Origin of Boy's High School Program
In 1978, Jack Kripsak decided he wanted to play lacrosse in high school. The high school he attended, Bridgewater Raritan East, did not have a team. So, Jack decided to organize the Bridgewater Raritan lacrosse club.His newly formed club needed an advisor. He found a young science teacher, Mr. Rick Szeles, to help him and they were on their way. To fund the club, they sold plants, had a raffle, did anything they could to raise money. In 1980, the club became an official boy's varsity sport. Thank you to all the original members of the Bridgewater Raritan lacrosse club who helped to get lacrosse started in Bridgewater and a special thanks to Jack and Coach Szeles whose determination made it all possible.
From those humble beginnings the Bridgewater Raritan High School Lacrosse program has flourished to become one of the top boy's lacrosse teams in the state of New Jersey. Lead by NJ Hall of Fame coach, Chuck Apel, Bridgewater has won almost 7 out of every 10 games they have played, while turning out all-state and all-american players at a steady rate. In fact, over the last 30 years, the lacrosse program has had more players continue their playing careers in college than all other sports at the high school combined.
This success helped to build the demand for an active youth program so that young Bridgewater residents can learn the skills needed to compete at such a high level once they reach the high school. The youth program now starts teaching lacrosse to boys and girls as young as 3 years old.
Origin of Boy's Youth Program
In the spring of 1986 after having a Boy's Varsity program for 6 years, Chuck Apel thought it was time to start up a youth program in Bridgewater. It was hoped that this program would quickly become a feeder-program for the HS team.Fortunately for Coach Apel and the aspiring young lacrosse boys in Bridgewater, former BR HS player Dan Chiovarou was available and willing to take on the challenge of coaching the team. The first youth team in Bridgewater was comprised of 6th, 7th, & 8th grade boys and in just a few short years Bridgewater was able to field teams from 5th through 8th grade.
Upon graduation from college another returning Bridgewater HS lacrosse player, Jim Eckert, joined Dan and along with other coaches began to expand the youth program. Jim became the Youth Program director and guided the program for more than 10 years. Over the course of this time, the Bridgewater Youth Lacrosse program earned a reputation as one of the most competitive programs in New Jersey. The results of the program was seen in the 1998 Boy's HS Varsity season when the team won the NJ State Championship and went undefeated.
During the next 10 years, the program was lead by MG Hollingsworth. A native of Martinsville, MG took the youth program to a higher level. He developed new programs such as the Pee Wee Program and rejuvenated old Fall Ball and Winter Indoor programs. By the end of MG's tenure, the program had expanded to over 200 boys from grades 2 through 8.
Jim Eckert's second stint as program director was from 2010 through 2022. During this time Bridgewater Lacrosse not only developed new and exciting youth programs, but also fed the HS program with highly skilled players that resulted in an incredible run of Championship teams. The program is constantly working on innovative ways to teach lacrosse and to have our players develop a true love of the game. This combined with the "Family-Friendly" nature of our program makes "Bridgewater Youth Lacrosse" the best kept secret in Bridgewater.
Varsity Win-Loss Records
YEAR WINS LOSSES
|WINNING %||69.5 %|
Boy's Varsity Team Honors
1980...FIRST YEAR OF THE PROGRAM
1983...COACHES TOURNAMENT "B" DIVISION STATE CHAMPIONS
1998...NJ STATE CHAMPIONS
2009...GROUP IV STATE CHAMPIONS
2011...TOC STATE CHAMPIONS
2012...TOC STATE CHAMPIONS
2015...TOC STATE CHAMPIONS
2016...GROUP IV STATE CHAMPIONS
Boy's Academic All-Americans
Boy's #8 Recipients
1990 - Brian Hollingsworth
1991 - Al Kurdyla
1992 - Matt Elzer
1993 - Jason Delserro
1994 - Greg Mecca
1995 - Bob Vallario
1996 - Dominic Carra
1997 - Kevin Buchan
1998 - Anatol Wedmid
1999 - Brian Brady
2000 - Matt Apel
2001 - Mike Amitrani
2002 - Dan Beck
2003 - Mark Bielicky
2004 - Andrew Bevan
2005 - Brian Pauli
2006 - Nick Federici
2007 - Kevin Anderson
2007 - Steve Golmont
2008 - John Gabrielski
2009 - Billy Doane
2010 - Alex Eaton
2011 - BJ Grill
2012 - Zach Jones
2013 - Jared Kaden
2014 - Sean Thomas
2015 - Richie Lenskold
2016 - Nick Grill
2017 - Jalen Holmes
2018 - Bobby Russo
2019 - Matthew Carmosino
Origin of Girl's High School Program
Jessica Apel wanted to carry on the family passion of lacrosse and was the catalyst of the start up of the Girl’s team at Bridgewater-Raritan HS. She enlisted Kate Stima, Shannon Burnosky and others to help fuel her passion. Sparking the interest of the girls wasn’t hard to do considering the success of our high school boys program. They gathered together signatures, letters of support and presented it to the athletic director Carl Wegner.In the Spring of 1997 the Girl’s team was officially underway. The team was established under the direction of Coach Kathie DeBonis and Coach Bob Morris. The Lady Panthers started their inaugural season with a varsity schedule which included many prep schools. The second year the team was officially part of Central Jersey Girl’s Lacrosse League which was the premier league in North Jersey at the time. By the third year of the program the girls had become one the top teams in the league, winning their first league championship.
