Some more AAU info for everyone below. Just to reiterate, any coaches who have information about their team’s success featuring local players at the high school (or incoming high school) level on the boys or girls side can feel free to e-mail it to me at email@example.com and I will post it as I try to round up all of the offseason activity on the boys and girls sides.
It looks like Point Boro should be a team to watch as a sleeper in Ocean County this winter in girls basketball, as the Panthers will get several members of the successful U13 New Jersey Riptide AAU team. The Riptide recently placed 18th out of 68 teams at the AAU National Championships in Kingston, Ohio, for their second top-20 finish in the last three years. The Riptide has won three straight Mid-Atlantic AAU championships in its age group and features nine players who will all be part of Shore Conference teams this winter, including five headed to Point Boro.
Kelly Hughes, Lauren Hughes, Jess Macchi, Kerry Malleck and Erin Flynn are all headed to play for the Panthers, which should make them an immediate contender in Class B South against defending champion Manchester, which graduated its top player, Camille Valmon. From what I’ve heard from various coaches around the Shore, Kelly Hughes should be one of the top incoming freshmen in the Shore next year as a guard. The other players from the Riptide headed to local programs are Rachel Krauss (Red Bank Catholic); Rachel Iozzia, who will be part of the program under new coach John Truhan at Central, Chandler Copeland (Manchester) and Kelly Milana at Monsignor Donovan, who I’m guessing is the younger sister of former Griffins’ star and 1,000-point scorer Kyle Milana and his brother, Ryan, who will be a senior on this year’s team.
Now on to some alumni tidbits:
The Kean University baseball team, which includes catcher Edgar Jennings (Jackson Mem.) and infielder D.J. Breckenridge (Rumson) got a nice surprise recently when a special guest dropped in to film a Powerade commercial.
I hadn’t really thought about it, but Eagles defensive tackle Dan Klecko (Marlboro) has quietly played on teams with the top quarterbacks of our generation – Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb – during his career.
Maybe holding out for eight days before signing with the Broncos wasn’t such a bad idea for Knowshon Moreno (Middletown South). Although, even the first-rounders appear to be victims of the bad haircuts sweeping the NFL as the veterans haze the rookies in camp as Moreno now has some racing stripes on his head.
Also, in case you missed it in late July, the legendary Sam Mills (Long Branch) was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, which is quite an honor for a player who starred at Division III Montclair State, but if there was ever a deserving player, it’s the former New Orleans Saints All-Pro and Carolina Panthers linebacker, who died from cancer in 2005.
Somewhere All Shore Media’s own Bob Badders is smiling as his alma mater, Rowan University, was selected by the coaches as the preseason favorite in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, which features a huge amount of Shore Conference players. Rowan’s most prominent Shore player is senior defensive end Kyle Kane (Toms River North), who was a second-team All-NJAC selection last year. A darkhorse in the race is Kean University, which is led by a pair of former Monmouth Regional teammates, 2008 NJAC Offensive Player of the Year Jared Chunn at running back and Offensive Rookie of the Year Tom D’Ambrisi at quarterback.
—Villanova defensive end Tim Kukucka (Wall) has been picked by as a preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association pick and the Wildcats are expected to be neck and neck for the overall league title this year with Richmond.
–Johns Hopkins University, which features starting defensive back Mike Mahon (Shore Regional) and a handful of other former Shore Conference players, is the preseason favorite in the Centennial Conference.
—King’s College is predicted to finish seventh in the Middle Atlantic Conference, but the good news is that quarterback Corey Lavin (Jackson Memorial) is healthy again after an injury-plagued season. If you don’t know Lavin, you don’t know your Shore football. He is “The Player Who Shall Never Have to Pay for a Beer in Jackson Again” as he was the one who escaped a sack attempt and threw a touchdown pass to Joe Reggio with no time left on the clock on the final play of the game to beat Brick Memorial 30-28 for the Central Jersey Group IV title at Rutgers Stadium in 2005 in one of the best games I’ve ever seen. If Lavin had done that for a school in Texas, there would be a bronze bust of him in front of the school.