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.
Julia Rappa, 2022 Inductee
Julia Rappa was introduced to golf through her Dad. As a young child, Julia was introduced to many sports, but golf was the one that Julia says “she picked up on quickly.”
As Julia got older she began taking lessons and competing in the Pioneer Junior Golf Tour which was a Bergen County based program for young people getting into golf. According to Julia it was a great place to meet other kids that played golf and a good place to sharpen her skills. Julia also competed in many junior tours such as the NJSGA, IJGT and AJGA tournaments that gave her a great deal of exposure to competitive golf.
Having played golf since she was about ten years of age, Julia was very excited about the opportunity to join the Ridgewood High School golf team as a freshman. Initially joining the boys’ team, Julia said playing competitive golf against the boys was a great experience that sharpened her competitive drive and proved to her how strong her game had become and how strong it could be.
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.While Dave Vanderbush built the RHS girls golf program, Julia and her teammate Eunae Jo were excited to support the new girls joining the team. From that point on Julia would be an integral part of putting Ridgewood girls’ golf on to the top of the list for all of the girls’ golf programs in New Jersey.
Julia and her teammate Eunae Jo both qualified. Not only did they qualify, but they won the tournament with freshman Julia Rappa shooting a 90 and freshman Eunae Jo shooting an 89 for a 15 stroke victory over JP Stevens. The pair of Rappa and Jo would qualify for the tournament again for the next three years 2006, 2007 and 2008.Ridgewood would win the state championship in 2006 by one stroke in a one hole playoff with Red Bank Catholic with Rappa making a par 4 on the playoff hole. The pair would win 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.
Winning many individual honors through her interscholastic days, Julia went on to play golf for four years at Long Island University Brooklyn. Julia states that golf was a big part of her decision to go to LIU. She wanted an education in New York City and her ability in golf afforded her the opportunity to do so. Julia recounts the incredible teammates she had from different parts of the world. She was the only American on the team. Julia states “when you are competing and traveling for tournaments each weekend, your teammates become family. It was an incredible experience to study in NYC during the week and play on beautiful golf courses all along the East coast during the weekends.”
Julia placed in many tournaments during her collegiate career at LIU, but her high school coach Dave Vanderbush summed it up by saying, “Julia was an excellent, steady golfer who always played team golf.”
Julia Rappa , 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