RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame 2020 Inductees

Order Tickets: 2022 Inductees Banquet

Carlos Peay

Underneath the senior picture of Carlos Peay in the 1951 Arrow year book of Ridgewood High School is his senior quote which reads, “A mighty man in the game of sports.” It would also be fitting to note that later in Carlos’s life he would also be known as a mighty man of the law. 

There were many firsts that Carlos achieved in his life starting with being the first African American named a captain of the Ridgewood High School Football team. Later in his life he would be the first African American appointed as the assistant Bergen County prosecutor. 

Carlos was a 3 year letter winner and star running back on the 1948, 1949, and 1950 football teams. He was an All League and All Suburban selection in 1949 adding All County and All State honors as well, during a stellar undefeated and untied season in 1950 that found the Maroons the cream of the crop not only of the Bergen County gridiron scene, but as one of the top teams in the state. 

He was a leader on a team (1950) that brought great renown. According to the RHS Arrow yearbook, “without doubt one of the most notable events….was the successful completion of the first unbeaten and untied football season on the records of the school in thirty-five years.” (A reference to back to the great RHS football team of 1915.) “The feats in other rings at the RHS circus will be forgotten by all but the star performers long before the accomplishments of 1950’s gridders pass on to oblivion.” Those accomplishments would include those of Carlos Peay. Besides football Carlos was a three time letter winner in track and a two year member of the bowling team. 

Carlos did not pursue an athletic career outside of his high school commitment, but it seems he had enough on his plate to keep him engaged in many leadership positions that he was well prepared for in part by his storied athletic career at RHS. 

Carlos went on to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. where was actively involved in Howard’s R.O.T.C. program. Carlos graduated and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After serving three years in the military, he enrolled at Rutgers University Law School 1960 where he earned his law degree with honors. According to a story from the Ridgewood Newspapers Carlos “walked off with four first prizes and awards given to 1963 graduates of Rutgers Law School.” 

Carlos went on to create his own private law practice. He was also a very active member of the Bergen County branch of the N.A.A.C.P. and was the founding member of Kappa Theta Lambda’s Bergen County Chapter. He was also a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Throughout his life Carlos lived by the code of a champion and we welcome him (posthumously) into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Underneath the senior picture of Carlos Peay in the 1951 Arrow year book of Ridgewood High School is his senior quote which reads, “A mighty man in the game of sports.” It would also be fitting to note that later in Carlos’s life he would also be known as a mighty man of the law. 

There were many firsts that Carlos achieved in his life starting with being the first African American named a captain of the Ridgewood High School Football team. Later in his life he would be the first African American appointed as the assistant Bergen County prosecutor. 

Carlos was a 3 year letter winner and star running back on the 1948, 1949, and 1950 football teams. He was an All League and All Suburban selection in 1949 adding All County and All State honors as well, during a stellar undefeated and untied season in 1950 that found the Maroons the cream of the crop not only of the Bergen County gridiron scene, but as one of the top teams in the state. 

He was a leader on a team (1950) that brought great renown. According to the RHS Arrow yearbook, “without doubt one of the most notable events….was the successful completion of the first unbeaten and untied football season on the records of the school in thirty-five years.” (A reference to back to the great RHS football team of 1915.) “The feats in other rings at the RHS circus will be forgotten by all but the star performers long before the accomplishments of 1950’s gridders pass on to oblivion.” Those accomplishments would include those of Carlos Peay. Besides football Carlos was a three time letter winner in track and a two year member of the bowling team. 

Carlos did not pursue an athletic career outside of his high school commitment, but it seems he had enough on his plate to keep him engaged in many leadership positions that he was well prepared for in part by his storied athletic career at RHS. 

Carlos went on to attend Howard University in Washington D.C. where was actively involved in Howard’s R.O.T.C. program. Carlos graduated and enlisted in the U.S. Army. After serving three years in the military, he enrolled at Rutgers University Law School 1960 where he earned his law degree with honors. According to a story from the Ridgewood Newspapers Carlos “walked off with four first prizes and awards given to 1963 graduates of Rutgers Law School.” 

Carlos went on to create his own private law practice. He was also a very active member of the Bergen County branch of the N.A.A.C.P. and was the founding member of Kappa Theta Lambda’s Bergen County Chapter. He was also a proud member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Throughout his life Carlos lived by the code of a champion and we welcome him (posthumously) into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Louis Edward (Eddie) Peay

On the birth certificate the name reads Louis Edward Peay, but in the Village of Ridgewood everyone knows him by his familiar name “Eddie.” Eddie grew up as a young black athlete in the 1950’s in Ridgewood, N.J. He attended the predominantly Afro American Mt Bethel Baptist Church on South Broad Street and attended the Ridgewood Public Schools. While those are some basic facts, the fact is that if you were having a bad day, he was going to change your day around with that signature smile, a big greeting, and that powerful handshake that you would never forget.

As Eddie grew up he developed a passion for sports at a very young age. As a young man and only after his chores were done, he would search the local streets in town looking for a pick-up baseball or basketball game or maybe just someone to throw the football with. Eddie went to Union Street Elementary School and then on to George Washington Junior High School. From there it was on to Ridgewood High School where he graduated from in June of 1954.

Upon graduating from RHS, Eddie went to Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania to study engineering and play football. Eddie returned home early from college to engage his skills in entrepreneurship and to start a family. He married his high school sweetheart Alveria and had three children Colette, Louis, and Jacques. Creating a strong family base with a strong belief in secondary and higher education, all three of his children attended the Ridgewood Public Schools and graduated from Ridgewood High School and from college. Colette and Louis graduated from Ramapo College and Jacques from Bucknell University, where like his father, he played intercollegiate football. Eddie not only started a family, but also a very successful business which was well recognized throughout the Bergen County area as the ”Peay Moving Service.” A well established business in town, it served the community and surrounding area for over sixty years.

