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Youth sports: Ridgewood taekwondo squad flourishes at Nationals

all in nationalgroupshot


The students from Taekwondo All In earned 26 medals at last month’s Taekwondo National Championship in Austin, Texas. FRONT ROW, from left: Louise Kim, Justin Wang, Liam Woods, Arjun Narang, Colin Fitzgerald, Lucas Woods, Kalyan Patel, Audrey Kim and Lucas Wang. BACK ROW, from left: Head coach Young Min Kim, Jason Ahn, David Ahn, Alex Baker, Tony An, Abhishek Narang, Julia An, Jenna Slota and coach Seongki Kim.

Youth sports: Ridgewood taekwondo squad flourishes at Nationals

AUGUST 14, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015, 12:31 AM

The students at Taekwondo All In started their summer in style by claiming seven gold, six silver and 13 bronze medals at the 2015 National Taekwondo Championship in Austin, Texas, in early July.

Every Ridgewood student that reached the championships took home at least one medal.

Here’s a day-by-day breakdown of the team’s progress at the event:

JULY 5: The successful run began in the cadet division (ages 12-14) competitions in breaking, poomsae (form) and sparring.

David Ahn earned third place, and Colin Fitzgerald claimed fifth in the breaking division, while Jongyun An tied for first place but was beaten in a tiebreaker and took home the silver medal.

In poomsae, Ahn led the team by earning a gold medal, while An captured a silver for his performance. Fitzgerald and Abhishek Narang earned bronze medals in poomsae.

Narang and Ahn went on to earn gold medals in sparring, while An garnered a bronze

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RHS Boys Track & Field underclassmen show they belong at Nationals


Ridgewood’s Kobi Grant, left, takes a handoff from Matt Tai in the sprint medley relay at last weekend’s New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

JUNE 26, 2015    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015, 12:31 AM

In the final meet of the 2015 season, the Ridgewood High School boys track team’s contingent of young talent traveled to the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., not to show what they could provide the squad in 2016, but to prove that they were ready for the big time right now.

“Before the meet started, we challenged them that this meet wasn’t about getting ready for next year,” RHS head coach Josh Saladino said in a phone interview Monday night. “This meet was about rising to the expectation and the pressure of performing at a national-level championship this year.”

Saladino and the Maroons returned north happy with the work done by the six underclassmen that earned their way to Nationals, held on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University.

The quartet of freshman Matt Tai, sophomores Kobi Grant and Kyle Mack and junior Michael Thurston finished 21st in the sprint medley relay and 10th in the Swedish relay.

Tai also competed in the freshman 100-meter dash, and Thurston took 11th in the Emerging Elite Division 800 race.

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Indoor Track: Ridgewood girls, boys make most of appearance at Nationals

Photo Courtesy of Tom Thurston
The Ridgewood High School boys 4-x-800 relay team finished fourth in the New Balance Indoor Nationals Emerging Elite Division last Friday at The Armory Track Center in New York. From left, head coach Josh Saladino, Kenny Marshall, Kotaro Tamura, Jack Byrne and Michael Thurston.


Indoor Track: Ridgewood girls, boys make most of appearance at Nationals

March 20, 2015    Last updated: Friday, March 20, 2015, 12:31 AM
By Matthew Birchenough
The Ridgewood News

One last meet on the biggest of stages provided eight Ridgewood High School runners a nice sendoff into the upcoming spring track season.

The Maroons finished up the indoor season with solid showings from senior Carleen Jeffers in the two-mile, as well as the girls distance medley relay and the boys 4-x-800 team at last weekend’s New Balance Indoor Nationals at The Armory Track Center.

“Qualifying for Nationals is not something that comes easy. It’s a result of all their dedication and hard work that goes into it,” RHS head coach Josh Saladino said. “For some of them, it was their first time on the big stage and what was encouraging to me was they all rose to the occasion. No one was content just being there.”

Jeffers, who has been the team’s headliner all year, finished 15th in the two-mile as the Maroons’ lone individual competitor.

