Sports

Senior profiles

By NIKHIL CHITRE and RANGASRI RAMJI, juniors

We tend to dive into the excitement of whichever sport is in season, leaving the past behind with stacks of paper records and collections of dusty trophies. Yet as we wrap up the spring season and the school year altogether, it is important that we recognize the outstanding achievements of this year’s departing senior athletes.

KRIPA RAJAN:
Kripa, this year’s captain and libero for the Girls Volleyball Team, has made quite an impact on the court. Playing volleyball for more than four years, Kripa recognizes that time and experience go hand in hand; they determine the outcome of any situation — in both volleyball and real life. She believes that next year’s team has the potential to win the GMC tournament in the fall.

MICHELLE ZHANG:
Over four years, Michelle has developed a distinguished tennis style, one which eventually earned her captaincy. It also helped her receive various awards and recognitions from the county and GMC conference, including the prestigious “JPS Scholar Award,” an exclusive award given to one boy and one girl from the school.

AJIT BOPALKAR:
As a senior captain for the Hawks tennis team, Ajit Bopalkar has received All Division, Conference, County, and State Honors throughout his high school career. These achievements fuel his passion for tennis and inspire him to continue playing Club Tennis at Carnegie Mellon University.

KARTHIK RAMAKRISHNAN:
By playing tennis for over four years, Karthik, captain of the squad, has been able to completely transform his technique and style of play. All of his practice earned him the varsity singles position on the team and third place at the GMC tournament during his junior year. He also loved being on the Hawkeye staff and wishes his fellow editors the best of luck for the future.

HARRY HOFFMAN:
Harry’s participation in the JP Golf Team through high school has helped influence his future. Along with winning many other awards, Harry made the All Red Division team as a sophomore, junior, and senior and also made All-Conference as a sophomore and senior. This year, he was able to win and beat out a great field of competitors. Harry will cherish these golf memories and will miss his team, but he also looks forward to the future and what it holds for him.

NICKY CACOILO
Nicky has emerged as a successful three-sport varsity athlete, taking part in cheerleading, basketball, and softball. During her sophomore year, she led the softball team to a state sectional championship that showcased the squad’s determination and ability to close out tough games. “Winning the title in 2010 is my most memorable memory in softball. As for basketball, I have realized that it is such an important part of my life, and it has  grown to be my favorite of the three sports.”

RYAN SZEMPLE
Ryan has not only earned exemplary status as a goalkeeper and captain on the soccer field, but also as a key player on the volleyball court. During his soccer career, he has received multiple awards: All Red Division, All Area Second Team, All-State Central Third Team, All Conference, and JPS Defensive Player of the Year. “The last soccer game of my high school career was the most memorable; playing the field, winning in overtime, and making my 500th career save all contributed to a day that I will never forget.”

JOEL GEORGE:
Joel George, a perennial star on the JP Stevens Cross Country and Track Team, leaves an extraordinary legacy for future JP runners. After becoming Rookie of the Year during his freshman year, Joel continued to win races; he later received Most Valuable Runner recognition during his junior and senior years. Joel realized that running is more than a sport: it is a lifestyle that has shaped his personality. “The cross country team has been a second family for me from the start of high school, and I cannot imagine leaving them.”

JASDEEP BUTTAR
Jasdeep Buttar is recognized as co-captain of the Varsity Baseball Team under manager Dave Marzano. Jasdeep has an enduring mentality during “every pitch, every out, every inning” that accounts for the team’s persevering spirit. Jasdeep values the family-like atmosphere present among his teammates for the past three years. He finished his senior season with five home runs and hopes to continue his success on the diamond in the future.

KRISTIE FAN
From becoming close with teammates to completing intensive workouts to tak races, Kristie can proudly say that running has been an integral part of her life. Throughout her career, she has scored many achievements, including receiving recognition from the Home News Tribune and Star Ledger and earning the title of Red Division Champion. She also contributed to the JP Girls 4×800 all-time record, clocked the fastest 800 meter time for girls, and finished fourth at the 2012 GMC Championships.

MATT DISTEFANO
A three-year varsity soccer player and four-year varsity hockey player, Matthew finishes his senior year as captain of both teams; he was also honored with All Red Division and All State soccer titles, as well as All Division Honorable Mention for hockey. Discussing soccer, Matt remembered, “Scoring the golden goal in overtime to win against North Brunswick was incredible.” On the other hand, during hockey season, Matt suffered a major injury which helped him develop his work ethic and fly through recovery.

CHRIS MIEHE
Wrestler Chris Miehe has many achievements under his belt as a JP athlete, including four years of regional qualifications. Chris’ accomplishments include finishing second and third place at GMCs, second place at regionals, district champion for two consecutive years, All White Division, and a spot in the top twenty-four in New Jersey for two consecutive years. While Chris is noted for his many awards as an individual athlete, he is glad to don the JP insignia as he goes out to the mat before each match.

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