From his early youth Eddie was a true athlete as he excelled at baseball and football. In his youth Eddie’s Ridgewood Baseball Association’s first ever Little League All Star Team was the first village youth team to receive national recognition. His team made it all the way to the regional little league finals in 1949 and lost the final to Hagerstown, Maryland for a trip to one of the initial Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This group of young ballplayers were recognized as champions and were looked at as local heroes of the day.

As a high school athlete, Eddie’s special skill set showed itself in the fall and spring when he excelled on the gridiron and diamond. In high school Eddie wanted to follow in his older brother Carlos’s footsteps, but wanted to cut his own path to success. Being named a First Team All County running back in 1953 his record of success and statistics reflect his abilities. He is often talked about in Bergen County football circles as a hard hitting, tough player with outstanding speed and balance. Many comments of the time simply stated, “It was a pleasure to watch him play.“ Eddie recalls that he truly enjoyed his teammates as he Co-captained the varsity football team his senior season with Bruce Nealy. He always looked forward to the traditional Thanksgiving Day game with Fairlawn stating, “They were always ready for the “Cutter” attack with other players like Bill Dailey and Joe Corcoran.” Eddie not only excelled as an athlete, but also as a student enabling him to follow his dream of a football scholarship to Lafayette.

A lifelong Ridgewood resident, Eddie loves the Village and its people. He gave back to his community by being a junior football association coach inspiring many young athletes in town to realize that hard work, commitment and teamwork were the lessons not only of teams, but of a good person and good personal character. He also volunteered his time by helping with the RHS Jamboree and in helping to maintain a green Ridgewood by donating his time to planting floral arrangement throughout the downtown area. Retired now and still living the dream in Ridgewood, he spends his time spoiling his grandchildren and is always available to share a smile and some good cheer with a “Hey Buddy” and big smile to one and all.

Congratulations Eddie on a fantastic life and on your incredible accomplishments both on and off the athletic field. It is a pleasure to now call you a member of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall Of Fame.

Kelly Conheeney

In 2009 Ridgewood High School girls head soccer coach Jeff Yearing stated about then senior Kelly Conheeney, “Kelly is the best overall soccer player ever to wear the Ridgewood uniform. There have been many with amazing abilities within certain parameters of the game, but none can surpass Kelly’s over all grasp of what is needed to excel anywhere on the field on either side of the ball under any condition. Kelly possesses great tactical foresight, great technical ability and can use finesse or explosive moves to beat an opponent to pass or score. Her defensive contributions and abilities are second to none.” 

This statement was somewhat prophetic as Kelly went on to be the only girls soccer player in the history of Ridgewood High School to achieve the ultimate goal of playing professionally in what many consider to be the best women’s professional soccer league in the world, the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League). It was a long road to the professional level for Kelly with many twists and turns. 

A four year starter at RHS, Kelly Conheeney was a four time selection to 14 team All League, 3 time selection to the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association All State team, and was named as one of the New Jersey Soccer Coaches Association top 20 players in the state for 2008. Kelly was also named First Team All County and the Bergen Record Newspaper’s North Jersey Player Of The Year. She was also named to the Newark Star Ledger’s First Team All Groups, All State Team, and named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Regional All American Team. Kelly is the only player in RHS history to be voted twice to the leadership position of Co-captain of the varsity team. She is also only the fourth player in the history of girls soccer at RHS to eclipse the career 200 point mark with 208 total career points on 78 goals (4th on the all time goals scored list) and 52 assists (2nd on the all time assists list). The other three girls to achieve this offensive level are now members of the Hall of Fame.

Kelly helped the Montclair Aristocrats win three State Championships and was a member of the Regional National Championship ODP team in 2007 and National Finalist in 2008. She traveled with the region 1 ODP team in 2009 to Russia to play against the U19 national teams from Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia and Poland. 

Kelly accepted a soccer scholarship to attend Virginia Tech University. Through all of her success on the field Kelly developed a false sense that injury wise nothing could go wrong, and nothing seemed to through her junior year at Virginia Tech. She’d been vital to the Hokies since stepping onto campus, starting all 68 matches in her 3 seasons, posting 26 goals and 21 assists. She already was the program’s career all-time leader in points and game-winning goals with 75 and 14 respectively. Her goals had beaten North Carolina and won the first two NCAA tournament games as the Hokies, in her third year, reached the Sweet 16 for the first time. She was the first female soccer player at Tech to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career with 26 goals and 23 assists. Her freshman season she earned ACC All Freshman and All ACC Tournament Team honors, her sophomore year she also had call ups to both the U20 and U23 national team camps and in her junior year was named the teams Co-MVP for the year, and was selected to the NCAA All Southeast Team and the All ACC team. 

Kelly suffered a series of concussions playing for the Ottawa Fury of the W league the summer before her senior season at Virginia Tech. A header in the second match of her senior year at Tech would put Kelly out of the game as a player for the next 3 and a half years, the cumulative effect of multiple concussions sustained over the course of her career. She graduated from Tech in 2012 with a degree in communications. She had a strong desire to be able to make a difference in the world and joined an organization with a global mission called “Coaches Across Continents” traveling to third world countries and using soccer as an instrument for change influencing young women’s lives.. Kelly spent a year and a half traveling and bringing programs that impacted individuals and communities in the arena of human rights and social justice. Cambodia, Indonesia, South Africa, the Congo, Tanzania, Columbia, Haiti and the Philippines are places she traveled to and became familiar with. She found it was, “the only thing that could have replaced soccer and made me as happy as I could have been during that time.” 

