Swim Team Nets “Meet of The Year”

By Briana Williams

More than half way through the season, the HHS swim team has definitely made some noise. With some unexpected wins and some close finishes, the team has used this as fuel to race harder than they ever thought possible.

For the girls, last year’s four point loss to Passaic County Technical Institute was a tough one. However, this year, with Coach Davis’s continued support and strategic lineup, the team was able to pull out a win with a nail-biting finish in the 400 free relay.

Hackensack’s relay out touched (touched the wall first) PCTIs by 0.01 of a second, and earned them a spot in the newspaper for “Meet of the Year.” Currently the girls record is 6-3, with three more meets to go. The girls took second at the Big North Freedom League Championship, and fourth at the Bergen County Meet of Champions.

As for the boys, Fair Lawn proved to be quite a matchup. The meet was close and came down to the final race, the 400 free relay.

At this point, the score was tied 79 to 79.  Although  Fair Lawn’s 400 free relay touched first, the Hackensack boys’ near perfect starts and finishes helped them while Fair Lawn fell short by leaving the block early and getting disqualified.

Their record at this point in the season is 3-6, and so far better than last year which was 1-11. Keep working hard boys!

Two Individual records and one relay record have been broken this year so far.

Matt Tieleman broke the 50 yard free record, and Briana Williams (yes, this reporter) broke her own 100 yard backstroke record.

The girls 200 medley relay consisting of Briana Williams, Yara Hassan, Stephanie Ross, and Ashley Sloan, broke last year’s record twice this season alone.

This year, Coach Davis will be taking two individual qualifiers (Matt Tieleman and Briana Williams) along with the girls 200 free relay (Ashley Becan, Ashley Sloan, Stephanie Ross, and Briana Williams) to the biggest meet of the high school season, states, on March 3.

Congratulations to Coach Davis and Comet Swimming! Go Comets!

Skateboarding Trending Topics

By Jonathan Becker 

Skateboarding this month has been quite intense. The trending names in skating as well as the tricks intensify more and more as time goes on. The creativity factor in skateboarding has been played well by all of these people, showing through the video of the people that are on social media, being reposed by to skateboarding brands and networks. 

There is also a part of the skate community being greatly influenced by the outside world. There are rappers and brands that use skateboarding to promote themselves. This stretches from Rich the Kid, Lil Gnarr and Famous Dex. 

Rich the Kid had started a skate team under his label Rich Forever. Lil Gnarr does skate tricks after getting out of a different car each time in all of his Instagram videos. Famous Dex has recently posted about collaborating with internet sensation Roy Purdy. 

Skateboarders see all of this and absorb it. They decide to accept these trends and outsiders into skating and accept them or they reject all of this and ignore it or make fun of it because they find it to be contradicting the main roots of skateboarding which is along the lines of just be yourself despite what others around you are doing or think of you. 

On the Mysteries Surrounding This Year’s NFL Draft

HHS SPORTSTALK with Jack Taylor and Chance McCullough

Jack Taylor: So the 2017 NFL Draft is this Thursday and as usual the hype has been building. But it’s not as hyped as it is in usual years and hasn’t been hyped for the right reasons.

The two usual stacked classes in this years draft aren’t as stacked, critics are even calling these classes the worst they have ever seen. The Quarterbacks and Offensive Lineman are arguably the most important positions on the offensive side. It’s not that the players are bad, but they are not players that you can rely on to be your franchise players or players that a General Manager would want to sign to a max contract deal.

As a New York Giants fan however, I am excited to see who they draft because the possibilities are endless. If the Giants draft a good defensive player then their defense would be sick, If they draft a good offensive player then they don’t have to rely on the defense as much.

Anyway, I’m excited for the draft because I believe the Giants know what they have to do and because nobody knows who is going where.

Chance McCullough: The 2017 NFL Draft is less than a day away and this year’s draft has the makings of one of the most controversial and mysterious drafts of all time. One of the main reasons this is the case because this draft outside the of the number one pick (even that isn’t a guarantee) is anyone’s guess; the talent is relatively close so we really have no idea what any team is going to do.

