By doug mckenzieStaff Writer Monmouth Rugby Club set to host 29th Jersey Cup 40-team competition is largest one-day tournament in Northeast By doug mckenzie Staff Writer Rugby players from throughout the New York-metropolitan area will flock to Sea Girt this weekend to take part in the 29th annual Jersey Shore Rugby Tournament, hosted by the Monmouth Rugby Club. Over 40 teams from all over the nation will compete for the Jersey Cup, including some of the top teams in the Northeast area. “It’s the largest one-day tournament in the Northeast,” said Monmouth Rugby Club Vice President Brian Muller. “It usually draws around 40 teams, and has attracted teams from as far as England and Jamaica. “This year the Division II national championship team from New Haven (Conn.) is coming down,” he added. “They passed up on a local tournament in Hartford to come down here because we’re offering the better competition.” The tournament will get under way Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the Sea Girt National Guard Armory, with the championship round expected to start around 5:30 p.m. All games in the Premier Division will have 25 minute halves, while games in the other brackets will have 22-minute halves. The finals for the Premier and Club divisions will be 30 minutes, while the finals for the B, Social and Women’s divisions will remain 22-minute halves. The tournament is being sponsored by the Red Bank-based Monmouth Rugby Club, and Bud Light, although no alcohol will be permitted on the premises. Following the championship finals, a trophy presentation will be held, followed by a party at the Boathouse in Belmar, sponsored by the Monmouth Rugby Club. Muller, who is in charge of fund raising and is the tournament’s director, said that the tournament is generally very successful, with some fierce competition throughout. As for the local boys, their success in the tournament itself is somewhat secondary. “Sometimes we do well, other times we do poorly, depending largely on what our goal is coming in,” he explained. “Our primary purpose for this tournament is to raise money for the club. It is by far our largest fund-raiser. Our secondary goal is to play rugby.” In addition to raising money, the club is always looking for new members. “Our membership is continually growing, and is now at about 200 members,” he said. “We have about 60 active, young players, with the rest being what we’ll call social memberships.” The club members come from throughout central New Jersey, stretching from Middlesex County down to Ocean County. “We have some players who travel up to one and a half hours to play with us because of the high level of play,” Muller said. Although the Jersey Shore Rugby Tournament is the club’s largest event of the year, it is simply one of many highlights for the members. The club plays two seasons, a fall and a spring season. The fall season is the league season, with the schedule determined by USA Rugby. The schedule for the spring season depends on how well the team performed during the previous fall. If the team did well, it is entered into the national playoffs, whereas if the team struggled in the fall, the schedule is open, so that a team can play just about anyone. Last fall, the Monmouth Rugby Club team struggled a bit after going on an impressive run of qualifying for the national playoffs four of the previous five years, and even earning a ranking of fifth in the nation at one point. “After rebuilding through the fall season, it was an interesting spring season for us, where we got to play a lot of teams that we wouldn’t normally see,” Muller said. During the fall season, the Monmouth squad regularly faces teams from nearby communities such as Princeton, Union County, North Jersey and Bayonne. Montclair also has a team, but rarely faces the Monmouth squad. Monmouth plays its home games at Thompson Park in Middletown on Saturdays. In addition, the team practices behind the Middletown Village School on Tuesday and Thursday nights. With interest in rugby growing, the Monmouth Rugby Club is hoping to continually expand. The club was founded as the Brookdale College Rugby Football Club in the fall of 1973 by Doug Coyle and Steve Barberio, who were teachers at the college. Brookdale suffered, as all young clubs do, through several undistinguished seasons, even changing its colors several times so as not to be recognized the next year. As the years passed, the club players and leaders developed, and the club eventually found itself playing in the Metropolitan Division I in the late 1970s. In 1978, the Royal Renegades Rugby Football Club, a women’s rugby club, was founded, as a team without a home. They bounced from place to place, playing in Princeton, Blackthorn and in Monmouth County. In the fall of 1983, they decided to stop roaming and put their roots in Monmouth County. The name was changed to the Monmouth Renegades, and shortly thereafter, they became affiliated with the Monmouth Rugby Football Club. With the marriage of the two teams, the Monmouth Rugby Club became the first club in the tristate area to have both a men’s and a women’s side. The Renegades have also been very successful of late, even winning the 2000 Northeast Division II championship. This past season, they, like their male counterparts, went through a bit of a rebuilding process, but expect to return to the competitive ways quickly. The Renegades will also be participating in this weekend’s tournament, playing in a four-team bracket. For more information on the Jersey Shore Rugby Tournament, log on to the MRC’s Web site at www.monmouth rugbyclub.com, and click on the tournament link.