Kelly returned home in 2015 with as strong desire to pursue her dream of playing professionally and was cleared to return to play through tests, evaluations and consultation through the concussion program at the University of Pittsburgh in February of 2016. Three weeks later Kelly went through open tryouts and was offered a contract to play professionally for Sky Blue of the NWSL. Her career also brought her professional stays with the Houston Dash of the NWSL and Hammarby IF of Sweden’s professional women’s league. 

Today Kelly resides in Santa Monica California and is a coach with the Los Angeles Bulls Soccer Club. In 2016 she was the first player ever inducted into the NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Tonight she adds the RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame to those honors. 

In 2009 Ridgewood High School girls head soccer coach Jeff Yearing stated about then senior Kelly Conheeney, “Kelly is the best overall soccer player ever to wear the Ridgewood uniform. There have been many with amazing abilities within certain parameters of the game, but none can surpass Kelly’s over all grasp of what is needed to excel anywhere on the field on either side of the ball under any condition. Kelly possesses great tactical foresight, great technical ability and can use finesse or explosive moves to beat an opponent to pass or score. Her defensive contributions and abilities are second to none.” 

This statement was somewhat prophetic as Kelly went on to be the only girls soccer player in the history of Ridgewood High School to achieve the ultimate goal of playing professionally in what many consider to be the best women’s professional soccer league in the world, the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League). It was a long road to the professional level for Kelly with many twists and turns. 

A four year starter at RHS, Kelly Conheeney was a four time selection to 14 team All League, 3 time selection to the New Jersey Girls Soccer Coaches Association All State team, and was named as one of the New Jersey Soccer Coaches Association top 20 players in the state for 2008. Kelly was also named First Team All County and the Bergen Record Newspaper’s North Jersey Player Of The Year. She was also named to the Newark Star Ledger’s First Team All Groups, All State Team, and named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s Regional All American Team. Kelly is the only player in RHS history to be voted twice to the leadership position of Co-captain of the varsity team. She is also only the fourth player in the history of girls soccer at RHS to eclipse the career 200 point mark with 208 total career points on 78 goals (4th on the all time goals scored list) and 52 assists (2nd on the all time assists list). The other three girls to achieve this offensive level are now members of the Hall of Fame.

Kelly helped the Montclair Aristocrats win three State Championships and was a member of the Regional National Championship ODP team in 2007 and National Finalist in 2008. She traveled with the region 1 ODP team in 2009 to Russia to play against the U19 national teams from Russia, the Ukraine, Estonia and Poland. 

Kelly accepted a soccer scholarship to attend Virginia Tech University. Through all of her success on the field Kelly developed a false sense that injury wise nothing could go wrong, and nothing seemed to through her junior year at Virginia Tech. She’d been vital to the Hokies since stepping onto campus, starting all 68 matches in her 3 seasons, posting 26 goals and 21 assists. She already was the program’s career all-time leader in points and game-winning goals with 75 and 14 respectively. Her goals had beaten North Carolina and won the first two NCAA tournament games as the Hokies, in her third year, reached the Sweet 16 for the first time. She was the first female soccer player at Tech to record at least 20 goals and 20 assists in her career with 26 goals and 23 assists. Her freshman season she earned ACC All Freshman and All ACC Tournament Team honors, her sophomore year she also had call ups to both the U20 and U23 national team camps and in her junior year was named the teams Co-MVP for the year, and was selected to the NCAA All Southeast Team and the All ACC team. 

Kelly suffered a series of concussions playing for the Ottawa Fury of the W league the summer before her senior season at Virginia Tech. A header in the second match of her senior year at Tech would put Kelly out of the game as a player for the next 3 and a half years, the cumulative effect of multiple concussions sustained over the course of her career. She graduated from Tech in 2012 with a degree in communications. She had a strong desire to be able to make a difference in the world and joined an organization with a global mission called “Coaches Across Continents” traveling to third world countries and using soccer as an instrument for change influencing young women’s lives.. Kelly spent a year and a half traveling and bringing programs that impacted individuals and communities in the arena of human rights and social justice. Cambodia, Indonesia, South Africa, the Congo, Tanzania, Columbia, Haiti and the Philippines are places she traveled to and became familiar with. She found it was, “the only thing that could have replaced soccer and made me as happy as I could have been during that time.” 

Kelly returned home in 2015 with as strong desire to pursue her dream of playing professionally and was cleared to return to play through tests, evaluations and consultation through the concussion program at the University of Pittsburgh in February of 2016. Three weeks later Kelly went through open tryouts and was offered a contract to play professionally for Sky Blue of the NWSL. Her career also brought her professional stays with the Houston Dash of the NWSL and Hammarby IF of Sweden’s professional women’s league. 

Today Kelly resides in Santa Monica California and is a coach with the Los Angeles Bulls Soccer Club. In 2016 she was the first player ever inducted into the NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Tonight she adds the RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame to those honors. 

Sammy Cermack

RHS 2010 graduate Samantha Cermack is being inducted into the Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame, Class of 2020, for her accomplishments in both soccer and lacrosse. Girls soccer coach Jeff Yearing cites Sammy’s “excellent technical ability, quickness, tenacity, and field vision” as her strengths on the pitch and key factors in her high school career achievement of 67 goals and 40 assists –6th and 7th respectively all time.

