For your consideration: Other top local female athletes

Although Meagan McClelland earned the distinction of being The Observer Female Athlete of the Year for the 2017-2018 scholastic sports season that just recently ended, there were other seniors in the Observer circulation area that were under strong consideration for the year-end honor.

First and foremost was McClelland’s classmate and teammate Gianna Hoch, who had a brilliant senior season for both the Kearny soccer and softball teams.

Hoch, who earned Observer Athlete of the Week honors in May, was a steady defender on the girls’ soccer team that captured the Hudson County Tournament championship for an eighth straight campaign and was the inspirational leader for the Kardinal softball team, collecting more than 100 career hits and offering solid play in centerfield, earning All-Hudson County honors.

Hoch had a brilliant career and deserved the consideration she received.

Emilee Marshall is another Kearny two-sport standout who performed well in basketball and then softball as the Kardinals’ ace pitcher.

Three-sport standout Grace Cappiello was a fine soccer player, basketball player and track and field performer for Lyndhurst. Cappiello’s dedication to the Lyndhurst athletic program will never be matched.

North Arlington’s Kaitlyn Stajek had a great soccer season for the Vikings and provided a ton of leadership for the Vikings’ program.

Harrison’s Marta Silva proved to be one of the best all-around soccer players in the area. Silva has a tremendous future in the sport and will be a force on the collegiate level, like she already is on the club level.

Nutley’s Sydney Kunz was a star basketball player and softball player for two winning programs.

Belleville’s Sydney Gomez participated for both the girls’ basketball and softball teams for the Buccaneers.

All of these young ladies performed admirably throughout the course of their respective seasons and were deserving of recognition. Only one can be considered the best _ and this year, that title belonged to Meagan McClelland.



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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.”