BY GEORGE ALBANOStaff Writer PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Above, CBA’s Larkin MacDonald swims the anchor leg of the 400-yard freestyle relay race during the Shore Conference Championships at the Ocean County YMCA on Saturday. At left, Michael Harm swims his leg of the 400 freestyle relay. Winning the Shore Conference championship year after year never gets to be “old hat” for the Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) swim team. Just ask their coach. “No, it’s a very exciting every time,” Michael Sullivan said after the Colts captured their 15th straight conference title on Saturday at the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River. “The Shore Conference is a large conference with 40 some teams in it, so it’s really a big thing. It’s always a fun meet and there are a lot of good swimmers in the conference. “So our kids are very excited about winning it. It’s special to win it every year because the teams change from year to year.” But the results don’t. As usual CBA, the No. 2-ranked boys swim team in the state, dominated the competition, finishing with 379 points to easily outdistance runner-up Toms River North, which finished with 250 points. “It was a good meet. We had a lot of good swims,” said Sullivan, who in his 15th season has coached CBA to every title during its incredible run. “Last year, we didn’t win any of the relays so this year we wanted to, and we won all three. Last year, we finished second in all three.” What more, the Colts set new Shore Conference records in two of them. The 200-medley relay team of junior Larkin MacDonald, seniors Donato Santangelo and Greg Plakoudas, and sophomore Kyle Slate set a new record with its winning time of 1:41.01, breaking the previous mark of 1:41.42 set in 2002. Meanwhile, the 400-freestyle relay team of juniors Chris Cefalo and Mike Harm, MacDonald and senior Kelly McCarthy also won in a record-shattering time of 3:18.24, almost a full second faster than the old record of 3:19.18 established in 1998. The 200-free relay team of Cefalo, senior Nolan Doyle, junior Ryan Guttornsen and McCarthy completed the sweep with a winning time of 1:31.73. In addition, CBA won two individual events as McCarthy finished first in the 100 butterfly in 54.34 seconds, while MacDonald captured top honors in the 100 backstroke in 53.74. That gave the Colts wins in five of the 12 events, while their superior depth piled up additional points. McCarthy added a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle, while MacDonald was third in the 200 IM. Santangelo finished third in the 100 breaststroke, Cefalo was fourth in both the 50 and 100 freestyles, Andrew DiPietro placed third in the 500 free and sixth in the IM, and Harm was sixth in the 200 freestyle. With a total of 36 swimmers on the team, Sullivan says his formula for success is very simple. “We have a lot of club swimmers and that makes a difference in high school,” he pointed out. “They get additional training early in the season and more hours in the pool than I can provide. “Plus, we have a lot of kids who swim only high school,” said Sullivan, a former swimmer himself at St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn and then St. Francis College. “We have a core of about 15 kids who just swim high school and train with me. The rest are all club swimmers. The combination of both seems to be a good recipe for success.” Another factor is the Colts always seem to have swimmers ready to step in and replace those who graduate. They never rebuild; only reload. This year’s team, for example, has eight seniors on the roster, but it also has 11 juniors and 17 sophomores and freshmen. “Every year we have between eight and 11 seniors. We always have a pretty good mix,” said Sullivan, a physical education teacher at Aldrich Elementary School in Howell. “We usually have a lot of upperclassmen, but we always have a bunch of young kids coming in behind them and ready to step in.” And with one championship already locked up, the Colts have set their sights on another with the NJSIAA state team tournament beginning this week. Eight teams will be competing in the Non-Public A class, and CBA, the No. 2 seed, will host No. 7 Bergen County today at home in a first-round matchup. St. Augustine, the top-ranked swim team in the state and the only team to beat CBA, is the No. 1 seed. The Colts, 9-1 during the dual-meet season, lost to St. Augustine 88-82 back in December. Meanwhile, one of CBA’s nine victories was a thrilling 86-84 win over St. Joseph of Metuchen, the No. 3 team in the state and the third seed in Non-Public A. Should CBA and St. Joe’s both win on Wednesday as expected, the two teams would meet in a rematch in the state semifinals next Tuesday at CBA. The winner of that meet would then likely meet St. Augustine in the state final on Sunday, Feb. 27 at the College of New Jersey. “It should be an interesting team tournament,” said Sullivan, who coached CBA to the 1998 state title. “Three parochial schools are the three top teams in the state and only one of them can win a state championship because we’re all in the same division. It’s gonna be tough because the three teams are all very close. It’s going to come down to who’s healthy and who swims well. You never know with kids. “But it’s gonna be a lot of fun either way, and very interesting. The championship team tournaments at the end of the season are what we point to all year.” Which is probably why winning them never gets to be old hat, even for the CBA swim team. BY GEORGE ALBANO Staff Writer
