LYNDHURST – It’s very rare for any high school to have three athletes sign National Letters of Intent to NCAA Division I schools on the same day. If it does occur for a school in New Jersey, it’s usually one of the power Parochial schools or a larger public school.
But it never happens for a small school like Lyndhurst High School, right?
Lyndhurst recently honored three of its athletes who signed D-I scholarship letters in their respective sports, much to the delight of their parents, their coaches and school officials who were on hand for the proud moment.
Dylan Weaver, the talented wrestler, signed his letter of intent to compete at Rutgers University, joining forces with the best wrestler to ever come out of Lyndhurst, Donny Pritzlaff, the three-time NJSIAA state champion, two-time NCAA champion, four-time NCAA All-American and bronze medal winner in the World Championships and World Cup.
Pritzlaff is now an assistant coach at Rutgers and has been involved with the recruiting of Weaver. It made all the sense in the world considering Pritzlaff’s high school coach at Lyndhurst is back coaching at Lyndhurst, namely Scot Weaver, Dylan’s father.
Weaver gave a verbal commitment to Rutgers almost a year ago to the date, so it was known for a while he was going to join forces with Pritzlaff and the Scarlet Knights.
“Now it’s the real deal,” said Weaver, who finished third in the state at 138 pounds two years ago. “It’s time to turn it up now and get ready for the season. I’m ready for this season right now.”
Weaver said that he dreamed of having a signing day celebration for a while.
“I used to see my Dad’s former athletes (at the now-defunct Queen of Peace) have their day and I always pictured it happening for me,” Weaver said. “This means everything to me. There’s no stopping me now. I’m going for the state title.”
There’s only one problem. The NJSIAA already put a hold on the wrestling season until February and there will not be a state championship again this year.
The elder Weaver got a little emotional when it came time for his son to sign his letter.
“It’s an amazing thing,” Scot Weaver said. “Since he’s been 4 years old, he’s been wrestling.”
However, Dylan Weaver had to endure serious heart surgery as a toddler.
“We didn’t know whether he was going to be an athlete,” the elder Weaver said. “We were wondering whether he would ever be in this spot. Here’s the final result.”
No one knows what the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is going to do to the high school wrestling season this year, but one thing’s for sure. Weaver is ready and he has his scholarship locked away.
“It’s been tough not being able to compete,” Weaver said. “But I’ve been training hard and I’m definitely ready.”
Weaver’s signing alone would be a reason for the school to be proud, but there was more.
Kaydee Yallo, the standout girls’ soccer player, signed her national letter to attend Northeastern in Boston.
And not to be outdone, Bryan Cosman, the standout boys’ soccer player, signed his NLI to attend Columbia University in New York.
Three seniors from little old Lyndhurst going big time on the same day – that’s enough to make any little school proud.
Cosman said that he started to get feelers from Columbia last winter. It didn’t take long for Cosman, who also played for the New York Soccer Club and New Jersey Stallions club teams in his career, to consider an Ivy League school such as Columbia, considering Cosman wants to study criminology in college and perhaps move on to agencies like the FBI or the CIA.
“It was a shocking moment for me to have an Ivy League school become interested in me,” Cosman said. “It’s one of the best schools in the world. This is a big accomplishment for me and my family.”
Lyndhurst head coach Denis Jelcic, who guided the Golden Bears to their North Jersey Interscholastic Conference divisional championship, the school’s first league title since 1999, was overjoyed with Cosman’s decision to go to Columbia.
“I’m very excited for him,” Jelcic said. “It’s a rewarding feeling. He loves to play soccer. I think he’s only going to get better. He’s a quiet kid who doesn’t let it be known that he’s a big-time soccer player. Those are the best ones.”
Yallo, who battled a hip injury this season, still battled through and helped the Golden Bears reach the NJSIAA state sectional title game.
Even though Yallo committed to Northeastern almost 18 months ago, putting the name on the dotted line meant a lot to her.
“I still can’t believe it,” Yallo said. “I’ve finally signed. I’m finally a Huskie. I can begin prepping for college from now on. It was always my dream to play college soccer.”
Yallo said that she liked Northeastern, top to bottom.
“I like their style of play,” Yallo said. “I loved the atmosphere there.”
Yallo intends to major in criminal justice and psychology in a double major and like Cosman would like to pursue a career in the FBI.
“This is so exciting,” Yallo said.
“She brings a lot to the table,” said Lyndhurst head girls coach Kim Hykey. “It’s super satisfying when you have a player get a chance to play at the next level. I’ve known Kaydee since she was eight years old and I’ve watched her develop. She’s proof that with a little bit of hard work and dedication, you can achieve your goals. I think before she got to high school, she had the potential to be a scholarship player. We knew she was something special and was the best player we ever had.”
All in all, it was a day for everyone in Lyndhurst to be proud.
Dylan Weaver (center) signs his national letter of intent to Rutgers University, flanked by his parents, father Scot (left), the head wrestling coach at Lyndhurst-North Arlington, and mother Nicole. Photo by Jim Hague
Kaydee Yallo (center) puts her signature to a national letter of intent with Northeastern with her parents, dad Tony (left) and mother Kelly (right). Photo by Jim Hague
Bryan Cosman (center) is all smiles after signing on with Columbia with dad Derrick (left) and mom Jenny (right) alongside. Photo by Jim Hague
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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.”