“Running against the best in the country and hanging in there and battling with them is an accomplishment in itself,” Saladino said of the senior’s performance. “She’s as mentally tough as they come. To beat her, you’ve got to give it your best, because she’s not going to give you an inch, and she proved that again in that race.”

Jeffers’ time of 10:51.37, when converted to 3,200 meters, represented a 2.5-second improvement on her personal-best mark.

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10-year-old runner from Ridgewood to compete at Nationals


file photo Ridgewood Run

10-year-old runner from Ridgewood to compete at Nationals


They are as different as night and day. Camryn Wennersten, 10, is quiet and competitive, stubbornly unyielding. Her younger sister Peyton, 7, is outspoken, a “sparkle diva,” according to track coach John Murtaugh, who has worked with the sisters.

But the Wennersten sisters share a common passion, running, that appears to have no limits in a Ridgewood family steeped in sports. Last month their mother and father, Kevin and Taryn Wennersten, completed the New York City Marathon. On Thanksgiving Day, the entire family — Kevin, Taryn, Camryn, Peyton and their older brothers, Bryce and Triston — ran a 5-kilometer race in Upper Saddle River.

On Saturday Camryn, already the best in her age group in the county, state and mid-Atlantic region, will measure her skill and will in a 3-kilometer race at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country championships in Myrtle Beach, S.C. More than 3,000 runners in categories from 8-and-under through 17-18 will compete.

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Ridgewood High School Marching Band takes second at nationals


File photo by William T

Ridgewood High School Marching Band takes second at nationals

NOVEMBER 21, 2014    LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2014, 12:31 AM

The Ridgewood High School Marching Band, shown here during a recent competition at MetLife Stadium, finished in second place at the recent National Championships.

The Ridgewood High School Marching Band captured second place in the USBands National Championships, which took place earlier this month in Allentown, Pa.

The squad, under the direction of John Luckenbill, took second with a score of 96.050 in the Group IVA competition. The band was also awarded “The Cadets Award of Excellence” in recognition of its achievement in Creativity, Performance and Overall Effect.

With the award-winning performance at Nationals, the band completes its competition season, which was filled with several highlights.

On Oct. 18, the band performed at Rutgers University for USBands NJ State Championships, placing third out of 13 bands, and winning the caption award for Best Visual. The RHS Marching Band also took third out of 13 bands the USBands Yamaha Cup, held at MetLife Stadium, on Nov. 1.

RHS took first place at Pequannock High School, winning the award for Best Music; first at JP Stevens High School, sweeping the caption awards for Best Music, Best Visual, and Best Overall effect; first at Jackson Memorial’s “Showcase of Champions,” winning the caption awards for Best Music and Best Overall Effect, as well as the Esprit de Corps award.

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Ridgewood High School Latin team to compete at nationals


Ridgewood High School Latin team to compete at nationals

JULY 7, 2014    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, JULY 7, 2014, 3:07 PM

Latin teacher Catherine Venturini has a big smile and a bigger passion for Latin. And the result of that passion is clear when watching students in her rising-star Latin Academic Team practice for competition.

Talking to 10 students who came to one of the year’s last lunch meetings, the 14-year Ridgewood High School (RHS) teacher read aloud Latin phrase after Latin phrase. Students from the club, which this year won the state title in the Latin Quiz Bowl and will compete in nationals in late July, were quick to translate.

One (not necessarily authentic) Latin phrase stumped them.

“Man, don’t prepare the cow?” one student asked.

“They’re looking for something a little more colloquial,” Venturini answered.

“Don’t have a cow, man?”

Everyone burst into laughter.

It’s the kind of positive and lively atmosphere that many Latin outsiders might not associate with the so-called “dead” language. But the students say that that perception is wrong: Latin has a lot to teach them about the way modern society works, and because it happened years ago, it offers an opportunity for a more objective critique.

“It allows us to understand more of what the modern world is,” said Latin Academic Team Captain Britta Potter, who was the team’s lone senior this past year. “So much of it is rooted in the classical world … [and] looking at it in Rome, you don’t have as much of a personal connection to it. It’s a lot easier to be objective.”

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