Doug McKenzie After further review In early April, all 12 of Greater Media’s newspapers published a comprehensive look at steroid use within local high schools. The report detailed the types of steroids being used, as well as the dangers that steroid use presents to teenagers. Several stories also dealt with the different perspectives on the prevalence of steroid use within our schools, from the points of view from athletic directors to coaches and the student-athletes themselves. The response was similar from all three groups — something along the lines of “we know it’s out there, but we don’t think it’s a problem in our school.” Unfortunately, the facts dispute that belief, and now acting Gov. Richard J. Codey wants to know just how big a problem steroids in our schools have become, and what needs to be done to police the abuse. Codey recently signed a landmark executive order creating a task force, the Governor’s Task Force on Steroid Use and Prevention, to examine steroid use in high school, making New Jersey the first state to take a comprehensive approach to addressing the growing problem of steroid use among high school athletes. “Sports teach about teamwork and fellowship, leadership and discipline, and good, clean competition,” Codey said. “Steroid use, however, is threatening this safe outlet. This is an emergent public health crisis, and New Jersey cannot and will not bury its head in the sand. “We have a responsibility to help our schools and parents as they grapple with this alarming trend,” he continued. “To force school districts to make a decision on this on their own is unfair. They cannot and should not go it alone.” During a press conference in Trenton, Codey cited many of the same studies reported in Greater Media’s steroid package, all of which point to an increase in usage across the board. Last year, 3.4 percent of 12th-graders nationwide admitted to using anabolic steroids at least once, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). That’s up 67 percent since 1991. In addition, 2.4 percent of 10th-graders and 1.9 percent of eighth-graders said they have used anabolic steroids at least once, according to the NIDA. Forty percent of 12th-graders described steroids as “fairly easy” or “very easy” to get, and fewer and fewer students believe steroids are bad for them. There is also an upsurge in steroid use among girls. Codey’s task force includes doctors, some highly influential high school and college sports administrators from throughout the state, as well as Peter King, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated, and the magazine’s primary NFL expert. Among some of the more familiar people on the task force are Monsignor Michael E. Kelly, the task force chairman, who has served as headmaster of Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange since 1980; Robert E. Mulcahy III, who has worked as the athletic director at Rutgers University since 1998; Wilbur Aikens, the athletic director for the Piscataway Public School District, the director of the Athletic Association of New Jersey, and a member of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Executive Committee; Robert W. Baly, the assistant director of NJSIAA; David G. Evans, the executive director of the Drug Free School Zones Coalition; and William L. Librera Ed.D, New Jersey’s commissioner of education. The task force will be busy over the next few months preparing to develop a statewide steroid policy for high school athletes, and will deliver a report to Codey by Dec. 1. As part of the process, the task force will hold public hearings and a summit to gather information on the physical and psychological effects of steroid use on teenagers; determine the extent of the problem among high school student-athletes in New Jersey; ascertain the feasibility, legality and prudence of implementing statewide mandatory steroid testing; develop a statewide steroid education program to be taught in New Jersey schools; determine the most appropriate academic setting, such as physical education or health class, in which to implement said educational program; and examine the effects and prevalence of other performance enhancers, such as nutritional supplements, and determining whether or not to include information on them in the proposed educational program. That’s quite a lengthy list of objectives, but the findings that will get most athletes’ and administrators’ attention will be the part about mandatory steroid testing. Everyone agrees that steroids are bad for you. And everyone agrees that we need to get and/or keep them out of our schools. But not everyone agrees on mandatory drug testing as a means of doing so. While a total of 11 school districts — including Brick Township — throughout the state have already begun randomly testing students for substance abuse, it remains a hot issue. “I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to know if their child is abusing himself,” said Old Bridge’s High School’s longtime wrestling coach, Ken Scott. “I could never understand why testing could be considered such a negative thing.” Shore Regional cross country and track and field coach Mel Ullmeyer agrees, noting that athletes should be anxious to put any doubts to rest. “If a kid wants to be an athlete, he should be willing to be tested because if he’s an athlete, he shouldn’t be involved with that stuff in the first place,” he said. But anytime someone’s right to privacy is in question, it becomes a complicated issue. It will be interesting to see how much opposition presents itself once the governor’s task force examines the idea of mandatory testing. Put in proper perspective, the health and well-being of our student-athletes, many of whom are facing pressure to succeed for the first time, should be a priority. Let’s hope the governor’s task force is able to drive that point home.
