Kingsway Winter Sports Wrap-Up: Graduation Losses Don’t Stop Dragons

kingsway sportsBy Christian Lynch

Having graduated such prolific winter athletes as current University of Maryland sprinter Thaila Cooper, LaSalle distance runner Noah Culbreath, and Wilkes University basketball player Marcus Robinson, Kingsway had some big shoes to fill, yet showed that they are more than a few outstanding individuals. Here is a breakdown of the winter season:

Girls Bowling: The girls’ team finished fourth in the conference and were headed by Katie Robb who led the conference with an average of 181 and Kelsey Hoagland who averaged 125. Robb later went on to win the South Jersey championship and placed in the top 15 in New Jersey.

Boys Bowling: While this season was considered a bit of a rebuilding year, the bowling team had another winning record and was led by senior Davon Dickson who averaged 175. In his tenth year as coach, Mike Mulligan continues to field one of the better programs in the area.

Girls Winter Track and Field: Despite losing many top athletes to graduation, the girls’ squad continued to impress under Coach Christian Lynch. Nine girls were All-Conference members. The distance medley and 4×800 teams ran two of the fastest times in the US, qualifying for nationals. With most of their core returning, they will be a force at the state level next year.

Boys Basketball: Coach Drew Owen’s finished his fifth campaign as the head coach with a record of 16-11. They were able to vie for the Royal Division title which ultimately went to Highland. This team was led by All-Conference selections Matt Blaszczyk and Timar Brown. They lost a close game in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs to Cherry Hill East, 45-42. The Kingsway cheerleaders, led by Coach Dawn Marchetti, enthusiastically supported the boys and girls teams throughout the season, helping to root Kingsway towards success.

Girls Swimming: Coach Caitlin Hess, in her fourth year, continued to field one of the better girls swim teams in the area. With a 4-2 record, they had their third consecutive winning record. The defining moment in their season was when they finished third at both the Gloucester County and Tri-County Championships.

Sophomore Sydney Jaramillo once again was the top point scorer for the team this season; she also won the Gloucester County and Tri-County champion in the 100 fly again. She also broke a 26 year old school record and 22 year old Gloucester County meet record in the 100 fly. This performance qualified her for states. Marissa Heino also repeated as county champion in the 100 back. With a strong returning nucleus, the team will look to make some major waves in South Jersey.

Boys Swimming: Returning every swimmer from last year’s playoff qualifying team, Coach Caitlin Hess had high expectations for her team, and they did not disappoint, leading the boys to another 6-3 record. Team-wise, they finished third at the Tri-County Championships and qualified for the NJSIAA playoffs for the second year in a row. They had a group of solid swimmers who collectively made a very good unit. With a strong incoming freshman class next year, this program continues to build towards something special.

Wrestling: The wrestlers certainly made a statement this season, especially at the end of the season. They defeated Lenape 45-33 in the first round of the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs. They then shocked the wrestling world by rattling off three consecutive pins at the end of the match to defeat second seeded Egg Harbor 39-31 and earn a trip to the finals against eventual state Southern Regional. They also were third at the District 31 Championships.

Three wrestlers advanced to the state championships. Seven wrestlers were named to the All-Conference team. Quinn Kinner, Trace Kinner, and Trent Tutko won district titles, while Quinn Kinner was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the district Championships for the second year in a row. Quinn Kinner both won his second Region 8 title and later finished third at the state championships. The future of this program looks to be an exciting one.

Boys Winter Track and Field: Coach Christian Lynch lost many stars from last year’s state title team, but his squad still found a way to show they were among the elite programs in New Jersey. They won their second consecutive Ursinus Invitational team championship in dominating fashion over the top teams from Delaware and Pennsylvania. In their first season in Group 4 in winter track, they lost a close battle to defending Group 4 champion Egg Harbor at the South Jersey Group 4 team championship.

Individually, the pole vault relay team of juniors Ryan Evernham and Jacob Metheny won their 2nd consecutive state championship. Evernham (pole vault), Chase Matthews (high jump), and Sam Shinn (shot put) each won South Jersey championships. Matthews was named to the All-State team. The team had nine All-Conference selections.

Girls Basketball: Coach Karyn Pickard, one of South Jersey’s winningest coaches with 335 wins, came into this season with high hopes, and the girls did not disappoint. The Lady Dragons finished with an impressive 20-7 record in the Royal Division, winning their fourth divisional title in six years. They were led by All-Conference players Zoe Hahn, Renee Hersperger, and Maddi Hahn, and Zoe Hahn scored her 1,000th point.

The Lady Dragons defeated Clearview and Atlantic City in the playoffs to get to the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals, where they lost an exciting battle with Cherokee, 39-27.

As evidenced by this roundup, the Dragons have weathered the storm of losing such high quality seniors last June. This spring, they’ll look to pass the torch to boys tennis, boys volleyball, baseball, softball, girls track, and boys track. Expect to see continued growth from these squads.

 

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Swedesboro NJ
October 16, 2021, 10:23 pm
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