By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer Lancers are readyto make return tripto state playoffs Lancers are ready to make return trip to state playoffs By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer VERONICA YANKOWSKI St. John Vianney’s Sean Andrews gets away from a Freehold Borough defender during a recent scrimmage in Holmdel. Eight offensive starters return to the fold as the St. John Vianney High School football team looks to return to the NJSIAA Parochial III playoffs. The Lancers, 5-5 a year ago, gritted their way into the tourney, where they lost to Immaculata of Westwood, 31-12. St. John’s victories came against Monmouth Regional, Red Bank Catholic, Mater Dei, Asbury Park and Pinelands. “We have some very experienced players, and I think we should be a little better than last season,” said coach Nick Metrokotsas. VERONICA YANKOWSKI St. John Vianney head football coach Nick Metrokotsas provides some instruction during a recent practice at the Holmdel school. “Our guys have worked very hard, and this is a very strong team,” he added. “They have all spent a lot of time in the weight room.” Key returnees include halfbacks Sean Andrews and Adam Hansen. Andrews, a senior, is a third-year starter who scored six touchdowns last season, while Hansen, a junior, now in his second season as a starter scored nine TDs. Andrews and Hansen ran for more than 500 yards apiece. They are joined in the wing-T set by senior wingback Greg Smutko, another returner, and new quarterback John Bellavance, a senior, who served as the backup last fall. Senior Tom Potnoky (6-5, 200) is back as the split end. Smutko will also handle the punting and place-kicking duties. “We like to run, and I think John [Bellavance] will add to that,” the coach said. “With Greg Smutko doing the place-kicking, I think that gives us a strength some other teams don’t have,” Metrokotsas added. Four veterans anchor the line: senior tackle Tom Dutcher (6-2, 218); juniors Chris Swenson (6-1, 215) and John Lazarchick (5-11, 260), both guards; and tight end Mike Onaga (6-3, 235). Center Tony Molina (6-1, 215) and tackle Lou Davenport (6-1, 320) round out the line. On the other side of the ball, Potnoky and Onaga are the defensive ends and Dutcher and Swenson are the tackles. The linebacking corps includes three seniors — Lou Libertore (5-9, 180), Joe Ragusa (5-9, 165), and Derek Rosato (5-10, 170) — in addition to Andrews. Smutko and senior John Solano are the cornerbacks, and junior Mike Daya plays free safety. “Our defense, in particular, is one area where it should be a lot better than last season,” Metrokotsas said. “The keys for us on the field will be staying focused when we do make mistakes and staying away from injuries, since we have several guys seeing double duty.” The Lancers face their first test Friday at Wall, a team that downed St. John’s 35-12 a year ago.