A four-year starter from 2006 to 2009, she was named First team All-League all four years, and First Team All-Bergen County her junior and senior seasons. Her last three seasons she was named to the NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association First Team All-State Team, and in her senior season, named to that organization’s All East Team. Coach Yearing comments further on the senior year Co-Captain– “a great person, a great athlete, and the definition of a team leader, combined with a tireless work ethic, Sammy was one of our all-time best players.”

A 4 year starter for the Girls Lacrosse team from 2007 to 2010, during which the team went 78-11, culminating in her senior year as captain the first Tournament of Champions State title for the Maroons Girls Lacrosse program with the game winning goal for a 7-6 victory over Mendham, Sammy was named by the Newark Star Ledger Girls Lacrosse State Player of the Year. This recognition was complemented by being named North Jersey Player Of The Year (POY) and Bergen County POY. Her career statistics are amongst the leaders in all categories: Career points = 347 (2nd); Career goals = 174 (6th); Career assists= 173 (1st); Career ground balls = 150 (3rd); Career draw controls = 176 (4th); Career interceptions = 25 (4th). Consistent and stellar all four of her high school seasons, she was named First Team All Suburban all 4 years, First Team All League and All County her final 3 seasons, First Team All State her final 2 seasons, and a US Lacrosse All American her junior and senior years.

Sammy continues her lacrosse career today, as the Associate Head Coach for the Lehigh University Women’s LAX program, just completing her 7th season, having joined the staff upon her graduation from Johns Hopkins University. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks have gone 70-40 and have qualified for the Patriot League tournament every year while a member of the coaching staff. While competing for the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays women’s lacrosse team, she achieved continued success, captaining the squad her junior and senior years, and generating 149 career points, 13th highest in team history. She can be found in the Blue Jays record book for career assists = 51 (9th); career ground balls = 101 (17th); career draw controls = 102 (10th) while helping the team to a 43-29 win loss record. In her senior year, she was named First Team All Region and Third Team All American. Most significantly, upon the completion of her senior year, Sammy was the recipient of the Blue Jays Unlimited Award, given annually to the Johns Hopkins Varsity Athlete who most exemplifies spirit and leadership, promoting team unity and morale, and enhancing the athletic experience of her teammates.

After college, and while coaching at Lehigh, Sammy’s lacrosse career continued professionally, being drafted 39th by the Philadelphia Force of the United Women’s Lacrosse League in the 2016 inaugural season and playing through 2019.

RHS 2010 graduate Samantha Cermack is being inducted into the Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame, Class of 2020, for her accomplishments in both soccer and lacrosse. Girls soccer coach Jeff Yearing cites Sammy’s “excellent technical ability, quickness, tenacity, and field vision” as her strengths on the pitch and key factors in her high school career achievement of 67 goals and 40 assists –6th and 7th respectively all time.

A four-year starter from 2006 to 2009, she was named First team All-League all four years, and First Team All-Bergen County her junior and senior seasons. Her last three seasons she was named to the NJ Girls Soccer Coaches Association First Team All-State Team, and in her senior season, named to that organization’s All East Team. Coach Yearing comments further on the senior year Co-Captain– “a great person, a great athlete, and the definition of a team leader, combined with a tireless work ethic, Sammy was one of our all-time best players.”

A 4 year starter for the Girls Lacrosse team from 2007 to 2010, during which the team went 78-11, culminating in her senior year as captain the first Tournament of Champions State title for the Maroons Girls Lacrosse program with the game winning goal for a 7-6 victory over Mendham, Sammy was named by the Newark Star Ledger Girls Lacrosse State Player of the Year. This recognition was complemented by being named North Jersey Player Of The Year (POY) and Bergen County POY. Her career statistics are amongst the leaders in all categories: Career points = 347 (2nd); Career goals = 174 (6th); Career assists= 173 (1st); Career ground balls = 150 (3rd); Career draw controls = 176 (4th); Career interceptions = 25 (4th). Consistent and stellar all four of her high school seasons, she was named First Team All Suburban all 4 years, First Team All League and All County her final 3 seasons, First Team All State her final 2 seasons, and a US Lacrosse All American her junior and senior years.

Sammy continues her lacrosse career today, as the Associate Head Coach for the Lehigh University Women’s LAX program, just completing her 7th season, having joined the staff upon her graduation from Johns Hopkins University. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks have gone 70-40 and have qualified for the Patriot League tournament every year while a member of the coaching staff. While competing for the Johns Hopkins University Blue Jays women’s lacrosse team, she achieved continued success, captaining the squad her junior and senior years, and generating 149 career points, 13th highest in team history. She can be found in the Blue Jays record book for career assists = 51 (9th); career ground balls = 101 (17th); career draw controls = 102 (10th) while helping the team to a 43-29 win loss record. In her senior year, she was named First Team All Region and Third Team All American. Most significantly, upon the completion of her senior year, Sammy was the recipient of the Blue Jays Unlimited Award, given annually to the Johns Hopkins Varsity Athlete who most exemplifies spirit and leadership, promoting team unity and morale, and enhancing the athletic experience of her teammates.

After college, and while coaching at Lehigh, Sammy’s lacrosse career continued professionally, being drafted 39th by the Philadelphia Force of the United Women’s Lacrosse League in the 2016 inaugural season and playing through 2019.

Chris Rae

A sound mind in a sound body is the English translation of a famous quotation by the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Thales (Miletus, 624-546 BC). It is an often used reference in our modern society for one who has achieved high levels of success both athletically and academically. If one was to recognize a prime example of this current definition, one might point to Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall Of Fame inductee Chris Rae.