As if that wouldn’t have made it interesting enough, there are several really good players that have a bunch of off the field concerns surrounding them which is gonna make teams shy away from them. Mix that in with all of the other mystery and this Thursday night is going to leave a lot a fans scratching their heads and wondering what on earth is their team thinking.

As a Jaguars supporter I can’t even begin to imagine what they are thinking about. This team can go in several different directions because of the number of holes on their roster. This makes it hard to eliminate players from several positions which means anyone could be in play.

I’ll say this, whatever happens Thursday night for the Jaguars and the rest of the NFL, you should have this on your mind, “Expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed.”

SportsView: During Spring Training Hope Springs Eternal … For Some

By Jack Taylor and Chance McCullough

Jack Taylor: It’s that time of the year again…. Spring training. Weather gets nicer, grass gets greener, and most importantly baseball returns.

During last year’s season the Chicago Cubs ended a 108 year championship drought by winning the World Series even though it seemed like it was going to be a cakewalk for the Cleveland Indians.

I have not been this excited for Spring Training in a long time. The teams who seemed to have a promising season that ended disappointingly were able to beef up their rosters this year.

My favorite moves include:

The Boston Red Sox acquired lefty phenom Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox.

Also, the Cleveland Indians, the runner up, signed power hitter Edward Encarnacion who is still producing at a high level even though age is catching up, as he hit over 42 home runs last year.

This is going to be a good year for baseball with playoff caliber teams adding more depth to their rosters and hoping they can dethrone the Cubs and have their own share of success.

Chance McCullough: For the New York Mets, they have a lot to prove in this upcoming season and in spring training.  After losing in the N.L wild card game and being completely decimated by injuries, they enter the season with injury questions, having a logjam in the outfield, forcing management to question whether their starting five can even make it through a season.

How bad is it with the Mets?  After the first days of spring training, injury concerns have already started to have an effect on the team. The Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler who hasn’t pitched since 2014 had only one throwing session and was having arm tenderness and first baseman Lucas Duda has started having flare ups in his back that made him miss most almost the entire season last year.

As spring training and the regular season start to get legs and the days go on this New York Mets team will continue to give critics doubt about whether they can legitimately compete for a championship with all of these issues they face.

SportsView: NBA Trade Deadline Results Less Than Glorious

By Jack Taylor  and Chance McCullough

Jack Taylor: The NBA trade deadline is officially over and, honestly, it reminded me of a bad book. It grabs your attention in the beginning, makes you want to read more when something good happens in the middle, but then leaves you with disappointment in the ending. It wasn’t an overall disappointing deadline, but the ending was expected to be juicier. The beginning part was when there were rumors about Knicks Forward Carmelo Anthony being traded to multiple teams. There were also reports of players like Pacers Forward Paul George and Bulls Guard Jimmy Butler. The middle part would be when the New Orleans Pelicans traded for Center Demarcus Cousins and gave up basically nothing for him. The ending would be when Anthony, George and Butler all stayed on their teams. There were a few trades that when on. Forward Serge Ibaka and PJ Tucker were sent to the Raptors and Terrence Ross was sent to the Magic. Fairly disappointing ending, but still some juice.

Chance McCullough: Even though the actual day of the trade deadline was lackluster at best, there were still some exciting moves that were made. The 76ers made a trade that sent one of these three centers, Nerlens Noel was moved to the dallas mavericks in what was a very shocking move to say the least. The 76ers never had his name out as someone that could be acquired in a trade. The move is also really odd because they were dangling another centers name all week and the fact that he remains there is incredibly weird. They kept center jahlil okafor off the team plane and made him miss two games because they thought he just about as good as gone. He was giving teammates hugs and shaking hands after they told him this so while this wasn’t the most game changing trade this one certainly has the most intrigue to it.