CBA shocks Holmdel in SCT play By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer CHRIS KELLY Middletown North’s Chris Rajner competes in the intermediate hurdles at the Long Branch Relays on Saturday. Although the Matawan High School boys’ tennis team’s record is just 5-5, the Huskies are playing better than that would indicate and have already qualified for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II Tournament. “Overall, all of our guys have been playing well,” said coach Paul Pacifico. “We had a good win against Shore Regional, and I think this team can certainly have a winning record. That’s our goal, and now that we’re in the state tournament, let’s see how far we can go.” The Huskies’ doubles tandems have been a pleasant surprise. Peter Lloyd and Dan Martinez, a pair of seniors in their third year together, are 7-3. Both serve well, with Lloyd preferring to stay back while Martinez usually plays the net. At second doubles, seniors Mike Abramowitz and Andrew Rodriguez have combined with sophomore Justin Lowe to post a 6-4 mark. Lowe, a transfer student from Antigua who missed some early matches due to illness, can also play singles. Senior J.P. Favara and junior Daniel Yu are also available for doubles duty. At first singles, senior Felipe Santos is 6-3, using a strong serve and baseline game to keep opponents at bay. Eddie Matthews is just 2-7 at second singles, but the athletic junior has been in most of the losses. At third singles, senior Dan Schayne, 6-4, uses his consistency to wear opponents down The Huskies were slated to meet St. John Vianney on Monday and Rumson-Fair Haven this afternoon in a Shore Conference Class A Central division match-up. Matawan is 4-2 in division play. Pacifico said the Huskies were hoping to reschedule a postponed match against Red Bank Regional later this week. Matawan downed the Bucs in the first match between the two teams. Notes… It’s official; the CBA boys’ tennis team has returned to prominence. The Colts sent shock waves through the Shore Conference on Thursday when they knocked off defending Tournament of Champions winner Holmdel, 3-2, in the Shore Conference Tournament. The Colts, the No. 14 seed, shocked the third-seeded Hornets on the heels of wins from Eric Oberdorf at third singles, Mike Bell at second singles and a win at second doubles. The Colts were set to take on Monsignor Donovan on Monday in the tournament’s quarterfinals, while top-ranked Marlboro took on Raritan, second-seeded Ocean faced Point Beach, and Rumson-Fair Haven battled with Southern. With CBA’s victory over Holmdel, the Colts moved ahead of Holmdel in the top 10 rankings, earning the No. 5 spot, and proving beyond any shadow of a doubt that CBA tennis is back.
The USSA Travel Basketball League is looking for boys 9U teams for Sunday Travel League. All boys must be born after Sept. 1, 1994. For more information, call Bobbie Pirro at (732) 530-7305 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org St. John Vianney High School needs two coaches for boys lacrosse. Fax a résumé to (732) 739-0824 or mail to Ken Szyarto, St. John Vianney High School, 540 Line Road, Holmdel, NJ 07733. Red Bank Catholic High School is hosting the 2005 Casey Invitational Grammar School Basketball Tournament on Feb. 25-28 and March 2-6. The tournament is open to public and parochial schools — seventh- and eighth-grade teams only. Entry fee is $160 per team, and deadline for applications is Feb. 15. For more information and applications, contact Joe Montano at (732) 747-1211 or e-mail email@example.com. Tab Ramos Sports Center in Aberdeen is holding the Together for Heather Roller Hockey and Soccer Benefit Tournament on March 36. The hockey divisions are men’s open and over-30, while the soccer division is men’s over-35. Cost is $250 per team. Hockey will play two 15-minute halves, while soccer will play 28-minute games. All teams are guaranteed three games. Over-35 soccer and over-30 hockey will start at 10 a.m., while men’s open hockey will start at 3 p.m. Heather Hornecker was born with a heart defect, and on Dec. 2, 2004, at the age of 22, received a heart transplant. All of the entry fees will go directly to Heather to help with the medical bills and continued treatment. For more information, contact the Sports Center at (732) 290-0003 or visit tabramossportscenter.com. The Central Jersey Umpires Association will start classes the week of Jan. 17. Anyone interested in umpiring softball or baseball is urged to attend. Also needed are already-certified umpires, as well as individuals who are available weekday afternoons in the spring. Call (732) 566-4429 or (732) 264-7131. The Monmouth County Dodgers 11U travel baseball team is looking to add a pitcher/position player to its 2005 roster. The team is based in Freehold, and among its affiliations are the Central Jersey Baseball League and East Coast Tournament Baseball. The program includes a winter training schedule, spring and fall league play, and several travel tournaments during Memorial Day weekend and the month of July. Tryouts for the open position will be held Jan. 13, 20 and 27, at the Monmouth Baseball Academy, Marlboro. Interested parties should contact Coach Sero at (732) 761-1125 to schedule a tryout. Applications are being accepted for ASA (Amateur Softball Association) umpire training. Classes will begin