BY DAN NORTON
Carly Veenstra has attended the Eastern Christian school system since preschool. Her dad coaches there and she’s the last of her siblings and 20-plus cousins to graduate.
And now she’s going out with a bang.
Veenstra is the second consecutive female winner from Eastern Christian and the school’s fourth female overall.
“It’s a huge honor,” Veenstra said. “I thought it was so cool to even be represented this year after Kristen Traub was the winner last year.”
A three-sport athlete, Veenstra has scored 101 goals in soccer and collected 101 hits in softball.
But she said basketball became her primary sport this year after her team lost several key players to graduation. Veenstra finished her career with 1,495 points.
Veenstra said her favorite moment at Eastern Christian came on the basketball court during her freshman year, when the Eagles beat now-closed Paterson Catholic in the last game of the season series. It was an upset Veenstra always will remember.
“We had played them four times that year and we lost the first three times, but the fourth time we finally beat them,” Veenstra said. “It was the last time our school was ever going to face them.
“I wouldn’t say we were rivals. They were always so much better than us. But we won in the last four seconds, and to be a part of that as a freshman was so cool.”
Veenstra said her standout accomplishment was last fall, when she scored her 100th soccer goal. Her father watched from the sideline, just as he watched his daughter play first-chair violin in Eastern Christian’s orchestra.
And Veenstra said her father, Barry, the Eagles girls soccer and girls basketball coach, has been an inspiration to her every step of the way.
“It’s definitely a comfort I have, just having my dad, and he can always help me and is always willing to help me with every little thing,” Veenstra said.
“He knows exactly what I’m capable of. Playing for him has given me the potential of being the greatest player I can be.
“To have him all the way until the end of [high school] is something that can’t be taken away. Not having him [in college] is going to be really weird.”
Veenstra is heading to Division III Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., to play basketball. Barry Veenstra said he’ll try to live-stream her games on the Internet, or watch in any way he can.
“She’ll be far away,” he said. “I hope to get out there to see her play. I’ll be able to see from a distance, I guess, but it won’t be the same as sitting courtside.”
Ramos will wrestle at North Carolina in the fall after his state championship-winning senior year.
Ramos won the 170-pound final in Atlantic City in March. He finished his career with a 141-14 record.
“I feel like I’m ready for the national level now,” Ramos said. “I can move on to bigger goals now.”
Hawthorne coach Bob Pasquale said Ramos’ drive and dedication made him an easy wrestler to work with.
“He’s very focused on everything he does,” Pasquale said. “For him, [the title] was the final achievement of his high school wrestling and athletic career.”