Fall Sports Preview

Sidney Hamburger and Ohr Gutman

Sports are back and stranger than ever. That is, they’re back to the extent that they can be under the circumstances. The COVID-19 outbreak in early spring led to sports’ worldwide cancellation, ranging from the high school level to the postponement of the NBA season. Sports fans everywhere were united in their devastation, and are now united in their joy at its return. After months of statewide deliberation, Cresskill is proud to welcome back sports, an irreplaceable facet of student life. Under NJSIAA rules, all fall outdoor athletics can commence their seasons with varying restrictions depending on the sport. Indoor fall sports like volleyball face a different fate: they will receive the opportunity to play during a special season 3. That’s right, there are now 4 seasons of sports during this school year. Some student athletes are taking this new system to their advantage to become 4-sport athletes, or even just participate in sports that may have overlapped seasons before; opportunities unavailable until this unprecedented moment in time. However strange these adjustments are, they mean that all Cresskill athletes and fans can once again enjoy the sense of community and euphoria that come with nothing other than the sports experience. Let’s take a look at what this historical season is going to be like: 



Last Season: 7-3 Overall, 5-0 NJIC Meadowlands, 1st in League, Sectional Semifinals

Senior Captains: Jon DiTore, Dan Ferrara, Kyle Henderson, Jerry Makris, and Kiel McGee

Outlook: The 2019 football season was a huge success for Cresskill Football. Coming off of a league championship and a sectional semifinal appearance, expectations are high for the squad. The 2020 football season will definitely be unforgettable. With the COVID-19 pandemic the season has been shortened to 5 games and there are no sectional playoffs. The team’s new ultimate goal is to capture the NJIC Conference Championship instead of the usual (now cancelled) sectional state championship. Twelve players were lost to graduation from last year’s group, but twelve talented and experienced seniors attempt to fill their shoes. The group of seniors are headlined by first team all league selections quarterback Kyle Henderson, tight end Kiel McGee, and linebackers Dan Ferrara and Jerry Makris. These impact players bring plenty of experience to the table with all four being three year starters. The team is one of the largest Cresskill has had to offer in years with 45 players. The squad’s deep playoff run to the sectional semifinals would be more than enough success for most programs. However, they intend to build on that this year with an undefeated season and NJIC championship. Cresskill opens their season at division rival Hasbrouck Heights on October 2nd.



Last Season: 2nd in the Cutter Classic

Senior Captains: Ashley Kim and Noam Levi

Outlook: After a successful season in 2019, the cheerleading team is in for a very unconventional season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the girls are only appearing at the home football games. This only includes 2 games in the schedule because of the shortened season. Lead by seniors Ashley Kim and Noam Levi, the girls have a large and hard-working group that is ready to make the most of their limited season. The lady cougars begin their quest on October 9th when the football team takes on the Secaucus Patriots.


Girls Tennis

Last Season: 13-7, 3rd in League, Sectional Quarterfinals

Senior Captains: Stephanie Kim

Outlook: The 2020 lady cougars tennis team is full of new faces and are ready to take over the NJIC Patriot Division. Last season was a successful one for the squad who made it to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, losing to the Park Ridge Owls. This year they plan on beating the Owls and other division nemesis Saddle River Day in order to capture the league championship. The team is led by senior Stephanie Kim who was named First-Team All-League last year. However, she may be the only experience the girls have. The team has a lot of members moving up from JV to fill Varsity starting roles. When asked about expectations Kim believed that the girls have “all been working hard so the season is looking very bright”. The lady cougars will be put to the test this Tuesday, September 29th when they plan on taking down rival Park Ridge.


Cross Country

Last Season: New 5,000m School Record

Senior Captains: Alex Ricardo and Keren Binderman

Outlook: Following a record-breaking season, this year the Cross Country team intends to further cement its legacy in Cresskill sports history. The ´19-´20 season was championed by Jacqueline Lulaj, who established a new school record for the 5,000m and ranked 3rd in the entire North 1 Group 1 State Sectional. Now graduated, she and Columbia track star and Cresskill alum Maryam Hassan are helping Coach Woodford facilitate practices and set the tone for the season. Senior captains Alex Riccardo and Keren Bindermen are now leading the team, an especially important role amidst the confusion that the current global pandemic automatically invites. On her expectations for the season, Binderman says ¨It is what it is, so you might as well make the best out of it.” The aforementioned situation is brought on by COVID-related restrictions: of the 25 team members, there are 19 boys and 6 girls- only the top 7 from each group can attend this season’s meets. There are no dual-meets and no meets at Darlington, so Garret Mountain will be the only location where our runners will compete. Despite these challenges, the team is entering the season confidently and with purpose. Riccardo reflects on the silver lining of the situation, expressing that the team is “obviously upset about it, but we’re also happy because… being able to run together is something we didn’t all expect that we’d have the opportunity to do [at all this season].” They run their first race on October 21st. 


Girls Soccer

Last Season: 6-11-1, Sectional Quarterfinalists

Senior Captains: Jules Sikoryak, Carly Moallen, and Shayna Corona 

Outlook: Cresskill girls’ soccer is back and ready for the 20’-21’ season with a new head coach and a fresh roster larger than the team has seen in years. Closing last season with a record of 6-11-1, the group is confident in building upon their progress despite the loss of five starters and long-time Head Coach Rafti. Last year’s Assistant Coach Lindsey Sansone inherited the position and is already bringing exciting new coaching methods and strategies to the table. The Cougars bring back three veteran seniors – Shayna Corona, Carly Moallen, and Jules Sikoryak – along with an influx of freshmen promising power in numbers. Sikoryak expresses her optimism for the season in an exclusive interview, explaining that “Our team may seem young, but we have a lot of great shooters and we all really connect as a team.” Come support the team in their first venture of the season versus Waldwick on October 2nd.


Boys Soccer

Last Season: 18-4-1, NJIC Patriot Division Co-Champions, Sectional Finalists

Senior Captains: Brandon Tilp

Outlook: The ‘19-’20 season was legendary for the Cresskill boys’ soccer team. Their long list of outstanding accomplishments includes: becoming NJIC Patriot Division Co-Champions, the first Cresskill team to achieve this milestone in 32 years, an NJSIAA North 1 Group 1 State Sectional Championship Berth, and 8 of the 11 starting players being awarded recognition with all-league team mentions. The team is staunchly determined to use last year’s success as momentum to make it even farther this season, though with the unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak, it began with an air of uncertainty. In senior Jason On’s words, “I’m expecting us to do just as good or better than last season’s run. With all the experience and talent on our team, we expect nothing less than a league and sectional championship. The team and I… are looking forward to showing the rest of the section that we haven’t lost a step.” Before the season’s official start, the group got together to play small sided games to arrive as prepared as possible. With 8 returning varsity starters and powerhouses in both offense and defense, they are ready. Support the team at their first game against Emerson on October 1st; they plan to win.