13 area high school athletes earn best teammate honors

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center honored 34 student athletes from member high schools of the Super Essex Conference in a celebration of the qualities that made Yogi Berra a national treasure. This is the eighth year in a row that the museum along with the SEC have presented the Best Teammate Award.

Recipients of the 2020 Investors Bank Best Teammate Award, selected by their respective athletic departments, exemplify the strength of character, sportsmanship and supportive spirit that, though often unheralded, are vital to a team’s success. Those qualities were on full display, despite the ceremony being held virtually, instead of in the museum’s theater.

The following student-athletes earned the awards: Belleville High School’s Gabriela Lopez, who plays soccer, winter track and spring track; Bloomfield High School’s Lizbeth Morocho, who plays cross country, winter track, and spring track and field; East Orange Campus High School’s Jasin Brown, who plays football; Glen Ridge High School’s Sydney Lance, who cheerleads and plays lacrosse; Irvington High School’s Michna Jean-Baptiste, who is the football team manager; Columbia High School’s Hudson Hassler, who plays softball; Montclair Kimberley Academy’s Griffin Weil, who plays lacrosse; Montclair High School’s Yael Gelman, who plays tennis and lacrosse; Montclair Immaculate Conception High School’s Kendra Lawrence, who plays basketball; Orange High School’s Chimezie Ugbuata, who plays track and field; Seton Hall Prep’s Juan Sebastian Niehenke who plays soccer; West Caldwell Tech’s Christian Prophete, who plays volleyball; and West Orange High School’s Emily Baker, who plays soccer.

“So much has been canceled this season,” said Eve Schaenen, the museum’s executive director, in her welcome remarks to the students on Zoom. “Winter seasons were cut short. Many of you who are spring athletes didn’t have the opportunity to play at all. And yet, your athletic directors still chose you as ‘best teammate.’ What that says so clearly, this year more than ever, is that the qualities of a great teammate are identifiable in you … because of who you are as people, as much as who you are as athletes.”