Gymnasts quickly mature into contenders


By: Rudy Brandl
   The Hillsborough High gymnastics team looks more like a machine that’s reloading than rebuilding.
   While the Raiders (3-2) have lost a few close ones, they’re improving with every meet. The team’s point totals have climbed back into the 105 range, a figure that’s good enough to be considered a state contender. In fact, the Raiders are on the verge of returning to the top 10.
   Hillsborough swept Bridgewater-Rartian and Scotch Plains-Fanwood last week before losing to a powerful Cherokee squad. The Raiders scored season-highs in both meets, leaving third-year head coach Beth Murrin feeling very good about her young athletes.
   "It’s coming along nicely," Murrin said. "We’re getting there and we have a lot of potential. They’re starting to feel a rhythm and they’re getting confident with their routines."
   The Raiders scored 105.675 points to sweep Bridgewater and SP-F. Lauren Watts (35.775) and Kristen Watts (35.40) finished 2-3 in the all-around to lead the way. Robin Friedman (33.20) and Krystina DeLuca (32.85) also competed all-around.
   Lauren Watts led the Raiders on vault (9.15), bars (8.825) and floor (season-high 9.15) and scored 8.775 on beam. Kristen Watts scored a career-high 9.05 on beam and also contributed on floor (9.1), bars (8.8) and vault (8.55).
   Hillsborough’s other counted scores came from DeLuca on vault (8.7), floor (career-high 8.85) and beam (8.4) and Friedman on bars (8.325).
   The Raiders scored a season-high 106.125 in Friday’s meet but Cherokee (108.3) was simply too strong. Murrin couldn’t be upset after such a great performance.
   "We were right there with them on everything but they were really awesome on beam," Murrin said. "We had a great meet. They just beat us on beam."
   Lauren Watts had her finest meet so far, scoring a personal-best 36.675 in the all-around. The freshman phenom led the Raiders on bars (9.2), beam (9.025), vault (9.05) and floor (9.4).
   Kristen Watts was second on the team on bars (8.725), beam (9.0) and floor (9.1) and third on vault (8.325) and second all-around (35.15). DeLuca scored a personal-best 8.95 on floor and also counted scores on vault (8.75) and beam (8.45). Friedman chipped in on bars (8.15).
   The Raiders were scheduled to host Montgomery and Bridgewater this week.
Boys win big
Delaware contest
The HHS boys won their second straight Delaware Division match by a 2-0 score with the same player doing the damage.
   Senior forward Tony Flores, who scored twice when his team blanked North Hunterdon the previous week, did it again at Bridgewater-Raritan. Flores tallied once in each half, first off a rebound shot and then late in the game on a scramble in front of the goal. The senior leads Hillsborough with six goals.
   Goalkeeper Ben Stanislav posted his third shutout of the season by making 10 saves for the winners.
   Hillsborough (4-2 overall, 3-1 in division) was scheduled to travel to Phillipsburg and host Warren Hills this week. Last Friday’s game vs. Hunterdon Central was postponed due to rain.
Janos, Van Cleef
pace hockey girls
The junior tandem of Alex Janos and Marissa Van Cleef provided the scoring in last week’s big Raider field hockey victory at Bridgewater-Raritan.
   Janos converted a feed from senior Erin Crawford at 13:10 of the first half to give HHS the early lead. Van Cleef scored off an assist from senior link Colleen Yancheck midway through the second half for the insurance goal.
   Junior goalkeeper Sarah Brennan stopped five shots for her fifth shutout of the season. Brennan allowed her only two goals this season in the team’s 2-0 loss to Montclair the previous day.
   Hillsborough (5-1), which was rained out vs. Hunterdon Central last Friday, entered the week with a 4-0 record in the Delaware Division. Tough division foes Phillipsburg and Warren Hills are on this week’s slate.
Girls blanked in
fourth straight game
The HHS girls’ soccer team can’t buy a goal. Senior goalkeeper Katie DiGiovanni has allowed only six goals this season, but the Lady Raiders began this week with a 1-4-1 record.
   Bridgewater’s 1-0 victory last week marked the fourth consecutive game the HHS girls couldn’t score a goal. Allison McNamara scored in the 11th minute on a free kick and the rest of the game was scoreless.
   Ever since a 6-0 win over Franklin and 2-1 overtime loss to East Brunswick on the opening weekend, the Lady Raiders haven’t found the net. Hillsborough was primed and ready to break out this week against two of the weaker teams in the Delaware Division.
Balanced pack
propels boys
For the second straight week, the HHS boys didn’t have the individual winner but proved much deeper than their cross country opponent.
   Raider head coach Rich Refi instructed his crew to run at their own pace and not worry about catching Warren Hills standout Dan Ruch. They can go after him at the Skyland Conference Championships on Nov. 1.
   Ruch won the race in 16:25, but HHS placed the next four runners and six of the top 10 to defeat Warren Hills (20-42) and North Hunterdon (17-44) at Warren Hills.
   Mike Klueber took second overall in 16:40, while Nick Vaccaro and Erik Szabocsik went 3-4 in 16:45. Joe Brennan (16:47) was right there in fifth place, while teammates Chris Dennis (17:17) and Brian Dennis (17:18) finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Girls split despite
Uniszkiewicz win
Ashley Uniszkiewicz won the battle but North Hunterdon won the girls’ cross country tri-meet, sweeping Hillsborough and Warren Hills in last week’s tri-meet.
   Hillsborough (2-1) settled for a split, defeating Warren Hills (15-48) but losing a tight 27-30 affair to North, which placed six runners in the top 10.
   Uniszkiewicz completed the 3.0-mile course in 19:19, nine seconds ahead of North runner-up Holly Greiner. Other Raider girls in the top 10 included Jess Tsai (4th, 19:51), Eileen Cafferty (5th, 20:02) and Amanda Walzer (8th, 20:40).