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The Eastern Christian girls’ tennis team of 2020 represented the school with class, sportsmanship, and with a 7-5 record a level of competitiveness that establishes EC as a formidable opponent among local schools. The biggest team improvement for coach Adam Culp’s team came as a result of an added year of experience for 6 of the 7 starting players. The competitive difference was best illustrated by a marathon 3-2 win over Hawthorne, and a more decisive 4-1 win over the Bears later in the season. Under the leadership of team captains Katie Kuiken and Kate Foy, the team developed strong chemistry and a positive work ethic. The strength and determination in Christy Kim’s game earned her 5 wins at the first singles position. Freshman standout Kathy Kim and senior Katie Kuiken won 6 matches each. Fortified by two doubles teams with .500 records, the Eagles showed strength from top to bottom.
Of the 4 wins the team totaled in this strange and shortened season, the 2-1 victory under Butler’s lights on their senior night avenging an earlier 5-0 loss was by far the girls best. Junior captain Gabbi Angelucci came up with dramatic heart stopping saves that added to her 100+ total for her first season in goal. Captain Nicole Foster, the only senior on the team, and sophomore Brooke Talsma held the team together with smart and physical play. Freshmen Allie Spalt, Mackenzie Wynbeek, and Gianna Angelucci all grew to be promising players for what looks to be a bright future for coach Seth Stadtlander’s program. The league also recognized the great play of our girls by selecting Nicole Foster and Gabbi Angelucci for Second Team All-League honors and Brooke Talsma for Honorable Mention.
Under the direction of first year head coach Rich Troast, a young Eagles squad started the season 3-0-1 with no goals allowed. Multiple injuries then derailed their momentum, including a season ender for senior standout Daniel Buckles in goal (though he later returned as a defender following hand surgery.) Five different teammates saw time hoping to fill that void as the team kept fighting behind the leadership of captains Michael Steiginga, Evan Hopeck, and Jayson Farraye. Season highlights included a 1-0 win at Hawthorne Christian and a 3-1 win over Butler on Senior night. For his consistent and outstanding play, junior Evan Hopeck was selected by NJIC coaches for First Team All-League recognition. Sophomore Michael Cook and senior Michael Steiginga received Second Team All-League honors for their defensive efforts. Although this turned out to be a rebuilding year with a 4-9-1 record in a Covid-shortened season, 9 returning starters and a winning season for coach Max Harvell’s JV team give the EC faithful plenty to be excited about for the program’s future!
EC XC entered a new era in 2020 following the retirement of long time coaching legend Joel Apol. Though the shortened season saw just 7 meets (all at Garret Mountain and mostly on Saturdays), coaches Stephen Bailey and Lindsay Hoffman were impressed by the boys strong start, winning first place in their pod during the Season Opener race on 10/3 and then second place during the Brett Taylor Invitational on 10/17. Led by seniors Will Critchfield and Aidan Sehulster, the team’s most consistent performance came from junior Luke Parker. Luke finished top 10 in most races including the NJIC championships, for which he earned 1st Team All League honors. The season also provided a glimpse into a bright future with junior Joshua Steen running strong and freshmen Austin Vanderpyl and Jaden Ritsma contributing in many Varsity races. Josh received 2nd Team recognition and Jaden Honorable Mention.
Our girls team was led by senior captain Kristen Ghinelli in her 4th year as a varsity runner. Senior Karrisa Kuperus finished 18th in the NJIC Championships race to earn 2nd Team recognition while Junior Kayla Kingston qualified for Honorable Mention for her strong effort.
Despite all of the obstacles the pandemic offered this fall, we are thankful that our Seniors had the opportunity to compete and represent our school so well. With so many talented runners returning, we look forward to the future success of our program!
1st Team All League – Evan Hopeck
2nd Team All League – Gabriella Angelucci
2nd Team All League – Michael Cook
2nd Team All League – Nicole Foster
2nd Team All League – Michael Steiginga
Honorable Mention All League – Brooke Talsma
Honorable Mention All County – Jayson Farraye
Honorable Mention All County – Nicole Foster
Honorable Mention All County – Sydney Heinold
Honorable Mention All County – Evan Hopeck
1st Team All League – Luke Parker
2nd Team All League – Kristen Ghinelli
2nd Team All League – Joshua Steen
Honorable Mention All League – Kayla Kingston
Honorable Mention All League – Karissa Kuperus
Honorable Mention All League – Jaden Ritsma
2nd Team All County – Kristen Ghinelli
Honorable Mention All County – Kayla Kingston
Honorable Mention All County – Karissa Kuperus
Honorable Mention All County – Luke Parker
Honorable Mention All County – Joshua Steen
2nd Team All League (singles) – Christy Kim
2nd Team All League (singles) – Kathy Kim
2nd Team All League (doubles) – Kate Foy
2nd Team All League (doubles) – Juliana Hopeck
2nd Team All County – Christy Kim
Honorable Mention All County – Kathy Kim
Honorable Mention All County – Katie Kuiken