By Natasha Rai and Srid Sriram, sophomores, and Breana Tan, freshman
After all the dedication, hard work, and competition of sports end, the time comes to look back and reminisce on the memories made and the barriers broken. As we wrap up the school year, it is important that we honor and celebrate the great strides and achievements of our departing seniors as they move on toward their college careers.
MICHELLE CHEN: An inspiring captain as well as a fierce competitor on the tennis courts, Michelle recalls the journey she has traveled since she first stepped onto JP’s tennis court her freshman year. Through hours of vigorous practice with the team, Michelle has improved not only in physical agility but also in mental stability, two attributes necessary in tennis. One of her most vivid memories is battling through the third set of the 2012 GMC semifinals against a top rival South Brunswick to secure a spot in the finals. She went on to win second place at the GMCs, adding that victory to a list of accomplishments that now includes the JP Stevens Sportsmanship award. Not wanting to leave the sport that she enjoys playing so much and that has earned her great prestige, Michelle hopes to pursue tennis in college and wants to continue playing the sport for the rest of her life.
LORRAINE MACKIEWICZ: Lorraine has been a member of the varsity volleyball team for three years. During her final year, Lorraine, its star captain, broke the school record for most kills and won key awards such as the Star Ledger and Home News Tribune Player of the Year Awards. In addition, she was honorably chosen to the Second Team All State, All Red Division Team, and All Conference Team for Middlesex County. Among all these prestigious awards for volleyball, Lorraine has also achieved numerous honors for her singing talents in the JP Stevens Choir as well. All in all, however, Lorraine recounts how volleyball played an integral role in her life, teaching her the values of teamwork, communication, and leadership, which she will continue to benefit from for years to come. Lorraine will continue her volleyball career in Babson College.
JOHN MAXHAM: Playing on the varsity basketball team for two years has taught John a lot about teamwork and the traits needed to be a charismatic leader. As co-captain of the team, he has pushed and encouraged his teammates to do their best, regardless of the results. In his basketball career, he has achieved various feats and has gained great recognition for his excellent shooting abilities, which helped him amass 332 points this season. Impressively, John led the county in three-point shots this year, making 74 this season alone and 113 in his whole career. Although he will continue playing basketball recreationally with friends and classmates and on an intramural level, John is going to miss the intense atmosphere that goes hand-in-hand with the competitive high school basketball he has been playing at JP when he attends Temple University next fall.
ELIZABETH SCODA: Elizabeth came into JP excited to start her high school career and make an impact on the varsity soccer team; four years later, she is graduating as a two-year captain of the team. In her career, she has totaled 13 goals and eight assists, helping her team earn numerous titles, including First Team All-GMC Middlesex Conference, First Team All-Red Division, and All Area Girls Soccer Team (Home News Tribune). She was also named “Top 20” NJGSCA All-North Two Player of 2009, 2011, and 2012. This year, as captain, she helped catapult the team into their first semifinal challenge since 1996. By her junior year, she had already been scouted and recruited by Lafayette College. With such encouragement, although her outstanding high school career has come to a close, Liz will continue her legacy playing for Lafayette’s Division I Women’s Soccer team in the upcoming fall.
KATIE TENCZA: Since her sophomore year, Katie has been running for the JP Stevens Varsity Cross Country Team as well as the All-Middlesex County Team. Her varsity running career started out strong, when the All-Middlesex County team placed second in the county and she placed tenth, which she recalls as one of her most incredible experiences in high school. Three years and hundreds of distance workouts later, Katie finally became captain of the Hawks. She is proud of her team’s successful season and accomplishments, especially when they became Co-Red Division Champions. Distance running is a rigorous sport that calls for great dedication and perseverance, and Katie never lacked in either of the two. Katie says that she will miss going to meets and cheering on her fellow teammates, and is considering running for her college team at a club level.
CHRIS CHAN: A game-changing athlete and a vicious competitor, Chris Chan was a vital asset for the Hawks up front and on the wing this past fall. Chris has been a three-year varsity player for the JP Stevens Boys’ Soccer Team and has accumulated many accomplishments, including an All-White Division Athlete honor and the 2012 JP Stevens Raptor Award, given to the team’s best midfielder. He has greatly contributed to the soccer program here at JP Stevens, scoring five goals in the past season alone. Anyone can say that his presence on the field has made a positive impact on the team’s performance. There is no doubt that he has left a substantial legacy for the younger JP Stevens midfielders to learn after. Looking to continue his passion for soccer, Chris will be attending Swarthmore College and playing for its Division III Men’s Soccer team in the upcoming fall.
NEHA BHENDE: For three years, Neha has successfully juggled three varsity sports: tennis, basketball and lacrosse. However, actively participating in sports all three seasons has not lessened her dedication to any one of them, as she became captain of two, basketball and lacrosse. In her career, she earned the National Women’s Athlete of the Year Award, the GMC Sportsmanship Award, and recently, the John E. McGowan Scholarship Award. These two prestigious awards are merely symbols of the complete passion and love Neha has shown for all of the sports she plays. Skillfully balancing athletics with rigorous academics, Neha knows how to prioritize her activities in an efficient and brisk manner. While looking back on her time as a JP athlete, Neha commented, “Playing three sports meant spending a lot of time, and so JP became like a second home.”
REBECCA COLEMAN: With 328 career strikeouts against opposing teams under her belt, Rebecca has established herself as an asset to the JP Stevens Softball Team. A four-year varsity athlete, Rebecca has also made herself known across the county, for she was named the South Brunswick Vikings Softball Classic MVP, selected as an All-Red Division athlete, and chosen for Second Team All-County. Her consistency at the plate, which led to a batting average of .375, added to her dominance on the pitching mound, posing a threat for opposing teams both offensively and defensively. Rebecca’s all-around skill-set will clearly be sought after among higher level teams, if Rebecca chooses to continue softball in the future. Recounting her love for the game, she noted, “Softball has become a part of my identity, because I’ve been playing it for all of my life and I love the feeling I get when I’m out on the field.”