Beyond Chris’s outstanding athletic credentials, Chris was recognized by the Bergen County YMCAs as one of its top student athletes in 1987. Chris was not only setting records on the tracks around the state, but also showed great academic performance ranked 6th in his class of 445 students at the highly regarded Ridgewood High School. Chris was a National Merit Scholar who went on to attend Stanford University 1987-1992. He earned both Bachelors and Master of Arts degrees in philosophy at Stanford while competing as a track team member that he helped Captain in 1992.

Working in the business world for a number of years Chris returned to school 1997-2001 at Duke University where he completed an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business while also completing his Juris Doctorate (JD) from the Duke University Law School.

Athletically Chris was a force on the county, state and national level while a student athlete at RHS. Besides being named to numerous NNJIL All League Teams for both winter and spring track seasons, Chris was named to the All Bergen County First Team three times for both winter and spring track for the 800 and 1600. In 1986 Chris won the West Point 800 meter indoor title and the next week won the NJ state Group IV championship. It was only the second time an RHS runner had won an individual Group IV championship. He also set the meet record of 2:20.5 at the NJ Spiked Shoe meet. Chris suffered a stress fracture that impacted his spring season in 1986, but he came back with a vengeance in 1987.

Chris won the 1987 NJ indoor Group IV 800 championship. During the spring season he ran a state best time of 1:51.6 in the 800 meter setting a school record that would stand for thirteen years. Chris won the NJ State Meet of Champion’s title race in a time of 1:52.0. In addition Chris ran a 1200 meter leg of the distance medley at the Penn Relays helping RHS to a coveted fourth place finish. He won the Eastern States mile in a time of 4:13.6. Chris ran in the Golden State meet in Sacramento, California competing in the 800 meter. The Newark Star Ledger named Chris to their First Team All Groups All State Team for the spring of 1987 for the 800 meter.

At Stanford and running distances during his four year track career for the Cardinals, Chris earned a fifth place in the 1991 Pac Ten Championships in the 1500 meter with a time of 3:46. Today Chris is a successful businessman in Park City, Utah and can also claim membership to the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Chelsea Steinberg

Despite her 5’2″ 113 pound frame, athleticism never was a problem for star gymnast Chelsea Steinberg. She continued to wow crowds throughout her four year high school career at RHS as well as providing Incredible moments as a member of the University of New Hampshire’s gymnastic team for another four years. In a 2011 article by Jim Furlong it was stated that, “Chelsea was the best gymnast in the history of Ridgewood High School.” It can also be noted that at the time she was also considered the best gymnast to ever come out of the state of New Jersey. 

Steinberg recalled that when she was little, her mother would watch her roll around on the floor prompting her mom to get her involved at the U.S. Gymnastics training Center in Mahwah where she continued to train for the next thirteen years. Chelsea recalled “the day I started they kept moving me up. I never got to do another sport.” After a couple of years she realized that she was dedicated to the sport and as a student at Willard Elementary School and George Washington Middle School she decided to concentrate on gymnastics throughout her years at RHS which left no time for other sports. Her dedication to her sport paid off with large accomplishments culminating with an athletic scholarship to UNH for four years beginning in the fall of 2007. 

Chelsea’s accomplishments in the sport stand alone as some of the greatest individual accomplishments ever seen in the history of athletics at RHS as well as in Bergen County and the state. Besides a plethora of accomplishments at the league level Chelsea won Bergen County Championships in all four years she competed. In 2003 vault, uneven bars, floor exercise and all around. In 2004, uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and all around. In 2005, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and all around. In 2006, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and all around. She was the New Jersey State Sectional Champion in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 on uneven bars and balance beam. She also won the vault and all around in 2003 and 2006 with championships being won in 2003 and 2005 in floor exercise. 

In 2004 Chelsea won the outright New Jersey State Championship in vault, balance beam, floor exercise and all around as well as winning the State all around championship in 2005 and 2006. She also captured the State Championship in the vault again in 2006. In the State Sectional competition that year Chelsea scored the only perfect 10 ever recorded in that competition in any event (she did it in the vault). Chelsea was named the Bergen Record’s Athlete of the Decade and Darin Cooper of the Record selected her the toughest competitor he had seen in all high school athletics for that same ten year period. 

Chelsea went on to have a stellar intercollegiate career at the University of New Hampshire. Her coach is quoted as saying that on any given day Chelsea was as good as anyone in the country on the balance beam. She was the EAGL balance beam champion in 2010, earned EAGL First Team Conference honors all four years. She was recognized as an NACGC/W All American and EAGL All Academic Team member all four years. She was an NCAA Scholastic All American 2007-2011, team Co-captain 2010-2011 and team MVP 2010-2011. Chelsea is an outpatient Occupational Therapy specialist on a new team at New York Presbyterian Hospital today and tonight is one of the newest members of the RHS Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Mark Strittmayer

Mark Arthur Strittmatter is a 1987 graduate of Ridgewood High School. He is the only known Ridgewood graduate to have played officially in professional baseballs “Major Leagues.” At RHS Mark had a standout baseball career. Known for his “rocket” arm, his agility, quickness and blocking ability “Stritt” was a natural for the catcher position. His athletic ability made him equally adept to play anywhere on the field. When not catching, he demonstrated exceptional skill and range at shortstop. Known as a line drive hitter, Mark went on to play baseball at Morris County Junior College in Randolph NJ. After two years at Morris, he transferred to Virginia Commonwealth University. 

At VCU, Mark was the Rams starting catcher (1991-1992) batting .333 in 107 games. His 1992 team won the Metro Conference Championship. 

