No, it wasn’t that he was quitting track but that he was going to go out for football next fall.
“He came to us at the end of the year and he told us that he loved track, but he really loved football,” said Compagni.
After a year removed from the last time he was on the gridiron at Lyndhurst High School, the incoming sophomore at Monmouth was back on the football field earlier this month hoping to help the Hawks to both a Big South crown and a Football Championship Subdivision title.
An All-Bergen County player in football and track and field, the Lyndhurst graduate believes that he can do both, and both sports help him.
“I feel like football will definitely help with the conditioning aspect of track and track will help with speed on the football field,” said Guerriero.
Guerriero said that his love of football came back after the void last fall, the first time in several years that he was not putting on the pads.
“I thought about coming out for football, probably around Thanksgiving,” said Guerriero who was listed at 5 feet 10 as freshman track athlete. “The reason I didn’t come out last season was because I didn’t realize my love for the game until I actually was separated from it.”
In his freshman year he opted to just concentrate on track and field and as it turned out he had plenty of success, including winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) 100- and 200-meter titles.
And Guerriero got back to the gridiron a couple of weeks ago as Monmouth started its preseason camp. After the first few days of practice he said that so far having a year without playing football actually is benefiting him.
“No, it doesn’t feel like I’m behind,” said Guerriero. “It actually feels like I am ahead of the game because I had the off year to rest my body get bigger strong and faster. … It feels great to put the pads on and hit again.”
Despite missing a year of football, Monmouth offensive coordinator Kevin Morris said that he has been surprisingly good so far early in camp.
“I think he has done excellent job picking up the terminology,” said Morris. “We’re very excited about him coming out.”
Guerriero comes with impressive credentials for Monmouth. In his last year at Lyndhurst he was named to the All-Bergen County second team as a running back. In 2015 the then-Golden Bears senior accumulated one of the best rushing seasons in New Jersey with 194 carries for 2,161 yards (11.1 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns. His longest run was 85 yards.
In addition, the senior completed 29 of 60 pass attempts and had one touchdown. He also handled four kick returns for the Golden Bears while averaging 39.2 yards per punt.
The incoming sophomore will be going out at running back with his speed sure to come in handy.
“When I decided to come out, they asked me what position I wanted to play and I said running back just because I felt that was the position best suited for me,” said Guerriero. “Running the ball is what I am good at and it just was an easy decision to make.”
Compagni said that it has happened before at Monmouth where a track and field athlete has also played football. He said the last one was Bobby Smith a little more than 10 years ago, and he became an All-American in the javelin.
In terms of track and field, Guerriero made a big splash as a freshman that included being named Rookie of the Meet in Track Events at the MAAC championships. That meet included his personal best time in the 100 (10.65 seconds) in the winning the race. He also won the 200 at 21.89.
In addition he was named MAAC Performer of the Week last March in the outdoor season and MAAC Track Performer of the Week last December during the indoor campaign.
Despite the success in his freshman season in track, Guerriero felt he underperformed and wants to improve immensely in his sophomore year.
“I felt like I did well, but I didn’t surpass what I wanted to accomplish what I wanted as far as times,” added Guerriero. “I feel as though I have the ability to run much faster, hopefully it will happen in years to come.”
But for the fall he will be thinking about gaining yards for the Monmouth backfield in hopes of hitting pay dirt for the Hawks.