Feb. 7. Interested individuals may contact Hal S. Schwartz at (732) 290-7841 or by e-mail at halasaump.optonline.net. A youth travel basketball league is looking for any boys 9U travel team interested participating in a Winter League running from mid-January through March. Players must be born after Sept. 1, 1994. For more information, contact Bobbie Pirro at (732) 530-7305 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Staff Writer Experienced team should be markedly better than last year BY WARREN RAPPLEYEAStaff Writer The Middletown High School South softball team will be looking to return to its accustomed routine of playing in the NJSIAA playoffs and the Shore Conference Tournament this year. The Eagles, 8-13 last spring, missed out on both a year ago, but did manage to grab a share of the Shore’s B North public school crown. This time out, Middletown South returns to its old stomping ground, the A North division, where the Eagles were a longtime power. Coach Tom Erbig acknowledged that the competition will be tough, but he added that there is plenty of reason for optimism. This year’s squad should provide more offensive than it did last year when the Eagles batted .232 as a team and struggled to score runs. “The girls are definitely hitting the ball better,” Erbig said. “I look at last year as an anomaly. We played a lot of juniors and sophomores last season and the experience should help them this year.” Tara Pauley, who led the team in batting with a .377 average, returns at first base. Junior Erin Unterstein batted .288 with a team-leading nine RBIs and should do even better this spring, Erbig said. And third baseman Kelly Harris showed promised while hitting .250 last season. Outfielders Alaina Varvaloucas and Laura Boudreau (junior) also showed they can swing the bat with 12 hits apiece. In addition, the coach has liked what he’s seen so far from both junior Shawna Sogluizzo and freshman Jessica Fuentes, two versatile players looking to earn spots in the lineup. Unterstein is expected to be the Eagles top pitcher. She went 7-4 a year ago with a 2.00 ERA. Fuentes and sophomore Melissa Martin may also see time on the hill. Sam Rohlander is back behind the plate. Pauley and Harris will patrol the corners with juniors Sara Rodriguez and Katie Kehoe at second and shortstop respectively. Varvaloucas and Boudreau are mainstays in the outfield. Juniors Jen Isherwood, Maura McKechnie, Kristen Moledo, Megan Sweeney and Ashley Zazzorino are expected to vie for playing time. “It’s great to be back in A North, but we’ll be playing against some of the best,” Erbig said. “The question to me is can we hold up defensively. If the girls can make the plays early, they’ll pick up more confidence and be a little more relaxed. Talent-wise, this team can play with anyone, so our expectations are high.” The Eagles have not gotten off to their typical blazing start, having already dropped a pair of games to A North foe Manalapan, and a nonconference affair to Edison on Saturday. However, the Eagles bounced back from Saturday’s 10-4 loss with a vengeance, routing a young Marlboro team, 15-2, on Saturday to improve to 2-2 on the young season.
BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer CHRIS KELLY staff Brookdale athletic director Jack Ryan is saying goodbye to the school after spending the last 33 years helping to build one of the nation’s elite junior college athletic programs. MIDDLETOWN — It couldn’t have worked out better for Jack Ryan. Brookdale Community College’s retiring athletic director got to travel to the national championships with his softball and baseball teams. Bo Scannapieco’s women went to Alfred, N.Y., where they won their second national championship, while Johnny Johnson’s men were in Millington, Tenn. It was nice for Ryan to go out, after 25 years as the assistant AD to Bob Walsack and eight years as the AD, with his spring sports teams on top, but what mattered most to him were the student/athletes representing Brookdale there. “It was a pleasure to be around them, the way they comported themselves made me proud,” he said. “They handled themselves wonderfully, win or lose. I could not have scripted my last two trips to the nationals better.” In building Brookdale into a college with a national reputation in all sports, Ryan never took his eyes of the student in student/athlete. In his 33 years with the Athletic Department at Brookdale it hasn’t just been the athletic programs that have been the envy of colleges, but the college’s academic reputation as well. This year alone, the college had three Academic All-Americans and 15 Academic All-Region selections. Ryan, who has been Mr. Brookdale, has witnessed so many changes in intercollegiate athletics during his 33 years there. Paul MacLaughlin fielded his first baseball team in 1970. It would be the Junior College Hall of Fame coach’s baseball teams that first gave Brookdale a national reputation. Ryan himself coached the men’s soccer team, as well as the softball team. He became a certified athletic trainer in 1984. The biggest changes came in women’s athletics. It was Brookdale which fielded the first intercollegiate women’s soccer team in the state back in 1978. In 1982, the Jersey Blues participated in the first-ever women’s national tournament. In the late 1970s, it was Ryan who first started conducting