Local Athletes Hammer Home Wins For Their Colleges

Former Jackson Liberty player Nicole Mickendrow (left) and others share a moment with Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Former Donovan Catholic High School standout Alyssa Wilson made history at the USATF Junior Championships, winning both the hammer and the shot put while finishing second in the discus to become the first junior woman ever to qualify for Team USA in three throwing events.

The performance at the University of Indiana continued what has been a breakout campaign for Wilson, the lone athlete to qualify in three individual events at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships despite being a true freshman for the UCLA Bruins. She scored in the hammer and shot put.

Wilson opened with a second-place finish in the discus. Her top mark came with a second-attempt throw of 53.84 meters (176-8), the fourth time this year she has hit the 53-meter mark.

Freshman Alyssa Wilson, a former Donovan Catholic standout, was a top performer for the UCLA Bruins. (Photo Courtesy UCLA Athletics Communications Department)

The 6-footer won the hammer at 66.33 meters (217-7) not far behind her lifetime-best 66.99 meters mark she posted at the NCAA Championships where she was fourth. Her three fair throws were the longest individual marks recorded by the entire field.

Wilson won the shot put at 16.80 meters (55-1/2). It will be her third time representing Team USA in the shot put as she previously did so in 2016 and 2017.

At the NCAA Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Org., the 20th-seeded Wilson was sixth overall and first among second flight competitors in the shot put at 17.21 meters (56-5 3.4).

At the NCAA Championships, Wilson placed fourth in the hammer with a personal-best 66.99 meters (219-9) on her second attempt. It was the best showing by a UCLA women’s athlete since Jessica Cosby placed third at the nationals in 2005. Wilson, competing in inclement weather, fouled out of the discus.

Angellella aids title run: Former Southern Regional standout Brianna Angellella helped Rowan University win the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships.

She was second in the 800 in 2:19.14 and ran the anchor leg on the Profs’ winning 4×400 relay team (3:55.98). She earned first-team all-NJAC honors in the relay and second-team all-conference laurels in the 800.

At the All-Atlantic Region Conference Championships, the former Ram helped the Profs win the 4×400 in 3:51.79, running the anchor leg.

Ex-Southern Regional athlete Brianna Angellella speeds to a victory for Rowan University. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Angellella ran the anchor leg on the 4×400 at the NCAA Division III Championships. The Profs placed ninth in the preliminaries and fourth in the second heat.

Angellella ran the fourth leg on the sprint medley team, which set a school record in 4:06.84 at the Championship of America Invitational at the Penn Relays. The Profs were the lone NCAA Division III team in the event.

She earned a berth on the All-Atlantic Region United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association team in the 4×400. She was one of the Profs’ seven captains.

Trio sparkles: Three former Southern athletes starred for the Stockton University Ospreys at the New Jersey Outdoor Championship.

Junior Isabel Barsch was second in the hammer throw at 42.65 meters. Freshman Kristina Raylman placed third on a tiebreaker in the pole vault at 3.20. Junior Victoria Caiazzo was third in the javelin at 34.93.

Walker competes: Former Barnegat athlete Jenna Walker, a sophomore, ran on the Stockton team, which set a school record in 49.58 in the 4×100 relay at the Widener Invitational.

Louzan leads Falcons: Sophomore midfielder Christianna Louzan, a Manchester graduate, paced the Felician University women’s lacrosse team in points (17), goals (16) and draw controls (22).

She added one assist and caused eight turnovers. She played in and started 10 games.

Teammate Emileigh Esposito, a freshman defender-midfielder from Toms River South, finished the season with one goal, one assist, 12 draw controls and 13 ground balls. She appeared in and started 13 games.

The Falcons were 0-13 under coach Natalie Bermudez, a former Monsignor Donovan (now Donovan Catholic) and Georgian Court University player.

Stockton captures title: The Stockton women’s lacrosse team won the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the program’s first postseason championship, at 11-7.

Senior defender Amanda Scarpa (Freehold Township) finished second on the Ospreys and tied for ninth in the New Jersey Athletic Conference in ground balls (42) and second on the club in caused turnovers. She started all 69 Stockton games over four seasons and leaves as its career leader in ground balls (113). She’s third on its career list in caused turnovers with 56. She appeared in and started 18 games.

Scarpa was the Ospreys’ lone senior.

Junior midfielder-defender Melanie Patterson (Jackson Liberty) scored 24 goals and added three assists, 34 draw controls, 16 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers while putting home one game-winning goal. She played in 18 games and started 14. She scored 27 points.

Sophomore midfielder Abbey Yannacone (Southern) scored 12 goals, including one game-winner, and added two assists, 10 ground balls and six caused turnovers. She appeared in 15 games and started one. She scored 14 points.

