A Dynasty at Southern Regional
I don’t know what exactly a sports program has to do to be declared a “dynasty” but regardless of your definition Southern Regional has probably established one in boy’s volleyball under coach Eric Maxwell.
Thursday night at South Brunswick High School the Rams won their second straight NJSIAA title and fourth in six years and they did it in come-from-behind fashion against St. Peter’s Prep.
The men from Manahawkin lost the first set 27-25 before roaring back to win the next two by scores of 25-17 and 25-14 and finish a 37-2 season in which they were ranked number one in the state from start to finish. Under Maxwell the Rams have been in the state finals a record six straight times with four titles and a pair of runner-up finishes.
Appropriately Southern clinched its latest title on a kill by middle blocker Mike Gesicki, his 15th of the match and 318th of the season. The Penn State-bound football standout sent the large Southern fan-base into a delirious celebration and concluded just what might have been the greatest athletic career by a Shore Conference athlete in recent memory.
Gesicki was part of a power-packed lineup that included fellow seniors Jake Logue, Harrison Lewis and Chris Reed. The good news for Coach Maxwell is players like Mike Sprague, Dylan Clark and Liam Maxwell will return and try and lead Southern to a three-peat.
Horse racing will take center stage tomorrow when California Chrome seeks to become the first thoroughbred in 36 years to win the Triple Crown. The 3-year old colt is the heavy favorite to capture the Belmont Stakes and perfect weather could result in a record crowd at the Long Island track.
The Belmont is a big event only when a horse has won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in the month of May and California Chrome is the 12th horse to do so since Affirmed won all three in 1978. Attendance goes up by an average of 30,000 when a horse is bidding for the Triple Crown and the 2004 record of 120,000 could be broken tomorrow.
By the way I don’t think California Chrome will win the race as the mile-and-a-half will be too much. I like Curlin with Samraat second and a fading California Chrome holding on for third.