SJ Prep's Top 25 Athletes, 1980-2004

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   This list first appeared in SJ Prep's school newspaper, The Nose. It was reprinted here
with the permission of the authors and the newspaper's adviser, Andrew Whelan.
   We thank them and salute them!


By Pat Bradley ’05 Bradore@comcast.net

and Pete Crispino ‘05 crispy990@hotmail.com

The following list is what we consider to be the top 25 athletes of the past 25 years.

   The athletes' rankings are based mostly on their performances while at the Prep while a little criteria went into accomplishments upon graduating. An emphasis was placed on the success on an athlete's team and their impact on the sport in which they played.   Multiple sport athletes as well as the number of All-Catholics an athlete received were taken into consideration.
While the class of 2005 has already accomplished much, we only included the 25 graduating classes from 1980-2004.

   The stats used in these rankings are based on the facts and stats presented from several sources including Prep records as well as Daily News statistics compiled on www.tedsilary.com.
   We have consulted many present and former coaches and teammates and asked them to retell the stories that made these athletes so great. However, these rankings are our sole opinion, so enjoy this not as fact, but as a tribute to the top 25 athlete’s accomplishments.
   Let the debate begin!

   25. Lance Shaw, 1994. First team All City as a senior with over 1500 rushing yards. However Shaw's biggest contribution can not be measured through stats. Shaw ushered in Gil Brooks' tenure as head coach of Prep Football.  "First great running back of my tenure. Courageous performer," said coach Gill Brooks '75 Before Shaw's time, quarterbacks had been the offensive focal point of Prep football however Shaw set the stage for the a string of talented running backs including Aaron Brown, Kyle Ambrogi, Pat Kaiser and Dan Jones.

   24. Vince Curran, 1987. The Catholic League basketball Markward award winner in 1987.  Curran averaged 19.1 points per game his senior year. A second team All-City and first team All-Catholic Curran would lead the Prep to a playoff berth in 1986.  "Vince was a tough, strong-willed player who was tough inside and had a nice touch from the outside when needed," said former coach Paul Lynch.  Curran went on to play basketball for Penn.

   23. Ed Turner, 2000. "[The late John Hunter] used to call him tough and gritty," said baseball coach Christian Rupertus. Turner is one of six Prep students to earn Daily News All-City in baseball. He starred at shortstop and also as a wide receiver for football where he hauled in 33 passes for 594 yards and 6 touchdowns. Turner is the only athlete in the past 25 years to earn All-City honors on football and baseball. "An efficient receiver with tremendous hands," says coach Brooks.

   22. 1989 Midweight 8 Boat., Jim Feeley,'89; Andy Schwaryn, '89,, Chris Ruggiero ’89; Christian Hayes, ‘89; Eric Hoyer ’89; Pat Quinn ’90; John Kazmar ‘89, Jim McGlynn, '89,  Kevin McCloskey, '89. Although they were midweights this 1989 boat defeated every varsity 8 boat they faced. "We use them as the example, they took nothing for granted, how they washed their boat and carried their oars," said coach Bill Lamb '79.

   21. Tim O'Neill, 2004. Owns the school record in cross-country with a 15:57 run at Belmont Plateau. O' Neil holds indoor and outdoor records for the mile with a 4:26 and 4:30. "A motivated, incredible athlete who blossomed from his sophomore year on," said head coach Curtis Cockenberg, '71.

   20. Chris Clark, 2004. As a point guard, Clark's record was 81-12 "Chris was a quintessential point guard and leader who was also a great scorer," said coach William "Speedy" Morris. Clark's 11 assists in a quarterfinal playoff game against West Catholic last season was the second highest assist total ever in a Catholic League playoff game. John Griffin and Clark are the second highest scoring duo over their careers in Catholic League history with a combined 2,727 points. In the 2004 championship game against the favored Cardinal Dougherty, the tandem combined for 52 points on 15-21 shooting and 17-18 from the line as well as 9 assists in the blowout win.

   19. John Griffin, 2004. The Prep's all-time leading basketball scorer with 1,488 points."John was a fiery competitor and a clutch scorer," said coach Morris. More career points than Philadelphia players Rasaul Butler, Tom Gola, Marvin O'Connor or Aaron McKie. Griffin is eighth on all-time Catholic League scorers list. His play led the Prep to back-to-back championships for the first time in school history.

