For the third consecutive year, Kingsway is locked in a battle for the Shop-Rite Cup, awarded to the top athletic program in each group classification. Two years ago, Kingsway won its first Shop-Rite Cup ever while in Group 3.
Due to a phenomenal winter season this year, Kingsway enters the winter season in second place behind northern New Jersey powerhouse Ridge by one point. Here is a breakdown of the winter season:
Boys Basketball: Coach Drew Owen’s finished his fourth campaign as the head coach with a record of 19-7. This team truly played as a unit, going undefeated in the Royal Division to win that championship against many of the top teams in South Jersey, including Schalick, Delsea, and Highland.
This team was led by All-Conference selections Marcus Robinson, Colin Pollick, Matt Blaszczyk, and Nehemiah Arzeez They lost a close game in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs to Southern.
Girls Swimming: Coach Caitlin Hess, in her third year, arguably had the best girls swim team in school history. With a 5-3 record, they had their second consecutive winning record.
The defining moment in their season was when they defeated favored Toms River South in the first round of the playoffs to garner the first playoff win in over 20 years for the girls swim team. Sophomore Sydney Jaramillo once again 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: Having graduated a ton of point scorers from last year’s team, Coach Caitlin Hess had a squad with many question marks. However, she continued surprising naysayers, leading this unheralded group to a 6-3 record.
While they did not have one standout individually, they had a group of solid swimmers who collectively made a very good unit. All-Conference selections were Nick Zahniser, Chris Cook, and Jack Gable.
Surpassing all preseason expectations for everyone outside of Kingsway, this team qualified for the NJSIAA playoffs, matching their female counterparts. Returning most of their point scorers next year, this program continues to look like a future powerhouse.
Wrestling: They defeated Moorestown 59-12 in the first round of the playoffs. They also were third at the District 31 Championships. Five wrestlers advanced to the state championships, which is the top total of any South Jersey school. Six wrestlers were named to the All-Conference team.
Quinn Kinner, Rory Bushby, Stanley Atkinson, and Michael Morris won district titles, while Quinn Kinner was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the district Championships. Quinn and Trace Kinner both won Region 8 titles. The future of this program looks to be an exciting one.
Girls Basketball: Coach Karyn Pickard, who garnered her 300th career win in a December win against Triton and currently has 315 wins to her credit, came into this season with high hopes, and the girls did not disappoint. The Lady Dragons finished with an impressive 18-8 record in the Royal Division, winning their third divisional title in five years.
They were led by All-Conference players Zoe Hahn, Renee Hersperger, and Tiana Morgan. With four returners from their starting lineup, a deeper run into next year’s state playoffs appears certain.
Girls Bowling: The girls’ team continued to be the team to beat in the division, as they were able to win the division title once again under Coach Mike Mulligan. They also were able to repeat as the Holiday Bowl champions.
Led by Katie Robb who had a high series of 635 and Laken Owen who had a high game of 238, these girls have set the bar quite high for future Kingsway bowling teams.
Boys Bowling: Coach Mike Mulligan had a tall order coming off of the program’s first South Jersey champion; however, the bowling team had another winning record and qualified for the NJSIAA playoffs again.
Led by senior Eric Randall who had a high game of 264, the boys were able to make another run into the postseason. Mulligan continues to field one of the better programs in the area.
Girls Winter Track and Field: The girls’ squad continued to show their prowess under Coach Christian Lynch. Four girls were All-Conference members. Thaila Cooper won her third consecutive State Group 3 and South Jersey Group 3 championships in the 400 meter.
They sent their 4×200 and sprint medley teams to Nationals. The pinnacle of the season was when the girls were able to take out much-favored Winslow and Timber Creek to clinch their first South Jersey Group 3 team championship.
Boys Winter Track and Field: Coach Christian Lynch had one of the top teams in New Jersey as well as the US, and they had one of the best seasons in school history.
They began their season winning their second consecutive State Group 3 Relay team championship in dominating fashion. They then defeated powerhouse Timber Creek by 42 points to win their third consecutive South Jersey Group 3 team championship.
Then, they finally were able to win their first-ever State Group 3 Individual team championship. Individually, the sprint medley team, distance medley team, 4×800, and the pole vault relay teams won state championships. There were seven All-Conference members.
As evidenced by this roundup, the Dragons clearly are in position to claim their second Shop-Rite Cup in three years. This spring, they’ll look to pass the torch to boys tennis, boys volleyball, baseball, softball, girls track, and boys track. It should be an exciting finish to the year.