Men of Essex, Inc. honors Essex County scholar-athletes and Athletes of Year

Reanda Richards, of West Essex Regional High School, is the recipient of the 60th Essex Award. She is joined by dinner chairman Stanley Edwards, left, and keynote speaker Daryl White. The event was held on Wednesday, May 16 at Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club in Livingston. A class of more than 45 of Essex County’s best and brightest scholar-athletes representing public, private and parochial high schools were honored for their outstanding athletic and scholastic achievements. Photo by Mustafa Hooten/D1ProMedia

The Men of Essex, Inc. has selected track phenom Reanda Richards of West Essex Regional High School to be the recipient of the 2018 “Essex Award.”

The 60th Anniversary Essex Awards dinner banquet was held on Wednesday, May 16, at Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club in Livingston.

Richards broke a 36-year-old meet record in the 400 hurdles at the Essex County Championship in 2017. Her time of 59.87 broke the 60 seconds mark she was trying to accomplish. The record-setting time came a month after she finished third in the 400-meter hurdles at the Penn Relays with a time of 1:00.49. Richards, a First Team All-State selection in 2017 by Ledger, broke 60 seconds four straight times in the 400 hurdles and added a personal-best 54.98 in the open 400. Reanda took silver at the State Meet of Champions last spring, losing only to Olympics star Sydney McLaughlin. This winter, Richards set two New Jersey No. 1 times on the season with her performances in the Super Essex Championships in the 400 race in 58.03 seconds and in the 800-meter run, crossing the line in 2:22.36. She earned All-American honors, placing fifth in the 400 meter hurdles championship, in a time of 59.65 at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N. C. Her high school career record is unsurpassed. She is a 10-time All-Group 3 Champion, 17-time State Sectional Champion and a New Balance Champion. She maintains a 3.48 G.P.A. and is a member of the National Honor Society. As captain of the West Essex track team, Richards also serves in the community as a National Honor Society Tutor and participated in Running for Answers with the Alzheimer Organization. Reanda has committed to Rutgers University on a full track and field scholarship in the fall.

The Essex Award, an annual rite of spring in Essex County Scholastic circles, bestows highest distinction upon the leading scholar-athletes, and athletes, representing Essex County high schools (public, private and parochial). Presented by the Men of Essex, Inc., a service organization of African-American professionals and businessmen, the Essex Awards Dinner has become recognized statewide as a prestige salute to the ‘best and brightest’ for the past 59 years.

More than 200 guests were in attendance at the Essex Awards Dinner, including educators, parents, coaches and a loyal following of avid supporters.


Ifeanyi D. Anaemejeh                   Belleville High School

Aicha I. Naouai                              Bloomfield High School

Tarrin Earle                                    Montclair High School

Catherine Jordan                         Columbia High School

Shamir N. Johnson                      East Side High School

Sara M. Jacobs                             Millburn High School

Megan E. Balbo                             Millburn High School

Remington M. Haggerty              Millburn High School

Brooke G. Hoffman                       Millburn High School

Melissa H. Du                                Millburn High School

Charles Asare                                North Star Academy Prep.

Ashley N. Moscoso                     Orange High School

Ivan O. Jordan                             St. Benedict’s Prep.

Eamon S. Morrissey                   West Essex Regional High School

Ashley R. Iannuzzi                      West Essex Regional High School

Sarah J. Iannuzzi                        West Essex Regional High School


Baseball                                                Peter Serruto (Millburn High School)

Basketball (Girls)                                  Danielle Robinson (University High School)

Basketball (Boys)                                Jalen Carey (Montclair Immaculate High School)

Bowling (Boys)                                    Michael Liu (Livingston High School)

Cross Country (Girls)                         Anna Schaller (Montclair Kimberley Academy)

Cross Country (Boys)                         Daniel Gizzo (Seton Hall Prep)

Fencing  (Girls)                                  Amina Troupe (Montclair High School)

Fencing (Girls)                                  Julia Thompson (Montclair Kimberley Academy)

Fencing (Boys)                                  Logan Rechler (Newark Academy)

Field Hockey (Girls)                          Julia Russo (West Essex Regional High School)

Football-Offense                               Daniel Webb (Montclair High School)

Football-Defense                              David Orduson (Malcolm X Shabazz High School)

Football-Defense                              Willie Matthews (Montclair High School)

Lacrosse                                            Griffin Westlin (Seton Hall Prep)

Soccer (Girls)                                    Natalie Nevins (West Orange High School)

Soccer (Boys)                                    Maurice Williams (West Orange High School)

Softball                                              Mia Faieta (Cedar Grove High School)

Swimming (Girls)                             Marie Fagan (Columbia High School)

Tennis (Girls)                                    Anna Brylin (Millburn High School)

Tennis (Boys)                                    Michael Sun (Livingston High School)

Track (Girls)                                      Shelby Bigsby (Montclair High School)

Track (Boys)                                      Akeem Lindo (East Orange Campus High School)

Volleyball (Girls)                              Hunter Coppola (Verona High School)

Volleyball (Boys)                               Jacob Siwek (Livingston High School)

Wrestling                                           Anthony Clarizio (Cedar Grove High School)