SportsView: One Last Look at Super Bowl LI

By Jack Taylor and Chance McCullough

There have been officially 51 Super Bowls in the history of the NFL. After every Super Bowl, the media and the public have always given their input on what in the world just happened. The New England Patriots came up victorious in what seemed to be a cakewalk from the beginning for the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons were up 21-3 at the half. It appeared that the city of Atlanta would witness its first long awaited championship. But, Tom Brady was not going down without a fight. They scored 31 unanswered points and won the game in overtime. So here’s what we think.

Jack Taylor: For me, the best part of the Super Bowl was Roger Goodell shaking Tom Brady’s hand and handing the Lombardi Trophy to Patriots owner Robert Kraft while hearing a shower of boos coming down from a jam pact NRG Stadium. Goodell is used to hearing boos from the fans in the draft, but this was something else. For the people who haven’t been following football for the past 2 years, Brady was accused of using deflating footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship game. It was a long process, they even went to Supreme Court, but eventually Brady could not handle the process anymore and accepted a four game suspension. Also, the Patriots organization was fined $1M and lost a draft pick. Winning it all seemed to be his ultimate response to the charges.

Chance McCullough: I think for the Atlanta Falcons this was the worst possible outcome they could have ever imagined. Not only did they lose the Super bowl in overtime, they surrendered a 25 point lead and gave up 31 unanswered points. This was their game to lose and they committed one of the worst choke jobs in the history of the NFL. Once the 4th quarter started they had mistake and mistake and miscue after miscue. Until the Falcons can win a Super Bowl this game will always be remembered and the players are going to have to live with this for the rest of the off season and as long as they play football.

SportsView: The 2016 College Football Championship Will be Remembered

By Jack Taylor

The 2016 College Football season is officially over and once again it left us speechless. The Clemson Tigers defeated the seemingly unstoppable Alabama Crimson Tide in a revenge game from last year’s championship.

With six seconds left to go and Clemson on the two yard line, quarterback Deshaun Watson shifted to the right and threw to wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on the outside for the game winning touchdown with two seconds left to go.

It was that kind of game.

Alabama drew first blood as power back Bo Scarbrough put the Crimson Tide up by a touchdown to start the game. It was back and forth throughout but Alabama had the lead for the majority of the game.

After a huge defensive stop though, Clemson got the ball back with  just under six minutes left to go only down by three. Clemson got the touchdown and the momentum suddenly shifted to the Tigers. But, the undefeated Tide were not giving up just yet. After converting a fourth down and trick play to set up good field position, freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts ran up the middle for a 30 yard touchdown to give Alabama the lead back.

Now it was time for Clemson to make some magic happen with two minutes left to go in the fourth quarter. They marched the ball down the field, called a timeout inside the 10 yard line and, well, we covered the rest in our opening paragraph.

Heading into the big game, Alabama was favored to win due to the undefeated season, but people around the nation had a feeling that Clemson would get there revenge.

The Tide’s defense gave the offense a few chances they could have taken advantage of, but struggles from Jalen Hurts and the early departure of Bo Scarbrough due to a broken right leg held back the Tide from securing a comfortable lead.

Ultimately, you have to give credit to Clemson for staying in the game even though not being able to secure lead for most of the contest. But Deshaun Watson gave the fans another career defining game having over 400 scrimmage yards and throwing for multiple touchdowns. Watson’s next journey is preparing for the NFL draft.

Valerie Dikitanan Cheers on All Challenges

By Daniella Smajlaj

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Valerie Dikitanan is an HHS sophomore who truly achieves her goals.

She is on Varsity Cheerleading and says, “Cheerleading is very hard. There will be bumps on the road, but I have to do my best and push through whatever my coaches tell me I have to do. I just give it all I got.”

When it comes to cheerleading, she takes that sport to heart. “Cheerleading is something I’m passionate about. When I step on the mat it’s like, ‘This is it, this is what I’m gonna do and all my apprehension goes away and it makes me feel happy.'”

Even though cheerleading is something that Valerie is passionate about, she will not be cheering forever. After high school, she aspires to earn her master’s degree in nursing from Penn State. 

Valerie describes herself as exhibiting a good sense of humor. She also has some hobbies outside of cheering such as, playing the flute and piano, tumbling, and cup stacking. 

