Newark Academy Athletics Enjoys Fall Success, Sets Foundation for Winning Future
On Kacur Field, both soccer teams had first-year coaches at the helm. Under English faculty member Seraphine Hamilton, the Lady Minutemen spent the season intent on building a dynamic team culture and, while some of their competitive success was muted by a rash of injuries, the groundwork for future campaigns was clearly laid. Top performers for the girls were spread out by grade. Senior goalie Gabby Neibart recorded 202 saves and senior forward Sam Keller, who has eight goals and four assists. Super sophomore Alexa Guastello who notched six goals and two assists. Freshmen standouts Ava Cole (five goals, three assists) and Kate Fishbone (four goals, three assists) demonstrated that they will be key cogs down the road for Newark Academy girls’ soccer.
On the boys’ side, new coach Ben Stuart oversaw a return to winning ways after not being on the right side of many games over the previous two years. They finished their 2018 campaign with an impressive 13-4-1 mark that will see them move up a division next season. Key performers included seniors KaI Youngren and Connor Klein and juniors Jonah Schachtel and Ruitao Chen, all of whom were recognized as All-Conference players. Key newcomers for the boys included junior Carl Vestberg and freshman Max Alter who provided stability in the goal for the red and black.
In the Simon Family Field House, Volleyball continued its resurgence under third-year head coach Bella Galvez. They went 9-3 in conference play and pulled off huge upsets in the Essex County (versus Montclair) and state (versus Red Bank Catholic) tournaments, respectively. All conference honorees Lori Son ’20 (41 Aces, 96 service points, 270 kills, 3 blocks, 116 digs) and Ariel Hsieh ’19 (28 aces, 105 service points, 459 assists, 42 digs) were top performers for Newark Academy, while freshman Fiona Tillyer (32 aces, 125 service points 100 kills) will be a key building block moving forward.
On the outside courts, Newark Academy’s girls’ tennis team secured its sixth straight North Sectional Championship and were county and state finalists. First doubles pair Veronica Zhang ’19 and Joyce Wang ’20 were county finalists and state semifinalists in the individual tournament. In addition to the strength of its first doubles team, much of the success of Coach Gen Gramatica’s squad came off of the racquets of first singles player Lauren Holtzman ’19 and third singles player Julia Schwed ’21. Goals for a return to the state title match in 2019 will be planned around the development of this season’s key new additions, Monica Zhang ’21, Gianna Porchak ’20 and Melanie Kramerchuk ’22.
On Coursen Field, another first-year head coach took the helm of NA’s gridiron team and Keith Fischer finished his first season pleased with the progress that his team made over the course of the fall. The Minutemen finished third in the Hudson Valley league and won an overtime thriller versus the Harvey School as the highlight of the season. Coach Fischer is quick to point out the contributions of the entire senior class as having gone a long way toward developing the culture he sought to instill in NA football, and singled out seniors Sam Lawler, Spencer Wang and Danny Laks specifically. Other key contributors included a bevy of sophomores, including quarterback Alex Fishbone and tailback Jeffery Keys. Of the newcomers, a pair of sophomores are again cause for optimism in Thomas Skorka and Chris Mulligan, as does junior Nazir Surratt.
Field Hockey had their most successful season in recent memory, highlighted by a win over Prep B champions Montclair Kimberley Academy. Much of the Minutemen’s success was due to the play of goalie Ellie Thomas ’20 who recorded a 75 save percentage and was named first team all division for her efforts. Joining her on the All-Division team were Talia Schraven ’20, Aimee Sze ’21 and Caitlin Clancy ’19. In addition. Field Hockey will bring back two prolific scorers who have only just started their NA careers. Freshmen Tess Kessler (nine goals and four assists) was named First Team All-Conference and Lauren Hardman (seven goals and two assists) was named Second Team All-Conference in an injury shortened campaign. Both will be counted on to light up the Coursen Field scoreboard for the next three years.
Finally, Newark Academy’s cross country teams continues to emerge as one of the strongest teams on campus and in the non-public ranks, under the tutelage of Sarah Guelich - yet another first-year head coach. The girls’ team was led by top performers Molly Cantillon ’21, Kavya Nivarthy ’21 and Kira Lu ’20 and counted a third-place finish at the Essex County meet as one of the best moments of the season. Ivy Xie ’21 and Emily Swope ’22 will be counted on to add depth in 2019. The boys’ team was arguably Newark Academy’s most successful this fall. Led by Jackson Powers ’20, Jack Ryan ’21 and Warren Sunada-Wong ’20, the boys’ won both the Prep and the State championships in 2018. The team should only be stronger next season with freshman Andy Nagpal and junior Andrew Pulver pushing the returners for spots in varsity races.