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Dumont High School celebrates 100 years of sports

Past meets

the present

at Dumont

By Darren Cooper

DUMONT – The deep history of Dumont High School athletics is displayed in every hallway of the high school.

There are pictures of basket-ball teams (yes, they used a hyphen) from 1919, write-ups of the first football season in 1914 and trophies in the case near the new gym dating to before World War II.

The original school gym still has remnants of the cage that used to surround the court, hence the antiquated term “cagers” for basketball teams. It is a remarkable relic with its two center court circles, one inside the other to denote positioning for jump balls, and three rows of stands that hang over the court. Today it is used by the wrestling team and for some P.E. activities.

No school in North Jersey it seems has done a better job of keeping its sports history alive and organized while trying to connect it to its present.

“The kids need to know about this,” said Dumont Booster Club president Lynne Vietri. “There is a lot of pride in this town and the kids need to be aware of the great history in athletics.”

“When analyzing a high school athletic program it’s important to remember what was done over the history of the program’s existence,” said Dumont athletic director Michael Oppido. “The teams from the past are the ones that paved the way for the current teams.”

To commemorate the school’s 100th anniversary this school year, the Dumont Booster Club along with its Hall of Fame sub-committee produced an impressive 3,000-word timeline detailing the accomplishments of all those who wore the signature orange-and-brown.

“The amazing part of history is that it tells so many great stories over the course of time,” said Oppido. “Dumont athletics has flourished over the last 100 years and it’s important that all the great teams, student-athletes and coaches are recognized for their contributions.”

Vietri helped scour through the yearbooks to find when each program began. Classic old pictures were wonderfully restored and are mounted on orange posterboards throughout school.

The pictures are mesmerizing. Young male and female athletes standing close, looking thin and stern, holding a ball or bat. For some reason, the famed winged victory statue is in the background of many.

That’s just one of the tidbits that helps the history become vibrant. There are several others, like the fact that a woman, Ina Scott, the school’s math teacher, coached the Dumont boys basketball team in 1919-20, or that the first football game was played against Leonia in October 1914. The Huskies lost. No score was printed, but The Record archives show it to be 90-0.

Dumont was also way ahead of the Title IX curve. Records show the school fielded a varsity girls basketball team from 1915-39. The program was picked up again in 1969.

Of course, some stories lead to more questions. Vietri said there is some evidence that Dumont athletes weren’t always clad in orange-and-brown, but there is no way to tell what the original colors might have been since all of the pictures are black-and-white.

The issue of where the nickname Huskies came from is unclear, as well.

“We will just have to work on that,” said Vietri.

For Vietri and the rest of the booster club, this research was truly a labor of love. Vietri ran track at Dumont before graduating in 1983 and proudly remembers the day her team won the first conference track title in school history.

“We bleed orange-and-brown in my house,” said Vietri, who has three kids and is a lifelong resident of Dumont.

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