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Auguat 24, 2009 I Issue-1 1 Shore Conf. Football Preview Issue Coming Soon Page 3 Remembering t h e " K u b u W a y'' Page 5 Shore Conf. Football Camp Reports Page 7 Morning Glory: The Six a.m. Club Page 8 Titanic Comeback for Keansburg QB Page 9 Girls Tennis - RBC Leads the Way Page 10 Joe McAuliffe: Leading the Way

Page 12 'Budd'-ing Track Stars Page 14 Stumpy’s Corner Page 15

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All Shore Media is a multimedia company that provides exciting and innovative coverage to high school athletics in the Shore Conference in order to highlight the achievements of local athletes in one of the premier conferences in New Jersey. Whether it’s the star of the team or the last player off the bench, everyone has a story and it is our mission to recognize as many athletes as possible and add to the memories for all of the families, coaches, friends and fans who support Shore Conference sports. Whether in print or on the Web, A l l S h o r e M e d i a is your main source for all things exciting in the Shore Conference.

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All Shore Media Web Site Features Log on to www.allshoremedia.com regularly to get video highlights of all the important games that Shore Conference fans will be talking about. Catch up on the action you might have missed and watch video clips of everything from the action early in the event to the big finish as well as video i n t e r v i e w s w i t h v a r i o u s athletes. If you can’t make it to the game, we’ll bring the game to you, and if you were at the game and want to relive the excitement, membership at www.allshoremedia.com is all you need to get inside the action.

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2009 Football Preview Issue Get everything you need to know to get ready for the 2009 football season in one place with the inaugural All S h o r e M e d i a S h o r e C o n f e r e n c e f o o t b a l l p r e v i e w ! Wi t h team-by-team previews, schedules, features on players f r o m a c r o s s t h e S h o r e a n d m o r e , A l l S h o r e M e d i a ’s 2 0 0 9 Shore Conference football preview is a must-have for the passionate football fan. Find out about the key returners and the rising stars for all 43 Shore Conference teams and who the experts think will make a run at division and NJSIAA titles. Read up on players you may know and others looking to make themselves known during the upcoming season, and check out the key games that everyone will be circling on their calendars.

The All Shore Media Shore Conference football preview is a handy resource that has everything you need to get a handle on the upcoming season. Also, don’t forget to also visit w w w. a l l s h o r e m e d i a . c o m regularly to get even more information as well as video highlights, interviews and plenty more from across the Shore Conference football season. Don’t miss out on all the excitement of the upcoming season by making sure to grab your copy of the All Shore Media Shore Conference football preview!


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Keeping “The Kubu Way’’ Alive By Art Gordon - Manasquan Assistant Coach Long-time Manasquan football assistant Art Gordon talks about his good friend Vic Kubu as we near the two-year anniversary of the legendary coach’s death from cancer at age 65 in 2007. Kubu’s teams won a Shore Conference-record 11 state sectional championships, 10 at Manasquan and one at Middletown North.

look at New Egypt High School, where one of his former players and assistant coaches, Luke Sinkhorn, has taken the head coaching position. Look at the many former players who are back at their schools coaching, giving back and teaching the players the right way to do something, or, as most know it, The Kubu Way.

We are nearing the two-year anniversary of Vic’s passing and there is not a day that goes by that something or someone makes you think of him. It could be some words you hear a young coach or teacher say to one of his players or students, it could be another person just giving an opinion on something, or it could be something that is misspelled, mispronounced or some silly joke.

In The Dash, my hope was that we would keep his memory alive in the minds of many good people who would continue to teach the Kubu Way because that is what Vic was! He was a teacher all the time. He was teaching when he did not even know he was

