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West Orange High School Sports Award Night Honors 70 Athletes, Coaches and Parents

Cynthia Cumming

Monday, June 16, 2014 • 8:47pm

WEST ORANGE, NJ - On June 10, The West Orange High School Senior Sports Awards Night was held with over 70 graduating seniors, along with coaches and parents, being recognized.

Interim Superintendent James O'Neill, who was recognized for his commitment to the athletic programs at West Orange High School said, “Working for and with the West Orange School district has been the two most fulfilling years of my forty-year career in education. West Orange has great and talented teachers, coaches and administrators. It’s been a distinct pleasure to work with you all.”

Several parents committed to high school sports were recognized. TAPinto West Orange also received recognition for its coverage of WOHS sports throughout the year and the development of a team of high school sports reporters and journalists.

“It comes as no surprise that our student athletes work hard, seemingly around the clock, balancing a successful sports career, while maintaining a proper grade point average,” said West Orange High School Athletic Director Ronald Bligh. “We proudly show our appreciation for the fine work and dedication of these student athletes by honoring them with these prestigious awards.”

Several of the awards were given by families of former athletes and coaches that impacted the Mountaineer Sports community. Those awards included: the Lawrence Cunningham Memorial Award (named for Coach Cunningham, a former football coach at West Orange High School who passed away in 1986); the Betty Maddalena Memorial Award (named for the track and field coach and dedicated teacher); The Daniel Schiffer Memorial Award (a WOHS basketball player); The Matt Lombardi Memorial Award (a former Physical Education teacher and boy’s basketball coach); the Richard Cataldo Award (a 1963 scholar-athlete graduate); the Jerome Sanzari Award (golf enthusiast and WOHS graduate); the Judy Risse Award (a physical education teacher, basketball and softball coach); and the Robert Callard Award (the first physical education teacher of West Orange High School).

The emotional highlight of the evening came as the Courageous Athlete Award was presented to soccer player Matt Wilson, who was diagnosed with cancer prior to the start of the soccer playoffs. Matt supported and inspired his teammates in the Group IV North Jersey Section I State championships in November, and has just completed his second round of chemotherapy. His prognosis is good.

Jahir Blanton and Aliya Barnes were named the West Orange Hall of Fame male and female Athletes of the Year for their contributions to their respective athletic teams, as well as for character, leadership, academics, skills and participation in multiple sports. 

For a complete list of awardees, click HERE.

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