Class of 2017 Senior Athletes
A rainy spring did not put a damper on our athletic program as many in it exceeded expectations and enjoyed fine seasons including some individual champions! The softball team finished with a winning record and 12 wins including two in the state tournament. Junior Tiffany Martin led the team with a .413 batting average and 27 RBI, while senior Carina Castagna batted .395 and sophomore Alex Griffin .391 with 21 RBI. Coach Ben Kuiken’s golf team had it’s best league tournament performance in many years, finishing 2nd behind the strong play of juniors Noah Hagedoorn and Clay Sietsma and freshman Judy Baiyunqiqige. Perhaps the spring season’s best performances came from the girl’s track team, where Brooke Van Lenten was crowned the league, county and state group champion in the javelin, Madison Wynbeek the league shot put title, and Emily Byrnes the league 800 meter champion. Emily and Madison were also part of the league champion 4 x 400 relay team with Stephanie Cabral and Katie Hefty, while Brooke Madison, Katie and Abby Rodriguez formed a school record breaking 4 x 100 relay team that won the state sectional! Congratulations to all of our coaches and athletes for a job well done!
The ECMS Eagles just completed a historic track and field season. Both the boys and the girls teams won The NJIC League Championship Meet and the girls also finished 2nd in The Ridgewood Invitational. The girls team was led by the school record setting performances of Madison Libby (long jump and triple jump) and Olivia Prescott (discus and shot put) as well as great all-around performances by Kristen Ghinelli, Kelly Steenstra and Katie Liao. The boys team was led by the throwing duo of Joe Hassanin and Tyler Dykhouse and sprinters Matias Cortes and James Blanco.
As part of the inaugural Eastern Christian School Crew season, the EC ladies rowing team, affectionately dubbed, “The Blue Crew,” took to practice for the first time this season. The long stretches of flat water required for the sport proved to be a difficult hurdle for the launch of the program, but that didn’t stop EC Athletic Director Barry Veenstra from being his typical creative self.
“A typical rowing race requires 2,000 meters of uninterrupted, waveless water,” said Veenstra. “Since that’s a natural feature not readily available in our area, the closest thing we could come up with was right down the street at Oldham Pond.” Veenstra added, “We also considered practicing in the slop water in the bottom of the Haledon Quarry, but there was a lot of red tape in the way there.”
At their home water of Oldham Pond, the Blue Crew, EC’s varsity coxed quadruple scull, is required to turn their craft every 13 strokes in order to go back the other direction. And this watercraft isn’t exactly built for turning. But, in the typical “can do” spirit of Eastern Christian School, the team can’t wait for their first home meet.
“We’ve been practicing our turning technique for days now, said Crew team captain Alyssa Botbyl. “In a competition, other schools will have no idea how to turn their scull. We’re down to only 12 minutes per turn!”
The 598 foot facility, less than one tenth the distance of a typical race, has proven to be a challenge in other ways as well. “We’re constantly dodging geese, great blue herons, egrets, even the occasional errant fishing lure from an exuberant local fisherman,” said Botbyl. “But as coach always yells to the back of the boat, those obstacles just make us stronger as a team. Every goose we dodge represents another stoke toward victory!”
Athletic Director Barry Veenstra appreciated the team’s spirit and hinted at even more uses for Oldham Pond in the future. “Who knows, maybe you’ll see more Eagles water sports in the future,” pondered Veenstra. “Water polo, swimming, even competitive bass fishing. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Oldham Pond! Well… the sky and that dam at the end of it. In another sense, that dam is quite a legitimate limit as well.”
For more information on ways to support the Crew program at EC, click here to visit the EC Crew official webpage.
At the Passaic County Coaches Association Honor Award dinner on 3/22 coach Joel Apol was honored for two elite milestone achievements: 100 wins in girls track and 200 wins in boy cross country!! Jeff Botbyl was also honored for his many years of service to the athletic department as a coach in the baseball, softball and soccer programs and most recently as an administrator. We give thanks for both of these men of faith and their dedication and significant contributions to our programs!