   18. Kevin Stefanski, 2000. Stefanski beat out Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones for Catholic League Red MVP honors in 1999. Stefanski was a first team All-City selection as a defensive back, and as a quarterback threw for 1,080 yards and 12 touchdowns his senior season. "Did everything well. Intelligent. A tremendous hitter on defense. Great leader," said coach Brooks. Stefanski went on for a successful football career at Penn where he starred as a defensive back.

   17. Pete Chromiak, 2002. For football first-team All-Catholic, All-City, and All-Southeastern Pennsylvania as a senior, when he caught 23 passes for 691 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 30 yards per catch (a city record). Forty-eight catches in his career for 1,465 yards, a 31-yard average, and 18 touchdowns. Breakout game came when he was MVP of the St. Joe's-La Salle Thanksgiving Day game with three catches, all for touchdowns, of 40, 51, and 80 yards. A jack-of-all-trades, Chromiak used to entertain football teammates at camp with his mastery of the guitar. "There's not too much Pete couldn't do," said coach Brooks. A centerfielder for baseball, Chromiak hit .474 his senior season. "A five tool player, hit for average and power. Pete would go 3;4 and complain about the one he got out," said coach Rupertus.

   16. Tom Welsh, 1995. "The Best crew athlete ever, a humble and great teammate," said coach Lamb. Welsh's boat would lose the Henley, but Welsh would go on to row for the United Sates Olympic team. While at the Prep, Welsh also made third team All-Catholic as a basketball player averaging 10.6 points a game in Catholic League play. After rowing four years at Princeton, Welsh went on to become a two-time world champion.

   15. Jim Wallace, 1981. Wallace may well have been in the top five had it not been for a knee injury that kept him out of his entire senior season in both soccer and football. Wallace had 60 goals coming into his senior season, Justin Ceccarelli, the all-time leading Prep goal scorer, had 38 before his senior campaign. A first team All-Catholic kicker on the football team, Wallace also made first team his sophomore and junior years for soccer." When he got the ball in the box, it was in the back of the net," said coach Jim Murray '59.

   14. Kasim Holloman, 1999. One of the eight career basketball 1,000-point scorers from the Prep, and the 1999 Catholic League Markward award winner.  Holloman's senior year average of 24.4 points per game is the all-time best at the Prep. Holloman also played football, however only during his freshman and senior years. As a defensive lineman, he earned third team All-City during his senior year. "If he would have concentrated on football he could have been a DI player. He could throw a medicine ball farther than anyone at the Prep has ever thrown one." said coach Brooks. Holloman went onto soccer 1,383 points at King's college where he was a Middle Atlantic Conference All-Star two years.

   13. Pat Kaiser, 2003. "Unreal player, had as good of senior season as anybody at the Prep," said coach Brooks. Kaiser holds the Prep single season rushing record with 2,178 yards. Kaiser scored 35 touchdowns his senior season and averaged 167 yards a game. Kaiser rushed for 316 yards in the Catholic League championship leading Prep to their second straight title. Also a kicker, Kaiser holds the city record for points per game with 23.5. Kaiser was named Catholic League Red division MVP his senior season.

   12. Kyle Ambrogi, 2002. "He and Victor Hobson had the most impact of any two players in my era of Prep football. Kyle ushered in the era where we became a very good football team on a national level," said coach Brooks. Ambrogi is seventh in the city in career yards with 3,868. He holds the Prep's all-time single game rushing record with 322 yards. Ambrogi appeared in Sports Illustrated after a six-touchdown game against North Penn as a sophomore. Currently plays at University of Pennsylvania.

   11. 2000 Varsity 8 Boat. Andy Kelley, '00; John Wachter,'00; Ryan Broderick, '00; Anselm Sauter, '00; Marty Reape, '00; Tim Rigler, '01; Mark Mannion, '00; Pat McMahon, '00; Greg Cobb, '00. They became first Prep boat in history to win Henley Regatta. Most of the boat rowed together the year before. "Their experience rowing together was necessary in winning Henley," said coach Lamb, '79.