The sophomore considers these hobbies calming and alleviating as compared to the fast pace of cheerleading. “Whenever I do one of those hobbies, it’s very enjoyable to me,” she says.

Academically, Valerie is a stellar A and B student, she strives to have a 4.0 GPA. Her favorite teachers are Ms. Kropilak, Ms. Krueger, and Mr. Macelli.

Despite how stressful school is at times, she still manages to put forth her best effort towards all her work. “I still manage to do my best, whether it’s in my favorite subject or my least favorite subject,” she says.

Her favorite subject in school is geometry. She works well with numbers and therefore tries to make herself available to help others who have trouble understanding concepts in class. She enjoys helping people out and overall is an amazing athlete and student.

Bryce Drakeford: QB in the Fall, Small Forward in the Winter

By Chaiim Singer-Barber

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Throughout high school everybody is worrying about what’s cool, new trends, and trying to blend in. It takes a lot to isolate yourself and form your own trend and creativity. As long as you respect the person you are, and you’re comfortable in your own skin, you’ll get through high school.

Bryce Drakeford, the starting quarterback for the HHS varsity football team and the starting guard for the HHS varsity basketball team, is an example of an individual who has made a name of his own in high school.
Besides being a talented athlete, Bryce is also very outgoing, humble, and joyful. He is very passionate about both sports he plays and puts his heart out into each game played.

Bryce’s motivation during his athletic career has been his cousin Kyle, who has impacted his drive positively since the beginning of it all.

When it comes to his style on the gridiron he is mainly influenced by NFL Free Agent Michael Vick, with whom he proudly shared the jersey number 7.

His basketball style of play is mainly defensive overall and he hits strong transitional threes. Overall, he has shown what he is capable to do on both teams and also that he can transition well from one season into the other.
Like many high school athletes, Bryce wishes he could continue with one of the two sports he plays professionally but as a career plan, he sets his on sights sports analysis, sports trainer, or a future in sports management. He intends to remain around sports and influencing others and helping future athletes.
With all the after school activities that Bryce has, he continues to do well with a GPA of 2.7. His favorite teachers are Dr. Jakubik, Mr. Rhymer, and Ms. Barraco.

Also Bryce loves to write, as his favorite subject is English. What separates Bryce from every other student in Hackensack is, besides being a star athlete, he collects socks on his off time, and not just any plain socks. His socks are brightly colored with some different prints like emojis or words of wisdom.

High school overall seems to be going well for Bryce and he can’t wait to graduate, explore, and make his own path. A college he wishes to go to is Central Connecticut State.

Being a Drakeford and going to HHS is tradition, for a lot of his family has attended the high school. Instead of being compared to them Bryce has his own name and is his own person. His humility makes him the great person he is making him someone that is held high and looked up to by his peers and other athletes on the rise.

Jordon Bailey Balances Soccer and School

By Amia Weldon

Born and raised in Jamaica, Jordon Bailey moved to Hackensack his freshman year. Dreaming of becoming a pro soccer player, he helps carry the HHS varsity soccer team to victory in each game.

Sports seem to be a big part of his life, especially after his brother-in-law passed away. Since Jordon’s brother-in-law inspired his love for the game, he decided to carry on his passion for soccer, in hopes of going to the big leagues.

Other people like Andre Iniesta have also influenced Jordon’s love for the game. “He’s so brilliant in the middle of the field,” Jordon says.

Besides Jordon’s love for sports, he is a very bright student who earns good grades and also dreams of becoming a mechanic. He wants to attend Montclair State University next fall to major in business and hopes to excel in the future by owning a mechanic shop. He states that if “soccer doesn’t workout he thinks entrepreneurship” is the next big thing. 

When asked how he would describe his personality and style, Jordon replied smiling, “I’m just a humble, handsome, tall, Jamaican who likes to get fly. I’m really cool if you get to know me, but if not I like to be by myself, quiet. I’m just a quiet person.” 

The potential future World Cup star states, “They say you have to be dead to become a legend, but do anything the best you can and you’ll become a living legend.”