UNION – St. Jude Week at Union High School will include the 5th Annual St. Jude Classic that will tip off Thursday at Union’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium.
An Opening Night boys’ basketball tripleheader features:
Plainfield vs. Union at 4 p.m.
University vs. Linden at 5:30 p.m. and
Summit vs. Westfield at 7 p.m.
This is the fourth year in a row that the St. Jude Classic is taking place on Opening Night. The first one occurred in early January of 2016.
“Linden and Westfield have participated every year and Plainfield was nice enough to switch to play in the event again,” Union head coach Kevin Feeley said. “Summit is in it for the first time and Westfield moved a home game to come play again.
“Everyone wants to help out.”
Last year’s event saw a sum of $13,500 raised which was added to the total of $21,000 that was raised the first four years.
All proceeds go to the St. Jude’s Pediatric Research Hospital in Manhattan.
“We had really good participation last year,” Feeley said. “This year some more events were added to make it a St. Jude Week, not just the games. Faculty, students and administration got involved.”
Added this year was a letter-writing campaign orchestrated by UHS English classes to reach potential donors.
On Tuesday there will be a Band Together For Cancer cause where silicon bracelets that have the St. Jude logo on it will be sold at school, in addition to T-shirts.
The baseball and softball teams are holding a first Pasta Night Dinner on Wednesday in the school cafeteria, sponsored by Johnny Napkins. It’s open to anyone in town, with a small price of admission for students and adults.
This has also become a dress down week for teachers who choose to give a donation of $10.
On Friday at school will be a St. Jude celebration of sorts, recapping what went on during the week. There will be a breakfast for volunteers, those teachers, students and administrators on the front line, who put in above and beyond what was asked of them.
“We always had an idea to grow it a bit,” Feeley said. “We figured we should also come up with ideas to raise money the other days of the week too. Our goal is to try to beat what we did the year before.”
As has been the case in the past, Cheryl Fiske and Dana Bobertz play a huge role in doing whatever it takes behind the scenes to make the event a positive one on several levels.
“Last year we had the second-highest single day fundraiser event for St. Jude in the United States,” Feeley said. “Cheryl and Dana and some students were invited out there (Memphis, Tenn.) where the hospital is located.”
For more information here is a link to go to: events.stjude.org/stjudeclassic2019.
YOUNG UNION FARMERS SQUAD SEEKING TO IMPROVE DAILY
Now in his ninth season at the helm of the Farmers, Feeley’s record is 103-104, including four winning seasons and two .500 finishes.
Union finished above .500 three years in a row before finishing an even .500 last season at 13-13.
Union has junior forwards Ronn Flood (6-3) and Jakin Edmond (6-2) back, in addition to senior shooting guard Andrew Sanborn (5-11), but that’s pretty much it from last year’s 13-13 team.
“We’re young and really just trying to get better every day,” Feeley said. “There is a lot of inexperience right now, with a lot of our kids from JV and some not even in the program last year.”
Transfers include junior guard Gavin Barrett (5-11) and sophomore center Emeka Iloh (6-7). Barrett played on Roselle Catholic’s junior varsity last year, while Iloh moved here from Georgia.
Union lost senior guard Rache Thomas, who transferred to Phillipsburg.
“We’re trying to fit everything together right now,” Feeley said. “It’s a good group of kids. They listen, play hard and they’re learning.
“We’ll go through some growing pains. We should be much better by the end of the season. I see it daily in practice. They’re making strides.”
Edmond and Flood will be expected to show the way of sorts.
“They’ll need to take a step forward,” Feeley said. “We have the pieces around them, but there is a lot of inexperience.
“It’s a higher level, a speed faster and you can’t take plays off. There will be a learning curve.”
Markeith Hinnant (5-8) guard
Nnaemeka Nkulume (6-1) forward
Andrew Sanborn (5-11) guard
Jakin Edmond (6-2) forward
Ronn Flood (6-3) forward
Stenley Joseph (6-1) guard
Gavin Barrett (5-11) guard
Spencer Boakye (6-1) forward
Korey Thomas (6-4) forward
Emeka Iloh (6-7) center
Malachi Johnson (5-10) guard
WATCHUNG DIVISION (3 schools):
MOUNTAIN DIVISION (5 schools):
VALLEY DIVISION (6 schools):
SKY DIVISION (7 schools):
Roselle Catholic (6-0)
New Providence (8-0)
Oratory Prep (7-1)