   10. John Laumakis, 1990- "He would catch anything thrown his way," said former football coach Clayton Carlin '83. Statistically Laumakis is the best receiver in the Catholic League over the past 25 years.  Two-time All-City wide receiver; first team All-Decade; most receiving yards in a game by a Prep player, 194 yds; more career receiving yards than anyone in city history, 2242; most yards per game for a season than anyone in city history 110 yds/game; most receptions in a season in city history, 80.  John Laumakis owns the record books in the same city that put out Marvin Harrison and current Notre Dame starter Maurice Stovall. Laumakis was also an accomplished track star through which he earned the nickname "Flash" and was part of their record setting relay team.

   9. Mark Zoller, 2003. Zoller along with coach Speedy Morris brought back Prep basketball. He the led Prep to four playoff wins his final two years. To put that in perspective the the Prep had zero wins the pervious 22 years.  Zoller is second all-time in Prep history with 1,317 career points and his 31 points in the 2003 title game are the second most in Catholic League history. Zoller was MVP of the Catholic League his senior year, and was named first team All-City. "He was a throwback, he never took a possession off," said coach Morris. Zoller carried the 2003 Prep team to their first championship in 31 years, putting up 29 points, 9 boards, 5 blocks in the quarterfinal game; 25 points, 15 rebounds in the semis; and 31 points and 14 boards in the championship, in all totaling 85 points on 31-45 shooting as well as 38 rebounds in just three games.

   8. Pete Mellen, 2003. "Pete Mellen is a player who defines the terms leader, heart and hustle. His will to win is contagious and he brings out the best in his teammates," said head coach Jacques Bagley '90.  The Prep lacrosse record holder of most career goals, points and ground balls, Mellen racked up 56 goals and 20 assists during his senior campaign, leading Prep lacrosse to its first ever win over LaSalle in its 10 year history as well as its first ever Catholic League Championship. He scored 4 of the Prep's 9 goals in the contest and went on to become the only All-American to ever come out of the program. Mellen also excelled as a starting defender for the 2003 southern division champion soccer team and was a key player on the inaugural Prep hockey team also in '03.

   7. Andy Cobaugh, 1990- One of the most versatile athletes in Prep history, Cobaugh was named first team All-Decade in football by the Daily News for his work at the linebacker position. Cobaugh was also a standout as a tight end where he caught the fourth most touchdowns in a season, 11, in city history.  Cobaugh was also the kicker and punter. "Andy Cobuagh was an absolute relentless defensive football player.  He was very physical and could run down ball carriers from anywhere on the field," said coach Carlin.  He earned Catholic League MVP during a season that featured several highly talented athletes including (#2) Frank Costa, (#10) John Laumakis as well as a little known receiver out of Roman Catholic named Marvin Harrison. In addition, Cobaugh was also a star catcher for the baseball team and was named the best athlete of his talented class by his peers.  He went on to become a second-team All-Yankee Conference linebacker at Villanova University. Cobaugh finished his college career as Villanova's all-time sack leader with 35, totaling losses of over 150 yards. Cobaugh later played for the San Antonio Texans of the Canadian Football League and the Texas Terror of the Arena League.

   6. Justin Ceccarelli, 1989. The all-time Prep soccer leading goal scorer with 75. Ceccarrelli scored 48 goals his senior season. To put that number into perspective, the leading goal scorer on 2004 Prep soccer had nine goals. "Once he got to 3 goals in a game I had to take him out. It was not unusual for that to happen in the first half," said Murray.  Ceccarelli helped lead the Prep to four straight Catholic League championship appearances. He went on to play at Boston College where until recently he was the all time leading goal scorer with 31.

   5. Joe Dwyer, 1995. The only four-time 1st team all Catholic League wrestler in Prep history. Dwyer wrestled in the 119-pound weight class and as a freshman was the national champ. He would go on to finish no worse than third in nationals in his remaining years.  Said former wrestling coach and current assistant Dean of Students Scott Mullen,'99, "Joe is the most successful wrestler…Even better, he is our National Prep Champion.  He's the best wrestler in Prep history."

   4. Chris Mayfield, 1990. "Chris was an exceptional swimmer, the best we've ever had here," said head swimming coach Joe Schmitt. Perhaps no athlete was as dominant in his sport as Mayfield. Mayfield owns 5 of 8 individual Prep swim team records. He owns the 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, 50 freestyle, 100 butterfly, and 100 freestyle records.

