After the fall season, Kingsway found itself behind last year’s pace, when it came to the Shop-Rite Cup, awarded to the top athletic program in each group classification. Last year, Kingsway won its first Shop-Rite Cup ever in dominating fashion, closing out its final year in Group 3 in grand style. Moving up to Group 4, it would be easy to keep expectations low and forget about competing for the Cup.
However, the Dragons had a winter season that showed that their own expectations have not diminished. Here is a breakdown of the winter season:
Boys Basketball: Coach Drew Owen’s finished his third campaign as the head coach with a record of 13-12. With many new varsity players, they were able to form a solid unit, where each person knew their roles.
Senior Ray Lawry scored the 1,000th point of his career. Three athletes made the All-Conference team. They lost a close game in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs to Southern.
The Kingsway cheerleaders, led by Coach Dawn Marchetti, enthusiastically supported the boys and girls teams throughout the season, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Girls Swimming: Coach Caitlin Hess, in her second year, had a young team that grew as the season progressed. With a 4-3 record, they had their first winning record in recent memory.
They also finished third in the division. They were All-Conference in 9 of 11 events.
Freshman Sydney Jaramillo was the top point scorer for the team this season; she also was the Gloucester County and Tri-County champion in the 100 fly. With a strong youth program in place, the team will only improve.
Boys Swimming: Coach Caitlin Hess continued surprising naysayers, leading this unheralded group to a 8-1 record. They were second in the division.
While they did not have one standout individually, they had a group of solid swimmers who collectively made a very good unit. Junior Chad Shire placed at the state diving championship and broke the 23 year old school record. This program continues to look like a future powerhouse.
Wrestling: Kingsway’s grapplers compiled a seasonal record of 15-8. In a complete turnaround from last year, they made it all the way to the South Jersey Group 3 Championship match, where they lost to Clearview.
Coach Anthony Badaracco won the District’s Coach of the Year award. Stanley Atkinson and Rory Bushby won District titles. Atkinson and Trace Kinner made it to the state championships. With an abundance of youth, this program clearly is on the rise.
Girls Basketball: Coach Karyn Pickard, who is closing in on her 300th career win, was able to take a group of older players and new athletes and mold them into a top-notch group. The Lady Dragons finished with an impressive 18-7 record in the Royal Division, winning their second divisional title in 4 years. They made it to the second round of the South Jersey Group 3 playoffs.
They were led by seniors (and top inside players) Rachel Rivell and Ally Gallagher, as well as their leading scorer, sophomore Zoe Hahn. Renee Hersperger and Tiana Morgan provided steady guidance and experience, too. With three returners from their starting lineup, a deep run into the state playoffs appears imminent.
Girls Bowling: The girls’ team continued to be the team to beat in the division, as they were able to win the Patriot Division title (out of the Olympic Conference) under Coach Mike Mulligan. Led by Kiera Hood, Laken Owen, Kate Burdall, Marissa Ciocco, and Marissa Anderson, these girls have set the bar quite high.
Boys Bowling: Coach Mike Mulligan and the bowling team did the unthinkable this season, defeating Hammonton to win the school’s first South Jersey Group 3 bowling team championship. Led by seniors Ben Kelley, Billy Robb, and Dan Reiners, the boys were able to make a deep run into the postseason. Coach Mulligan has built quite a machine.
Girls Winter Track and Field: The girls’ squad continued to show their prowess under Coach Christian Lynch. Seven girls were All-Conference members.
Thaila Cooper won her second consecutive State Group 3 championship in the 400 meter. They sent their 4×400 to Nationals.
The pinnacle of the season was at the State Group 3 Relay Championships. The girls were able to take out much-favored Winslow to clinch their second consecutive State Group 3 team championship.
Boys Winter Track and Field: Coach Christian Lynch had one of the truly elite teams in New Jersey as well as the US. They pulled off major upsets in defeating powerhouse Timber Creek to win the South Jersey Group 3 team championship (for the second year in a row) as well as their first-ever State Group 3 Relay team championship.
Individually, there were many standouts. The sprint medley team and the pole vault relay teams won state championships. There were five All-Conference members. Their 4×800 relay as well as Dylan Altland and Alec Sery competed at Nationals.
As evidenced by this roundup, the Dragons clearly will not relinquish the Shop-Rite Cup without a fight. This spring, they’ll look to pass the torch to the boys tennis, boys volleyball, baseball, softball, girls track, and boys track. It should be an exciting finish to the year!