By TOM WILLIAMS
2020 was mostly a lousy year. But the Ocean City High School sports community made the best of it.
OCHS won the Ed Byrnes Memorial Award again for 2019-20, given to the school with the most Cape-Atlantic League and NJSIAA championships. And the Raiders are off to a great start for 2020-21 with a very impressive fall season.
The coaches play a big role in this success, especially because the strength of the programs continues even after graduation losses. But you have to have good athletes to put together a success story like this.
And Ocean City High School had them again in 2020.
In winter sports, Gannon Brady led the CAL in scoring and was a first team all star for a boys basketball team that won 17 games. Abbey Fenton and Emma Finnegan were all stars for the girls basketball team that won the South Jersey championship.
Dolan Grisbaum, Pat Armstrong, Steve Gooden, Ethan McCarron and Tanner Driscoll were CAL all stars in boys swimming; Alex Antonov, Claudia Scherbin, Katie Barlow, Emily Myers, Bella Pagan, and Brooke Powell in girls swimming; and Charley Cossaboone, Nick Sannino and Bill Kroeger in wrestling.
The spring season was cancelled by virus concerns, depriving hundreds of Ocean City student-athletes with the opportunity to compete.
But in the recently completed fall season, the Raiders were impressive.
Reed Lindsay, Kyle Harper, Drew Tarr and Kyle Plenn were first team picks in boys soccer. Tyler Greene, Owen Ritti, Nick Ferzetti, Chris Sardy, Nick Scarangelli and Brendan Schlatter were chosen to the first team in boys cross country. Erin Hanlon, Vanessa Karayiannis and Frankie Ritzel were on the girls cross country first team. And Alexis Allegretto, Charis Holmes and Emily Tumelty were selected in girls tennis. Tara McNally, Sophia Ruh, Nya Gilchrist, Katie Bowman and Andi Helphenstine were first team choices in field hockey.
Faith Slimmer, Summer Reimet, Hope Slimmer and Riley Fortna were CAL all stars from the soccer team. And on the Prime Events All-CAL football team, Joe Repetti, Jake Schneider, Brendan McGonigle, Mike Rhodes, Jake Inserra and Brad Jamison were first team all stars. Will Drain and Tom Schutta were on the second team. And Brady Rauner and Ryan Kroeger received honorable mention.
Pretty impressive list.
These were some of the many athletes who brought success to OCHS sports since 2020 began. But the purpose here is to recognize two of them – one male and one female – as the best of the year. It wasn’t an easy choice but two have emerged.
Faith Slimmer was the most successful girls soccer player in OCHS history, probably in the history of the CAL. She scored 30 goals this year, tied for best in the state, and finished her career with 100 goals, a school record. She also leaves with five other school records, including career assists (65) and goals in a season (35). The Raiders were 68-11-6 in her four years in the lineup, including a state title, three South Jersey titles and three CAL championships. She was that rare Quad Star, a player who was a first team all star all four years. She was named a High School All-American by Top Drawer Soccer and is scheduled to play in the All American Game in St. Louis on May 29.
Joe Repetti leaves OCHS with more TD passes (31) than any football player in school history. As a senior he led the team with 479 rushing yards and his 805 career rushing yards put him among the top 50 in school history and third among quarterbacks, trailing only Andy Jernee and Harry Pfeifle. He threw for 100 or more yards in 12 games and finished his career with 2,245 passing yards, fifth best at OCHS. In addition, Repetti started 19 basketball games until his season was ended by an injury. He shot 41% from the field, 74% from the foul line. He also led the team in assists per game and was a close second in steals per game.
For their success in a very unusual year filled with unique obstacles and as representatives of all the other outstanding OCHS athletes, Faith Slimmer and Joe Repetti are the Ocean City High School Athletes of the Year for 2020.
Coming tomorrow – the 58th annual Ocean City Sportsperson of the Year.