Vic is no longer with us physically but he has not left us, nor has he been forgotten. In a previous thought (The Dash, which can be found at www.allshoremedia.com), I mentioned many schools where Vic still has an influence. His presence can be felt on the many playing fields, classrooms and administrative offices, and it is not just people from Middletown, Wall or Manasquan. It can be places he coached only for a week at the many camps he ran or the all-star teams he coached. His influence is still growing – just

doing so because of the respect he demanded from you and the way he taught you to show respect. With another season just starting, I am amazed at how many times I hear a coach or even the players say things that Vic said, do things that Vic taught, or even just remember little details of things as something happens on the field. Some of these players were freshmen or eighth-graders when Vic passed away, so I guess we are doing a good job of keeping Vic’s spirit alive. On this, his two year anniversary, hopefully everyone who has ever been touched or influenced by him in some way will continue to go out and do something that Vic taught us. However, this time, let someone new know that they just learned something the Kubu Way. It could be the simplest of things, maybe even just getting to an appointment on Kubu time or tapping someone on the chest as he always did. In closing, as was done in The Dash, let us say, “Vic, thanks. We miss you, and we love you. Keep watching over us, and there’s no need for ‘God bless you,’ because he already has. How about, ‘Vic, ask God to bless us.’’’


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Get Caught Up on All the Preseason Shore Conference Football Action By Scott Stump – Managing Editor With training camps in full swing as the 2009 Shore Conference football season rapidly approaches, check Stumpy’s Blog regularly on www.allshoremedia.com for reports on all the teams around the Shore before we roll out our full previews of each team. Below is a sample report featuring Keyport, as the Red Raiders gear up for what they hope is a return to their winning ways.

and the University of Pennsylvania. Brown is currently a freshman at UPenn. Ciccotelli noted how even when he was a freshman, Thomson was a student of the game who was always watching extra film and always was one step ahead of everyone on the field because of his film study. That also made it easier to transition him to center from guard because he already knows where everyone is supposed to be on every play. It also was because that in the Patriot Division, several teams play three

Red Raiders - Patriot Division This is the year that the Red Raiders have been building toward for two seasons, as they have a large senior class that features a host of two- and three-year starters. This is the best team they have had since the Cattouse-Bedle era early in this decade. Leading the way is senior two-way lineman Bryan Thomson, who has moved to center from guard and is still at defensive tackle after being voted the 2008 Patriot Division Defensive Player of the Year by the coaches. Head coach Mike Ciccotelli, who is entering his 32nd season and has 200 career wins and six state sectional titles, said Thomson may be the best defensive player he has ever coached. He battled Rumson’s Taylor Brown for postseason honors last season, and now there is a chance that he and Thomson could be teammates. Thomson, who is also an excellent student, said that the two main schools that he has may be choosing from are Holy Cross

man fronts in which they line up someone directly over the center to try and disrupt plays and flood the middle with

linebackers, but putting Thomson there helps negate that tactic. The Red Raiders have a ton of size and can match up physically with a Group III school on the line. All five of their linemen are returning starters on offense, so this team is just going to try to physically bludgeon opponents at the point of attack in the Wing T with

junior Yusuf Francis serving as a primary threat at fullback. One of the returning linemen, senior Dan Quinn, is currently working through a back injury but should return within a week. The new quarterback is senior Jimmy Maguire, who was a wideout last year and is a small, elusive type. Defensively, the Red Raiders return all four starting linebackers, the entire secondary, and three out of four D-linemen. They were moved up from Central Jersey Group I to CJ II this year after having been in CJ I for eons, and the reason is because the enrollment of Henry Hudson was added to their enrollment because of the cooperative program that allows Henry Hudson kids to play football at Keyport because the Admirals do not have a football program. It used to be that just a percentage of Henry Hudson’s enrollment counted toward Keyport’s total, but now it’s the whole thing. There are currently five Henry Hudson students who play football for the Red Raiders. They missed the cutoff for Group I by having one more student than Spotswood when the NJSIAA did its latest realignment, and now they must deal with the likes of Rahway, Carteret, defending CJ II champ Manasquan, Raritan, Long Branch, Matawan, Rumson and New Brunswick in CJ II. The best-case scenario for this team might be taking down Asbury Park and winning the Patriot Division title and then taking their chances if they qualify for that brutal CJ II bracket. Their game against Asbury Park should be a great contrast between Keyport’s brute strength and the Blue Bishops’ ability to hit the explosive play.

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Morning Glory By Scott Stump – Managing Editor

T

hirteen years ago, Wesley Mayo was working for the office of the Monmouth County Prosecutor, watching as the youth in his hometown of Long Branch and in neighboring towns were being swallowed up by the streets. A former football player at Long Branch and Northeastern University, Mayo started a club with only five kids from Asbury Park, Long Branch and Neptune, a sort of test run to see if it could have a clear effect on their lives. Four years later, all five of them went on to college after becoming part of the inaugural “Six a.m. Club’ ’ during the summer. A proud tradition was born. Throughout the years, the non-profit organization has produced Wesley Mayo & Chris Mayo

police officers, attorneys and plenty of other success stories since those first offseason strength and conditioning workouts years ago.

