Amanda Ulrich is in line to graduate Secaucus High School as its all-time leading scorer. But what separates the senior guard from her peers and other Patriot greats is another record she owns.
Ulrich has taken more charges than any other Secaucus player under 11-year head coach John Sterling, a mark which underscores not just her two-way play, but the physical edge she brings every time to the court.
“It’s always been my mentality to always be tough and I’ve always been competitive,” said Ulrich, who has taken 57 charges over her career, more than than the rest of her teammates combined. “Ever since I was little, I hated losing. It’s my mentality to do as much as I can to win.”
For the 5-foot-7 Ulrich, that hasn’t just meant taking charges. She is often given the task of guarding the opposing team’s tallest player on the defensive end. On the offensive end, it has meant serving as the leading scorer as part of the Patriots’ dynamic three-headed scoring monster alongside Lindsey Mack (now at Fairleigh Dickinson) and junior Damaris Rodriguez.
Last season, Ulrich averaged 21.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, both team highs. She also averaged 4.1 assists and 3.1 steals per contest to help lead Secaucus to a 27-3 record, an NJIC championship and appearances in the Hudson County Tournament and NJSIAA North 2, Group 1 finals. In four state tournament games, she averaged 25.5 points per game, highlighted by a 30-point outburst in the final against eventual Group 1 champion University.
Ulrich enters her senior season fifth on the Patriots’ all-time scoring list with 1,613 points and is on pace to not only take the school record held by assistant coach Andrea Innis (1,903), but become just the fifth girl in Hudson County history to eclipse 2,000 for her career.
“She has such a well-rounded game,” Sterling said. “She’s a good ball-handler, a good passer and obviously a great scorer. She’s exceptional on defense and on the boards as well.”
“I always think to myself that there’s always someone in the world, there’s always someone in the state, that’s working harder than me,” said Ulrich. “That makes me push myself harder because I want to work harder than everyone else.”
Ulrich said she’s been either playing basketball or in the gym virtually every day since the season ended in March with her primary goal to improve as a finisher.
In the fall, Ulrich takes a break from basketball, shifting her focus to volleyball. A four-year starter, first as a setter and now as an opposite hitter, Ulrich brings the same competitiveness and desire to the court even if it comes without the physical contact of basketball.
“I know basketball is her main sport, but she still carries that same energy and mindset into pretty much any sport that she plays,” said Secaucus volleyball coach Cory Roesing, who is also Ulrich’s cousin. “She has that athlete mindset where she just hates to lose, so no matter what she’s doing, she’ll come with that fire and passion to do whatever it takes to get the win.”
“I tell myself that I want to have really hard hits or really good sets or a really good pass,” Ulrich said. “I bring the same mentality even though basketball and volleyball are different. Even with the different physicality, I still think the same way.”
Ulrich recorded 151 assists, 138 digs, 38 kills and a team-best 49 aces for Secaucus, which returns all six starters from last season’s Hudson County Tournament finalist.