Mainland wins Ed Byrnes Award with near-record year

Mainland Regional High School compiled the second highest score (29 points) in the 32-year history of the Ed Byrnes Memorial All-Sports Award and became the 2021-22 winner of the award. That ended the nine-year streak by Ocean City of either winning or tying for the award. 

It marked the seventh time that Mainland has won the award outright, including 2002-03 when Mustangs teams scored 32 points, the all-time record.

Mainland got off to a great start in the fall with a South Jersey championship in girls tennis plus conference championships in boys cross country, girls cross country and girls volleyball. In the winter the Mustangs won South Jersey titles in girls basketball and girls swimming and swept the CAL basketball tournaments in both boys and girls. Mainland wrapped up the win with a South Jersey title in girls tennis and additional conference championships in boys tennis and baseball.  

The all-sports award was created by Prime Events and Schoppy Inc. in 1991. It was renamed in memory of Byrnes, the longtime athletics director and football coach at Holy Spirit, after he died in February 1996. Byrnes was president of the CAL for six years and had just won his 100th football victory three months before his death.

The system used to determine a school’s final score in the competition awards points for championships won – both CAL and NJSIAA – with bonuses for the number of different sports in which they were won. Under this system, which rewards a sports program’s versatility, a school that wins one championship in each of two different sports will get a higher score than if it won two championships in the same sport. Only sports in which the CAL crowns a champion are considered.

In other 2021-22 awards –

St. Augustine Prep won the Tony Surace Award, which is displayed by the school that has the highest ranked football team in Prime Events Online 25. Coached by veteran Pete Lancetta, the Hermits were ranked No. 1, were undefeated against South Jersey competition and finished 9-2. Their season included wins over Millville, St. Joseph Academy, Lenape, Shawnee and Holy Spirit. It is the fourth time in the last seven years that St. Augustine won the award.

Egg Harbor Township won the Ken Leary Memorial Award, which is displayed by the school that has the highest ranked boys basketball team in Prime Events Online 25. The Eagles, coached by Cameron Bell, were ranked No. 8 in South Jersey. They finished 23-4 and were undefeated champions of the tough United Conference in the CAL. Their season included two wins each over Mainland, St. Joseph and Holy Spirit plus wins over St. Augustine, Linden, Haddonfield, Woodrow Wilson and Westampton Tech. This was the first time EHT has won the Ken Leary Award.

Mainland Regional won the Joe Fussner Award, which is displayed by the school that has the highest ranked girls basketball team in Prime Events Online 25. The Mustangs, under the direction of Scott Betson, finished No. 5 in South Jersey, the highest by a public school, and were 28-3. They were undefeated champs of the CAL’s American Conference and won the South Jersey Group 3 title. They earned three wins over Atlantic City and Absegami, two over Ocean City and additional wins over Lenape, Shawnee, Wildwood Catholic, Timber Creek and Ewing. This was the third time in five years the Mustangs won the Joe Fussner Award.

Among Ed Byrnes Award 2021-22 highlights:

  • Mainland was No. 1 in Atlantic County for the 5th straight year.
  • Ocean City has been first or tied for first in Cape May County in 24 of the last 25 years.
  • St. Augustine had the highest score in boys sports for the 21st time in the last 24 years.
  • Ocean City had been first in girls sports for 11 straight years and 22 times in the award’s 31 years until Mainland was tops in girls sports this year.
  • Egg Harbor Township had the highest score (17) in its history, surpassing the 15 accomplished twice by the Eagles in the 1990s

2021-22 OVERALL POINT LEADERS

1. Mainland                           29

2. Ocean City                         23

3. Egg Harbor Township        17

4. St. Augustine                   16

5. Middle Township                10

5. Middle Township                    9

PREVIOUS CHAMPIONS

2020-21           Ocean City

2019-20           Ocean City

2018-19           Ocean City

2017-18           Mainland/Ocean City (tie)

2016-17           Ocean City

2015-16           Ocean City

2014-15           Ocean City

2013-14           Ocean City

2012-13           Ocean City

2011-12           Middle Township/Ocean City (tie)

2010-11           St. Augustine

2009-10           Holy Spirit

2008-09           Holy Spirit/Ocean City (tie)

2007-08           St. Augustine

2006-07           Ocean City

2005-06           Ocean City

2004-05           St. Augustine

2003-04           St. Augustine

2002-03           Mainland

2001-02           Mainland

2000-01           Ocean City/St. Augustine (tie)

1999-2000       Absegami

1998-99           Ocean City

1997-98           Ocean City/Vineland (tie)

1996-97           Mainland

1995-96           Mainland

1994-95           Ocean City

1993-94           Ocean City

1992-93           Ocean City

1991-92           Mainland

1990-91           Mainland

OTHER 2021-22 LEADERS

  • Public School               Mainland
  • Non-Public                  St. Augustine
  • Group 4                       Egg Harbor Township
  • Group 3                       Mainland
  • Group 2                       Middle Township
  • Group 1                       Buena
  • Non-Public B               St. Joseph
  • Atlantic County            Mainland
  • Cape May County        Ocean City
  • Cumberland County    Millville
  • Coast Big Five              Middle Township
  • Boys Sports                  St. Augustine
  • Girls Sports                  Mainland
  • Fall Sports                    Mainland
  • Winter Sports               Mainland
  • Spring Sports               Ocean City

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