“I was just concerned about the youth in Monmouth County, so I decided to start a type of mentoring program to keep kids involved in s o m e t h i n g p o s i t i v e ,’’ M a y o s a i d . “ We ’ v e h a d k i d s from Long Branch and Neptune to kids from Rumson and Manalapan come work with us because we want to try and help as many kids a s w e c a n .’’ The program is now bigger and better than ever, as it mushroomed during the past summer thanks to the club being allowed to use the new artificial turf football field at Long Branch. In addition to the core club of 15 boys and 15 girls who are selected based

on need and an essay that they each had to write during the application process, the workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays were open to everyone. That resulted in 40 players from Long Branch’s football team and nearly 70 from around Monmouth County showing up twice a week to improve their game during the club’s duration from July 6 th to Aug. 7 th. With the athletes having to be present by 6 a.m. for the workouts, it’s an instant test of their commitment during a time of the year when most teenagers aren’t exactly eager to crawl out of bed as the sun comes up. The core group of 15 girls and boys, whose usage of the gym is paid for by local businesses and other donations, were working out at Edge Sports Academy in Tinton Falls on Monday, Wednesday and Friday while doing agility and speed training on Tuesday and Thursday on the field at Long Branch. The indoor workout regimen was a combination of a workout from Edge Sports Academy trainer Joe McAuliffe and some plyometric and core exercises brought in by Mayo, his brother, Chris, and others, while the outdoor workouts consisted of speed work done with parachutes, agility drills and more. “It shows dedication to wake up at 5 o’clock in the morning to be here,’’ said Long Branch junior quarterback Miles Shuler. “It’s really hard waking up that early to work out hard for an hour like that. It’s like three hours of hard work compressed into one.’’

back/linebacker David Newbey and former Neptune basketball standout Jabari Joyner.

“It was all about developing leadership skills, conditioning, dedication to the program and wanting to b e t h e b e s t y o u c a n b e , ’’ Kelly said. It’s not just about improving on-field performance, either, as Mayo often has former Six a.m. Club members come back and speak to the players about their careers and their life experience. Guys like former Long Branch basketball star and current Ocean Township police officer Raheem Carter, and current New Jersey state trooper Billy Shea, a former Keansburg football star who now watches Greg Schiano’s back at Rutgers games, are Six a.m. Club alumni who Mayo uses as examples of the success of the club to the current athletes.

Several of Long Branch’s top players, like Shuler, Ezra Kelly, Elijah White, Karon Hair, and brothers Robert and Ryan Brody, were all part of the core group that met five days a week and also included standouts like Neptune running

“For five or 10 minutes before our Wednesday session, I’ll have guys come back to either talk about their experiences in college or their careers to emphasize the importance of schoolwork and determination in addition to just becoming a better athlete,’’ Mayo said. Over the years, the club has gone from Jake’s Gym in Long Branch to JM Power Center in Eatontown to workouts on the beach in Long Branch and now to the Edge Sports Academy. It has become a vital part of offseason training for many area athletes, particularly those from Long Branch, where Mayo graduated from in 1979. “We’ve had a tremendous offseason working out, one of the best I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching,’’ said Long Branch head football coach Dan George. “The 6 a.m. Club also brings the players a lot closer together, so it helps with

See Long Branch's Elijah White is tackled by teammate

Glory p a g e 11


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Titanic Comeback By Scott Stump – Managing Editor

Stark) for breaking his door and getting my jersey all bloody,’’ Soleo said. “I was asking questions of my mom, and she told me later that she had to lie because she didn’t want me thinking that I might not have made it.’’

W

alking toward the Keansburg locker room during a basketball game against Point Beach this past winter, a frustrated Frank Soleo stuck out his palm to smack open the door and exit the gym.

Soleo suffered artery and nerve damage, and badly cut the tendons in his middle finger. His arm looked like a hand grenade had gone off on top of it.

