A high school that has produced its share of standout athletes and coaches, Cranford continues to enjoy great athletic success. Founded in 1902, the Union County school has won state titles in a number of sports and developed individual state champions.
This year, Cranford was one of eight New Jersey high schools selected to be part NJ Advance Media’s annual summer Mount Rushmore project. Now we need your help to determine the four-best athletes/coaches in Cranford athletic history.
The rules and important information
• The idea of the Mount Rushmore project is simple: If there was a Mount Rushmore for Cranford athletics, who would be the four faces?
• The poll is at the bottom of this post.
• The athletes and coaches were chosen based on overall impact in their sports. Information was compiled through research by NJ Advance Media as well as input from the Cranford High School athletic department, its Hall of Fame and fan nominations.
• The voting began on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 7 a.m. and ends Monday, August 10 at noon. The four candidates with the most votes will earn the official Mount Rushmore recognition, while NJ Advance Media will also include its four selections as well.
Let the voting begin!
Cy Dadd, Football/Basketball/Baseball, 1936
Inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2000, Dadd was a three-sport letter winner and impact player. He was a two-year letter winner in football, earning All-State honors as a quarterback during his senior season in 1935. Dadd was a third team All-State basketball player after helping Cranford win the 1936 Group 2 state championship. Considered one of the best all-around athletes of his generation, Dadd was a four-year varsity baseball player, too, earning All-State honors as a catcher in 1934-1936.
Norman Muldrow, Football/Basketball/Baseball/Track & Field, 1958
A Cranford Sports Hall of Fame inductee in 1996, Muldrow is the only Cranford athlete to have his number retired. He was a four-year letter winner in football and basketball, while earning two letters in baseball and one in track and field. Muldrow was an All-Union County and All-State performer in each sport, earning a scholarship to play football at Johnson C. Smith University. He was also an outstanding fast-pitch softball pitcher as well as serving as a Pop Warner football coach.
Joe DiFabio, Baseball, 1962
A standout baseball player, DiFabio went 10-2 as a senior and led the Cougars in hitting. He was a first team All-Union County and All-Conference pick as well as being named second team All-State. He would go on to play at Delta State College, where he led the nation in ERA while going 7-0 on the mound in 1965. DiFabio was a first-round pick (20th overall) of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1965 draft – the first draft held by Major League Baseball. He would play seven professional seasons, compiling a 45-34 career record with a 3.28 ERA. DiFabio was selected to the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame and the Delta State College Hall of Fame in 1996.
John VanBrunt, Football/Wrestling/Baseball, 1971
Another of the school’s multi-sport athletes, VanBrunt was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 1998. He was a first team All-Union County football player as a senior, while winning a district championship in wrestling the same year. Baseball proved to be his best sport, earning first team All-Union County and All-State honors as a catcher in his final season as the Cougars won the Group 4 state championship. VanBrunt was drafted by the Montreal Expos but chose to attend Montclair State. He helped win a conference title and was then taken in the 1972 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Carol Blazejowski, Basketball, 1974
Inducted as part of the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999, Blazejowski is considered one of the greatest women players of all time. She led Cranford to the state finals in her senior year – her first and only season of organized basketball for the Cougars, averaging 25 points per game – and went on to become a three-time All-American player at Montclair State. She scored 3,199 career points in college – more than any player, male or female, at that time – and was the first recipient of the Wade Trophy in 1978 as college basketball’s player of the year. She led the nation in scoring as a junior at 33.5 points per game as well as her senior year in which she dropped an average of 38.6 per game. A member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team, “Blaze” also played professionally and served as president and general manager of the WNBA’s New York Liberty. She is an original member of the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame, inducted in 1996.
Margaret Zoeller, Field Hockey/Basketball, 1984
Inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, Zoeller was a two-sport standout. In field hockey, she was a first team All-Union County selection as a junior and senior. She was also named first team All-Group 3 during those two seasons. Zoeller was a first team All-State pick as a junior and a second-team selection as a senior. She was also a four-year varsity basketball player. Zoeller would go on to play field hockey at Widener, where she later served as a co-captain and would be selected as team MVP. As a senior, Zoeller was selected to the MAC and Philadelphia Association of Intercollegiate Athletics all-star teams.
