2021 Spring Sports Preview


Alexa Atlas ('22)

Despite COVID-19, all the spring sports teams are working hard to have an unforgettable season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an unorthodox schedule this spring when it comes to the sports we all enjoy to follow. So while spectators may be at a minimum, Eastside is hoping to bring you all of the action possible from the months of April through June. There will be 10 sports competing for East, and most of the teams have the potential to surpass the standards being set for them.

Girls’ and Boys’ golf and Boys’ tennis have already gotten underway as both of the sports were scheduled before the others by the NJSIAA.

The boys’ tennis team will be led by Brett Schuster (‘22), Jacob Pasternack (‘21), Nathan Belitsky (‘22) and Ben Xi (‘23) this year. Coached by Roberto Figueroa and Greg DeWolf, their main competitors will be Cherokee and Lenape, who they face on May 12 and May 14 respectively. The boys are attempting to be repeat as sectional champs after their thrilling performance two years ago.

Tennis players Darren Lerner (‘23) , Max Dombrowski (‘23) and Brett Schuster (‘22) will be the singles competitors for the boys this year. (Nick Gangewere (’21))

Our boys’ golf team includes several new players that have not been able to participate before. Led by Nate Block (‘21) and Brian Cotter (‘24), the goal for the team is to create a foundation for future years through winning as many matches as they can. The team is coached by Ryan James and will compete predominantly at Woodcrest Country Club. A key string of matches will be played in late May as they will attempt to compete in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champion finals.

For the girls golf team, this is the first year that they will be competing. Erik Wood is hoping to help create a winning environment from the jump as this sport has not been created for girls at East in the past. They will often compete at the Woodcrest Country Club, but their main match will be against Cherry Hill West at Links Golf Course on May 18. One girl to keep your eye out for is Kate Pierlott (‘23) this season.

Alec Herring (‘23), Ian Ferdas (‘24) and Caleb Unterlack (‘22) at an early morning practice on April 6. (Courtesy of cheastathletics Instagram)

Meanwhile, the pitchers and catchers for baseball and softball reported early this spring, and full on tryouts have started up.

The Cougars baseball team, coached by Jason Speller, will be led by Lin Asari (‘21), Josh Manders (‘21), Hunter Wieland (‘21) and Noah Stofman (‘21). Coming off of a great season two years ago, the boys were devastated to have their momentum cut short last year, but they will hope to continue their winning ways with some quality pitching at the top of the rotation and a strong senior core. Key matchups include away games at Bishop Eustace on April 19 and at Cherry Hill West on May 15. The playoffs begin in early June this year.

The softball team will be coached by longtime head Jen Peifer this year, and feature several solid players like Rachel Bliss (‘21), Milana Miller (‘21) and Hannah Pollack (‘22). Games from May 12 through May 18 will be a proving ground for the girls as they face Eastern, Paul VI, Cherry Hill West and Cherokee respectively. The girls will be missing several key seniors from the previous two years but hope to continue a tradition of excellence.

Hunter Wieland (‘21) at the plate during a baseball scrimmage two years ago. (Courtesy of Hunter Wieland (‘21) )

Boys’ and Girls’ Lacrosse has gotten underway with tryouts and scrimmages.
The boys will be led by seniors Rei O’brien (‘21), Dan Yasenchak (‘21) and Hank Feudtner (‘21). Look out for Gavin Poulshock (‘22) and Gavin O’Connor (‘22) to contribute heavily to coach Meyers’ team as well. The boys have a key matchup at Cherry Hill West on May 15, as well as a home matchup against Cherokee on May 10. Hopes for this team run high as a playoff run is more than possible. Cherry Hill East boys lacrosse’s strong culture will continue to develop the sport as a Cherry Hill East staple.

The girls, coached by Katie Boyle, are led by Lauren Ballay (‘21), Haley Krassan (‘22), Cecilia Cavallo (‘21) and Paige Miller (‘21). They will play an extensive 17-game schedule before the Group 4 playoffs, which begin June 1. The girls have found some success over the past few years, but their steady improvement annually will allow for coach Boyle to take this team to new heights.

Senior Rachel Bliss hopes to lead this years’ softball team to a winning record. (Nick Gangewere (’21))

Boys’ and Girls’ track and field will also be competing this spring, projecting to go through early June. Two early injuries have already hit the Cougars, but a wealth of talent will fill in those holes quickly.

The boys’ team, under head coach Anthony Maniscalco, have many bright spots to look forward to. Whether it be sprinters Ethan Smith (‘21) and Jordan Grossman (‘21), thrower Robby Fleischer (‘22), distance runners Aidan Groff (‘21) and Gabe Rodriguez (‘21), pole vaulters Ken Komatsu (‘21) and Noah Kriesman (‘22), or high jumper Dillon Page (‘22), this team will have the ability to excel in many events. Key meets will be on April 14 at Haddonfield Memorial and on May 19 against Cherokee at East. The boys also hope to send several athletes to compete at the conference and sectional levels in late May and early June.

Senior Jordan Grossman and Junior Hanna Orengo pose for the camera at a winter track meet in Haddonfield this winter. (Nick Gangewere (’21))

The girls’ team, under head coach Yanell Holiday, will also be competing at a high level this upcoming spring. Sprinters Zeyonna Davis (‘21) and Hanna Orengo (‘22), thrower Karina Correa (‘21), and distance runners Maddy McNiff (‘22), Elliana Tonghini (‘22) and MaryKate McCurdy (‘21) all will have the chance to compete at a conference and sectional level. The girls, as well as the guys, have a long season ahead of them with only a few meets (5 and 6 before championships) and lots of training ahead of them.

Boys’ volleyball is the final team competing this spring. Led by captain Owen O’Connell (‘21) and Ansh Mehta (‘22), they are hoping to thrive this year under young coach Conor McVeigh. Key matchups against Moorestown on May 7 and Cinnaminson on May 25 (both at home) highlight their regular season. They are hoping to reach the NJSIAA playoffs and potentially get out of the first round this year.

This spring season is shaping up to be full of great games, meets and matches for the next two months. Eastside will be covering many of the events, as well as nominating players of the week every week for followers of our Instagram to vote on.

Good luck to all of the teams and athletes, the East community will be cheering for you all this spring.

And as always… Roll Cougs.