By TOM WILLIAMS
Tuesday marks the start of the month of June. And it also marks the beginning of Tournament Week for the impressive Ocean City High School spring sports teams.
Two teams have finished.
Led by freshman Charles DiCicco, junior Kraig Redmond and freshman Jackson Barnes at singles, Coach Tim Kelley’s boys tennis team finished 16-4 and reached the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals. It was the program’s best season since George McNally’s 2010 team, led by Dan Barrus, reached the sectional final. These young 2021 players had the second best OCHS record in 27 years.
And the Raider golfers finished 12-6, their seventh straight winning team in the seven years under coaches Ed Ritti and Bryan Chojnacki. Led by sophomore Cam Yoa (45.53) the Raiders got support from senior Dylan Campbell (46.20), senior Ethan Steingard (46.60) and junior Sam Williams (47.00).
All OCHS teams were idle over the Memorial Day Weekend but things start Tuesday with two opening round games.
Girls lacrosse (10-3) is seeded No. 4 in South Jersey Group 3. The well-balanced Raider attack will host Jackson Memorial (7-8) Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Tennessee Avenue Complex. With a win, Ocean City will host either Cherry Hill West (13-3) or Brick Memorial (7-7) on Saturday. OCHS has reached the South Jersey final the last two seasons.
Also on Tuesday, Softball (11-7) will host Lacey Township (11-10) at Dick Grimes Field. The winner will likely travel to Bayville on Friday to take on the No. 1 seed – Central Regional (17-4). Central will play Camden Tech (4-10) on Tuesday. Ocean City, which was 16-6 in 2019 in John Bruno’s last season, has notched back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 30 years.
On Wednesday, Baseball (14-7) will begin play against Camden Tech (6-11) at 5th and Bay. Andrew Bristol’s Raiders are the No. 2 seed behind Mainland and have played probably the most challenging schedule in school history. OCHS is ranked No. 12 in the state by NJ.com and five of its seven losses were to top 20 teams. If the Raiders win on Wednesday, they will host either Lacey (10-8) or Toms River South (9-10) on Saturday.
On Thursday, top-seeded Boys Lacrosse (10-6) will play either Northern Burlington (13-2) or Brick Township (8-7). They play on Thursday in Brick. Joe LaTorre, like Bristol, has challenged his team. Three of their six losses have come to top 11 teams in the state and the others to strong tournament seeds. Along the way, senior Jake Schneider set a new school record for career assists. He has 42 this season, giving him 104 for his career. That beats the old mark of 102 set by Anthony Inserra in 2019. And, remember, Schneider did it with no junior year.
Then, on the weekend, the boys and girls track teams will compete in South Jersey Group 3 Meets at Delsea. Both teams come off strong dual-meet seasons and figure to be in the mix for the team titles and to advance significant athletes to the state meets. The boys biggest challenge should come from Highland while the girls will face Winslow Township and Mainland, which defeated them in a dual meet.
There is lots of great tournament competition this week as Ocean City’s strong spring season continues. If you are going, play it safe and wear a mask if you’re close to other fans you don’t live with.
Check out the week’s complete schedule HERE.