By: Jude Bazerman
WEST CALDWELL- School record holder. Division one athlete. Pioneer in a sport. All of those descriptions and more lie within teachers at James Caldwell High School. Students often think that their teachers have no personal life outside the classroom, or that they never could have possibly played a sport in high school because they were so busy studying. Not only is that claim ignorant and false, but many of the current teachers and staff had illustrious athletic careers.
Frank Lincoln: The current vice principal enjoyed successful careers in both track and field and football during his time at JCHS, the latter of which he continued at Marist College for two years before hanging up the cleats and transferring to Penn State. While a Chief, he earned 2nd team all state for Group 2 as a linebacker, was named to the Super 100 Football Team, played in the Robeson and North/South Games, qualified for the Meet of Champions in Discus during his senior year, and was named a team captain for both track and football.
Jeff Edwards: The longtime math teacher earned call ups to varsity for both basketball and baseball as a sophomore, and pitched to the tune of two wins during his debut season for baseball. He briefly played freshman baseball at Montclair State University.
Susan Bergmann: Currently a Spanish teacher and cheer coach, Bergmann cheered for all four years during her time at JCHS, being named a fall captain during her senior season.
Nicole Rubino: A three sport athlete at JCHS (swim, lacrosse, and soccer), Rubino now coaches the girls lacrosse team.
Kyle Huff: Huff could frequently be seen on Bonnel Field during his athletic career, sporting the Chief logo for both the football and lacrosse teams
Rachel McNamara: During her time as a lacrosse goalie, McNamara recalled countless great memories, the fondest of which was a game that went into double overtime.
Sue Callaghan: Though she coaches cheer at JCHS, Callaghan was a three sport athlete (field hockey, baseketball, softball) at Glen Ridge high school, and was a captain of all three.
Rachel Kelly: The current coach of both volleyball and basketball at JCHS, Kelly was a state champ in the latter at Butler high school, and ran track and participated in gymnastics as well.
Angela Giampino-Vasi: A four sport athlete at Arthur L. Johnson high school in Clark, she was proudly the only girl on her school’s all boys lacrosse team, and was even the first girl in the state of New Jersey to score a goal in a boys lacrosse game. She decided to take her talents to the college level, where she starred for the women’s lacrosse team at Montclair State University.
Jamie Sarro: Sarro and her fellow Rutherford high school teammates went undefeated in basketball during her freshman season.
Jon Olsen: As a hockey player at Catholic Memorial high school in Boston, one of the top hockey schools in the nation, the current math teacher had to work extremely hard to earn his spot on the team. Though his talent was overshadowed by the future NHLers that he shared the ice with, he had the opportunity to continue playing in college at the club level.
Ami Vercelli: As a four year varsity swimmer and senior captain at Fair Lawn high school, she raced in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay, and 400 freestyle relay.
John Brinkman: A track and cross country star at Passaic Valley High School, Brinkman was fifth in the county for cross country, third in the county for high jump, and tied his school record for the high jump. On top of all of his impressive personal achievements, his cross country team were league winners during his sophomore and junior campaigns.
Danielle Schweizter: The first year vice principal enjoyed a great career in three sports (basketball, volleyball, and soccer) at Roxbury High School. Her favorite memory of her high school athletic career was when her team traveled to San Diego for a basketball tournament during her sophomore year. Before taking the vice principal position, she returned to her hometown after college to coach basketball and volleyball.
Marian Press: The only equestrian teacher at JCHS, Press rode in shows as much as she possibly could. She took her passion for horses to the University of Rhode Island, before her studies interfered after one year. She now enjoys skiing in the winter, and tennis/pickleball in the summer.
Calvin Harper: At Mount Saint Michael Academy in the Bronx, Harper and the football team went to the championship game in both his sophomore and junior seasons, unfortunately losing both times. As a senior he was named a defensive captain, and even played semi-pro football after his time in the Marine Corps and before coaching.
Anita Dubas: A softball player for all four years, Dubas also spent time playing field hockey and running cross country while at Piscataway high school, though her true passion was with the former. On top of coaching softball for girls grades three through five, Dubas started her own softball team that competed against local clubs and businesses. At college, she decided to pick up karate, where she met her future husband and current JCHS teacher Robert Dubas.
Elizabeth Coogan-Russell: Quite possibly the most accomplished teacher athletically that currently teaches at JCHS, she represented Montclair High School by playing tennis, soccer, lacrosse, and swimming. Her junior year highlight was when her soccer team won the Essex County tournament. She took her talents in the pool to the University of Delaware, where she was not only a co-captain her senior season, but named the NCAA Woman of the Year for the state of Delaware.
Jake Cohen: The beloved English teacher was a tennis star, being named a captain his senior season. Following his high school and club career at TCNJ, Cohen began coaching the JCHS JV tennis team in 2020.
Joseph Pennetta: Throwing the javelin and discus as a varsity athlete for Wayne Valley High School, his favorite memories were the meets and working to improve his skill set, along with the life lessons he learned through the sport.
Sara Schechter: A West Miford High School alumnus, she starred in soccer and track and field. She made the all conference and county teams many times in both sports, and even made the Meet of Champions in her senior season for the javelin, an event which she held the school record for. Schechter walked on the Rowan University soccer team as a freshman, but turned her attention back to the javelin for the next three years of her collegiate career. This decision paid off, as her team won their conference championship her senior year.
Julia Hollman: A varsity tennis star for all four years of high school in Manchester, New Hampshire, her passion for sports goes well beyond her high school career. She played every sport under the sun during her childhood, including soccer, basketball, and softball, but ultimately decided to stick with tennis because it was a lot of fun. At the University of Michigan, Hollman played intramural basketball, where she developed a good jumper. She even tried out club lacrosse while in college, where she scored a goal! Today, Hollman skis with the aforementioned Marian Press, and competes in UTSA tournaments to showcase her everlasting tennis skills.
Kathryn Green: Quickly becoming a student favorite at JCHS, she played field hockey and softball at Metuchen High School
Christopher Trause: The highly regarded Latin teacher played basketball and baseball at Woodbridge High School his freshman year, but gave up athletics to focus more on academics. The tradeoff seemed to work out for Trause, as he graduated as the valedictorian of his class.
Ryan Smith: Currently the head baseball coach and an assistant football coach at JCHS, Smith had a storied high school career in three sports at Morris Catholic. Totaling 10 total seasons of varsity athletics (3 for football and basketball, 4 for baseball), Smith was a captain for all three of the sports he participated in. During his junior and senior football seasons, he was selected as an All-Conference player as both a wide receiver and safety. His other accomplishments on the gridiron include being named to the All Morris County Team, Super 100 All-State team, and a player in the Paul Robeson East-West All Star Game. His success carried over to the baseball field, where he was named an All-Conference second baseman and pitcher during his junior and senior years, and an All-Morris County player for the same positions his senior season. As a team, the Crusaders won their first baseball conference title in fifteen years. Smith continued his athletic career while in college, playing football in all four of his years at Lycoming College.