Congratulations and cheers to all participants in the fall high school sports season just ending. Whether in football, soccer, field hockey, cross country or tennis — win or lose — every team that took the field, every player who donned a uniform, has made a contribution not only to their own growth and development but to the pride we all take in South Jersey.
Varsity athletics, as we know, is about more than winning and losing. Innumerable leaders in public and private life today attribute the lessons they learned in sports to their own personal success and happiness.
The teamwork, the sportsmanship, the goal orientation, the need to follow the rules, the ability to come back after defeat — these are invaluable skills in business and industry, in politics, in commerce, and in everyday human relations, skills that are taught and learned well in a varsity sports program.
For those who argue that park and rec teams provide the same opportunities or that neighborhood pick up games are good enough, it’s worth pointing out that varsity sports are supervised by licensed, credentialed teachers and coaches; that practices and games are held on safe, supervised fields constructed according to state regulations; that disputes are settled not by fisticuffs and arguments but by NJSIAA rules. Further, varsity sports provide a free, equal opportunity to all youth, despite the ignoble attempt made by some school districts to charge for participation in extracurricular activities.
To those teams and individual players who excelled this season, especially those who made multiple title appearances, thanks for representing South Jersey so well.
To the football teams whose season is still under way, good luck in the playoffs. To the parents and boosters and fans whose support — financial or otherwise — makes all the difference, thanks for caring.
And the winners are …
Here is a rundown of fall high school sports champs:
Girls Tennis: Pennsville – South Jersey Group I champion, Tri-County Classic champion; Clearview – Tri-County Conference Royal Division champion; Cumberland Regional – Tri-County Conference Diamond Division champion.
Girls Soccer: West Deptford – South Jersey Group II champion; Gateway – South Jersey Group I champion; Williamstown – Tri-County Conference Royal Division champion; Highland – Tri-County Conference Diamond Division champion (first time ever); Pennsville – Tri-County Conference Classic Division title.
Boys Soccer: Clearview – South Jersey Group IV champion; Washington Twp. – Olympic Conference American Division and South Jersey Coaches Tournament champion (No. 1 ranked team in state most of year); Kingsway – Tri-County Conference Royal Division; West Deptford – Colonial Conference Liberty Division champion; Penns Grove – Tri-County Conference Classic Division champion (first time ever); Woodstown – Tri-County Conference Diamond Division champion.
Field Hockey: West Deptford – South Jersey Group II champion; Clearview – Tri-County Conference Royal Division; Woodstown – Tri-County Conference Diamond Division title; Pitman – Tri-County Conference Classic.
Football: West Deptford – Colonial Conference Liberty Division champion; Paulsboro – Colonial Conference Patriot Division champion; Woodstown – West Jersey League Diamond Division; Pennsville – West Jersey League Classic Division title.
Girls Cross Country: Pitman – South Jersey and State Group I champion and Tri-County Conference Classic Division title.
Boys Cross Country: Highland – Tri-County Conference Royal Division title.
Girls Lacrosse: Pitman – Group I champs, Gloucester County Champion, South Jersey Group I Champ. Tri-County Conference Classic Division Champs; Kingsway – Tri County Conference Royal Division Champs; Pennsville – Salem County Champions; Millville – Cumberland County Champions.
Boys Lacrosse: Pennsville – Tri County Conference Classic Division Title; Highland – Tri County Conference Diamond Division Champ, South Jersey Group III Champ; Delsea – Tri County Conference Royal Division Champs; Kingsway – Gloucester County Champions; Schalick – Salem County Champions; Bridgeton – Cumberland County Champions.
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