Mark was a member of the first Colorado Rockies Junę draft in 1992 and was assigned to the franchise’s first minor league team in Bend, Oregon. As a member of the “Bend Rockies” he played in the first game ever for the Colorado Rockies organization on June 16, 1992. The major league team was to take the field for the organization a year later. 

Mark became a fixture on the organizations depth chart as a catcher. He quickly moved up to Triple-A ball with the Colorado Spring Sky Sox, but was stalled one step under the major league level. In September of 1998 he got the call he’d always waited for bringing him up to the “Big Leagues.” Mark made his Major League debut as the starting catcher for the Colorado Rockies on 9/3/98 at County Stadium in Milwaukee. Mark spent most of his nine-year playing career in the Colorado Rockies organization, finishing with a San Diego Padres affiliate before retiring. During his time as a player, he came to Coors Field in Denver during the 1998 All-Star festivities to serve as a catcher in the National League bullpen. Mark made his first All-Star appearance at Yankee Stadium in July, 2008, serving on the National League All-Star coaching staff led by Clint Hurdle. 

Mark has made a career in professional baseball, continuing as a coach at both the Major League and Minor League level. He has worked for both the Pittsburgh Pirate and Colorado Rockies organizations. Prior to joining the Pittsburgh coaching staff, Mark spent eight years (2003-2010) in the Bullpen for the Colorado Rockies. He served as the catching coach in 2008 and 2009 and is currently the teams catching coordinator. In addition, Mark has served as the hitting coach for the pitchers. 

Even though Mark spent two years in Pittsburgh with the Pirates, he has worn the Rockies uniform longer than anyone in Rockies franchise history. His tenure dates to the beginning of the organization in 1992 and as Mark stated in an article written in the Denver Post, “I was there the first day with the Bend team and I have seen a lot over the years.” Mark will continue to serve in the Colorado Rockies organization as their Minor League Catching Coordinator, serving their entire Minor League system.. 

Mark lives in Denver with his wife Katie and also finds time to work for his youth baseball foundation. 

Andrew Clarke

In June of 2000, Andrew Clarke received Ridgewood High School’s most prestigious athletic award for a graduating student athlete The Dave Vanderbush Award For Athletic Excellence.” It is presented each year to a graduating boy and girl who demonstrate outstanding playing ability, sportsmanship on and off the field, leadership, and loyalty. The recipients are selected by the entire RHS varsity coaching staff. In Andrew’s letter of recognition it was stated by the RHS Athletic Director Garland Allen that “it is a credit to your determination and high standards that you were selected.”

Andrew Clarke was an outstanding three sport athlete for all four years at Ridgewood High School gaining league, county, and state recognition in the three sports he participated in football, basketball and lacrosse.

A three year starter for the Maroons varsity football team, he graduated in 2000 holding numerous football records at RHS. Andrew was voted the team’s most valuable player for his senior season. Andrew rushed for 2055 career yards which was the most in RHS history at the time. He had 24 career touchdowns (second in RHS history) and was second all time in career tackles with 222. His senior season playing inside linebacker he set the school single season record for tackles with 120. He was voted to the New Jersey Super 100 All State Football Team along with First Team All County, First Team All League and First Team All Suburban honors. Head coach Chuck Johnson described Andrew in a 1999 interview as “the best and most complete football player I’ve ever had… There wasn’t much he couldn’t do on the football field and he was the ultimate leader, an unselfish player who had only the team and winning in mind.”

Andrew also had an outstanding lacrosse career at RHS. After missing a good portion of his junior year with a back injury, Andrew was selected as a defenseman to the NNJIL First Team, the All Suburban First Team, the Gibb’s Division Second Team and was selected to play in the 2000 North South All Star Game. He was also selected to Honorable Mention All State. Coach Steve Jacobson stated “No one has any idea how good a lacrosse player he could be… He’s just a great athlete who jumps right on the lacrosse field with no summer playing time and just goes out and plays hard and aggressive.”

As a basketball player for Coach Jim Stroker’s varsity squad, Andrew had a prolific career. His senior year he averaged six points and seven rebounds per game. He helped lead the Maroons to an outstanding 20-5 record while being recognized with selection to the All Bergen County First Team, first Team All NNJIL as well as First Team All Suburban.

Andrew continued his athletic career at Georgetown University where he played football for the Hoyas. He was a two year starter for Georgetown his junior and senior years, being voted a team Co-captain his senior season. Georgetown coach Bob Benson called Andrew “an outstanding athlete with strong leadership skills…. active all over the field with the ability to find the ball.”

One of the top linebackers in the Patriot League, he lead the league in tackles his senior year with 119 and set the single game Georgetown record for tackles with twenty three vs. Colgate. A member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll, Andrew was also the recipient of the John L. Hagerty Award from Georgetown for his outstanding play at linebacker. Once described as a “Classy Ridgewood Player” Andrew Clarke more than exemplifies the “Tradition of Excellence” embodied throughout the one hundred and twenty plus years of the athletic program at Ridgewood High School and deservedly is now a member of the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall Of Fame.

Jim Dee

In an article written by Mark Blaudschun for “The Patriot Ledger” about Jim Dee’s then current golf position in July of 2015 he stated, “In a world of high-stress jobs and expectations and lifestyles that can move and change with the speed of the latest social media trend, Jim Dee is a throwback to a different era. ”Indeed a very vivid picture of Jim Dee’s life today was painted. ”Reasonable pace, little stress, doing something that has been a part of his entire life and working at a job that is as much a passion as it is a vocation.”

