By TOM WILLIAMS
When Andrew Bristol’s baseball team outlasted Pascack Valley on Sunday in a 14-inning thriller, those Raiders became the first OCHS baseball team to win a state title since the school started playing baseball 103 years ago.
And the 26th Ocean City team in all sports.
Actually, the NJSIAA did not start state baseball tournaments until 1971. The Raiders had reached the state final twice before and lost those games.
As you can see in the chart, below, that lists all 26 OCHS state champions, the baseball title was the first in the third decade of the 21st century. There were seven in the second decade (2010-19) and seven in the first decade. Ocean City teams also won seven state titles in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and one each in the 1960s and 1950s.
This list does not include the eight OCHS football teams (four during the playoff era) who won South Jersey championships but could not advance to a state title because NJSIAA rules didn’t allow it. Those rules have been changed this year, It also does not include Paul Baruffi’s girls basketball team that won the state semi-final in 2020 but never got to play in the state final because the season was stopped by COVID-19 concerns
Trish LeFever was the coach of the most state champions (seven), Mike Pellegrino had four, Cory Terry and Mike Naples had three and Dixie Howell won two. The Raiders have won state titles in 11 different sports.
Do you have memories of some of these 26 state champions?