Mickendrow cited: Former Jackson Liberty player Nicole Mickendrow, a Rowan midfielder, earned All-New Jersey Athletic Conference honorable mention honors.

She was fifth on the Profs in scoring with 37 points on 29 goals and eight assists. She was third on the club in ground balls with 38 and second on the Profs in caused turnovers with 27. She added 13 draw controls. Mickendrow appeared in and started 28 games, helping the Profs (14-11) to a single-season wins record.

Nicole Mickendrow (24), who played for Jackson Liberty, was honored by the New Jersey Athletic Conference after competing for Rowan University. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

She scored one goal in a 14-11 loss to Catholic University in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. She was a team captain and netted one game-winning goal. She scored one goal and added one ground ball, one draw control and one caused turnover in a 20-9 loss to The College of New Jersey in the championship game of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament.

Mickendrow was chosen to participate in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division III Senior All-Star game at Tierney Field at the US Lacrosse Headquarters in Sparks, Md. She was selected to the North team.

Mickendrow and three other Rowan athletes attended a New Jersey Athletic Reception with University of Virginia athletics director Carla Williams at the Governor’s residence, Drumthwacket, in Princeton. The event was hosted by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver and First Lady Tammy Murphy.

Williams is the first female African-American athletics director at a Power 5 school. Other guests included Carol Blazejowski, former president and general manager of the Women’s National Basketball Association’s New York Liberty, Rutgers University women’s basketball coach Vivian Stringer, former track and field Olympics star Carl Lewis and ex-track and field Olympian Joetta Clark-Diggs.

Former Toms River North player Ali Hicks starred at Rowan University. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Coach cited: Georgian Court University head women’s coach Nicole Degenhardt, a member of the Felician University Athletics Hall of Fame, was named the 2018 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Softball Coach of the Year in a vote of the league’s 14 sports information directors.

The Lions were 28-21 overall and finished third in her third year at the helm. They were 14-30 overall and 11th in the CACC in 2017. She starred in women’s volleyball and softball for the Golden Falcons.

Row, row, row your boat: The Stockton women’s team competed in the freshman eight at the 52nd annual Kerr Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, registering a time of 9:14.26 and finishing fourth out of four teams.

Among its competitors were Chloe Schulze (Pinelands Regional) and Olivia Hurley (Central).

Gulino honored: Felician senior women’s bowler Michelle Gulino (Howell) was chosen as a 2018 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.

Named to the first team, she is a criminal justice major. She put up a 3.97 grade point average.

Athletes inducted: Felician junior Samantha Lederle (Brick Memorial), junior Kaitlyn Buck (Howell), Gulino, senior Alexandria Laurenzano (Brick), senior Kristin Natoli (Howell) and senior Jessica Zalewski (Barnegat) were among those inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society (NCAHS), Chi Alpha Sigma, in the Grand Ballroom of the Holiday Inn-Hasbrouck Heights.

Lederle, a women’s soccer player, posted a 3.79 grade point average as an accounting major. Buck, a member of the Golden Falcons’ women’s bowling team, put up a 3.67 GPA as a psychology major. They were new inductees.

Laurenzano, a member of the Felician women’s bowling team, posted a 3.96 GPA as a graphic design, photography and new media major. She was a second-year honoree. Another second-year honoree was Natoli, a member of the Felician women’s bowling team and the owner of a 3.98 GPA as a biology major. Natoli was honored for the second year.

Zalewski, an elementary education major and another member of the Golden Falcons’ women’s bowling team, notched a 3.57 GPA. She’s a second-year inductee.

Zalewski and sophomore teammate Nicole Aumack, who competed for the Brick Green Dragons, were named to the 2018 East Coast Conference (ECC) Women’s Bowling All-Tournament team.

Zalewski, a 5-foot-4 righthander, made the team for the first time. Her frame average in the ECC Championship was 19.81. During the regular season, she posted a traditional frame average of 18.69 for ninth in the ECC, a Baker average of 18.22 and an overall frame average of 18.21 (15th). She was 13th in the ECC’s Player Composite Performance Index (PCPI).

Aumack, a 5-foot-5 righty, was 17th in the ECC regular-season PCPI and turned in a 19.83 frame average at the conference tournament. Her overall frame average for the regular season was 18.12. She won ECC All-Tournament honors for the second straight season.

Szymczyk among the best: Former Jackson Liberty and Ocean County College standout April Szymczyk, a senior center and a Rowan University player, made the All-New Jersey Athletic Conference team as an honorable mention selection in women’s basketball after starring during the regular season.

She started all 25 games and was first on the Profs in rebounding at 7.7 per game and second in scoring, averaging 14.1 points per outing. She paced the Profs in field goal percentage (51.8) and blocks (27) and was second on the club in assists with 55.

