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.
Eunae Jo, 2022 Inductee
According to retired girls golf head coach Dave Vanderbush, “Eunae Jo is the best female golfer ever to play at Ridgewood High School.” Eunae Jo began playing golf at the age of five. Her father was a teaching pro and he served as her coach all throughout her golf career. Not only did her father coach her in the mechanics and tactics of the game, he always continued to motivate her. Eunae will tell you it was her father that always encouraged her to “work hard and dream big.” Going through the many layers of development and competition as a teenager, Eunae eventually came onto the golf scene at Ridgewood High School. Eunae recounts how she always considered golf a lonely sport spending many hours on the range and golf course, alone, perfecting her game. However, when she joined the golf team at RHS, she quickly learned how special it was to be a part of a team working towards a single goal together. Eunae remembers how playing rounds without her teammates, but knowing everyone was working to achieve one goal, was motivating and comforting. Eunae recalls “it was such an exciting time for us, especially as Julia (Rappa), our other teammates and I started to look forward to team practices, matches and tournaments.” She goes on to say she will always remember “the special bond we had as teammates.” Bond they did and brought RHS girls golf right to the top of the list of girls golf programs in the state.
The NJSIAA recognized girls’golf as an individual sport from boys golf in 2004. In 2005 Dave Vanderbush organized the first girls’ golf team at Ridgewood. There was no league and the girls played an independent schedule. There was a state tournament that year for girls’ golf sponsored by the NJSIAA. Golfers had to shoot forty five or better over nine holes during the state qualifier to qualify to play in the state tournament. Eunae and her teammate Julia both qualified. Not only did they qualify, but they won the tournament with freshman Eunae Jo shooting an 89 and freshman Julia Rappa shooting a 90 for a 15 stroke victory over JP Stevens. The pair of Jo and Rappa would qualify for the tournament again for the next three years 2006, 2007 and 2008 winning the State Championship in 2006 by one stroke in a one hole playoff with Red Bank Catholic and then again in 2008 with a two stroke victory over Haddonfield. It was sweet revenge as Haddonfield had defeated Ridgewood by 3 strokes for the championship in 2007.
Eunae was named to many individual honors including first team all state twice and went on to play golf for four years at Georgetown University. During her time at Georgetown Eunae was named team captain for both her junior and senior years. She qualified and played in every tournament for her collegiate team over her entire four years as a Hoya. The learning experience and opportunities presented to her by her devotion to the game ring true her father’s words from many years before, “work hard and dream big.” That she did and it has paid off competitively as well in life lessons learned with many valuable relationships made. Eunae Jo, welcome to 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