With the growth of girl’s lacrosse across the state, their home town conference, the Skyland Conference, now had enough teams to have their own league. The Lady Panthers continued to play in both the league and the conference for the next several years.
In 2002 the Somerset County Interscholastic Association started the county championship. The Lady Panthers were the first to win the title and made it to every final through 2010. In 2002 and 2009 the team won the NJSIAA State Group Championship. The girl’s program is continually in the top of the state and continues to set its goals high as the program prepares for each upcoming season.
Origin of Girl's Youth Program
Shortly after moving his family to Bridgewater in the summer of 1999, Jim Farmar was looking for a girls lacrosse program for his daughters. He found that Bridgewater had a boys program but not a girls program. After consulting with Jim Eckert, he did some research and found the NJGLL. It was too late to start the program in 2000, but with the backing of the Boy’s program and Christine Schneider at Bridgewater Recreation Department Jim was able to start the girls program in spring of 2001.
Initially they had 2 teams; 3rd & 4th grade and 5th & 6th grade. The 3rd and 4th grade team had 19 players and the schedule consisted of 6 games. This team had fantastic athletes and was untouchable on the field. Many of the players went on to star for the HS team. The 4th and 5th grade team consisted of 14 players and Jim was able to schedule 9 games. This team was very competitive and many of the girls also went on to star for the HS team in later years.
In 2002 they added another team; 7th & 8th grade. The program, only in its second year had 58 girls playing for the 3 teams. Several parents volunteered to assist the growing program and all were appreciated. The key volunteers were Kathleen Golmont, Jean Landen, Pete Pope and James Santillo. Without their dedication to the program, Bridgewater girl’s lacrosse would never have sustained itself.
Girl's Varsity Program Stats
Girl's Varsity Team Honors
1997...FIRST YEAR OF THE PROGRAM
1998...FIRST YEAR IN LEAGUE
2002...CJWLL MAGEE CHAMPIONS
2002...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2002...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2002...NORTH “A” STATE CHAMPIONS
2003...CJWLL MAGEE CHAMPIONS
2003...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2003...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2004...CJWLL MAGEE CHAMPIONS
2004...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2005...CJWLL MAGEE CHAMPIONS
2005...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2006...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2007...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2008...SECTIONAL STATE CHAMPIONS
2008...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2008...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2009...Group IV STATE CHAMPIONS
2009...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2010...SKYLAND CONF. CHAMPIONS
2010...SOMERSET COUNTY CHAMPIONS
2001...Kristen Loughlin...Hon. Mention
2002...Laura Wallace...Honorable Mention
2004...Karen Doane...Honorable Mention
2005...Kim Imbesi...1st Team
2006...Megan Fenton...Honorable Mention
2007...Alyssa Dragon...Honorable Mention
2008...Alyssa Dragon...1st Team
2009...Lauren Sbrilli...Honorable Mention
2010...Lauren Sbrilli...Honorable Mention
2010...Carlee Dragon...1st Team
2011...Kelly Fenton...Honorable Mention
2015...Ally Mastroianni...1st Team
2016...Ally Mastroianni...1st Team
2016...Arielle Weissman...1st Team
2017...Melissa Hawkins...1st Team
2017...Hannah Hollingsworth...1st Team
2017...Arielle Weissman...1st Team
2017...Ally Mastroianni...1st Team
2018...Tai Jankowski...1st Team
2019...Meghan Ball...1st Team
Girl's Academic All-Americans