BY BRETT FRIEDENSOHN
The County College of Morris’ spring sports teams began playing teams in their region, National Junior College Athletic Association Region XIX, during NJCAA’s 2016 spring season. Baseball, which began region play Saturday, March 26, started 7-5 in region play and 25-15 overall while advancing to the playoffs, and lacrosse, which began region play March 26, started 0-3 in the region and 2-13 overall and failed to advance to the NJCAA Region XIX playoffs. Softball, which began region play Tuesday, March 29, started 4-4 in the region and 20-14 overall, and golf, which began region tournament play Monday, March 28, finished first place in four tournaments.
Jack Sullivan, athletic director at CCM, said that toward the end of semesters, many student athletes struggle to balance their school responsibilities.
“It’s a busy time of year, we’re getting ready for finals,” said Sullivan. “So it’s a lot of stress on the student athletes. They have to maintain their grades and stuff. Our expectations are that they’re student athletes first, but this is an exciting time athletically for them.”
CCM’s baseball team won two games against Valley Forge Military College Wednesday, April 20 to advance to the Region XIX Division II playoffs.
“We have a good group of guys that are committed to practicing the right way, and they’re focused on winning,” said Brian Eberly, head coach of baseball at CCM. “And the team has come together well. We don’t have any infighting or complaining on the bench. It’s just a really good group to work with all year long.”
Losing its fourth consecutive game against Region XIX teams, baseball lost two games against Rowan College at Burlington County Sunday, April 17.
“Basically everything went wrong to be honest,” said Omari Beaubien, psychology major and baseball player at CCM. “We didn’t really play a good game at all fielding-wise, hitting-wise. I think mentally we just weren’t prepared.”
CCM’s lacrosse team, sixth place in NJCAA Region XIX Division I, failed to advance to the playoffs this season.
“We definitely could have done way better,” said Khelsae Andican, criminal justice major. “Sometimes you just gotta take the losses, get it next time. There’s always another season.”
Several news outlets, including News 12 New Jersey, Parsippany Patch, and Northjersey.com, reported this season on Andican, a woman, playing as a co-captain on CCM’s men’s lacrosse team.
“I didn’t really think anything of [the news coverage] at first, and now I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s pretty cool,’” said Andican. “I guess [my serving as co-captain] can be seen as a big deal, but it doesn’t seem that way on this team … I think this whole media buzz will bring a lot of attention to our program here, and we can get a lot of talent.”
Another lacrosse player at CCM said that his team will likely work hard for the remainder of its season.
“It’s not the season that we expected, but we’ve put in some hard work for it,” said Sal Maiorana, engineering science major. “We’re just probably gonna work our hardest and win these two.”
CCM’s softball team, third place in NJCAA Region XIX Division II, in order to clinch its division’s playoffs, needs to finish in the top four in its division based on region play.
“We’re the kind of team this year that we’re very inconsistant,” said Greg Wardlow, head coach of softball at CCM. “It’s kind of an oddity … [Every team but one] that we lost to, we subsequently beat in another game, so what that proves to me and should prove to our players is that any given day we can beat anybody, but they did also. It says that any given day we can lose to anybody.”
Sullivan said that CCM’s golf team proved itself a sound team, but not as commanding as last season’s CCM golf team.
“I think it’s been one of the more competitive years, and I don’t think we have the dominant golfers that we’ve had in the past, but I think that they have had a good team,” Sullivan said. “Anything is possible. If they get hot at the right time, so be it, but we’ve had – it seems like – three consecutive Mondays in a row with really bad weather. And that doesn’t help anybody.”
CCM’s spring season is set to end Friday, June 10 during golf’s NJCAA Nationals to which CCM’s golf team will try to send players.