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.
Eric Benedict, 2022 Inductee
Ridgewood High School has a long and storied past in athletics, fielding teams as far back as the early 1900’s. The sport of lacrosse does not go back that far at Ridgewood but since its inception in 1985 Ridgewood Lacrosse, both boys and girls, quickly became recognized on the local, state, and national levels as a premier program. The boy’s program had a combined record of 20-34 in it first four years of competition. In 1989 the tide turned. Ridgewood finished 16-1, undefeated in the regular season and then went 16-1 and 19-0 in 1990 and 1991 respectively. It is no coincidence that those three seasons correspond with Eric Benedict’s time competing for the Maroons.
Eric was a 4-year letter winner for Ridgewood in lacrosse and part of the “Streak of 44” teams which established the Tradition of Excellence for Ridgewood Lacrosse and were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He was selected 2nd Team All-Gibbs Conference in 1989, and 1st Team in 1990 and 1991. He was 1st Team All-State in 1990, an All-American and was awarded the Governor’s Cup as the Outstanding Athlete in lacrosse at the Garden State Games. In 1991, Eric was again 1st Team All-State, All-American, the NJ Co-Player of the Year and finished his high school career playing in the United States National All-Star game.
At the completion of his Ridgewood HS lacrosse career Eric ranked #3 in career goals, #3 in career assists and #3 in total career points. His 1990 19-0 team remains the best record in school history and the 1991 team set the school record for fewest points allowed in a season (51) and fewest goals per game given up, 2.68. The 1990 team gave up 53, and 3.12 respectively to take second in both categories.
Eric also played football at Ridgewood, and he played it very well. As a Senior Captain he rushed for 605 yards on 103 carries and had 10 catches for 115 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, he roamed the secondary where he was the team’s third leading tackler and punted compiling a 33 yards per kick average. At the end of the season, he earned 1st Team All NNJIL as a running bank and All-Suburban as the Most Versatile Player. To cap off his HS football career, Eric was honored with the coveted Stroker Award given to a Ridgewood HS senior football player who distinguished himself at RHS and participated in meaningful way in the Ridgewood Junior Football Association.
Upon graduation from RHS, Benedict moved on to Brown University to play Division I lacrosse. He was elected Captain his senior year despite missing much of his junior year with an injury. His senior year Brown finished as Ivy League Champions with a 5-1 league record and was awarded the #7 seed in the NCAA tournament where they lost to #2 Virginia in the quarterfinals. Eric finished the season with 5 goals, 10 assists in 16 games while also taking 80% of Brown’s face-offs and winning 60% of them. In his career at Brown, he played in 45 games, scored 10 goals, with 11 assists and garnered two Ivy League Championships.
As a member of the 2022 Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame, Eric Benedict joins a long line of successful student athletes who not only excelled in their chosen sports at RHS but continued to compete and have success at the college level. His success on the lacrosse field was instrumental in laying the foundation for what has become one of Ridgewood’s premier sports programs. Events like “Lax Day,” and continued success in league, county, and state competitions can be traced directly back to Eric and his teammates success in the late 80’s and he now takes his place amongst the “Best of the Best” at RHS.
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