Jim Dee has found a way to make a living doing what he loves to do, play golf according to the “Patriot Ledgers article.“ It has been that way most of Dee’s life and make no mistake, he is more than happy the way it has worked out.” Jim has had a long and highly regarded tenure as a PGA teaching Pro.

Jim’s process to becoming an athlete worthy of induction into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall Of Fame actually begins with his father Harry Dee the famous golf pro who ran the golf operations at the famous Ridgewood Country Club for many years. Golf was a part of Jim’s DNA. He was one of three Dee boys Jim, John and Tom all of whom became involved with golf as a profession. Their dad Harry was voted New Jersey PGA player of the year in 1966 and in 1978 the Dee family was selected as the national golf family of the year. As a youngster Jim was included in the inner circle of his father’s golf world. Jim got to meet many of the greats along the way through his father’s playing on the PGA tour. Men like Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Hogan served as inspirations to his development in the game. Growing up in New Jersey as the son of a prestigious golf pro, Jim enjoyed the life and lifestyle that encompassed that world.

Luckily, Jim attended Ridgewood High School which at the time had a very strong golf program under the tutelage of Frank Mozeleski his sophomore and junior years and Dick Bennett his senior year. Under their guidance and that of others, Jim went on to have a stellar high school career for the Maroons. He was first team all NNJIL in 1970, 71 and 72. He was voted to the first team All Bergen County team in 1972 and led the team to the New Jersey state team championship in 1970 shooting an 83 in the tournament final. In 1971 his team was 20-1 winning league, county and state sectional titles and in 1972 Jim was captain of the team leading the Maroons to the league, county, and state sectional championship and winning the individual Bergen County title shooting a 74 in the championship round.

Amazingly Jim had a tremendous growth spurt going into his senior year at RHS which accelerated his developments as a basketball player. Having played hoops for the Maroons in 1970 and 71 (He was a Bergen Record athlete of the week for basketball in 1972) Jim exploded onto the county hoop scene averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds a game his senior year leading the team to a 22-7 record and winning the Bergen County Championship. He was named to the All County Team for the 1972 season.

At 6”9” then Holy Cross basketball coach, George Blaney, offered Jim a basketball scholarship to attend the famous school in Worcester Mass. Jim accepted and had a stellar four year basketball and golf career for the Crusaders. He was captain of the golf team his senior year in 1976 while scoring 763 career points for the basketball squad. He averaged 10 points a game with 5 rebounds his senior year on an NIT bound 22-10 team. Jim is retired now and resides with his wife Mary in Hobe Sound, Florida.

In an article written by Mark Blaudschun for “The Patriot Ledger” about Jim Dee’s then current golf position in July of 2015 he stated, “In a world of high-stress jobs and expectations and lifestyles that can move and change with the speed of the latest social media trend, Jim Dee is a throwback to a different era. ”Indeed a very vivid picture of Jim Dee’s life today was painted. ”Reasonable pace, little stress, doing something that has been a part of his entire life and working at a job that is as much a passion as it is a vocation.”

Jim Dee has found a way to make a living doing what he loves to do, play golf according to the “Patriot Ledgers article.“ It has been that way most of Dee’s life and make no mistake, he is more than happy the way it has worked out.” Jim has had a long and highly regarded tenure as a PGA teaching Pro.

Jim’s process to becoming an athlete worthy of induction into the Ridgewood High School Athletic Hall Of Fame actually begins with his father Harry Dee the famous golf pro who ran the golf operations at the famous Ridgewood Country Club for many years. Golf was a part of Jim’s DNA. He was one of three Dee boys Jim, John and Tom all of whom became involved with golf as a profession. Their dad Harry was voted New Jersey PGA player of the year in 1966 and in 1978 the Dee family was selected as the national golf family of the year. As a youngster Jim was included in the inner circle of his father’s golf world. Jim got to meet many of the greats along the way through his father’s playing on the PGA tour. Men like Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, and Ben Hogan served as inspirations to his development in the game. Growing up in New Jersey as the son of a prestigious golf pro, Jim enjoyed the life and lifestyle that encompassed that world.

Luckily, Jim attended Ridgewood High School which at the time had a very strong golf program under the tutelage of Frank Mozeleski his sophomore and junior years and Dick Bennett his senior year. Under their guidance and that of others, Jim went on to have a stellar high school career for the Maroons. He was first team all NNJIL in 1970, 71 and 72. He was voted to the first team All Bergen County team in 1972 and led the team to the New Jersey state team championship in 1970 shooting an 83 in the tournament final. In 1971 his team was 20-1 winning league, county and state sectional titles and in 1972 Jim was captain of the team leading the Maroons to the league, county, and state sectional championship and winning the individual Bergen County title shooting a 74 in the championship round.

Amazingly Jim had a tremendous growth spurt going into his senior year at RHS which accelerated his developments as a basketball player. Having played hoops for the Maroons in 1970 and 71 (He was a Bergen Record athlete of the week for basketball in 1972) Jim exploded onto the county hoop scene averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds a game his senior year leading the team to a 22-7 record and winning the Bergen County Championship. He was named to the All County Team for the 1972 season.

At 6”9” then Holy Cross basketball coach, George Blaney, offered Jim a basketball scholarship to attend the famous school in Worcester Mass. Jim accepted and had a stellar four year basketball and golf career for the Crusaders. He was captain of the golf team his senior year in 1976 while scoring 763 career points for the basketball squad. He averaged 10 points a game with 5 rebounds his senior year on an NIT bound 22-10 team. Jim is retired now and resides with his wife Mary in Hobe Sound, Florida.

Phil Ross Sr.