Boys Varsity Basketball
Having graduated 9 seniors from last years team, Coach Bill Schoener and the boys varsity basketball team knew this would be a rebuilding year. Starting two freshmen (Ben Parker, Caleb Ruffin) and two sophomores (Henry Poliandro, Jared Post) the team surpassed expectations with 11 wins and some great efforts in narrow losses. Highlights included a victory over Wood Ridge in the Public vs Private showcase in Englewood that saw six Eagles score in double figures, and the late season wins over teams they had lost to earlier including Rutherford, Lodi and Elmwood Park (in front of a large Community Night crowd!) Senior Quincy Rutherford led the team in scoring and rebounding and was named 1st team All County and All League. Jared Post was named 2nd team all league and Honorable Mention All County, and Ben Parker Honorable Mention All League and All County.
Girls Varsity Basketball
With a 19-7 record, a 2nd place finish in the league, and a visit to the NJIC tournament finals, the girls varsity basketball team put together another successful campaign. Led by four year starters Erin Vander Plaat and Brooke Van Lenten, the girls posted several impressive wins including a 16 point victory over county finalist Lakeland, a 14 point win vs Saddle Brook in the NJIC tournament semifinals, and an exciting 63-57 win vs St. Elizabeth in the state tournament. Sophomore Madison Wynbeek led the league and county in scoring at 19.5 points per game and was named 1st team All League and 2nd team All County. Brooke Van Lenten’s fine all around play earned her 1st team All League honors and Honorable Mention in the county along with floor leader and co-captain Erin Vander Plaat.
Our varsity bowling team had it’s most competitive season in years led by sophomore Rylan De Waal Malefyt who posted a 186 average and a 269 high game. Seniors Connor Van Hoff and Christina Poliandro finished solid careers and received postseason honors along with Rylan.
Middle School Basketball
After graduating ten 8th-graders in 2016, the 2016-2017 basketball had all the makings of a rebuilding year. However, thanks to the hard work of a returning core in Emmanuel Dyer, Jonathan Ericksen, Jason Collazo, Aiden Sehulster, James Blanco, Thomas DeBlock and the additions of 8th-graders Jahar Pierce, Naol Tulu, Eric Lee, and Michael Steiginga, the young Eagles fought hard to finish 7-9 through tough, experienced league play. Memorable games included two wins over HCA, an overtime victory against Lodi, and a come-from-behind win against Valley MS thanks to a 53 point effort from Jahar Pierce. With 6th-graders Logan Miller, Avi Cardona, Brett Reid, and David Kim returning next year, the young Eagles will look to continue to contribute to the growth of a stable program.
We also recognize and celebrate the contributions of our other seniors on winter athletic teams: Dan Kuder and Sam Chen (basketball), and Matthieu Davis (bowling), Stephanie Cabral, Brittany Van Harken, Josh Onufer, Abigail Rodriguez, and Kelly Bosloper (indoor track)
Quincy Rutherford, 1st team All League, 1st team All County
Jared Post, 2nd team All League, Honorable Mention All County
Ben Parker, Honorable Mention All League, Honorable Mention All County
Madison Wynbeek, 1st team All League, 2nd team All County
Brooke Van Lenten, 1st team All League, Honorable Mention All County
Erin Vander Plaat, 2nd team All League, Honorable Mention All County
Hanna Faber, Honorable Mention All League
Michael Ji, Honorable Mention Men’s County
Gideon Engelhard, Honorable Mention Men’s County
Stephanie Cabral, Honorable Mention Women’s County
Abby Rodriguez, Honorable Mention Women’s County
Katie Hefty, Second Team Women’s County in 200-M Dash
Rylan DeWaal Malefyt, 1st team All League, 2nd team Men’s County
Connor Van Hoff, Honorable Mention All League, Honorable Mention Men’s County
Christina Poliandro, Honorable Mention Women’s County