Minutes later, Soleo was on the ground, afraid for his life as blood poured everywhere from his mangled left forearm.

“It was like a freak a c c i d e n t , ’’ s a i d S o l e o , w h o is now a senior quarterback o n K e a n s b u r g ’s f o o t b a l l team. “I put my arm out straight to push the door a n d i t d i d n ’t g o a l l t h e w a y open. My arm went through the little window on the d o o r. I h a d n o i d e a I d i d anything at first, but I looked at my arm and saw a w h o l e b u n c h o f b l o o d . ’’ Soleo’s arm had crashed through the small window at the top of the door. He had then pulled it back out through the jagged glass, slashing his arm down to the bone and severing tendons, arteries and nerves in the process. He was rapidly losing blood, and meanwhile the game against the Garnet Gulls was continuing. Soleo’s first instinct was to walk back toward the bench, but assistant coach Jim McCarthy had been following right behind him as he headed to the locker room. Soleo said McCarthy had him exit the gym and get down on the ground while McCarthy yelled for the trainer. At the time, Keansburg did not have a fulltime athletic trainer, but trainer Julia Barnes had been hired by the school district to cover the game.

“I’ve got some nasty p i c t u r e s o f i t , ’’ h e s a i d before shaking his head. “It looked like meat just hanging off my arm. There was wire behind the glass, and I cut my hand pretty badly. I cut everything all the way dow n to the bone.’’

here right now. If she wasn’t there, I would’ve probably died. I asked my mom if I was going to die, and she later said that I could’ve bled to death.’’ Barnes elevated his arm and applied pressure to slow down the profuse bleeding from the damaged artery during the tense minutes before an ambulance arrived and raced him to Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank. Meanwhile, Soleo’s mind was overloaded with thoughts ranging from mundane to terrifying. Had he not been carrying his warm-up jersey in his right hand, he may have stuck his throwing arm through the window and all but ended any chance of playing quarterback again. “I was apologizing to Mr. Stark (Keansburg athletic director Tom

With the worst over once he made it to the hospital on the night of January 30th, Soleo began the arduous process of surgeries and rehabilitation work so that he could play his senior season of football this fall. A quarterback who threw for over 1,200 yards and ran for over 700 in his first year as a starter in 2008, Soleo did not want to have to spend his final high school season watching from the sidelines.

“I was asking all the doctors right away if I was going to be able t o p l a y a g a i n ,’’ Soleo said.

“Thank God we had a trainer,’’ Soleo said. “If she wasn’t there, I don’t think I would be

A significant factor working in Soleo’s favor was that Keansburg hired a full-time athletic trainer in late February. Kelly Gibson had coincidentally

See

Titanic Comeback page 14

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Red Bank Catholic: The Team to Beat In Girls Tennis & Dena Tanenbaum is a Big Reason Why! B y C l a y t o n Ta y l o r, D i r e c t o r o f Te n n i s a t T h e A t l a n t i c C l u b

Red Bank Catholic appears to be the team to beat this fall in girls tennis as it won the Class A Central title and reached the semifinals of the Shore Conference Tournament last year and returns plenty of talent. Last season’s top teams, Wall and Holmdel, lost four and six players from their championship teams, respectively, and should again be in the hunt. Leading the way for the Caseys is sophomore Dena Tanenbaum at first singles, one of the top returning players in the state. As a freshman, Tanenbaum went 23-2-1 Dena Tanenbaum and reached the Round of 16 at the NJSIAA Singles Tournament mostly due to her aggressive style of play. Tanenbaum has big ground strokes, and is a threat to hit a winner off any shot from the baseline. Now that she is fitness training at the Parisi Speed School, she should get to even more balls and hit more winners. If you hit a short ball to her you might as well forget about it, as Dena will hit a winner or finish at the net with volleys that have her ranked as one of the top doubles players in the United States Tennis Association’s Middle State Section. She most recently won the New Jersey State Open Singles Championship

