CLARK, NJ – Arthur L. Johnson High School’s winter athletes were honored at Tuesday’s Clark Board of Education meeting, held in the ALJ auditorium, as part of the district's "Showcase of Success."
“Our winter sports teams really had great success [this past season]. And in many ways, you can even consider it a historic season,” Superintendent Ed Grande said.
Athletic Director Gus Kalikas began his presentation by thanking Grande and ALJ Principal Rick Delmonaco for their support of the student athletes throughout the year.
“A special thank you to our board of education who takes the time after each season to recognize the athletic achievements of all our athletic programs,” Kalikas said. “Lastly I’d like to thank all the proud parents in attendance for your support and cooperation throughout the year.”
The recognition began with ALJ’s wrestling program, specifically junior Christopher Fuschetto. Kalikas commended Fuschetto for finishing the season with an overall record of 39 – 5 and 100 career wins.
“Chris is the first ever wrestler here at Johnson High School to reach this wonderful accomplishment in his junior year,” said Kalikas.
Fuschetto was also District 13 Champion and finished second place in Union County and Region 4.
“He was the first wrestler since 2007 to be able to compete for a state championship in Atlantic City,” Kalikas added.
Kalikas then recognized the ALJ cheerleaders for their “dominant season.”
“[They had] the most successful season in the history of Johnson High School,” Kalikas said. “They took first in an amazing six of the seven competitions that they competed in. And they captured the school’s first ever Central Jersey Group 2 State Championship.”
The next program to honored was the girls’ basketball team for their “stellar season.” Kalikas commented that the team played in the toughest basketball county in the state in one of the toughest divisions.
“In that division, they finished with an 8 – 2 record which allowed them to capture the Union County Conference Mountain Division Championship,” Kalikas said. “Its been a long time coming.” The ALJ girls’ basketball team has not achieved that championship since its prior win in 2008.
Finally, Kalikas recognized the ALJ boys’ basketball team and all-time leading scorer George Visconti.
“Its wonderful when a team transcends the courts, the fields, the mats and captures the imagination and the heart of a school and a community," Kalikas said." I really feel that the run that the boys’ basketball team had this year did just that.”
The team finished with a record of 22 – 5, falling 10 – 0 within their division.
“This is the second consecutive Sky Division Championship that the team captured,” Kalikas said. “They made it all the way to the Central Jersey Group 2 final. It’s the first time in the school’s history that we competed in a state championship game for basketball.”
George Visconti was also honored for being the leading scorer in the history of ALJ, breaking a 30-year-old record.
Kalikas credited the success of the winter season to the coaching staff led by Dave Kennedy, Joe Marino, Michael Siter and Lindsay Barrett .
“Their teams finished with multiple championships but were a pleasure to watch throughout the year not only because of their stellar accomplishments but because of how these student athletes conducted themselves both on and off the courts and the mats,” Kalikas said.