fastpitch-softball throwing and introducing the windmill to the Shore area. “The goal was to bring up the level of pitching in the Shore Conference, to make it competitive,” he said. The roots of the recent success of Shore Conference softball teams on the state level can be traced back to his clinics. Through softball, Ryan became an early champion of women’s sports. “Not one player had ever played softball [when he started the program],” he said. “They [women] were taken less serious than guys. “I wanted them to be treated as equals,” he added. “Not a lot of men were fighting for women’s programs.” Ryan has been at Brookdale for 36 years, starting as a student in 1969. Ryan had several goals when he replaced Walsack, two of which were on display at the nationals. “I wanted to win a Region championship in every sport,” he said. “We went to the nationals in every single sport. Every sport understands what it takes for student/athletes to succeed. “I wanted to make the overall program up to the level of any elite in the nation and apply the same standard academically,” he added. “We had more academic All-Americans than all of the other colleges in our conference combined.” Brookdale fields nine varsity teams, and every one has won a Region XIX title and gone to the nationals during Ryan’s tenure. The final holdout was the basketball team that this winter won its first Region title and finished seventh at the national championships. In total, Brookdale teams have won 27 GSAC and 22 Region XIX titles since Ryan has been AD. The Blues have won six team and individual national championships combined and there have been 12 national runners-up. While watching his goal of seeing every Brookdale team (baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s tennis and golf) getting to the national championships, the high-water mark was 2002 when the softball team brought home the school’s first national title.“Bo winning that first national championship was one of the great highlights,” he said. “I admire what he’s done. There is no one who dominates his program like him.” Ryan isn’t saying goodbye to the Lincroft campus. He’s moving his address from the athletic department to the English department. This jack-of-all-trades, after all, has a English degree from Rutgers and has been very active in the theater. He has appeared on stage and produced plays at Brookdale (most recently Billy Van Zandt’s Garland starring Adrienne Barbeau). “Teaching is what I like the most,” he said. “I like the process of taking a student from one point to another.” It was a to trip this year to an English seminar in Annapolis, Md., which swayed Ryan to change college address. “I was so engaged with what was going on,” he said. “It had my complete attention. It will re-energize me.” Knowing what it takes to be the AD and having achieved the goals he set for himself, Ryan thought the time was right to go to the classroom. “What I do I give 100 percent,” he said. “You work every Saturday [as AD], and during the season 20-25 Sundays — seven days a week. “I didn’t want the standard to slip,” he added. “I’m confident the system will be in good hands.” Ryan, who will relinquish his AD position in August, certainly leaves the athletic program healthier than it has ever been. The challenge for the Brookdale’s new AD is to maintain what Ryan has handed over. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
Five Hornets to play in college Five Holmdel High School senior lacrosse players will be continuing their athletic careers at colleges next year: Mike Cantelli at Cortland State, Christian Isola and Stephen McGrory at Florida Institute of Technology, Chris Scherzeer at DeSales University, and Jake Murtaugh at St. Vincent’s College. They have led the Hornets to their finest season this spring. The Holmdel High School boys lacrosse team’s having gone 11-6 and reaching the Shore Conference Tournament semifinals this season before losing is just part of the success of the young program.Midfielder Mike Cantelli, one of five players continuing his career in college, will take his talents to Cortland State. Midfielder Christian Isola and defender Stephen Mc- Grory are going to Florida Institute of Technology, which is launching an NCAA Division II program. Midfielder Chris Scherzer, the team’s face-off specialist, is going to DeSales University, and defender Jake Murtaugh is embarking on a career at St. Vincent’s College.“There are 60 [NCAA] Division I programs, 42 Division II and 120 Division III programs, not a lot of schools, and more [high school] lacrosse players these days,” said coach Sal Guastella, who played in high school at nationally regarded Farmingdale High School on Long Island and continued his career at Montclair State. “These guys going to college to play lacrosse is a testament to their hard work and talent.”And to the determination of players like Cantelli, whose father, Bill, played in the early 1980s at Johns Hopkins, which reached the Division I national finals all four years he played there, winning it his first year in 1980. He was an All- American in his final season.