College Corner: Ex-Mariner Swims To Victory

Toms River High School North graduate Zack Molloy won swimmer of the week at Rider University. (Photo courtesy Lauren Sweet/Rider University Athletics Communications Department)

Zack Molloy, the former Toms River High School North boys swimming standout, continues to win honors as a member of the Rider University Broncs.

Molloy was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men’s Swimmer of the Week for the third time this season. He captured the award for the third straight week.

He won his latest honor after starring at the Big Al Invitational at Princeton University.

He racked up four top-eight performances at the three-day event. In the individual events, the ex-Mariner was fifth in the 50-yard freestyle in 20.56, seventh in the 100 free in 44.95 and eighth in the 200 free in 1:40.97.

He was also a member of the 400 medley team that finished in 3:19.44. He split 48.15 in the 100 butterfly. His split would have placed him third in the 100 fly individual event at the meet.

Molloy’s best effort in the 200 free came in the preliminaries in 1:38.00. All three of his times in the freestyle events are the best in the MAAC so far this season.

“Zack sprinted well this weekend and he competed hard in spite of being sick,” Rider coach Steve Fletcher said on the Broncs’ website. “He fought through an extensive meet program, including relays on which he supported Rider in recording seed times for the MAAC Championships that will put us in the middle of the pool in the finals.”

Molloy enjoyed an honors-filled 2016-17 season.

He was named Rider’s Co-Male Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. He was named the MAAC Swimmer of the Meet at the conference championships for the second straight year. He set two Eastern College Athletic Conference records, five MAAC records and four Rider records at major events and championships during the season.

He won six gold medals and one silver at the MAAC Championships, powering the Broncs to their sixth straight conference team title.

As a sophomore, Molloy was named the MAAC Swimmer of the Meet at the conference championships and made the MAAC All-Academic team. As a freshman, he sped to gold medals in two events at the MAAC Championships.

Molloy is an accounting and information systems major

Burke a champion: Senior Amanda Burke, a Toms River North graduate, helped the Rowan University women’s swimming and diving team win the New Jersey Athletic Conference regular-season title as the Profs downed The College of New Jersey 220-77.

Burke was second in the 100-yard backstroke (1:02.87) and third in the 200 backstroke (2:15.07).

The Profs were 5-0 in the NJAC.

Burke was second in the 100 backstroke in 1:02.81 in a 193-68 win over the Stevens Institute of Technology.

Toms River North grad Amanda Burke helped the Rowan University women’s swimming and diving team win the New Jersey Athletic Conference. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Another local athlete on the Profs’ roster is Polina Dineva, a senior out of Central Regional.

She swam the anchor leg as Rowan placed second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.45 at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Gompei Invitational.

Burke (2:19.56) and Dineva (2:32.25) went 2-3, respectively, in the 200 backstroke in a 146-106 win over the University of Bridgeport.                        .

Ham cited: Former Freehold standout Jay Ham and others were inducted into the Brookdale Community College Athletics Hall of Fame during an awards dinner at the Radisson Hotel in Freehold.

Ham led National Junior College Athletic Association Division III in scoring in 1991-92, averaging 31.5 points per game.

He earned NJCAA All-Region XIX honors and was named to the NJCAA All-Garden State Athletic Conference team.

Brick Memorial’s Kevin Veltre runs at Rowan. (Photo courtesy Rowan University)

Veltre stars: Former Brick Memorial runner Kevin Veltre captured the 3000-meter run in a Rowan University record 8:25.84 for the Profs at the Bomber Invitational at Ithaca College in men’s indoor track and field.

The senior broke the 37-year-old record of 8:30.74 set by Greg Rapp in 1981. Veltre was named the NJAC Men’s Indoor Athlete of the Week. He was ranked second in the NJAC and ninth in NCAA Division III in the event

Veltre was first in the mile in 4:17.17 at the Ramapo Season Opener.

In women’s action, Rowan’s Brianna Angellella, the former Southern Regional standout, ran the second leg on the second-place 4×400 relay team (4:03.15) and placed fourth in the 800 in 2:20.92 at the Bomber Invitational.

The former Ram ran the second leg on the second-place 4×400 relay team (4:07.00) at the Ramapo Season Opener.

D’Amico leads win: Former Central athlete Joe D’Amico, a junior member of the Stockton University men’s team, ran the first leg on the Ospreys’ winning distance medley relay team (10:27.72) at the NYU Invitational.

Sophomore teammate Tom Strychowski (Lacey) was seventh in the shot put (13.43 meters) at the NYU Invitational.

D’Amico was third in 9:01.13 at the Dick DeSchriver Invitational. Freshman teammate Kevin Holland (Central) was second in the pole vault (4.26) on a tiebreaker at the meet.

In women’s action, Stockton junior Isabel Barsch (Southern) placed sixth in the weight throw (14.19) at the Dick DeSchriver Invitational.

Freshman teammate Justine Hosszu (Southern) was fifth in the shot put (10.98) at the John Covert Classic.

Szymczyk on target: Senior center April Szymczyk (Jackson Liberty, Ocean County College) scored 18 points and added eight rebounds, three assists and one steal for the Rowan University women’s basketball team in its 88-58 win over Rutgers University-Newark.

She buried eight of 13 shots from the field and netted both free throws in 26 minutes as a starter for the Profs.

The former Lion, ex-Viking netted 18 points and added five rebounds and one assist in 15 minutes as a starter in a 93-31 thrashing of New Jersey City University.

She put home nine of 10 shots from the field.

In a 76-67 win over Kean University, Szymczyk registered her fifth double of the season, scoring 10 points and picking off 12 rebounds.

