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Star Coaches: September, 2013

by Editorial Staff--Suburban Family Magazine

Bob Long
The Marlton Chiefs Street Hockey Penguin A Division team won the title at the National Street Hockey Association Championships under the leadership of Long (pictured). The boys edged Gloucester Township in the final, 1-0, and went 34-8 on the season. Long’s squad entered seven tournaments and reached the final in six of them, winning two.

Wallace Pickard
Pickard, the head coach of the Seneca Lacrosse Club’s U-9 boys team, led his squad to an undefeated spring season in the South Jersey Youth Lacrosse League. The boys also captured first place in their division at the Thunderbolt Tournament. Pickard challenged his kids to become better players while keeping a positive attitude at the same time.

Ron Case
The long-time athletic director at Gloucester County College, Case was recently recognized as the Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year for two-year colleges at a ceremony in Orlando. Case became the first four-time winner in the 15-year history of the award. During his 22-year tenure, the Roadrunners have won 25 NJCAA Division III national championships. GCC also won the Learfield Sports Directors Cup, given to the top athletic program in the country among two-year schools.

Brian Robinson and Brian Zartman
Cherry Hill
Robinson and Zartman helped the Lady Gators win their second straight Cherry Hill Atlantic Little League Major Division championship. The 12-year-olds defeated the Lady Panthers in a thrilling final, 10-9, to defend their title.

Mike Rucci
Gloucester City
In his first season as the head baseball coach at Gloucester Catholic High School—his alma mater—Rucci led the Rams to their fourth straight state championship, tying a state record set by Cherry Hill West. The Rams defeated Seton Hall Prep, 2-0, in the Non-Public A state final. Rucci, a former star player at Gloucester Catholic and Rowan, succeeded long-time Rams head coach Dennis Barth this year.

Jeff Blackburn
Mount Laurel
Blackburn’s squad, known as the Orange Crush, claimed the championship in the Mount Laurel Girls Softball Rookie League to cap a perfect season. The Orange Crush finished with a 13-0 record, with four of the wins coming by one run. Blackburn allowed everyone on the team to play each position and constantly offered encouragement to his players throughout the season.

Adam Gerber
Gerber guided the Moorestown U-10 baseball team to the District 4 Cal Ripken championship with a 7-1 win over Delran. It was the third straight district title for the boys—a feat that had never been accomplished in Moorestown before—as Gerber also led them to U-8 and U-9 crowns the last two years.

Stefani Kirk
Kirk, the new head coach of the Shawnee High School girls tennis team, earned her first career victory in the team’s season opener. A Shawnee graduate and a teacher at the school, Kirk led the Renegades to a 5-0 win over Woodrow Wilson.

Dave Heil and Phil Ratcliffe
Washington Township
Heil and Ratcliffe, the coaches of the Washington Township Storm 12-year-old boys soccer team, guided their squad to the championship at the season-opening Hershey Cup Tournament. The Storm won their four games by a combined score of 15-1 and earned a 2-0 victory over HFC United Black, a Maryland team, in the final.

Jim Villa
Villa, the coach of the undefeated Wedgewood swim team, led his swimmers to their third straight Tri-County Swimming Pool Association “A” Division crown after a perfect 5-0 season. The team, consisting entirely of Haddonfield residents, has been undefeated for the past three seasons and set eight team records in the 2013 season alone under Villa’s leadership. Wedgewood capped its outstanding season by taking first place at the 57th Annual Burt German Tri-County Swimming Championships.

Jim Kreston
Kreston led the Gibbsboro Post 371 Senior American Legion baseball team, made up mostly of Eastern High School players, to a runner-up finish at the District 3 Tournament. Gibbsboro defeated Gloucester Township Post 281, 5-3, to claim second place and earn a berth in the state tournament. Kreston’s squad went on to finish second at the state tournament, losing to Brooklawn in the final, and moved on to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament.

Mark Smyth
Mount Laurel
Smyth’s 8-year-old Mount Laurel baseball team took home the championship at the District 4 Cal Ripken Tournament, posting a perfect 4-0 record. Smyth had help from assistant coaches Dan Torres Sr., Juan Aguilar and Joe Weipz as Mount Laurel captured its first district title in the 8-year-old division.

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (September, 2013).
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