Throughout the winter season, Blair athletes competed in more than 150 contests both on and off campus. As always, the Bucs exhibited exceptional sportsmanship, dedication and teamwork, noted Director of Athletics Paul Clavel ’88. "I am very proud of our student-athletes this season, as they achieved team and individual milestones while working hard with grit and integrity,” he said. “This was another successful season in School record books.”
Blair wrestling capped a historic season in late February when the team won its 40th national prep title in 45 years. The Bucs scored a total of 354 points, followed by Wyoming Seminary in second place with 325 points. Blair tied the all-time record for the number of individual champions with a remarkable nine champions.
Earlier in the season, the Bucs won their fourth-straight Walsh Jesuit Ironman tournament by 100 team points in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Blair had two champions in the tournament, Trevor Mastrogiovanni '20 (120 lbs.) and Shayne VanNess '21 (132 lbs). Runners up included Michael Colaiocco '19 (126 lbs.), Julian Ramirez '19 (170 lbs.) and Owen Trephan '19 (220 lbs.).
Head wrestling coach Brian Antonelli ’93 reflected on the season with pride in and excitement for his wrestlers. “Wrestling one of the toughest schedules in the country and going through it undefeated is a huge accomplishment for our guys,” Coach Antonelli said. “They competed hard and represented the School with class. We are thankful for the all of the support we received from parents, alumni and friends.”
Blair’s varsity girls' and boys' basketball teams won their respective Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) championships in mid-February. The girls defeated Lawrenceville 76-47, securing the team’s ninth-straight conference title, while the boys overcame Hill 65-56, marking their fourth conference title in five years.
The boys' varsity basketball team then made history on February 21 with its 86-64 win over New Jersey rival St. Benedict’s Prep in the NJISAA prep “A” state championship. This marks the first time ever that the boys' varsity basketball program has clinched both the MAPL and state titles during the same season.
"We played at a high level this season, overcoming some very strong teams,” said head boys’ varsity coach Joe Mantegna. “Our seniors finish undefeated in the MAPL regular season and tournament play for their final two years."
Meanwhile, the girls' varsity basketball team finished second in the nation at the 2019 independent school national championship, held February 22 and 23 in North Carolina. Having placed fifth at last year’s prep nationals, the Lady Bucs notched three key tournament wins to achieve second place this year.
"We played one of the most challenging schedules in the country, and it was so gratifying to play our best basketball late in the season," said head girls' basketball coach Quint Clarke ’87.
The varsity ski team braved frigid temperatures to compete in a number of slalom and downhill races. During the first race of the season on January 15, the girls' team placed first and the boys' team finished third. As the winter progressed, the girls’ and boys’ teams continued to place in the top three.
The girls’ team traveled to Mountain Creek on February 28 and earned four trophies, winning the New Jersey non-public state championship. The team earned second place in both the giant slalom and slalom races, marking their second non-public state championship in three years.
The swim team competed in a number of meets this season. In mid-February, the varsity swimmers traveled to Franklin & Marshall College for the Eastern Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Competition. During the meet, Camille Williams '20, Rachel Ninomiya '19, Anna Insana '21 and Summer Will '19 all qualified for finals in the 200 medley relay and 200 free relay. Andrew Brooks '19, Nate Castimore '20, Jake Leddy '19 and Aidan Stockhausen '20 qualified for finals in the 200 free relay.
A number of swimmers had personal best times, and Anna broke her own School record in the 500 free relay.
Both the boys’ and girls’ squash teams competed in several successful competitions this season. The boys placed third in the MAPL tournament at home, while the girls’ team placed second in the MAPL tournament at the Hill School.
It was another tremendous season for indoor winter track. To date, the team has competed in three invitationals, with several athletes delivering strong individual performances at each. At the MAPL invitational, five Bucs were named individual champions, including Madison Jones ’19 in the 55 meter, Kerem Ayhan ’19 in the 200 meter, Tiheem Crocker ’19 in shot put and Kendra Payne ’20 in pole vaulting. In addition, five athletes qualified for the Eastern State Championships.
In addition to being ranked eighth in New Jersey and number one in the MAPL, Ashlyn Alles '20 shattered a School record in long jump at 18 feet 3 inches, a feat that makes her one of only 11 girls in New Jersey to surpass 18 feet and qualified for the New Balance High School Indoor National Championships.
“It was a tremendous indoor season, thanks in part to the new winter sports complex,” said head track and field coach Roy Wilson. “We are on track for an incredible outdoor season here at Blair Academy, and I expect to see more School records broken.”