idea if the team could win. But we weren’t going to let any injury stop us.”
Speaking of Guerriero, he won both the 100 and 200-meter dash championships for Monmouth University in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference meet on Sunday. So Petey pushes onward, a proud product of the Lyndhurst program.
Matt Schnoll, another football standout, won the discus and the shot put with personal best throws of 48 feet in the shot and 126 feet with the discus.
“Kevin Santos was amazing for us,” Shoebridge said. “At the beginning of the year, he was our third best in the 100 and 200. Now, he wins the league in personal best time. It’s amazing for this kid to step up like that. Matt Schnoll is another.”
Xavier Locke won the 1,600-meter run. Andrew Ellis and Matthew Accordio both finished among the top three in their respective distance races. Teslim Olunlade won the triple jump. Jordan De Abreu led a contingency that finished 2-3-4 in the pole vault. Jared Gabriel was second in the high jump and second in the triple jump.
On the girls’ side, soccer star Giulia Pezzolla had a field day, winning the 800 and 1,600-meter runs, placing second in the long jump and taking third in the high jump.
“I just work hard to be successful,” Pezzolla said. “For us to win this again is crazy. Most teams don’t work as hard as we do or have coaches that push them like our coaches. It’s amazing to be in this position. I didn’t expect anything like this.”
Alyssa Robalino was first in the high jump, second in the triple jump, second in the 100-meter dash and sold hot dogs in the infield. Well, the first three are true.
“I feel like we have a strong family bond,” Robalino said. “We have a close get-together bond. Of course, we work hard, so the better we get, the more people will want to get in. It’s all about hard work. I’ve done a lot of things to get ready for these big meets. It pays off when we do our best like this meet.”
Caitlyn Blake dominated the field events, winning the javelin by some 16 feet (117 feet to 101 for the runner-up), winning the discus by more than 10 feet and placing third in the shot put.
“We’re just trying to keep everyone proud of Lyndhurst,” Blake said. “It’s the way it should be. Lyndhurst has a great, big-time track program. We’re all just trying hard to compete. It’s really amazing that we won four times in a row. And it’s a big achievement for me, winning twice.”
Kira Adams won the shot put. Susane Morozewicz won the 400-meter dash and Amanda Fulcher, another soccer standout, won the 400-meter hurdles.
Needless to say, it was a great day all around.
“I’m unbelievably impressed,” Shoebridge said. “It’s all part of the system. Our coaches do such a great job.”
And Shoebridge does a great job leading the way.
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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.”