“Actually, he doesn’t talk about it except about how so many people came to the national finals,” the younger Cantelli said of his father. “But it pushes me harder because I realize so many [more] kids are playing nowadays. There’s so much competition.” Cantelli said he visited Cortland and Roanoke before deciding on perennial Division III power Cortland, which won a national title two years ago.Isola, who has just over 30 goals and is second on the team to senior attack Mike Downey’s 42 goals, said his college decision came easily. Florida Institute of Technology has a full undergraduate program in oceanic engineering. The other school he visited — Montclair State — does not. “This has been really awesome,” said Isola. “It’s a little disappointing we did not get to the Shore Conference Tournament finals, but to make it this far in three years is great. It’s working out as a team.”Rumson-Fair Haven denied Holmdel, 14-7, in the Shore Conference Tournament semis on May 22. But Holmdel had a 6-3 lead, the first time all year that Rumson had to battle from behind for a victory, boasted Guastella, who has two trusty assistants in Frank Finochio, who works with the defense, and Tuck Isherwood.Holmdel was scheduled for an opening-round game at Sparta on May 24 in the NJSIAA Group II Tournament. The Hornets are the No. 10 seed and Sparta is No. 7.Holmdel already has surpassed the 8-8 and 9-8 records of the past two seasons and has qualified for the Shore Conference and NJSIAA tournaments every year of its existence.“It’s been pretty exciting,” Cantelli said. “We’ve all been best friends for four years. The camaraderie is good.”Guastella says the tougher schedule this season prepared his team for this run, including an 8-6 loss to Mendham, a 6-3 loss to Montclair Kimberley that was a one-goal game with five minutes left, and a 14-6 setback to Mahwah when the team had a number of players out with injuries. All three teams are state ranked. Isola said the game against Montclair Kimberley, whose goalie is headed to SyracuseUniversity, convinced him this would be a memorable season.Ten seniors graduate off this team, many playing prominent roles. That includes goalkeeper Matt Micalli, who never played competitive lacrosse before this season. Micalli pitched for the baseball team, but when this season had some doubts because of a shoulder injury, Micalli felt the need to do something for his school.“He’s a fearless kid, a good athlete,” said Guastella. “He started training for this and went to a lacrosse camp. He anticipates well and learned how to pass the ball.”Guastella plays three on the attack, four midfielders and three on defense.“Our defense has been really solid,” said the coach, who has Mc- Grory, his sophomore brother, Pat, and freshman Tim Davis starting back there. On the attack are Downey, sophomore Dillon Cort and freshman Mark Scherzer, younger brother of Chris, who plays in midfield with regular starters Cantelli and Isola.Guastella said the key to advancing in the state tournament is “to focus on fundamentals and play hard for 48 minutes.”“We have to take it one game at a time, playing under control and smart,” said Cantelli. “We have to do the job as a team. I don’t want this to end.” BY WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent
The Jersey Shore Running Club (JSRC) together with the Middletown Youth Athletic Association (MYAA) will host the 11th annual Navesink Challenge on Sunday, Nov. 27.The Navesink Challenge is one of New Jersey’s premier running events. It includes a 15K run and a 5K run/walk. Both courses start and finish at Bodman Park in Middletown, and include some of the most scenic — and most hilly — roads in all of New Jersey. The 15K starts at 10 a.m. and the 5K will start immediately after.This year’s Navesink Challenge features numerous award categories as well as an official Navesink Challenge long-sleeve shirt for every participant.“We work hard to ensure every participant has a great time,” said John Shipley, the race director, in a press release. “We provide a beautiful and challenging course, a great race t-shirt, lots of awards, and the most fun post-race party in New Jersey, all for a good cause.”For sponsorship information, contact Jim Burke at email@example.com. Sponsor benefits include logo on all T-shirts distributed to race participants, organization name highlighted on race registration materials, and press releases and other media related to the event (provided that sponsorship commitment is received in time for printing deadlines), the opportunity to distribute your company’s promotional materials and product samples at the race venue, and recognition at the awards ceremony. Cash and in-kind donations are both gladly accepted. For more information on the race or the Jersey Shore Running Club, visit www.jsrc.org.The Born to Run race is its 27th year.The 11 a.m. race will begin and end on Court Street in Freehold Borough near the Monmouth County Hall of Records. The course will take participants through scenic Lake Topanemus Park in neighboring Freehold Township.Pre-race registration will be held at the offices of Downtown Freehold, 10 E. Main St., beginning at 9 a.m. Registration on the day of the race is $30.There is prize money for the top three male and female finishers, with $100 to the winner, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place. A$100 bonus will be paid to the male or female winner if they break the course record.Freehold Area Running Club President Mike O’Flaherty is the race director. For information about the Born to Run race, go to www.farcnj.com.
