CLARK, NJ — Zachary Sandler of Clark was awarded the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Scholar Athlete Award on May 15 at a statewide luncheon. The organization hosts the statewide function known as the Scholar Athlete Luncheon to honor student athletes and gives out thousands of dollars in scholarship money. The recipients are chosen based upon their athletic and academic accomplishments.
“I believe I was chosen to win this award because of my outstanding leadership ability and excellence on the field,” Sandler told LocalSource.
Sandler had a very successful four years at Arthur L. Johnson High School, where he starred on the school’s soccer and track and field teams. He was the starting goalie for the soccer team that won the County Conference’s Valley Division Championship. He is a multitalented student with musical ability in addition to his athletic ability.
“I was the starting goalkeeper during my senior year,” Sandler said. “Our record was 18-3, dominating the conference championship, which we ended up winning against New Providence. I was first team all conference and all county honorable mention. I was also captain of the team senior year. One of the best moments was beating Rahway in a penalty shootout for the county tournament. I saved the last shot and dove into a pile of my teammates. I love my team, and the whole experience was a wild and unforgettable ride.”
He and his band recently performed a cover of, “If It Means A Lot to You,” by the band, A Day to Remember, at one of the last concerts while attending Arthur L. Johnson this past month. He is the proud owner of a 1957 Strasser Marigaux alto saxophone from Paris, France, which recently came into his possession. Sandler currently works at The Stone Pony and Glenn Street Live. While attending Monmouth University, he will study music.
“I was so happy to receive such a beautiful instrument,” said Sandler about the saxophone. He finds inspiration in local artists such as Bruce Springsteen.
“Zach was an integral part of the success of our athletic programs at Arthur L. Johnson,” said Gus Kalikas in a press release. “He allowed us to have success throughout his career on the soccer field. More importantly, he’s been a model student and did things the right way both on the field and in the classroom. He is truly deserving of this award and we wish him well as he embarks on his college career.”
“For track, I sprinted,” Sandler told LocalSource. “I ran the 4×100 relay as well as the individual 55 and 100. Not much to show for it but we did medal at a race once.”
The awards are only presented to one student from each school in the state. They celebrate not only the student’s athletic success but also their achievements in the classroom. The organization has grown in size over the years. In 1994, the association celebrated its 75 year anniversary of the statewide luncheon. This year marks 23 years over which they have honored more than 7,000 athletes and presented more than $1,500 in scholarships.
The association is a voluntary nonprofit made up of more than 400 high schools in the state. They conduct championships and crown champions in more than 30 different sports. It is headed by a governing body known as the Executive Committee. The state association is affiliated with forty-nine other state associations to make the National Federation of State High School Associations.
In addition to the Scholar Athlete Awards, the association also presents many other awards to athletes.