and added the State Doubles title in the 16’s & 18’s divisions in the tournament at the Atlantic Club by defeating Manasquan’s standout first singles player, Farrah Smoke, in the singles and doubles finals. RBC will also return second-team All-Conference players Cara McGrath at third singles, who is a pit bull with her consistency at the baseline, and the first doubles team of Leigh Oliver and Meghan Corcoran. They also return half of their second doubles team, which posted a 19-2-1 record last year. Red Bank Catholic will also be loading up on incoming freshmen as Jenna Pelligrino, Emma Giordano and Rocine Moschella will all be challenging for a singles spot. All are highly-ranked USTA state or sectional players. Other top singles players returning in the Shore Conference are Wall’s Lindsey Balsamo, whose big serve and forehand combination earned her Shore Conference Player of the Year honors last season, and Marlboro’s Michella Dassa, who is a speedster on the court who defeated Tanenbaum and Balsamo last year. Smoke also is back for Manasquan, Brooke Verdiglione will lead St. John Vianney and Holmdel’s Karolina Wojciak returns after spending the summer training in Europe.

Volley Like The Professionals! The secret to great technique on the volley is simplicity. Follow the steps below and soon you will be volleying like a pro!

1.

Prepare your racket first and then move your feet. Lining up your racket with the ball early gives a clear gauge as to exactly where you need to move to get in the best position for the shot.

2.

Maintain good posture. Throughout the preparation and hitting phases, keep your shoulders and back relatively straight.

3.

Keep your elbow bent. Never have a straight arm in the p r e p a r a t i o n p h a s e o f t h e v o l l e y.

4.

Hold the racket head above your wrist. A s y o u p r e p a r e f o r t h e v o l l e y, y o u r racket head generally will start well above your wrist with the racket face slightly open.

5.

Keep your elbow out on the forehand. Keep your elbow bent and slightly out in front of your body as you prepare for a f o r e h a n d v o l l e y.

6.

Tu r n y o u r u p p e r b o d y o n t h e backhand. Do not start with your whole body turned sideways.

Dena Tanenbaum

Facing the ball, rotate your upper body as you prepare, getting a pull in the shoulders for the strength you need in the shot, then step.

7.

Use a compact swing.

8.

Control the racket face before and after you hit. In the preparation phase, attempt to line up the racket face directly behind the flight of the oncoming ball. Then focus on keeping the face of your racket facing the direction of your target after you make contact, and hold this for a split second. This will help to keep your racket face pointed in the right direction throughout the hitting zone as well as minimize the size of your backswing and follow-through


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Glory

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team chemistry.’’ “I’ve been doing the 6 a.m. club for eight years, so it’s normal for me at this point,’’ said Long Branch senior Julian Mayo, a transfer from St. John Vianney who is Wesley Mayo’s nephew. “It’s a part of my life that has helped me become a better player.’’ While the Six a.m. Club has made a difference off the field by keeping athletes out

of trouble and providing them with positive role models, the athletes can’t deny that a big reason they are there is to get an edge on the field. Getting faster, bigger and stronger is the main selling point, while also developing discipline. Every step faster that Shuler and Hair become, every inch higher that Kelly leaps, every extra pound that Newbey can lift – it all should benefit their teams and themselves once the season kicks off.

“Because of the

Six a.m. Club, it feels like when the fourth quarter comes, I’m a new m a n , ’’ s a i d W h i t e , who is a running back for the Green Wa v e . “ I c a n r u n as hard in the fourth quarter as I did in the first q u a r t e r. T h a t ’s when you’ll really see the differ e n c e i t h a s m a d e.’’

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Power Without Steroids: Leading the way By Joe McAuliffe M.A., C.S.C.S – Head Strength & Conditioning Coach-Edge Sports Academy, Drug Free World Record Holder Squat & Bench Press

An old friend of the immortal Vince Lombardi once told me how proud he was of the fine young coaches he had mentored. Hall of Fame NFL coaches like George Halas, Paul Brown and Bill Walsh all had lots of branches sprout from their coaching tree. Locally, coaches like Vic Kubu and Warren Wolf have been the inspiration to many of the Shore Conference's elite football minds. When I look at the fine young men that I have helped along the way I feel happy to know that more kids will get quality professional training in the world and become inspired to do great things. When current Colts running back Donnie Brown (Red Bank Catholic) decided to major in exercise science at the University of Connecticut, it warmed my heart to know he would study under the greatest scientist in America, Dr. William Kraemer. When I asked him where he wanted to be when his NFL career was over he said, “I don’t want to have to go to work . I’ll just help kids like you coach.” Now he has the degree and credentials to do whatever he wants in this field and his passion is genuine. My response was, “Maybe someday you could train me.” All of my athletes know I love this career and never see a day at the gym as work. It is a blessing to help people improve sport performance and lifelong health. When Bobby Smith (Monmouth University) came to me as a junior in college I met him as a post-surgical

