Members of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame are those that have made a lasting impact on the school’s sports program as either student players, coaches, or supporters. Often the student players have continued to influence their chosen sports after high school by ongoing participation in athletics.
Boys’ LaCrosse 1990-1992, 2014 Inductee
Seven Hundred and sixty five days. That’s how long the Ridgewood High School Boys Lacrosse team went without a loss between 1990 and 1992. And in that span, a group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators made history and helped to change the athletic landscape in Ridgewood.
If people in Ridgewood were asked about the sport of lacrosse during the late 1980’s, besides a host of blank stares, the best response might have been “Oh, is it that thing where kids run around throwing with butterfly nets?” But that was about to change.
In only its fifth year as a program, Ridgewood High School’s lacrosse team showed signs of improvement. In 1989 the team was undefeated in the regular season and made the state playoffs for the first time. However, that was just the beginning of a rise to state and national recognition that would carry the reputation of Ridgewood High School lacrosse forward to the present day.
The 1990 team had high expectations for their season and going in to an early season match up with perennial state powerhouse Mountain Lakes, they would be tested. That afternoon Ridgewood was given a lacrosse lesson they would use as a means of inspiration, through humiliation, losing to Mountain Lakes 14-4. It was the last time Ridgewood would taste defeat for more than two years.
Over the next 25 months, the team would dominate the entire state, winning two league championships, two state championships and setting the record for most consecutive wins in the history of New Jersey lacrosse with a run of 44 victories in a row thereby creating what will ever be referred to in Ridgewood High School lacrosse history as the “The Streak of 44”.
Head Coach Steve Jacobson and Assistant Coaches Bob Turco, Craig Chiesa and Bob Blakely built a powerhouse that won games over the course of the streak by an average score nearing 11 to 3.During “The Streak”, the team scored 470 goals while only allowing 120. The team only trailed at half time once while never giving up double digit goals in any game. During “The Streak”, Ridgewood produced 21 all-league players, 20 all-state players, 7 All-Americans and 2 New Jersey State players-of-the-year.
On May 3, 1992, when the streak finally came to an end, it wasn’t just town or state news…it was national news with the USA Today reporting that the Ridgewood Boy’s Lacrosse team had finally lost a game. But by that point, everyone in Ridgewood knew what lacrosse was and the rest of the state and the country knew what they would face whenever a Ridgewood lacrosse team stood across from them on a field in competition, a fierce desire to succeed and a burning desire for victory.
The 1990, 91 and 92 Teams would like to thank former Athletic Director Dave Vanderbush, past Ridgewood Junior Lacrosse Presidents Dave Fuhs, Mark Jackson, James Sullivan and former District Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics Dave Marsh for their hard work and constant support.
The 1990-19992 RHS lacrosse teams embody what we recognize today as the Ridgewood High School “Tradition of Excellence” and rightly deserve their place as one of the great beacons of inspiration in the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
John Marshall, Jim Bruni, Mark Romeo, Jean Hughes, Chris Van Note, Nancy Hogan, RHS Football Team 1913, Don Taylor, Rachel Grygiel, John Cerf, Paul Tornatore, Michele Marangi, RHS Boys’ Lacrosse 1990-92
Craig Halyard, Tom Flatt, Tricia Pappalardo, Mike Henderson, Kandie Latham, Leigh Jester, Tom Dusel, Roger Sweeney, Linda Zabielski, Patty Capasso, Dennis Sullivan, Nick & Dottie Capasso, Track and Field (Bain-Daley-Oliver Era)
Kitty Batterson, Henry Blauvelt, Frank L. Bradley, Jr., Lucia Cancelmo, Chris DuFlocq, Renee DuFlon, RHS Girls’ Basketball 1922-1923, Harry Grundy, Jim Jones, Joe LeMay, Jen McDermott, Shannon McGarrigle, Tony Napier, Margaret Niemann, Vince Robertiello (Jamie Roberts), Damian Ross, Mike Springer
Paul Arrigoni, Pete Campbell, Doug Cook, Becky Deetz, Otis Grendler, Jodi Hartwig, Gene Links, Debbie O’Connell, Aimee McGuire, Walt Perdue, Tom Simos, Kazbek Tambi, Jack Van Yperen, Bob Whitaker, Margaret Scutro