If you played a youth sport in Ridgewood, New Jersey in the 1970s or 1980s, there was a good chance that you were coached by the preeminent youth sports coach of that era Mr. Phil Ross Sr. If you were not directly coached by Phil there is a good chance that either you or your parents were sure to have come under his influence in some way. 

Phil was raised in Paterson, New Jersey and graduated from Eastside High School where he was the captain of the “Ghosts” State Championship football team his junior and senior year. He graduated Eastside in 1957 and went on to Rutgers University, where he earned a degree in Mathematics. In 1969 Phil brought his family (wife Patricia and children Phil Jr., Kathi and Damian) to settle in Ridgewood. 

In 1972 he signed up his son Phil Jr. to play Jr. Football and the die was cast. He volunteered his services as a youth coach in the program and from that point on Phil Sr. never looked back. His youth coaching career would last another 25 years. He would go on to coach Jr. Football for the next 18 years and be President of the Ridgewood Jr. Football program for ten years. But, Coach Ross was just getting started. 

You would see him on the sideline of whatever sport his children were involved in wearing his coaches hat, but then one day his son Phil decided to go out for the schools freshman wrestling team. This was an event that would throw Coach Ross into a new athletic environment that he was not familiar with. He never wrestled mainly because Eastside did not have a wrestling program while he attended there. Coach Ross was certain there must be a youth program in the village, but he found there was no such thing. Since this seemed to be an area of neglect in a very rich community athletic environment, Phil took it upon himself to begin what is now the Ridgewood Junior Wrestling Program. His founding of the program introduced hundreds if not thousands of Ridgewood boys and girls to the sport over the 25 years he served as a coach and president of the organization. 

Coach Ross began to study anything he could get his hands on about the sport and recruited his son Phil Jr. and other Ridgewood High School wrestlers to help teach the youth wrestlers in his program. The program grew tremendously through Coach Ross’s organizational skills and through his ability to recruit other wrestling alumni and fathers to help through volunteering their time. 

Phil’s sons went on to be outstanding athletes in football and wrestling in their own right, while his daughter excelled in dance. All three are examples of those values of hard work and perseverance that were so instrumental to Phil’s own success in whatever sport or endeavor he was involved with. Phil also served as President of the Ridgewood High School Football Scholarship Committee. 

Today, the Phil Ross Award is given to the RHS senior wrestler who participated in the Ridgewood Jr. Wrestling Program as a youth and through their participation in wrestling exemplified the ideals and values that Coach Ross held and demonstrated throughout his life. 

Phil Ross loved Ridgewood and over the decades coached thousands of kids. He believed strongly in staying in town, and playing with your friends for your home team. He loved the tradition of Ridgewood and dedicated his life to building it. We welcome him posthumously to the RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame. 

If you played a youth sport in Ridgewood, New Jersey in the 1970s or 1980s, there was a good chance that you were coached by the preeminent youth sports coach of that era Mr. Phil Ross Sr. If you were not directly coached by Phil there is a good chance that either you or your parents were sure to have come under his influence in some way. 

Phil was raised in Paterson, New Jersey and graduated from Eastside High School where he was the captain of the “Ghosts” State Championship football team his junior and senior year. He graduated Eastside in 1957 and went on to Rutgers University, where he earned a degree in Mathematics. In 1969 Phil brought his family (wife Patricia and children Phil Jr., Kathi and Damian) to settle in Ridgewood. 

In 1972 he signed up his son Phil Jr. to play Jr. Football and the die was cast. He volunteered his services as a youth coach in the program and from that point on Phil Sr. never looked back. His youth coaching career would last another 25 years. He would go on to coach Jr. Football for the next 18 years and be President of the Ridgewood Jr. Football program for ten years. But, Coach Ross was just getting started. 

You would see him on the sideline of whatever sport his children were involved in wearing his coaches hat, but then one day his son Phil decided to go out for the schools freshman wrestling team. This was an event that would throw Coach Ross into a new athletic environment that he was not familiar with. He never wrestled mainly because Eastside did not have a wrestling program while he attended there. Coach Ross was certain there must be a youth program in the village, but he found there was no such thing. Since this seemed to be an area of neglect in a very rich community athletic environment, Phil took it upon himself to begin what is now the Ridgewood Junior Wrestling Program. His founding of the program introduced hundreds if not thousands of Ridgewood boys and girls to the sport over the 25 years he served as a coach and president of the organization. 

Coach Ross began to study anything he could get his hands on about the sport and recruited his son Phil Jr. and other Ridgewood High School wrestlers to help teach the youth wrestlers in his program. The program grew tremendously through Coach Ross’s organizational skills and through his ability to recruit other wrestling alumni and fathers to help through volunteering their time. 

Phil’s sons went on to be outstanding athletes in football and wrestling in their own right, while his daughter excelled in dance. All three are examples of those values of hard work and perseverance that were so instrumental to Phil’s own success in whatever sport or endeavor he was involved with. Phil also served as President of the Ridgewood High School Football Scholarship Committee. 

Today, the Phil Ross Award is given to the RHS senior wrestler who participated in the Ridgewood Jr. Wrestling Program as a youth and through their participation in wrestling exemplified the ideals and values that Coach Ross held and demonstrated throughout his life. 

Phil Ross loved Ridgewood and over the decades coached thousands of kids. He believed strongly in staying in town, and playing with your friends for your home team. He loved the tradition of Ridgewood and dedicated his life to building it. We welcome him posthumously to the RHS Athletic Hall Of Fame. 





Ridgewood High School (NJ) Award For Excellence In Athletics

Ridgewood High School Coaches Award Of Merit

Ridgewood High School Sports Supreme Roll Of Honor