SSN Readers’ Choice Awards Winners
The results are in for the 2017 Shore Sports Network Readers’ Choice Awards.
Multiple athletes, coaches and teams were nominated across five separate categories in SSN’s inaugural season-ending awards where we let you, the readers and fans of Shore Conference athletics, make your selections for who was the best of the best during the 2016-2017 scholastic year. Thanks to everyone who cast votes and congratulations to winners.
MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Marvin Morgan, Sr., Neptune track and field
Morgan ran a 10.62 to set a meet record and win the Central Jersey Group III 100 meter title, then won the Group III crown and finished third at the Meet of Champions with a 10.73. He also captured the Shore Conference 100 meter title with a blistering 10.51, the third fastest time in New Jersey this season, and won the Monmouth County championship as well. In the 200, Morgan won Monmouth County and Shore Conference championships, placed third in Central Jersey Group III, second in Group III and sixth at the Meet of Champions. Indoors Morgan won the 55-meter dash at the Meet of Champions in 6.38 to complete a winter season where he won Monmouth County, Shore Conference, Central Jersey Group III and Group III titles, while also winning the Eastern States Championships in 6.43. Morgan will continue his career at the University of Pennsylvania.
FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Dara Mabrey, Jr., Manasquan basketball
The Gatorade New Jersey Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Mabrey averaged 19.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game for a Manasquan team that reached the Shore Conference Tournament final and the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions final. She had four games with 30 or more points, including 33 against T.O.C. and SCT semifinalist Red Bank Catholic and 31 against New York power Long Island Lutheran, 30 against Rumson-Fair Haven and a career-high 34 against Newark Tech in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II semifinals. Mabrey also scored her 1,000th career point.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Preston’s work in taking over a program that faced possible extinction four years ago came to a head this season as the Purple Roses went 11-7 to set a program single-season record for wins while also scoring the biggest upset in the history of the Shore Conference Tournament. The 14th-seeded Roses won an 8-7 thriller over No. 3 Southern in the first round that sent shockwaves through the Shore Conference. Click on Preston’s name above to read more about St. Rose’s bounce-back season.
TEAM OF THE YEAR
A dynasty in southern Ocean County, the Rams won the NJSIAA state championship for the second year in a row and sixth time overall since 2009. Southern has reached an incredible nine consecutive state championship matches and has dominated the Shore Conference each year.
STORYLINE OF THE YEAR
The Year of P.J. Ringel at Marlboro
Marlboro boys soccer and boys basketball boy enjoyed historically good seasons and one of the common threads was senior P.J. Ringel. The senior led the soccer team with 21 goals – the second-highest total in the Shore Conference – and the basketball team with 13.3 points per game. Under the direction of Ringel, as well as classmate Ryan LaRocca, both Mustangs teams reached the finals of the Shore Conference Tournament. The soccer team lost to CBA, then reached the final of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs while the basketball team knocked off a talented Ranney squad in the SCT semifinals before losing to Mater Dei in the final.
While the Marlboro story was compelling enough based on the action on the playing field, it became even more gripping following the Mustangs’ loss to CBA in the SCT final. The following morning, Ringel lost his father, Jack, in an automobile accident. The soccer team honored Jack Ringel prior to its next game – a first-round state tournament game vs. Colts Neck – and two days after losing his father, Ringel scored the game-winning goal in overtime to cap a two-goal performance as Marlboro beat the Cougars. Marlboro won its next two games in overtime, with Ringel again scoring the winner in a sectional semifinal win over Manalapan.
The record books will show Marlboro won a school-record 20 games in soccer and reached the SCT final for the first time ever in boys basketball. The story, of course, is much more than that. Two groups of players rallied around Ringel and the school rallied around the teams as they embarked on one of the year’s feel-good runs.