Anthony DiGiovanni, Track & Field/Football, 1984
DiGiovanni made his mark by setting 11 school records in indoor and outdoor track, in events ranging from sprints to the mile. As a senior, he was an All-State selection and earned All-American honors with the third-fastest time in the country in the 800. DiGiovanni was a three-time Union County champion, an AAU Junior Olympic champion and co-winner of the UCIAC Scholar-Athlete Award. He was also a three-time letter winner in football. DiGiovanni went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. At Penn, he was an All-Ivy League selection as a junior. He was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
Sonji Jenkins, Field Hockey/Softball, 1986
Jenkins proved to be a dominating pitcher for Cranford, earning All-Union County, All-Group and All-State honors during her career. As a senior, she fired six no-hitters, recorded 241 strikeouts and finished with a 0.67 ERA. She was also solid in the cage for the field hockey team, recording 11 shutouts and posting a 0.89 save percentage. Jenkins would go on to attend Hunter College and play softball. In 1991, she posted the third-best ERA in the nation for Division 3 teams. She was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Willie Carpenter, Wrestling, 1991
Selected to the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2010, Carpenter was a state champion at 112 pounds in 1990 and took third in 1991 at 119 pounds. In winning the title, he was Cranford’s first state champion since the early 1960s and just the third Cougar to achieve that accomplishment. Carpenter went on to compete at Brown University. In 1997, he became the first Brown wrestler in 30 years to earn All-American status. He was named Ivy League Wrestler of the Year and received Brown’s Fritz Pollard Award as outstanding male varsity athlete of the year. Carpenter was a four-time All-Ivy selection, an Ivy League Rookie of the Year and a first-place finisher in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament.
Jessica Dreyer, Field Hockey/Basketball/Softball, 1994
A 1998 graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Dreyer was a standout three-sport athlete. She received All-State and All-Union County honors as a senior in field hockey, basketball and softball. Basketball is where she shined, graduating with program records for career points (1,399), rebounds (756), steals (275) and blocks (150). She was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.
Nik Fekete, Wrestling/Football, 1998
A three-time captain in football and wrestling, Fekete made his mark on the mats for the Cougars. Arguably the best 189-pounder in program history, Fekete was a three-time state place winner. As a sophomore, he finished fifth, while taking third as a junior. In his senior campaign, Fekete reached the state final and finished as the runner-up. In three seasons, he posted a 95-5 career record and was a three-time district, region and Union County Tournament champion. He wrestled at Michigan State, earning All-American status. Fekete was also a two-time U.S. Open national finalist, a PanAm champion in 2006 and finished fifth at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Trials. He would earn a spot on the U.S. national team and later went on to a professional career in mixed martial arts.
Tim Styler, Cross Country/Track & Field, 1999
One of Cranford’s top distance runners, Styler capped a sensational high school career by winning the Group 3 state title in the 3,200 meters and finishing sixth in the Meet of Champions. During the cross country season that year, Styler was the Group 3 state champion and also win the Union County individual title with a course record 15:42. Overall, he was an eight-time Union County champion between indoor track in 1997 through the 1999 outdoor season and captured seven Watchung Conference titles. Styler went on to compete at Villanova. He was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Sue Flamini, Soccer, 2001
Before heading off to the University of Tennessee, Flamini led the girls’ soccer team to a share of the Group 3 state championship and a 22-0-1 overall record – the first undefeated team in program history. She was a member of the United States U-17 National Team and earned All-American recognition as a junior and senior. Flamini was a four-time All-Union County selection, two-time Union County Player of the Year and led the team to four straight Watchung Conference titles.
Tom Polito, Baseball, 2001
A 2010 inductee into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame, Polito was a right-hander who stepped on the hill and dominated. He was the winning pitcher in three straight Union County Tournament championship games (1999, 2000, 2001) – the only pitcher to do so in tourney history. Polito was named the Union County Player of the Year in 2000 and 2001, finishing with a career record of 27-1. He was 12-1 as a junior and 9-0 as a senior. Polito went on to pitch at Brookdale Community College, helping the team reach the JUCO World Series.
