By: Eli Fishman, Sports Editor
In the most unprecedented season high school sports have seen, here is a recap of how each one of Columbia High School’s (CHS) fall teams performed.
The boys soccer team finished their regular season with a 7-3 record, outscoring opponents 39-16. The season included two separate four-game win streaks, and concluded with the Cougars winning the Colonial Division Championship. The team went on a thrilling playoff run, including a buzzer beater victory in the first round of the playoffs when Charlie Herley, ‘22, scored a goal to send the team to the quarterfinals.
“I think we had a wonderful season overall,” Juff Exilus, ‘21, said. “We were the first Columbia soccer team to win a division title since 1998, so I’m very proud of our success and what we did throughout the season.”
Herley led the team with seven goals, while Exilus and Moussa Fofana, ‘22, scored five goals each. Seniors Jack Sperduto, Cameron Ripley, Robby Boyd, and Ben Christmann each chalked up three goals.
The CHS girls soccer team performed well during the regular season, which was highlighted by exciting victories over Belleville and Cedar Grove, and reached the first round of the playoffs.
Elodie Reeves, ‘22, led the team with four goals, while Sofia Raineri, ‘22, had three, and Calliope Reeves, ‘22, and Olivia Knutsen, ‘21, both had two goals.
“I would summarize the season as a challenge well risen to,” E. Reeves explained. “We had a short preseason to prepare and then our regular season was packed with games against some of the best teams in the state,” she continued. “What I’m really proud of is that as a team we always rose to the challenge. We never gave up till the final whistle was blown.”
The Columbia football team finished the season with a 4-3 record, making it one of the most successful efforts in recent years. Kai Arrington, ‘21, stepped up clutch at quarterback after Nick Aaron, ‘21, tore his ACL. Arrington had tremendous success both running and throwing the ball. The Cougars went on a three game win streak to begin the season, which included an exciting underdog victory over CHS’s notorious rival, the Millburn Millers.
Steve Henry, ‘22, finished the season with 650 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while seniors Jahqiel St. Cyr and Michael Caines both had over 200 receiving yards.
Defensively, Justin Anderson, ‘21, racked up 56 tackles and four sacks. Zamar Grove, ‘22, had four sacks as well and Rudy Lundy, ‘21, led the team with five sacks. Seniors Tristan Reynolds and Owen McGuffey both had two interceptions.
Competing with top teams after moving up divisions within the Super Essex Conference, Senior Claire D’Andrea led the team with three goals, while Sarah Cerny, ‘22, and seniors Ruby Sigmund, Natalia Zacker, Sofie Paternite, and Lena Finnamore scored one goal apiece.
“While we had our share of losses, our team would always persevere and show everyone what we’re made of,” defender Sophie Fogelson, ‘21, explained. “My team showed me that with heart, spirit, dedication, and hard work you can accomplish what you thought would be the impossible.”
The boys team finished the regular dual meet season with a 10-2 record, placing second at the Super Essex Conference championship and third at sectionals. Juniors Javier Casella and Aaron Glassman both finished in first place in one race, while Daniel Flynn, ‘21, finished in second at another meet.
The girls team finished in the top three at all seven of their conference wide meets this season. Kirah Tianga, ‘21, had an impressive fall, which concluded with a first place finish at the Super Essex Conference Championship.
“I trained alone throughout the summer and I’m proud of my ability to persist and keep myself on track,” Tianga said. In addition, she emphasized the adversity that the team faced this season with the global pandemic, and said, “I am proud of the team’s ability to come together and have fun during meets that looked very different this year.”
The Girls Tennis team had a tremendous season, going undefeated until the second round of counties. The captains of the squad were seniors Vivian Stein, Lexi Sachs, Gabby Redfern, and Sarah Frey. Bella Gallat, ‘23, also excelled on the court, climbing her way up the ladder to second singles.
“I’m really proud of us for how much effort we put into improving not only our strategy, but our mental game,” Stein said.
Emphasizing that tennis is not a sport that can be played alone, many CHS players had not picked up a racket for months prior to the start of the season. “It’s really hard to come out of months of not practicing and playing real matches to enter a season,” Stein added.
The team also faced a major bump in the road, when positive coronavirus cases resulted in a 14-day quarantine and cancellation of matches during that time. Following the quarantine, “we just had to really come together as a team to lift each individual up in order to get our collective mental and physical game stronger,” Stein concluded.
Design By: Jack Griffith