Ex-Jackson Liberty and Ocean County College star April Szymczyk drives to the basket for Rowan University. (Photo courtesy Rowan University Athletics Communications Department)

Szymczyk was second in in field goal percentage, sixth in rebounding, eighth in scoring, ninth in free throw percentage (75.4) and 10th in blocks in the NJAC.

In the quarterfinals of the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament, she scored 14 points and added seven rebounds, three assists and one block in 28 minutes as a starter in a 67-48 win over William Paterson University. She bucketed six of seven attempts from the field and netted both free throws.

In a 65-55 loss in the semifinals to Montclair State University, Szymczyk put home 10 points and added four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. She was five of five from the floor in 35 minutes.

Porricelli productive: Stockton freshman guard Hailee Porricelli (Freehold Township) was second on the Ospreys’ women’s basketball team in assists with 72.

She averaged 6.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. She appeared in 27 games and started 26. She averaged 30.1 minutes per game and finished the season with 19 steals.

More on the court: Junior guard Danielle Oakley (Brick Memorial) led Kean University in steals (88) and assists (63).

She was third on the team in scoring at 7.1 points per game. She averaged 4.6 rebounds per outing and added one block. She played in and started 23 games. She averaged 33.5 minutes per outing.

No. 6171: Danielle Oakley, a former Brick Memorial player, competed at Kean University. (Photo courtesy Kean University Athletics Communications Department)

Oakley scrapped for a career-high 11 steals and added nine points, seven assists and three rebounds in the Cougars’ final game of the regular season, a 60-54 loss to William Paterson University.

Kean freshman guard Emily Dominguez (Brick Memorial) averaged 2.4 points and 10 rebounds per game.

She added 17 steals, two blocks and eight assists. The Howell resident appeared in 19 games, all off the bench, and averaged 10.8 minutes per outing.

Former Ocean County College and Manasquan player Courtney Hagaman paced Winthrop University in scoring, averaging 9.7 points per game.

The Toms River resident was second on the club in steals with 27. She averaged 3.0 rebounds per game. She handed out 22 assists and blocked three shots. The 5-foot-9 junior guard appeared in 28 games and started 15. She averaged 23.9 minutes per outing.

Jackson resident Nyala Pendergrass, a former St. Rose player, averaged 2.8 minutes per outing as a freshman guard-forward in 17 games, all as a reserve, at Manhattan College.

Hicks among the elite: Ali Hicks, a junior back out of Toms River North and a Rowan player, made the College Sports Information Directors of America (Co-SIDA) Academic All-District II Women’s Soccer Team for the second straight season.

Hicks is a Rowan-Scholar Athlete with a grade point average of 3.97. She made its Dean’s List. She is a dual major in psychology and sociology. She was named to the 2017 All-New Jersey Athletic Conference first team, appearing in and starting 18 matches and handing out one assist.

Hicks volunteered for Rowan’s Camp Kesem, which supports children whose parents have cancer. She participated in a clinic for Rowan Unified Soccer and volunteered at an orphanage on the team’s trip to Costa Rica. She is a member of the Rowan Athletics OWL (Outstanding Women Leaders) Group.

An honor for Novak: Rowan sophomore goalie Morgan Novak (Jackson Memorial) was named to the 2017 Zag/National Field Hockey Coaches Association Division III National Academic Squad for the second time.

She is a health and exercise science major. She appeared in two games, playing 55:15 and turning back the lone shot she faced.

Bush formidable in net: Former Central player Emily Bush starred as a sophomore goalkeeper at Penn State University Brandywine in women’s soccer.

Bush allowed 20 goals in 14 matches for a 1.39 goals against average. She made 60 saves for a .750 save percentage. She was 10-1-2 with five shutouts and played 1292:27 minutes. She appeared in 14 matches overall and started in 13 overall. She started 10 games in goal.

Ridgway solid: Former Barnegat player Sara Ridgway, a Kean standout, was selected as a third-team CoSIDA Academic All-American.

She’s the second player in program history to earn the honor. She’s the first player in Kean women’s volleyball history to earn athletic and academic All-American recognition.

Sara Ridgway, who starred at Barnegat, sparkled on and off the court for Kean University. (Photo courtesy Kean University Athletics Communications Department)

At the time of her honor, Ridgway owned a 3.95 grade point average, majoring in media and film communication with minors in marketing and speech language hearing sciences.

Last fall, she was named an honorable mention American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American, the New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year and was an honorable mention member of the All-Eastern College Athletic Conference squad. She finished the season with 380 kills, 141 total blocks, 128 block assists and 13 solo blocks in 38 matches as the Cougars won the NJAC regular-season and tournament titles.

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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.