Greece qualified for a second successive World Cup after another Kostas Mitroglou goal secured a 1-1 draw with Romania in the second leg of their playoff on Tuesday and a 4-2 victory on aggregate.Mitroglou, who scored twice in Greece’s 3-1 first-leg win on Friday, beat the offside trap midway through the first half and gave keeper Ciprian Tatarusanu no chance with his 22nd goal in all competitions this season.Romania equalised 10 minutes after the break when Vasilis Torosidis struck the ball past his own goalkeeper, Orestis Karnezis, from the edge of the area for an astonishing own goal.Greece, the 2004 European champions, competed in the previous World Cup finals, in South Africa in 2010, as well as the 1994 tournament in the United States, but they have failed to get past the first round, losing five of their six matches.Meanwhile, a sublime second-half hat-trick by Cristiano Ronaldo took Portugal through with a 4-2 aggregate victory against Sweden.In a tie billed as a monumental battle between the Portuguese captain and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swede scored twice but the imperious Ronaldo lifted his side to a 3-2 win in the second leg.With Portugal leading 1-0 from the first leg in Lisbon, the Swedes dominated first-half possession but created little before Ronaldo tore them apart in the second half, getting in behind the defence three times to score.Ibrahimovic gave his side hope at 1-0 down when he levelled from a corner and then blasted home a free kick, but two goals in three minutes from Ronaldo put the game out of reach and ended Swedish hopes of reaching the finals in Brazil.Elsewhere, France came back from the brink to overpower Ukraine 3-0 in a thrilling playoff return match with a 3-2 aggregate victory.Oleg Gusev put through his own net in the 72nd minute after Mamadou Sakho had put Les Bleus ahead with his first international goal in the 22nd and Karim Benzema was on target 12 minutes later.Ukraine, who won the first leg in Kiev 2-0 on Friday, were reduced to 10 men when Yevhen Khacheridi was sent off for a second bookable offence two minutes into the second half.Croatia also reached the finals after goals from striker Mario Mandzukic and captain Darijo Srna secured a 2-0 aggregate win over Iceland following an action-packed return leg of their playoff on Tuesday.Mandzukic opened the scoring with a clinical goal in the 27th minute but was sent off for a vicious foul on Johann Gudmundsson shortly before halftime, raising concerns that Croatia might fail to qualify for next year’s tournament after missing out on the 2010 World Cup.But the home side were unfazed by being a man down and Srna added the second goal straight after the break, rifling in a stinging low shot from 15 metres as he cut in on the right flank after a darting run and pinpoint delivery by midfielder Mateo Kovacic.Kovacic missed a clearcut chance when Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson turned his low shot around the post and Ivica Olic crashed a spectacular overhead kick against the crossbar as Croatia hit top gear to end Iceland’s hopes of qualifying for their first major tournament.