Jamar Ingram, Football/Baseball, 2005
A two-sport standout, Ingram was a three-year letter winner in football and played four years of varsity baseball. As a running back and defensive back, Ingram earned All-Union County, All-Watchung Conference and All-Group 2 honors. He was an outfielder on the baseball team, receiving county, conference and Group honors as well. He was a third team All-State centerfielder as a senior.
Terence Grier, Basketball, 2006
A four-year varsity letter winner, Grier graduated as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 1,809 career points. He averaged 28 points, eight rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block. Grier was a three-time first team All-Union County pick and a McDonald’s All-American nominee. He went on to play at Rhode Island before transferring to Fairleigh Dickinson. In 93 career college games, he averaged 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists. According to Eurobasket.com, Grier was most recently on the roster of Valle de Egues in Spain.
Kelly Burke, Track & Field, 2010
An All-State selection as a senior in the pole vault and three-time first team All-Union County selection, Burke made her mark before taking her talents to Notre Dame. She was the Meet of Champions winner in the pole vault and took third in the triple jump in 2010, making her the first female in MOC history to place in the top six in both events. She won the 2009 Group 2 pole vault and triple jump state titles. Burke was a three-time sectional champion in the triple jump, was a key member of back-to-back outdoor state title teams and holds school records on the indoor and outdoor pole vault as well as outdoor triple jump.
Natalie Englese, Track & Field, 2011
Twice named a third team All-State selection, Englese graduated with school records in the outdoor 200, 400, 800 and 4×200, while also setting indoor marks in the 300, 400, 600 and 4×200. She was a six-time All-Union County first-team pick and won eight county titles. Englese, who was also a 200-meter MOC champion, went on to compete at Georgetown University.
Chris Folinusz, Baseball/Football, 2013
A four-year letter winner in baseball and a three-time winner in football, Folinusz made his biggest impact as a catcher for the Cougars. A three-year starter, he was a first team All-State pick as a junior and a second-team selection as a senior. As a junior, Folinusz hit .510 with nine home runs, 48 RBIs and 29 runs scored, while also being named Union County Player of the Year. As a senior, he hit .440 with four homers and 30 RBIs as Cranford won the state championship for the third time in four years. In football, Folinusz earned first team All-Group 3 recognition as a junior and senior in addition to receiving All-County and All-Conference honors. He would go on to play baseball at Rutgers, where he batted .276, with 22 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 72 RBIs in 143 career games.
Reggie Green, Football/Basketball/Track & Field, 2013
A three-sport athlete, Green proved to be an impact player but was at his finest on the football field. A two-year starting quarterback and defensive back, Green led Cranford to the North 2, Group 3 championship as a junior – its first sectional title in program history. He rushed for 1,472 yards and passed for 804 as the Cougars finished 10-1 overall, earning first team All-Group 3 and All-Union County accolades. As a senior, he rushed for 1,712 yards and 19 touchdowns, while throwing for 681 yards and four TDs. Green also had 22 tackles and three interceptions at defensive back. He went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh before using his final two years of eligibility at Robert Morris.
Ryan Williamson, Football/Baseball, 2013
For a school that’s produced its share of baseball talent, Williamson is right there among the program’s elite. The left-hander was named to NJ.com’s list of the top 25 players since 2000 when it was released in 2016. He was part of three Group 3 championship teams, going 16-0 on the hill in his final two seasons. As a junior, Williamson was a third team All-State pick and earned first-team status as a senior. In his final season, Williamson went 10-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 88 strikeouts. He batted .419 with two home runs, 11 doubles, two triples, 27 RBIs and 14 runs scored. Named the Union County Player of the Year, he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 28th round but decided to attend North Carolina State. Williamson was drafted again following his junior season, taken by the Washington Nationals in the 15th round. In addition to his baseball talents, he was a three-year letter winner in football and part of its 2012 sectional championship team.
Bryanna Grant, Track & Field, 2013
A standout track athlete, Grant helped Cranford with the North 2, Group 2 indoor track title in 2013 – the only title in program history. She is the Union County indoor record holder in the triple jump and second in outdoor competition. Grant was a second team All-State selection as a senior and was a two-time All-Union County first-team pick. She finished third in the triple jump as a senior in the outdoor Meet of Champions. She would go on to compete at Rutgers, where she set the triple jump record of 41 feet, 5 inches.
