Lyndhurst’s Pezzolla proves she might be more runner and less of a soccer star

As the 2017 scholastic sports season rapidly draws to an end in the blink of an eye, there were two very important track and field results that may have some major significance in the years to come.

In the 800-meter run in NJSIAA Group II at a place called Northern Burlington, Giulia Pezzolla of Lyndhurst _ the soccer standout _ finished 12th in 2:20.80, the best finish by any sophomore in the race.

In the 1,600-meter run, Pezzolla was clocked at 5:18.17, which was good for 11th overall.

Pezzolla had to qualify for the Group II by finishing among the top six at the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group II championships the week prior, but everyone knew that she was good enough to get past the sectionals and into the Group II meet.

But this is a young lady who emerged as a soccer sensation in the fall by scoring 22 goals and adding 13 assists, placing her among the top scorers in all of Bergen County.

So what gives? In today’s world of trying to pick one sport and dominate in one, here comes Pezzolla going old school and doing her best in three sports _ soccer, indoor track and outdoor track.

“I still like soccer,” Pezzolla said. “I don’t know what to think. I still see myself as a soccer player first. I didn’t think I’d have such a successful season in track. I worked hard. I put in a lot of hard work. I guess if I keep at it, then good things are bound to happen.”

It’s good news for Kim Hykey, who coaches Pezzolla in both soccer and track.

“It’s great,” said Hykey, who competed in both sports when she was a student at Lyndhurst before going off to Seton Hall. “She didn’t lose a single race until the Bergen County Meet of Champions.”
Hykey had it figured out that Pezzolla compiled 310 team points, becoming the first 300-point scorer in the history of Lyndhurst High School girls’ track and field.

“She had a phenomenal year,” Hykey said. “She broke the school record in the 800 (meter run). She ran four events every meet. I know she enjoys running, so she can take it as far as she wants it to go. She’s very talented. She has so much natural ability. It just looks effortless to her. She can do both.”
Hykey gave up track when she got to Seton Hall to concentrate on soccer.

“I think she could do both in college,” Hykey said. “She would just have to get a little stronger if she wants to play soccer.”

Pezzolla knows that she doesn’t have much time to relax, as soccer drills for the 2017 season begin Tuesday. She also plays club soccer for the prestigious TSF program over the summer months.

“From now on, it’s soccer until next track season,” Pezzolla said. “I’m now focused on soccer. I think what I do in terms of getting ready will definitely help. I now have confidence I can do big things. It keeps me focused.”

Needless to say, it’s a young lady with an extremely bright future.

“I’m excited about it all,” Pezzolla said. “It’s cool. I had no idea this all could happen.” 

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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.”