Caldwell Sports Spring Outlook
What to expect from the Chiefs this season.
Spring season is upon us, and local Chiefs teams are all geared up for a great season. Most of Caldwell's teams will be in contention for some championship or another this spring. Here is a brief outlook on the season.
The Lady Chiefs are coming off of a 17-11 season in which they captured the North II Group 2 state sectional championship. But because of some struggles in the Super Essex American Division last spring, they have been moved down to the Liberty Division. Caldwell took some key senior losses, but still return a solid group of girls for this season.
Key losses: Paige Johnson (c), Brittany Trivino (p), Jennifer Toron (1b), Chelsea Columbo (ss)
Key returnees: Carleigh Trivino (cf), Gabby Roselle (2b), Gina Veneziano (3b), Alex Sciacca (rf), Rachel Curtiss (lf), Danielle Pesante (p)
Looking ahead: It's all going to come down pitching for the girls, because they certainly have enough position players coming back this season. With a freshman (Cayla Lombardi) and a sophomore in the circle, there will be more pressure on the veteran lineup to produce runs. Caldwell should do well in the Liberty Division and will be one of the favorites.
Caldwell baseball will have to recover from the loss of its top two pitchers last season to graduation. The boys were 12-15 last spring and were eliminated in the opening round of the state playoffs. They enter this spring with a host of key returning position players.
Key losses: Mike Jeffrey (p), Connor Smith (p), Damen Soriente (3b)
Key returnees: Sonny Puzzo (ss), Tyler Condit (1b), Mike Aliotta (of), John Gallagher (of), Mike LaTorraca (of), Colin Bohnert (p), T.J. Reuter (p/of)
Looking ahead: With West Essex moving up to the American Division, the Liberty is now wide open for the taking and there's no reason to think that the Chiefs can't win it. As far as in the state, a lot will depend on how well Reuter and Bohnert step into the top two rotation spots, or who else emerges in the rotation.
Coming off of one of its best seasons under head coach Angela Giampino-Vasi, the Lady Chiefs seem poised to have similar success, despite the loss of eight seniors last June. Caldwell won the SEC Liberty Division last spring, placed second in the Freedom Division of the New Jersey Interscholastic Girls Lacrosse League, and reached the second round of the state playoffs.
Key losses: Amanda Jedele (mid), Katie Naspo (att), Jen Buoye (def), Amanda Dederick
Key returnees: Annie Mergner (mid), Meredith King (def), Maggie McNish (gk), Meredith Weber (mid), Ijeoma Ikpe (att), Emily Banazynski (att)
Looking ahead: With the exception of Mount St. Dominic, there is really no threat to Caldwell winning the SEC Liberty for a second straight season. The Mount is without a few key players from last spring, as are the Lady Chiefs. Within the state and the county, it's always very tough. On the county level, getting by powers like Glen Ridge and West Essex will be very tall tasks. Glen Ridge is in Caldwell's section, along with teams like Mountain Lakes and Kent Place, so advancing will be very difficult.
Caldwell was off to a great 7-2 start last spring before things started to head south in the second half, with the boys finishing 10-8 overall. But the locals made a nice run in the postseason and reached the Group 1 quarterfinals before losing to Glen Ridge, 13-7. Caldwell reached the Essex County Tournament quarterfinals as well.
Key losses: Jason Kratch (16 pts), Christopher Lawshe (51 pts), Griffin Nikolayuk (44 pts)
Key returnees: Timothy DeVincenzo (12 pts), Evan Lawshe (9 pts), Billy Pierce (61 pts), Joe Vogt (gk)
Looking ahead: Anytime you can bring back your starting goalkeeper and leading scorer from a year ago, you're off to a good start. However, the Chiefs have to find a way to replace over 100 points from last spring. Everyone knows Pierce can score, the question Caldwell will have to answer this spring is who else can score?
TRACK AND FIELD
Both the boys and girls teams finished second in the SEC Independence Division Championships last spring. With only a few losses and many key returnees this season, both teams may be able to take the next step and win the division and possibly score in some state and county championship meets.
Key losses: Jimmy Batistick, Megan McCleod
Key returnees: Jason Bernier (distance), Matthew Meehan (distance), Matt Mihalik (400), Taylor Carson (throwing), Matt Alperin (throwing),Chris Volz (sprints), Ashley Davidson (sprints), Jackie Finnegan (throwing), Sarah Somers (hurdles), Joanna Carluccio (jumps)
Looking ahead: Caldwell will absolutely be contenders this spring to win the Independence Division crown and will likely do well during their dual meet season. On the state and county level, the Chiefs don't have the team depth to win as a team, but certainly have some individuals who have potential to place in both.
Returning with four of seven starters from a team which reached the North II Group 2 state sectional finals, the Chiefs tennis team looks strong again this spring. A year ago they went 16-4, won the Liberty Division and made a run to the sectional finals before losing to Bernards, 5-0.
Key losses: Ethan Flint, Andrew Lucila, Connor Tracey
Key returnees: Dylan Silver, Neil Shulman, Mike Melchione, Mike Stern
Looking ahead: Caldwell would have to be the favorites to repeat as champions of the Liberty Division, though newcomers like West Essex and Columbia, who have both moved down from the American Division, could make things interesting. This team has a chance to put up a really impressive win-loss total, but will be underdogs to win the section, with Bernards coming back strong this spring as well.