Nutley’s Anderson earns Division III All-America softball at Rowan

Carly Anderson was participating in the NCAA Division III Softball World Series with her Rowan University teammates in Oklahoma City, attending a banquet for all of the players from the eight teams in the tourney.

“The announcer at the banquet was saying all the players who were named All-American and my name wasn’t called,” Anderson said. “I thought, ‘Oh, well, I guess I didn’t make it.’”

It had to have been hard for Anderson to be overlooked as an All-American, considering she had just completed one of the best seasons in the history of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, considered by most to be the most competitive league in all of NCAA Division III sports.

Anderson, the Nutley High School graduate and the recipient of the 2014-2015 Observer Female Athlete of the Year, simply batted an astounding .490 for the Profs, with an amazing 75 hits, including 19 doubles, five home runs and 49 RBI. She was named the NJAC Player of the Year on a team that went 39-13-1 this season.

If that’s not an All-American, then who is?

Anderson was certain that she should have been selected.

“Maybe he just missed my name,” Anderson thought of the announcer at the banquet.

So Anderson enjoyed herself at the dinner and watched other players get recognized while she just sat there.

About an hour or so after the banquet was concluded, Anderson was approached by someone congratulating her on truly earning NCAA Division III All-America honors.

“I didn’t find out until an hour or so after the banquet,” Anderson said. “It was already up on our website and I didn’t even know.”

The junior shortstop had truly reached the pinnacle of her career, earning All-America honors.

“I could definitely not ask for a better season,” Anderson said. “We had a great team and we should be proud of where we went, going to the World Series. I couldn’t ask for more.”

It comes a year after Anderson’s softball career was in jeopardy. She struggled through a herniated disc injury and actually played through the pain, but then had to do something to alleviate the situation.

“I went to a lot of physical therapy,” Anderson said. “I went regularly to a chiropractor. I just had to get my body stronger. I also did a lot of running to get my muscles into shape.”

Rowan head softball coach Kim Wilson was impressed with the dedication Anderson showed to recover from the crippling injury.

“I knew if she was healthy, she could be a dominant force,” Wilson said. “She had a great freshman year with us until she got hurt. She was going great guns and then she got hurt. She was hampered by it a lot, but once she understood that the physical therapy could put her in a better position, she was all for it.”

Incredibly, Anderson suffered another injury during the course of the 2018 season. She suffered a concussion when she was tagged in the head during a play. The concussion forced Anderson to miss six crucial NJAC contests.

“But the coaches all thought so much of her that they voted her Player of the Year in the conference,” Wilson said. “That’s how dominant she was. She clearly was the best player in our league.”

And obviously, Anderson was one of the best players in the entire country.

“My goal wasn’t to be an All-American,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t looking to be the NJAC Player of the Year. I just wanted to be healthy and able to play the way I know I could. I just had to stay focused and get my team to where we needed to be.”

Anderson was pleased that she was able to recover well from her past injuries.

“There were really no major problems,” Anderson said. “I was able to play my best. It was a big improvement over last year.”

There was another aspect to the Profs that opened eyes around the country. The team liked to have fun, in particular, they liked to dance before, during and after games.
“We would dance a lot before games,” Anderson said. “It all depended on the music that was playing that day. We did a lot with (the soundtrack) High School Musical and did other throwback stuff.”

Anderson admitted that she’s not an All-American dancer.

“I am absolutely not a good dancer,” Anderson laughed. “I do have rhythm, but I am a much better shortstop.”

“We like to keep things light,” Wilson said. “Part of it is dancing. Some other opponents don’t understand, but it’s part of who we are. We don’t do infield warm-ups. We dance.”

Anderson is back in Nutley for her summer vacation. She’s playing for her travel team, called The Heist, with several of her teammates from Rowan. She is majoring in education with the hope of becoming a teacher and perhaps a coach in the future.

“I’m just going to try to enjoy my summer,” Anderson said. “I’m not going to do anything too complex.”

But she will return to Rowan for her senior year as an All-American.

“It definitely boosts my confidence,” Anderson said about her All-America status. “It makes me want to push harder to be better. We only lose one senior, so most of our starters come back. We have a good amount of recruits coming in and I think they’ll fit in well.”

As long as they can dance.

“We just try to stay within each other,” Anderson said. “My teammates definitely supported me through my recovery. The team as a unit stayed together and worked together. I’m very happy with the season.”

So is Wilson.

“I’m proud of Carly and proud of the team,” Wilson said. “Carly put in the time to get better. She’s a hard worker and that’s the key to her success. She definitely had some challenges, but she put the time in and this is her reward. I’m pretty ecstatic that she was named All-America. Carly works so hard at the game. She works on all the little things you need.”

She just might need a little help in the dancing department moving forward with the Profs.




Nutley native Carly Anderson was selected as an NCAA Division III All-America player this season. Photo courtesy of Rowan University sports information


Nutley native Carly Anderson, a former Observer Female Athlete of the Year, batted .490 this season for Rowan University with five homers and 49 RBI, earning New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year and NCAA Division III All-America honors. Photo courtesy of Rowan University sports information



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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.”