   3. Rich Gannon, 1983. Gannon exploded his senior season winning first team All-City as a punter and quarterback. He threw for 1,567 yards his senior season. Attended the University of Delaware before being drafted by the New England Patriots. Gannon went on to win the NFL MVP award in 2002. "Playing in the NFL, Rich has an incredible gracefulness and a sense of being a gentlemen, and lives out the values of the Prep," said Prep President Rev. Bruce Bidinger, S.J. Besides playing both quarterback and punter, Gannon further displayed his versatility and athleticism by lettering in both basketball and crew.

   2. Frank Costa, 1990. Costa was named as the 1980's all decade quarterback. He ranks third in the city with 4,660 career passing yards and is second in City history for his 1989 campaign in which he threw for 2,547 yards. As a freshman, Costa once threw for 370 yards in a game, a Prep record that still stands today. Costa holds the city record for completions in a game, 27, and a season, 196. Costa went on to be the starting quarterback at the University of Miami where he threw for 2,456 yards from 1991-1994.  Said Carlin, "Frank Costa had everything you wanted in a QB; he was very poised, had a very strong arm, a great leader and a tremendous work ethic."

   1. Victor Hobson, 1998. "Put the Prep and Prep football on the map. Ferocious and powerful. Absolutely feared by other players," said Brooks. A three-time member of the All-City first team Hobson, led the Prep to its first Catholic League Championship in 20 years in 1997. The first team All-Decade linebacker was nicknamed "Pup" his freshman year due to his big hands, big feet and awkward walk. However, in Hobson's sophomore year, he matured so much he earned the nickname "Big Dog." Big Dog would go on to play four years of football at the University of Michigan before being picked in the 2nd round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

Honorable Mention . . .

Basketball: Mike Barker '01; Keith Coleman, '82; Tony Hayden '95; Chris Hightower '97 Steve Klemic,'81, Neal McGee, '92; Nick Goodwin, '86, Frank Sciolla '89; Jamar Stokes '00.

Football:  Aaron Brown, RB, '98; Frank Cacciola, L, '98; Steve Comly, QB; '99, John Connors, L, '02; Mike Crow, LB, '88, Brian Daly, L, '82; Vince Gallagher, QB, '02; Joe Grifith, DB, '82, Tim Irvine, QB, '87; Jim Jankiewicz, DB, '99; Dan Jones, RB, '04: Jim Knowles, LB, '83; Mike Mailey, DL, ’00; Fran McCartan, L, '96; Steve Osisek, WR, '83; Matt Parkhurst, DE ‘04; Jermaine Slade, DB, '98; John Spahr, QB,'81; Warren Spivey, L, '99; Matt Stefanski ,QB, '03 Brian Tracz, LB, ‘04.

Baseball: Mike Brady, P, '84; Mike Cavallaro, inf, '96; Mike Contorno, OF, '97; John Fitzpatrick, 1B, '98, Tim Gunn, 1B, '97; Steve Harris, OF, '98; Bill Moule, inf, '94; Chuck Nolte, OF, '86; Jason Nolte, 1B, '95; Mark Noonan, 3B, '04; Paul Quinn, OF, '84; Eric Smith, 1B, '02; Tony Spadaccini, OF, '87.

Crew 1984 Varsity 8 Adrian King '85, Ken Piree '85, Mike Gerardi '84, Jeff Pesot '86, Mike Petersen '85, John Ward '84, Brian Clancy ‘84, John Coney '84, Bill Serad '85.

Lacrosse: Chris Geraghty '03, Mike Haas '03.

Soccer- Kyle Eisenmann '03; Mike Fanning, '94; Chris Powell, '03; Vince Wallace, '86; Mark Weinman, '88.

Track and Cross Country- Chris Bagley '87, M Digulia '98 Mike Gorman '93, Bob Koroly '98, Tom Magee '94,  Steve Walsh '97.

Tennis: Bob Boyle ‘87, John O’Rourke '03.

Golf: Criag Cochran, '94; Matt Smith, ’00; Jack Zabrowski '92.

Bowling Nick Longo, '02.

Wrestling: Matais Kuhn, '00; Bob Saia, ‘99.