By Alan BaldwinAlejandro Agag, the man leading the world’s first all-electric car racing series, laughingly describes himself as an ‘old petrolhead’ who likes a bit of noise.The joke stops there, however. The 43-year-old chief executive has silenced the doubters who only two years ago were questioning whether he could turn his ‘Formula E’ plans into reality and next week he hopes to show he is on to a winner.The first race, or ‘ePrix’, will be held in Beijing on September 13, sanctioned by the International Automobile Federation and broadcast around the world, and Agag is smiling at how perceptions have changed.“Many people thought this series was not going to happen because it was a really difficult project to put together. There were no cars, no cities, no sponsors, no television,” the Spaniard told Reuters in an interview.“Now people have seen the testing, they’ve seen the cars, they can walk in the Olympic Park in Beijing and see all the fences and walls so the race is happening. So that really changes the minds of people.”If Formula One remains in a league of its own, with the glamour of Ferrari coupled with the allure of tracks like Monaco and Monza, Agag has a different audience in mind – one that is younger and more interested in social media than motorsport.“We have one thing in which we are the best. We are the cleanest,” said the chief executive.“And for the world today, that’s probably the most important thing.“The world is changing and the world is not any more so concerned about the fastest or the noisiest. But it is concerned about who is doing things that are better for the environment. And in that Formula E is unbeatable.”Agag is used to comparisons being made with Formula One, even if Formula E will race in city centres, over shorter distances and with very different cars.The Spaniard is in any case perfectly placed to deal with them, having been involved in both.As well as a longstanding involvement in Formula One feeder series GP2, he was a business partner at London football club Queens Park Rangers with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone and former Renault team boss Flavio Briatore.“We are big fans of Formula One and whoever tries to compete with Formula One will fail,” said Agag.“From Fangio to Fittipaldi to Senna to Schumacher to famous racetracks, the glory and the drama; All that Formula One has behind it is so important for motorsport that it’s impossible to fight with that.“What we try to build is something complementary, which may be smaller, and at the beginning we are modest and know who we are, but we think we have something very important.”Agag said Saturday’s race would be a “transforming moment” for Formula E with the press room already having to be enlarged from a planned 300 capacity after a rush of accreditation requests from a curious media.The series hopes to break even in year one, with some big corporate partners already on board and a range of broadcasters that includes Sky Germany and ITV in Britain, and has a clear sense of direction.All ePrix ‘weekends’ shoehorn practice, qualifying and the race into one day, and drivers must switch cars at the sole mandatory pitstop because of the limitations of battery technology.Maximum speeds will be about 225kph, compared to the 340kph likely to be reached by Formula One cars at Monza on Sunday, and theseries will end in Britain next June.“We started the project focusing on China and the US as the two main markets for the development of electric cars in the future,” said Agag. “We thought there was a window of opportunity there for Formula E to grow.“China I think symbolises very well what we want to show, that electric cars are the solution for pollution in cities… to show these cars in action in Beijing sends a strong message of what we want to achieve.”Formula One, which has a grand prix in Shanghai, has also been re-positioning itself to project a greener image.It switched this season from the old howling V8 engines to much quieter hybrid V6 turbos with energy recovery systems and an increasing focus on battery technology in line with automotive industry priorities.However the changes were not welcomed by all, with the lack of noise bemoaned by some fans for whom the ear-splitting roar of a normally aspirated V8 was the big draw.Those fans may well dismiss the electric racing, where the noise comes largely from trackside DJs and sound systems rather than the cars, but the two worlds are already overlapping and could converge further in future.Renault are active in both while McLaren provided the powertrain and electronics for Formula E cars and Williams the batteries.Many of the drivers are also familiar to F1 fans, with Alain Prost’s son Nicolas and Ayrton Senna’s nephew Bruno among them.Formula E also has women racers and teams backed by the likes of Hollywood actor Leonardo Di Caprio and British entrepreneur Richard Branson.But in other areas the championships are worlds apart.“I think we have the most aggressive social media strategy of any sport at the moment. No sport allows the public to have a direct effect on the result of the sport as we do,” said Agag.“Fans vote and the car gets more energy. We will be the most digitally open championship in the world,” he added, referring to a ‘Fanboost’ feature which allows fans to vote online for an extra speed boost for the driver with most support.If purists dismiss that as a gimmick, Agag took it on the chin: “We do understand people who criticise it, we understand their point, but we think the point is irrelevant because we gain so much more because of the contribution of the fans.”Fans will be able to get close to drivers and cars, with an open paddock compared to the exclusive Formula One version.Eventually there could even be a final virtual round with gamers challenging drivers in an online ePrix with points and prize money at stake.Agag said talks were ongoing with digital developers, who wanted to wait and see how the championship fared.“If you invest $10 or 20 million in creating a video game and then the championship underneath disappears, you lose your investment,” he explained.“I think it will need the first season to happen, to be able to launch that video game but we are definitely keen on doing that. We know it’s possible.”