The following are the current results of the Monmouth Women’s Basketball League: Lincroft Home Center10-1 Chubby’s Bar8-3 Maroon Team7-4 McDonagh’s Pub5-6 CanineCamp USA5-2 Huddy’s Inn/White Rose3-8 Blue Tea2-9 Repairpro.com1-10 The Knights of Columbus Council 11349 will host a free throw and three-point basketball contest on Jan. 21 from 3-5 p.m. at St. Benedict’s School gym, 165 Bethany Road, Holmdel. All boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 14 are invited to participate. No preregistration is required. Boy and girl winners within each group will advance to the district level. Participants are required to furnish proof of age and must have parental consent. For more information, call John at (732) 526-7045. Red Bank Parks & Recreation is co-hosting an indoor co-ed volleyball league, set to begin Jan. 24 from 7-9 p.m. Games will be played Tuesday nights at Red Bank Middle School. Interested players can sign up as individuals or put their own co-ed team together, consisting of a minimum of six players and a maximum of eight, of which there must be two females on the floor at all times. Official rules will be explained the first week to all participants. The fee is $50 for all Red Bank residents and $65 for nonresidents. All ability levels are welcome, and the emphasis is on having fun and exercise. E-mail Scott at [email protected] to R.S.V.P., and specify if signing up as an individual or putting a team together. The Hazlet Youth Athletic League will hold registration for its 2006 baseball/softball season for boys ages 5-18 and girls ages 5-16. Registration dates are Jan. 11, 18 and 25 from 7-9 p.m. at the Hazlet Middle School (Union Avenue) and Feb. 4, 9-11 a.m. at the Raritan High School cafeteria. Registration fees, which include a $30 raffle book donation, are as follows: boys 13-18 and girls 13-16, $120 per child. A separate work bond deposit check of $200 dated April 1 is also required. Birthday cutoff dates are as follows — boys April 30, 2006, and girls Dec. 31, 2005. All new HYAL participants are required to provide a proof of residency and birth certificate. For more information, call (732) 264-3060.
The Shore Builders Association of Central New Jersey (SBACNJ) has joined the Matawan Rotary Charitable Foundation again as a co-sponsor of Saturday’s second annual Matawan 5K Run & Walk. Benefiting the Monmouth County Habitat for Humanity and other local charities, the event will be held on Saturday in historic downtown Matawan. Participants in the Matawan 5K Run & Walk will receive T-shirts and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each of the age groups. Spectators and participants will enjoy music, food and festive atmosphere. The race will be held rain or shine. The entry fee is $25 and tax-deductible donations/sponsorships are also available. Race-day registration begins at 7 a.m. in the Terhune Park across from the Matawan Community Center, located at 201 Broad St. (off Route 34.) The lineup is at 8 a.m., and the run/walk starts at 8:30 a.m. This year’s certified course will begin at Terhune Park, down Historic Main Street and through the scenic borough of Matawan. Headquartered in Lakewood, SBACNJ is a trade association for the home-building industry. Members include home builders, developers, architects, landscapers, subcontractors, tradesmen and consulting professionals serving Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex and Mercer counties. To find out more about the race, SBACNJ and the Matawan Rotary Club, visit www.shorebuilders.org and www.matawanrotary.org. The SBACNJ can also be reached at (732) 364-2828. The Middletown Soccer Club U12 Boys United Red Devils has a few openings for the 2007-08 season. They are in particular need of a goalkeeper. Birth date should be between Aug. 1, 1995, and July 31, 1996. Travel experience preferred. Contact Ron Hyers at (732) 787-3429, [email protected], or Shawn Fiore at (732) 319-5210, [email protected]
By Karolos GrohmannBayern Munich are on a mission with coach Pep Guardiola firing up his injury-hit team as they seek to reverse a 3-1 deficit against Porto in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday.The five-times European champions, who have reached the final three times since 2010, find themselves in the unusual position of having to come from behind.Guardiola, who has only ever recorded wins as player and coach against Porto, will also be forced to try to turn things around without several of his leading lights.“People do not know how difficult our situation is,” he told reporters after Bayern’s 2-0 victory over Hoffenheim on Saturday that kept them on course for the Bundesliga title.