Students Recognized for Physical Fitness Excellence by Southern Regional School Board

Apr 18, 2018

With a light agenda of routine items on the slate, the Southern Regional Board of Education on April 11 took some time to hear about a bunch of the high school’s finest athletes and the recent challenge they took on.

On March 24 at Colts Neck High School, a group of five boys and five girls competed against other high school teams from throughout the state at the annual Department of New Jersey Marine Corps League Youth Physical Fitness Competition. The girls’ crew included Caitlin Hambor, Tiffany Ortner, Christina D’Amodio, Emily Furlong and Gianna Antinora, while the boys’ team was made up of John Dolphin, Matt Barnett, Owen Kretschmer, Nick Sinatra and Mike Martin.

“Our students here took part in the competition, and they were the best of the best from Southern,” said Joe DiPietro, supervisor of health and physical education, who began organizing Southern’s physical fitness testing program in November. “As soon as we came back from Christmas break, we started fitness testing. We had a top-10 for each grade level, and from that we tested them on what is the national Marine Corps fitness test.”

For the competition, the student-athletes had to complete as many sit-ups, pushups and pull-ups as possible during a two-minute span, as well as execute three standing long jumps within two minutes and sprint through a 300-yard shuttle run. An athlete who fulfilled the maximums for each category received up to 100 points.

“You only have a two-minutes rest time between each event,” DiPietro explained. “It’s quick and intense.”

Scoring a combined 997 points, the Southern girls finished in second place. A girls’ team scoring 1,250 or higher goes to the national competition in San Diego. The boys must score 1,875 as a team to go to the national event. Southern’s boys scored 1,423. The teams were coached by Jenna Lombardo.

“Speaking from an athletic background, there are a lot of things I’ve done,” Dolphin, a senior, said while addressing the board. “But that caliber of exercise, with the quantity needed to accomplish, it does fatigue you in those two minutes. And the break in between seems a lot shorter than two minutes. But the experience itself was amazing. It was one of the better competitions I’ve been to.”

Individually, Hambor scored among the top third of the girls with a 260, while Ortner recorded a 243, D’Amodio tallied a 180, and Furlong and Antinora finished with 167 and 147 respectively. Dolphin scored a 322 to lead the boys.

“I commend you students for taking the challenge and becoming a part of this,” said Superintendent Craig Henry. “Thank you for taking that first step and being the foundation.”

Following the presentation, the board moved on to its regularly scheduled business, which included the renewal of 203 tenured certified staff members as well as the hiring of seven new teachers for the 2018-19 school year – either to replace teachers retiring at the end of this school year or to fill new positions due to increasing enrollment. The board also approved the immediate hiring of Gary Allegar as director of facilities to fill the vacant position left behind due to the recent resignation of former director Dean Adams.

Also, on the heels of last month’s meeting, during which it approved the immediate advancement in hiring four new, part-time security guards, the board gave the green light to hire George Schnell and John Piscal to patrol the high school’s two buildings, while Thomas Philburn and Raul Pereira will be in the middle school. Each security guard was approved for a rate of $12.60 per hour at 20 hours per week.

— David Biggy

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