rehab client reconditioning his knee to play football. After four surgeries and subsequent rehabs and training, his determination never wavered and he always had a smile on his face. He truly loves training. He finished his degree , won a javelin title at the NCAA nationals and then passed the hardest trainer exam in the country (CSCS). When I saw him take 10 minutes of his time to coach current Manasquan defensive end Dan Sullivan at The Edge on a special technique he learned, I was so impressed to see what a great coach he has become. Peter Athans (Ocean Twp.) had come to me to rehab an injury while playing football at Sacred Heart. Here was another super young man who loved to train and never gave up. Even a broken back could not stop him from becoming an All American. After obtaining his masters degree in sports psychology, Pete interned with the Giants and is now a full-time assistant strength coach at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Kyle Kiss came to my gym as a shy eighth-grader. He left Ocean Township High School as the winningest wrestler in school history. He placed in the top eight during all four years at the NJSIAA Individual Championships and received a full ride to go to North Carolina, where he is majoring in exercise science. This is the kind of person I want my son to be coached by. He even has asked me to help him with some projects at school. In a couple of years I know coach Kiss will be enthusiastically leading kids in the

right direction. One of the greatest softball players in Shore Conference history, Wall’s Cara Vitale, who has been learning from me for five years, might declare exercise science as her major at North Carolina, too. The fitness bug has bitten her hard. Kim Klein, a gymnast from Howell, came to me for knee strength about 15 years ago and ended up a fitness champion with a national championship and winner of The Arnold Classic. She is completely dedicated to fitness and nutrition, and after teaching for years, Kim now owns a gym in Hazlet, where she is continuing to help people reach their goals. Now there are over a dozen CSCS that I have mentored throughout the area doing well working at gyms or their own facilities. Although I know I have created my own competition (I do love competition), it makes me happy to know about the quality training and teaching going on out there. Each one of us have different styles and methodology. All of us are dedicated to the mission of empowering our future leaders with the health and fitness they need to succeed. If any of you athletes out there are interested in this fulfilling career just call me at 908433-9584..Coach Mac.

Bobby Smith


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'Budd'-ing Stars: Frank Budd Track & Field Meet By Elliott Denman - All Shore Media Contributor F u l l d e t a i l s o f t h e 2 0 0 9 F r a n k B u d d Tr a c k a n d F i e l d M e e t a r e a t w w w. s h o r e a c . o r g . Matt Nelson and A’Jee Wilson are two of New Jersey’s bright young middle distance running hopes. Nelson is heading into his freshman year at Barnegat and Wilson into her sophomore year at Neptune High School.

the 1968 Mexico City Olympics to status as a national leader in collegiate sports administration at Richard Stockton College of Atlantic County. James passed away to cancer last year after a long, gallant battle.

In late July, they headed for Asbury Park High School and its fast, blue rubberized 400-meter oval for the fourth annual Frank Budd Track and Field Meet.

His legacy continues on at G. Larry James Stadium at Stockton, and now in the Larry James Memorial 400-meter run at the Frank Budd Track Meet.

After running first in their respective age-group divisions of the 800-meter race (Nelson leading the boys 15-18 division in 2:06.6, Wilson topping the gilrls 15-18 category in 2:08.8) they headed for the sidelines for some shade on this swelteringly hot day and a brief rest before returning to the track for the one-mile run.

The first edition of the Larry James 400 saw Albert Wright (51.8) beat out Tom Mandese. Cynthia James spoke for her late husband in

And then they headed home to prepare for the Junior Olympics.

Back, though, to Asbury Park.