“I will never in my life forget these months and I am proud of the team. Now we have on Tuesday the most important Champions League game. It will of course be difficult but this a is our big goal.”Bayern players need all the pep talk they can get with Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Medhi Benatia and Javi Martinez certain to miss the game at the Allianz Arena.Winger Franck Ribery is also highly unlikely to be fit for the German champions after being sidelined for five weeks with an ankle injury.Bastian Schweinsteiger, who had been out for two weeks with an ankle knock, did not play on Saturday due to a virus but should be fit along with captain Philipp Lahm.However, the Bavarians, chasing a treble of titles, have also been rocked by the sudden departure of long-time team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt this week, saying he had been blamed for the defeat in Porto.“The coach was very emotional (in Hoffenheim),” Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode said. “He wanted to weld us together. He said we need to remain calm and focused in this situation and if we believe in ourselves and the team then we can overcome obstacles.”Porto are in fine form, having yet to lose in the Champions League this season and showing superb focus in the first leg to contain Bayern.The Portuguese edged past Academica Coimbra 1-0 in the league, with coach Julen Lopotegui making nine changes to the squad that beat Bayern.“We were coming from a tremendously demanding game, both physically and psychologically, and we felt this was our best team at the moment,” said the Spaniard of their narrow win. “We had to make some changes, we needed a fresh team to win this match.” With Danilo and Alex Sandro suspended they will need another fresh team if they are to deny Bayern — who have yet to concede a goal at home in this competition this season — a fourth straight semi-final spot.The last time the Porto went through to the last four was when they won the trophy in 2004.
Let’s take a look at the big names who look to be on the move.
By Ed OsmondSpaniard Pep Guardiola has signed a three-year contract to take over as Manchester City manager in July, the Premier League club said on Monday.Manuel Pellegrini will leave the job on June 30 to make way for Guardiola, who joins after three seasons at Bayern Munich in Germany.Guardiola, who won 14 titles with Barcelona in his four-year coaching spell, had turned down a contract extension at Bayern late last year after winning back-to-back league titles and being on course for a third straight Bundesliga crown under the Spaniard.“Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the Club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation,” City said in a statement.“Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the Club,” City said.Chilean Pellegrini, who took over at City in 2013, said he had informed his players to avoid any speculation regarding his future.“I finish here on June 30,” he said at the end of a news conference on Monday. “There’s been lots of speculation, nothing done behind me but I don’t think it is good to have the speculation so that is why I told the press and the players.”Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said last week the club would support Guardiola in his work until the last day at Bayern.
Formula One is braced for the next episode of the Max Verstappen show as Red Bull’s teen sensation heads for Ferrari’s home circuit only days after making the Italian team’s drivers see red.While triple world champion Lewis Hamilton is aiming for his 50th grand prix win on Sunday, to become the first since Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio in the 1950s to win three years in a row at Monza, Verstappen will be the talk of the town.“I told him not to tell anyone where he is staying in Monza because there might be a few angry fans,” team boss Christian Horner joked after a controversial Belgian Grand Prix last weekend.The 18-year-old tangled with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel at the start before aggressively defending against the former later in the race and then refusing to accept any criticism.“I think they should be ashamed to cause a crash like that with their amount of experience and then complain about me,” the unrepentant Dutchman said.“Vettel can come and talk to me (at Monza), but I think he first has to realise what he did in turn one.”Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion for Ferrari, warned afterwards that Verstappen’s late block that forced the Finn to brake on the straight at Spa could have triggered a big accident.Monza is even faster, with the turbo hybrid cars hitting 360 km per hour on the straight, and Sunday’s race promises another battle between Ferrari and Red Bull to be best of the rest behind leaders Mercedes.ELBOWS OUTWhile Verstappen has thrilled fans, with the youngster busy rewriting the record books after winning in Spain and starting on the front row in Belgium, there are those who feel limits need to be set.“He comes in here, no fear and no respect,” said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff in Spa. “He puts the elbow out and it reminds me of the great ones. It reminds me of Lewis and it reminds me of Ayrton Senna.