There were many unknowns going into the winter season at Kingsway, as three new head coaches were introduced during the summer. However, all questions quickly were answered, as the winter season was a banner one for the Dragons.
Here is a breakdown of the winter season:
Girls Bowling: The girls’ team finished with a record of 30-10 which was second in the conference and was headed by junior Katie Robb who led the conference with an average of 195 and newcomer Abby Matthias who averaged 125 and was named to the all-conference team. Robb later went on to place fourth at the state championships. In his eleventh year as coach, Mike Mulligan continues to field one of the better programs in the area.
Boys Bowling: While this season was considered a bit of a rebuilding year, the boys’ bowling team was able to infuse a mostly new group of athletes into the fold and was led by junior Griffin Rego who averaged 180. Rego was named to the all-conference team.
Boys Basketball: Coach Marcus Robinson finished his initial campaign as the head coach with a record of 16-10. They were able to a share of the Royal Division title with a 8-2 divisional record. As the ninth seed in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs, they lost a close game in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs to Millville, 64-58. All-Conference selections went to Hakim Hart and Jamir Patterson. Hart also set school records for the most points scored in a season (679), 3-pointers in a season (107), 3-pointers in a game (12), and points in a game (53).
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 Basketball: New coach Felicia Jenkins came into this season with high hopes, and the girls delivered. The Lady Dragons finished with an impressive 12-0 record in the Royal Division. They were led by All-Conference player Maddie Hahn. The Lady Dragons defeated Williamstown and Rancocas Valley in the playoffs to get to the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals, where they lost an exciting battle with Toms River North, 52-49.
Girls Swimming: Coach Caitlin Hess, in her fifth year, continued to field one of the best girls swim teams in the area. With a 6-2 record, they had their fourth consecutive winning record. The defining moment in their season was when they finished second at both the Gloucester County and Tri-County Championships, narrowly losing to Clearview in both.
They finished the team portion of their season by making the state playoffs, where they lost to Cherokee. Senior Sydney Jaramillo once again was a major force. She was the Gloucester County and Tri-County champion in the 200 individual medley, and she won the Swimmer of the Meet award at both of these championships. Senior Marissa Heino also repeated as county champion in the 100 back.
Boys Swimming: Returning a solid team from the previous year, Coach Caitlin Hess had high expectations for her team, and they did not disappoint, leading the boys to a 7-2 record. Team-wise, they finished third at the Gloucester County and Tri-County Championships. They were led by all-conference selections jack Gable, who set the new school record in the 100 fly (55.02) and Richie Jaramillo, who qualified for the state championships in the 200 individual medley by breaking the school record (2:00.52).
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 finished a close second to the Delaware state champion Howard Tech at the Ursinus Invitational. Individually, they were led by state qualifiers Jacob Metheny, Ernie Daniel, Nick Fanelle, Ryan Evernham, Joe Grandizio, Jon Connor, and Ryan Hollup. The team had 6 All-Conference selections. Of special note, freshman Stone Caraccio finished 3rd in the freshman mile at the National Championships, running 4:30 for the mile.
Girls Winter Track and Field: The girls’ squad continued to impress under Coach Christian Lynch, showing they had one of the best teams in New Jersey. Five girls were All-Conference members. The distance medley team, which also won the state Group 4 title, and the 4×800 team ran two of the fastest times in the US, qualifying for nationals. Destiny Stanford (800), Erin Gray (pole vault), and Emily Hilt (shot put) all broke school records. Rachel Vick won her first state championship in the mile, breaking former All-American Chelsea Ley’s school record. She later won the Eastern States championship (4:54) and finished ninth at the National Championships.
Wrestling: The wrestlers certainly made a statement this season, especially at the end of the season. They were able to go 5-0 in the division to win the Tri-County Conference title. Going into the South Jersey Group 4 tournament with a 13-11 record, they shocked the wrestling world by winning the South Jersey championship over conference rival Hammonton. Three wrestlers advanced to the state championships. Seven wrestlers were named to the All-Conference team. Quinn Kinner, McKenzie Bell, and Morgan Bell won district titles. Quinn Kinner won his third Region 8 title. At the state championships, he was able to become the state champion at 132, Kingsway’s second ever state champion in wrestling.
As evidenced by this roundup, Kingsway was able to incorporate many new coaching faces with their veteran coaches in order to keep the Dragon tradition alive. This spring, they’ll look to pass the torch to boys’ tennis, boys volleyball, baseball, softball, girls track, and boys track. Expect to see more new faces who certainly will add their own new flair to the mix.
By Christian Lynch