Julie Byrne, Swimming, 2015
A four-time Union County champion in the 100 butterfly, Byrne proved to be a sensational competitor. As a senior, she set a record in winning the 200 individual medley in the girls county championship meet. Her time of 2:05.74 snapped a record she set the previous season. She set school records in the 200 IM, 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke, while also being a member of two record-setting relay teams – 200 medley relay and 400 free relay. Byrne took her talents to Bucknell University, where she was a three-time CSCAA Honorable Mention Scholar All-American and a two-time Patriot League individual medalist, capturing silver in the 200 backstroke and bronze in the 200 IM in 2019. Byrne graduated with Bucknell’s second-fastest 200 backstroke (1:57.11) mark and fourth-fastest 100 backstroke (54.76) and 200 IM (2:02.27) times.
Luke Christiano, Football/Basketball/Lacrosse, 2015
A three-sport athlete who finished with nine varsity letters, Christiano made an impact each time he stepped on the field or court. He made his biggest impact on the football field, earning first team All-State honors and being named Mid State 38 Player of the Year as a senior. Christiano was a two-time All-Group 3 and All-Conference pick. As a senior, he had 37 catches for 1,040 yards and 12 touchdowns, while also rushing for 606 yards and six TDs. Christiano also combined for 1,089 rushing/receiving yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior. He had over 200 tackles and eight interceptions over his final two seasons. In lacrosse, Christiano was a second team All-State selection as a senior and was the captain of the program’s first sectional championship team. He collected 48 goals, 23 assists and 89 groundballs as a senior, finishing his career with 88 goals, 56 assists and 172 groundballs. Christiano ranks first all-time in winning face-off percentage and second in groundballs. He was also a three-year letter winner in basketball. Christiano went on to enjoy a four-year football career at Lehigh University.
Catarina Guimaraes, Track & Field, 2022
A Para-athlete, Guimaraes represented Team USA in the Para PanAmerican Games in 2019. She placed third in the 400 and long jump as well as fourth in the 100. As a result of her efforts in Lima, Peru, she left ranked among the top 20 in the world in 100 and 400, while being ranked in the top 10 in the long jump. While it’s not an international event, Guimaraes was ranked No. 1 in the 800. She has competed in a number of other national events, including the 2019 National Junior Disabilities Championship, where she received the Female Spirit of Excellence Award given to the top performing female athlete.
Dennis McCaffery, Coach, Baseball, 1999-present
The state Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2013, McCaffery is synonymous with winning baseball. He owns a 431-172 career record, including 13 conference titles, nine county crowns, nine sectional titles and three state championships (2010, 2012, 2013). He directed the Cougars to the No. 1 ranking in the state after winning the 2013 state crown and has been inducted into numerous halls of fame. McCaffery was the 1990 Big East Player of the Year while at Villanova and was taken in the 19th round of the 1991 MLB Draft by the Angels.
Ray White, Coach, Cross Country/Track & Field, 1966-2006
Whenever talk of Cranford athletics comes up, White’s name instantly becomes part of the conversation. A coach for five decades, White is known for starting the girls team at Cranford and is the “Father of Cranford cross country.” He was a 10-time selection as Union County Coach of the Year, while also being named Coach of the Year by the Star Ledger, Track and Field Newsletter and the National Federation of State High Schools Association Northeast section. He owns a dual meet career record of 907-220, won 35 Watchung Conference titles, 10 Union County crowns, six sectional titles and three state championships. He directed the boys cross country team to eight straight Union County titles between 1997-2004. White was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
Renee Dorfman, Coach, Field Hockey, 1970-1972, 1975-2001
Dorfman left quite a legacy at Cranford. She started the program and enjoyed a lengthy and successful career. She directed the Cougars to 11 Union County championships in 12 title-game appearances and two sectional crowns. The Cougars won the Group 3, North 2 titles in 1985 and 1986, finishing as the runner-up in the 1985 state final. Dorfman’s team posted a winning record in all but two of her 30 seasons. She won her 300th game in 1998 and holds a 322-122-65 career record. Dorfman was also named the Union County Coach of the Year 12 times. She was inducted into the Cranford Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
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Kevin Minnick may be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @kminnicksports.