Liberty grad April Szymczyk helped Rowan University top Rutgers University-Newark. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Kean junior guard Danielle Oakley (Brick Memorial) scored 12 points on five of 12 from the field and two of two from the foul line, grabbed five rebounds, handed out six assists, scrapped for four steals and blocked one shot.

Szymczyk netted 18 points and added three assists, eight rebounds and three blocks in a 77-66 win over Rutgers University-Camden. She bucketed 21 points and added six rebounds, three steals, one assist and one block in an 80-63 conquest of Rutgers University-Newark.

She scored 20 points, picked off 12 rebounds and added four steals and two blocks in an 84-77 loss to Stockton University and finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and two steals in a 70-48 win over William Paterson University.

Famulare aids win: Junior forward Samantha Famulare, who played for Freehold Township, scored 10 points and picked off seven rebounds for The College of New Jersey in its 87-77 win over Rowan.

Farrell among the leaders: Former Point Pleasant Beach standout Matt Farrell finds himself starring as a senior point guard on the University of Notre Dame men’s team.

He was second on the Fighting Irish in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game through his first 21 outings of the season. He led the team in assists (113) and was second on the club in steals (26) and minutes played per game (35.0). He averaged 2.3 rebounds per game and was 44 of 57 from the foul line for .772 percent.

He blocked two shots and made 50 turnovers. He started in all 21 games.

Farrell is a 6-foot-1, 175-pounder.

Nocco smart and swift: Rowan senior Nick Nocco (Southern) was a member of the Profs’ men’s cross country team which won U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic team honors.

He made the All-NJAC second team after placing 11th in 26:10.24 at the NJAC Championships. The mechanical engineering major was 41st in 25:38.6 at the Regional Championships. He was Rowan’s third finisher at the NCAA Division III Championships in 25:42.38.

Manchester grad Kashaun Barnes was named player of the week. (Photo courtesy Stockton University Athletics Communications Department)

Barnes, Porricelli honored: Former Manchester player Kashaun Barnes and Hailee Porricelli, who competed for Freehold Township, won honors for Stockton.

Barnes, a junior guard. was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Metro Men’s Basketball Player of the Week and the NJAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week.

Porricelli was cited as the ECAC Metro Women’s Basketball Player of the Week and the NJAC Women’s Basketball Rookie Player of the Week.

Barnes led the Ospreys to two NJAC wins, averaging 27.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. He erupted for 37 points against Montclair State University – the third highest total by a Stockton player in the last 29 seasons.

Hailee Porricelli, from Freehold, was named player of the week. (Photo courtesy Stockton University Athletics Communications Department)

The former Hawks player blazed away at a 14-for-23 clip from the field, including five of nine from downtown, and netted four of five free throws in 40 minutes in an 89-81 conquest of the Red Hawks. He added six rebounds and four assists.

Barnes was second in the NJAC in scoring at 18.7 points per game. He was eighth in free-throw percentage at .780 in the NJAC and ninth in treys made per game at 1.9.

Porricelli averaged 9.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in a 1-1 week in NJAC play. The freshman point guard buried five of 11 shots (45.5 percent) from behind the arc and bucketed both free throws. She tied her season high with 13 points in a 69-65 win over Montclair State, then ranked 15th in Division III.

The former Patriot put home 39.1 percent (36 of 92) of shots from downtown for second in the NJAC. She was 10th in the NJAC and first among rookies at 2.7 assists per outing. She averaged 7.0 points per game.

Locals on diamond: Senior Dan Naif (Jackson Liberty) heads the local contingent on the Felician University baseball team.

He’s the team’s leader in career saves. Other locals on the team are graduate student Mike Martone, a catcher-first baseman and a Brick Memorial product; junior third baseman Austin Gonella (Toms River South) and senior pitcher Steven Slagmolen (Toms River North).

Worthy chooses college: Freehold senior Ashante Worthy, who starred for the Colonials, will continue his football career at Lackawanna College.

It’s a junior college in Scranton, Pa. The Falcons went 7-2 last year and were ranked as high as fifth in the National Junior College Athletic Association Poll. They wound up 19th in the poll.

Worthy became Freehold’s quarterback in the fourth game of the 2016 season. As a senior, he set the state’s modern day, single-season rushing record of 2,860 yards. He passed for 2,106 yards to become the first player in state history to rush and pass for more than 2,000 yards in a season.

Ashante Worthy, from Freehold, has chosen to attend Lackawanna College. (Photo courtesy Jersey Sports Zone)

He finished the campaign with 4,966 yards of total offense and accounted for a state single-season record 61 touchdowns – 41 rushing and 20 passing for coach David Ellis, a former Lakewood player. Worthy finished his career with 6,400 yards rushing for second on the Shore Conference’s all-time list for yards in a career.

During his career, Worthy scored 119 touchdowns, threw for 2,963 yards, sped to 826 return yards and piled up 10,592 yards.

An honor for Bekefi: Felician senior golfer Chris Bekefi (Toms River North) made the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Fall 2017 All-Academic team.

Pallante cited: Stockton junior keeper Nicole Pallante (Brick) made honorable mention on the All-NJAC team in women’s soccer.

During the regular season, she was third in shutouts in the NJAC with seven. She was third in the NJAC in saves with 88 for a 4.19 average per match. She’s fourth on the Ospreys’ career shutouts list with 25.

If your favorite athlete is missing, e-mail Chris Christopher: cchristopher1259@gmail.com

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Chris Christopher covers sports for Micromedia Publications Inc. with knowledge, pride and passion. His beats are the high school, college, professional, youth and recreational scenes. A three-time New Jersey Press Association award winner for sports writing, Christopher was inducted into the Shore Football Coaches Foundation Hall of Fame in 2015 for his work in the media. The Lakewood resident enjoys taking walks in Ocean County Park and on the boardwalks in Ocean and Monmouth counties and rooting for the New York Mets.