Neptune Sophomore A’Jee Wilson

In December 1999, Budd was named the Shore Area “athlete of the century” by the Asbury Park Press. Slowed by multiple sclerosis, Budd doesn’t get around as quickly as he once did. But he’s still an inspiring man and was that to the few hundred athletes, of all ages, who gathered for the track meet named in his honor. Surrounded by family, friends and admirers, Budd was back in the spotlight at the stadium he once graced so magnificently. The meet honored the late, great Larry James, too. A superb Villanova Olympian as well, James went from gold and silver medal-winning performances at

Titanic Comeback Continued from Page 9 given her notice that she was leaving as the athletic trainer at Long Branch to go to Keansburg only two days before Soleo’s horrific injury. It also helped that Keansburg is a small school that does not have many spring sports teams, meaning Gibson had time to spend individually with Soleo to assist in his comeback.

“ I d o n ’t t h i n k I w o u l d b e h e r e w i t h o u t ( G i b s o n ) , e i t h e r, ’’ S o l e o s a i d . “ S h e s a i d , ‘ Yo u ’ r e coming in here every day and working hard.’ I worked my butt o ff , e v e r y d a y. I w o u l d p l a y w i t h putty to strengthen my hand, and I worked with weights and e l a s t i c b a n d s . ’’

“Even during basketball season we were scared that he might not be able to come back,’’ said senior linebacker Jimmy Demo. “But he got in with the trainer and worked hard to make it happen.’’

And Wilson headed west to the National AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa, where she ran to a pair of sparkling, record-breaking victories, taking the Intermediate Girls 800-meter title in 2:07.08 and followed it up with a 4:34.51 triumph in the 1500 meters.

There were honors in it for all at the fourth edition of the Frank Budd Meet, named for the noted Budd, who went from three-sport stardom at Asbury Park High School in the late 1950s; to Villanova University, where he made the 1960 USA Olympic team and set world sprint records, and then to the NFL and Canadian Football League.

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On Aug. 12, his doctor cleared him to play football this year, eliciting a huge sigh of relief from his teammates and coaches.

Seeking a bigger stage the following week, Nelson ventured south to the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympics in Greensboro, NC and came through with a third-place finish in the Intermediate Boys 3000-meter final, running 8:58.97 on another very warm day.

“Well, you keep it up and you’ll get the recognition, too,” Wilson told Nelson.

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“He really came in here and put the time in,’’ Gibson said. “We worked together every day, and he worked hard. He really wanted to get back.’’

Sure enough, they came through as winners again in the four-lap race.

“I want to be in the newspapers, too, like you,” said Nelson to Wilson, who has already gained heaps of local, state and national recognition for her freshman year exploits at Neptune.

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Soleo said he still has no feeling in the pinkie on his left hand, and he wears a black brace over his arm while playing to prevent further injury or hyperextension of his arm. The real test will come when he takes a helmet blast to his arm during a game or a hard tackle from that side. Soleo has the size to run over opposing defenders and does not shy away from contact, so he does not want ball security to become an issue.

presenting the awards. A ppropria te ly, the me e t c a me to a c onc lus ion w ith the 4x100-me te r re la y, a nothe r of Fra nk B udd’s fa vorite e ve nts . Tre nton be a t a pa ir of A s bury Pa rk te a ms in the girls s e c tion, w hile tw o A s bury Pa rk te a ms outra n the J a c ks on te a m in the boys e ve nt. The me e t w a s orga niz e d by the B oys a nd G irls C lub of A s bury Pa rk a nd a ga me s c ommitte e he a de d by M r. J ohn M orton. Sa nc tione d by U SA Tra c k a nd Fie ld, it w a s s ta ge d in c oope ra tion w ith the Shore A thle tic C lub. Key officials included Leroy Hayes, Lester Wr i g h t J r. , L a r r y K a l b , We n d i G l a s s m a n , Elliott Denman and a crew of others. Stay t u n e d f o r p l a n s f o r t h e F r a n k B u d d Tr a c k a n d Field Meet of 2010.

“It’s a little bit tough, but I’ve found a different way of holding the ball now,’’ he said. “I hold it more like Tiki Barber up here.’’ A prominent scar that snakes from his elbow to his forearm serves as a permanent reminder of a night when a simple act turned into a near-death experience. The player with an injury so gruesome that some wondered if he would ever have use of his left arm again, let alone be able to play football, is back for his senior season. “Thank God I get to play still,’’ he said. “If it wasn’t for football, I would probably be sitting home getting fat. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t play. I wouldn’t be able to come to games. There would be no way.’’ Instead of a future in doubt, Soleo will be under center when the Titans kick off their season on Sept. 12 at Cardinal McCarrick. Last season, the pressure was on Soleo to replace the best quarterback in school history, four-year starter Anthony Valle, but Soleo now knows that he can overcome a lot more challenging situations than that. “I want to win games, I want to go far, and I want to get back to the playoffs this year,’’ he said. “I’m just so thankful to be back.’’


