Hillsborough teams post memorable, respectable spring seasons

Hillsborough High School’s Lisa Ross, second from right, celebrates a goal scored with teammates Mia Boccippio, Tess Norfleet, and Olivia Halverson during the 12-11 home victory over Westfield High School to complete the Quarterfinal Round of the 2019 NJSIAA North 2, Group 4 Tournament on May 17.

Hillsborough High School enjoyed a memorable spring on the diamond this year, and a respectable season on the lacrosse pitch, the indoor volleyball court and the outdoor track.

The Raiders’ baseball and softball clubs finished with strong records and a championship to show for their efforts. Hillsborough’s spring track and field athletes won some events, too.

The school’s girls’ lacrosse and boys’ volleyball teams did not win any titles, but they still recorded solid campaigns.

A rundown of Hillsborough’s 2019 spring season is below.

Hillsborough baseball and softball

In baseball, Hillsborough went 16-6 and won the Skyland Conference’s Delaware Division title. In softball, the Raiders finished 14-5 and won the program’s first Somerset County Tournament championship since 2014, beating Ridge High School, 8-1, on May 10 in the title game in Bridgewater Township.

Both squads suffered first round defeats in their respective NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional tournaments. The second-seeded Hillsborough baseball team fell to 15th-seeded Marlboro High School. The seventh-seeded Raiders’ softball club lost to 10th-seeded Monroe Township High School.

But those defeats did not change one essential fact: both Hillsborough diamond squads enjoyed memorable spring campaigns.

A dynamic pitching staff led the baseball Raiders to their successful season. Five Hillsborough pitchers, senior right-hander Ishaan Parikh, senior left-hander Nick Scerbo, junior right-hander Liam Smith, junior righty Angelo Monaco and junior righty Joey O’Donnell, threw double digit innings in 2019. They all finished with earned run averages of 2.63 or below.

Smith, Monaco and O’Donnell will be back in 2020.

A strong hurler also led the softball Raiders to success. Junior Courtney Wengryn went 11-5 with a 2.99 ERA in 99.2 innings.

Wengryn had plenty of help from Hillsborough’s lineup, too. Senior shortstop Julia Kwiatek batted .478 with 21 runs scored and 14 runs batted in. Junior catcher Emily Orr hit .426 with 19 RBI. Sophomore first baseman Sierra Skala posted a .429 average and 30 runs produced.

With Wengryn, Orr and Skala back next spring, the softball Raiders should be good again.

Hillsborough girls’ track and field 

Hillsborough girls’ track and field coach Rich Refi is an honest guy.

So if he is telling reporters how good his runners are, it’s real. Refi did that all spring, and it was very real.

Four of his runners, Shelsea Rigby, Sia Mahajan, Lara Leitz and Kirstyn Schechter, qualified for the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet in the 4×400-meter relay. They placed 20th in the national championship race in Greensboro, N.C. in mid June.

That wasn’t Hillsborough’s only significant accomplishment of the spring, either. Three runners, Jessica Sutter, Brielle Kelly and Symone Marsh, recorded top five finishes at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. Kelly and Schechter also won NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 sectional titles, in the shot put and the 100-meter hurdles, respectively.

As a team, the Raiders even won the Somerset County championship and the Skyland Conference’s 2 Delaware Division crown.

Out of the runners mentioned above, only Marsh was a senior this year. The rest will return for the 2020 campaign.

Hillsborough girls’ lacrosse

The Hillsborough girls’ lacrosse team finished 13-7 and advanced all the way to the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 Tournament semifinals, falling to Bridgewater-Raritan High School, 17-8, on May 21 in Bridgewater.

Seniors Gabriella Vangeli and Lisa Ross scored 64 and 63 goals this season, respectively. Junior Tess Norfleet added 26 goals and 44 assists.

Norfleet will be counted on to lead the Raiders a year from now.

Hillsborough boys’ volleyball

In 2019, Hillsborough’s boys’ volleyball squad went 11-8 and reached the NJSIAA Central Jersey Tournament’s quarterfinals, losing to Bridgewater-Raritan, 2-1, on May 23 in Hillsborough.

Aidan Dillon led the Raiders with 136 kills this year. Nick Fanizzi recorded 459 assists.

Fanizzi, a junior this spring, will give the program a solid base to build around next season.

 

 

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