Our Version Of A Very Sweet 16
We are down to 16 athletes, coaches and contributors in the Shore Sports Network’s search for the greatest sports personality/figure from the shore area over the last 50 years. The group includes eleven athletes, four coaches and one very successful sportscaster. The online voting campaign is powered by Sonny’s Recycling Scrap Center of Waretown.
There were some very closes contests in reducing the field from 32 to 16 including Frankie Edgar’s win over Damion Hahn in a matchup of wrestler turned UFC fighter (Edgar) against what some consider the greatest pure wrestler to come out of the shore (Hahn). In another tight battle soon-to-be pro football player Mike Gesicki edged former Shore Regional record-setting field hockey coach Nancy Williams.
Among those who have attracted significant voter support in the first two rounds are Todd Frazier, Al Leiter, Jim Dowd, Christie Pearce Rampone, Ken Frank and Warren Wolf. In what might be considered a bit of a surprise football great Phil Villapiano has picked up national support from “Raider Nation” and in this round will take on CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz in what should be a great matchup.
The next round of voting is now underway and will continue through Monday. The winner will receive a special award from Ocean Trophies of Lanoka Harbor.
Thanks to Sonny’s Recycling of Waretown for sponsoring this program and Ocean Trophies of Lanoka Harbor for providing a unique award for the winner.
Vote for every matchup now. Not sure who every sports figure is? Keep scrolling for a short bio on every participant.
Trouble viewing or voting? CLICK HERE for a direct voting link.
Take a closer look at the Sweet Sixteen:
Todd Frazier: Little League World Series champion, multiple-time all-state selection at Toms River South/Rutgers University standout/MLB all-star and Home Run Derby champion currently playing for the New York Mets.
Al Leiter: A standout at Central Regional who had an 18-year MLB career and was a three-time World Series champion.
Christie Pearce Rampone: A three-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Cup champion as a member of the U.S. women’s soccer team, Rampone was a four-sport standout in soccer, basketball, field hockey and track at Point Boro and three-sport star in soccer, basketball and lacrosse at Monmouth University.
Keith Elias: Record-setting running back for Lacey High School and Princeton University. Played in the NFL with the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.
Jim Dowd: One of New Jersey’s all-time great ice hockey players who starred on championship teams at Brick High School and won an NCAA championship at Lake Superior State. Later won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils and played 17 seasons in the NHL.
Frankie Edgar: A standout wrestler at Toms River East and Clarion University, Edgar transitioned to mixed martial arts where he is a former UFC Lightweight Champion and top-ranked featherweight contender.
Knowshon Moreno: An unstoppable force as a running back at Middletown South where he set multiple records and led the Eagles to three straight state titles. Was an All-American at the University of Georgia and drafted No. 12 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Sam Mills: A legendary figure in the Shore Conference, Mills was a star at Long Branch High School and Montclair State before playing 14 years in the NFL and serving as an assistant coach for six years. Lost his battle with cancer in 2005.
Dan McCullough: Arguably the greatest athlete in the history of Brick High School, McCullough was a two-time state wrestling champion and also a football star. He earned a scholarship to Oklahoma University where he played both sports, including the Sooners’ 1974 National Championship football team. He was a two-time NCAA qualifier in wrestling.
Mike Gesicki: One of the greatest pure athletes in Shore Conference history, Gesicki was a football, basketball and volleyball standout at Southern Regional. He was an all-state selection in football and volleyball. He enjoyed a record-breaking career as a tight end at Penn State and is expected to be a first- or second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Phil Villapiano: Star football player at Ocean Township High School and then Bowling Green University, VIllapiano played 12 years in the NFL and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and a 1977 Super Bowl champion.
Warren Wolf: The patriarch of Shore Conference football, Wolf coached Brick for 51 seasons and won 361 games along with six NJSIAA state titles, 31 division titles, eight undefeated seasons and 42 winning seasons.
Vic Kubu: A Shore Conference football legend, Kubu compiled an unbelievable 263-71-5 career record in 32 seasons, 22 of them at Manasquan. The Warriors won 10 sectional titles under Kubu, including a record five in a row from 1998 through 2002.
Ken Frank: Toms River South’s legendary baseball coach for 40 years, Frank has over 850 career wins, the most in state history. His teams have won over 55 division, county, conference and state titles during his tenure.
Tony Caravella: Brick Memorial opened its doors in 1981 and within five years Caravella had built the Mustangs wrestling team into the No. 1 team in the state. The Mustangs became the flagship wrestling program in the Shore during his 23-year tenure from 1980-2003 with five NJSIAA group championships, 10 sectional titles, 12 SCT titles (including 10 straight), 18 district championships and 13 division titles.
Jim Nantz: A graduate of Marlboro High School where he co-captained the basketball and golf teams, Nantz is one of the most recognizable voices in sports as CBS’s top NFL play-by-play announcer who also calls NCAA basketball and PGA Tour golf.