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12. The European version of football dominated Salazar’s household when he was younger, but after being convinced by his friends to come out for the team as a freshman, he is a four-year varsity player for the Falcons who doesn’t know what his life would be without football.

I

n making the rounds at various Shore Conference football training camps during the preseason, I have been reminded of just how much football means to high school athletes and coaches. While all of the players certainly wouldn’t mind a scholarship to a big-time college program, the majority of them are in it just because they love the game. Last year it was Freehold quarterback Nick Tyson sitting in the coaches’ room before practice in August and telling me that all he wanted was his senior season and whatever happened after that was gravy. Tyson was recovering from a broken vertebra in his neck, and as Shore Conference fans know, the rest was history as he went on to help lead the Colonials to their first state sectional title in school history. This year it’s Keansburg senior quarterback Frank Soleo, who is profiled in this issue, willing himself to return for his senior year after a horrific, freakish injury in which he tore up his left arm and nearly lost his life. College and life after the Titans’ season is important, for sure, but Soleo could not have imagined his life without one final year, so he put in the countless hours of rehabilitation to make sure he got cleared by his doctor to participate this year. Soleo is not going to end up at Florida or Oklahoma or any place like that next year, so his motivation was purely just to get back on the field and play, whether it leads to any scholarship money or not. I have also been reminded of how players who come from backgrounds where football was not front in center have come to love the game with the same passion as ones who were playing flag football shortly after they learned to walk. Long Branch linebacker Omar Elsherbeiny was burning to get on the field during the Green Wave’s recent intrasquad scrimmage, as he had to watch from the sidelines with a brace on after suffering a minor MCL injury that sidelined him for two weeks. Elsherbeiny’s parents are Egyptian, so the American version of football was not necessarily something they were intimately familiar with. However, he picked the game up in high school and fell in love with it, and it showed on his face how much it hurt to not even be able to participate in something as routine as an intrasquad scrimmage. In a similar vein to Elsherbeiny, Monmouth Regional senior two-way lineman Fernando Salazar has quickly gotten football into his veins despite having little exposure to it until he and his family moved to the United States from Mexico when he was

He received an award at the team banquet following last season, and he visibly swelled with pride when he recounted how much it meant to his family that he was recognized. It was the same type of pride displayed by the members of the “6 a.m. Club,’’ who are also profiled in this issue. The group of Long Branch players who were a part of the club, which trained five days a week by peeling themselves out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, wore their membership to the club like a badge of honor. They wouldn’t have done it if they didn’t love football and didn’t want to collectively succeed as a team one year after they missed out on a state playoff berth. Their dedication then reminded me of a coach who loved football more than anyone I’ve ever met – Vic Kubu. The two-year anniversary of coach Kubu’s death at 65 years old after a battle with cancer is on Aug. 26, which is a time to remember a man who won a Shore Conference-record 11 state sectional championships and believed that every day you were either getting better or getting worse because there was no inbetween. All who knew him tell stories about how he worked on something football-related every single day, even if the season might be months away, because that’s what it took to be the best and that’s how much satisfaction he got from being involved with the game.

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and Manasquan. Even when the cancer was ravaging his body, he never let it stop him from being at the field and coaching his team, just like Soleo and Tyson would not let catastrophic events rob them of the game that defines much of their lives. They didn’t do it for adulation and positive press, they did it because they love the game and everything it has given to them. Sometimes in this job, you start to wonder if players are only in it so that they can get all the credit, or because they are under the thumb of an Vic Kubu overbearing father trying to compensate for his failed career, or because they want the biggest headlines, or they want to get ranked somewhere on a recruiting list. The good thing is that sometimes it’s not all about getting your name on some recruiting website, or getting a headline in the newspaper, or getting a scholarship to a big-time program. I would like to thank a group of Shore Conference players and coaches for reminding me of that.

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