June 11, 2015

(Newark, NJ) – The 2015 Group 1 State Champion Cedar Grove High School Softball Team was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for winning the 2015 Group 1 State Championship during the Board’s June 10th meeting held at the Hall of Records.  The Board’s Commendation was sponsored and presented by District 4 Freeholder Leonard M. Luciano of West Caldwell and Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold of Livingston.

The Cedar Grove H. S. Girls Softall Team was honored by the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders for winning the 2015 Group 1 State Championship during its June 10th meeting at the Hall of Records.  Also pictured above with the team are: Freeholder Leonard Luciano (3rd row, far left), Freeholder Patricia Sebold (front row, far right), Head Coach AJ Agnor (3rd row, 2nd from left) and Assistant Coach Veronica Kaplanovich (back row, center).  Photo by Glen Frieson


“As the District 4 Freeholder who represents the Township of Cedar Grove on the Freeholder Board, along with eleven other western and northern municipalities in Essex County”, said Freeholder Luciano, “it is an honor to present the team, Coach Agnor and Athletic Director Gogerty with these commendations from the Freeholder Board to celebrate your state championship, and for renewing Cedar Grove’s proud tradition of softball success.”

Freeholder Patricia Sebold also congratulated the team by saying, “Your hard work certainly paid off!  You’ve made your school and your parents very, very proud, and brought tremendous excitement to the Township of Cedar Grove.”

“Back in December when I was selected to be the softball coach, I was truly honored knowing the great tradition in Cedar Grove”, said Head Coach AJ Agnor.  “I couldn’t have chosen a better group of girls to coach because they are talented, they are hard-working, and they earned every one of the 24 victories we got this season by sticking together, believing in each other, and by winning games nobody thought they could.”  Commenting on the State
Game that the team won handily, 10-1, he added, “We were so proud to bring a state championship back to Essex County, but also to show everyone that we deserved to be there.”

Speaking on behalf of her teammates, senior Autumn Spinella said, “I want to thank our parents and the coaches for supporting us the whole way and cheering us on”, adding “But I’m not surprised that we’re standing here, because although we had our ups and downs, it made us stronger and we did everything we should have to be here.”  She also thanked her teammates “…for having the heart and the drive to help me, and the three other seniors, end our careers with a state championship.”

The presentation was attended by a host of parents, as well as CGHS Athletic Director Rob Gogerty and Michael Featherman, Superintendent of the Cedar Grove Public Schools.

The Panthers won their state championship on Saturday, June 6th, when they defeated Henry Hudson High School, 10-1, at Kean University in Union.  In state tournament play, they first defeated Cresskill High School (14-4), Hawthorne High School (11-1), Verona High School (4-0), and then Butler High School (5-4) to win the North 1Group 1 Sectional Championship, before going on to defeat Ridgefield High School (4-1) in the Group 1 Semi-Finals and then Henry Hudson in the title game, to finish its season with an outstanding overall record of 24-8.
This year’s state championship was the school’s third overall, and first since 1979.  It was also the school’s 13th sectional championship.

The team’s accomplishments were further recognized by the awarding of four individual players with All-Suburban Essex Conference honors: Erin Stacevicz was named to the 1st Team, while also recording over 200 career hits and setting a new school record for hits in a season (62); Rianna Marinelli was named to the 2nd Team; and Kailey Weinstein and Samantha Brancato received Honorable Mention.

The State Champions are: Seniors Erin Stacevicz, Liz Dillard, Amber Dabroski and Autumn Spinella; Juniors Kailey Weinstein and Gianna Capobianco; Sophomores Samantha Brancato, Alyssa Mega, Rianna Marinelli, Sabrina Pereira, Nina Vragolic and Dominique Long; and Freshmen Olivia Spinella, Kelly Toomey, Micaela Kennedy, Daniella Cordasco, Ava Mandala, Jessica Sinisi, Ava Fernandez, Kali McCabe, Resham Jariwala, Kelly Zaccaria and Allison Kelly.  The team was coached by first-year Head Coach AJ Agnor, Assistant Coaches Veronica Kaplanovich and Nicole Velardi, and Athletic Trainer Tom Jacobus.

Freeholder Leonard Luciano is currently serving his second full term representing District 4, which includes Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange.  Freeholder At-Large Patricia Sebold is currently serving her eighth full term on the Board.

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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders
Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695