“And you can clearly see that some guys around are starting to think twice how to overtake him… I just fear that it might end up in the wall heavily one day. For me it is refreshing but dangerous.”Wolff will be hoping his drivers are safely out in front, with Hamilton seeking to extend his nine-point lead over Nico Rosberg in the last European race of the season.The Briton took a hit at Spa, starting at the back after taking engine penalties, but still finished third behind his team mate and now has a plentiful supply of fresh power units to last him the rest of the campaign.“The speed, the history, the atmosphere… it’s just so iconic in every way,” he said of the ‘Pista Magica’ outside Milan.“Standing on that amazing podium, looking out over a sea of fans on the straight, has to be up there as of the most incredible experiences a sportsman can have,” he said.,“I had a perfect weekend on track there last year. If I can repeat that it would be amazing… It’s game on for me now with the penalties out of the way and fresh engines ready to use. I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Formula One faces its biggest shake-up in decades with the announcement on Wednesday that U.S. cable TV mogul John Malone’s Liberty Media has agreed to take control of the cash-generating glamour sport.The deal, which has an enterprise value of $8 billion according to a company statement, heralds a new era for Formula One, a European-dominated sport that has long sought to break into the U.S. market and win fresh audiences.It could also accelerate the exit of 85-year-old Bernie Ecclestone, the Briton who has run the sport for nearly 40 years and built up a business with annual turnover of around $1.9 billion.Liberty Media said in a statement, which ended a long-running saga surrounding the sport’s ownership and potential flotation, that it was acquiring an initial 18.7 per cent stake from controlling shareholder CVC Capital Partners.The company hopes to complete a deal for the remainder by the first quarter of 2017.The statement added that Chase Carey, the executive vice-chairman of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox and a director of Sky News owner Sky Plc, will take over as chairman of the board of Formula One’s parent company with Ecclestone remaining as CEO.“I greatly admire Formula One as a unique global sports entertainment franchise attracting hundreds of millions of fans each season from all around the world,” Carey said.“I see great opportunity to help Formula One continue to develop and prosper for the benefit of the sport, fans, teams and investors alike.”Ecclestone added that he welcomed the company into the sport and looked forward to working with them.The deal will be subject to the approval of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), the governing body for Formula One and other global motorsport series, and European anti-trust regulators.CVC acquired majority control of Formula One in March 2006 and has since recouped its money many times over with billions of dollars in revenues.DEAL-MAKEREcclestone has been the deal-maker, securing lucrative television contracts and hosting fees with countries such as Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan that are eager to feature on what is now a calendar with a record 21 races.A controversial figure, who has become as much a celebrity as any of the drivers, ‘Bernie’ has been a part of Formula One ever since the 1950s.A former team owner, he secured the television rights in the late 1970s and transformed the sport into one of the world’s richest.Reluctant to delegate, he has not groomed a successor and critics have accused him of holding back the sport through a failure to embrace fully new media or the digital marketplace, something Liberty is expected to make a priority.“Maybe it is good news that an American media company buys F1,” Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff said at the weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.“There are things we can learn from the American way, particularly in the digital areas…they will have a close look and then analyse what they think needs to be changed and what needs to remain.”Team bosses and other paddock insiders expect Ecclestone to be eased out only gradually, given his intimate knowledge of the business.CVC has twice tried to float Formula One but the plans stalled and the fund instead sold stakes to U.S. investment groups BlackRock and Waddell & Reed, along with Norway’s Norges Bank.It sold down its holding from 63 per cent in 2012 in deals that at the time gave the business an enterprise value, which includes debt and equity, of $9.1 billion.That left CVC with a 35.5 per cent stake in Delta Topco, Formula One’s parent company, with Waddell & Reed having 20.9 per cent. Among other investors, Ecclestone holds 5.3 per cent and his family’s Bambino Trust another 8.5 per cent.Malone’s Liberty Global is the world’s largest international TV and broadband company, operating in more than 30 countries in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean through a series of different brand names.Liberty Media has interests in the Atlanta Braves baseball team, satellite radio service Sirius XM, entertainment group Live Nation LYV.N, and minority interests in Time Warner TWX.N and Viacom VIAB.O.