Men of Essex to hold 59th Annual Essex Awards on May 17 to honor H.S. scholar-athletes and Athletes of Year

The Men of Essex, Inc. will hold its 59th Annual Essex Awards Dinner on Wednesday, May 17, at 7 p.m. at Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club, located at 100 Walnut St. in Livingston.

The Men of Essex, Inc. has selected track phenom Cory Poole of East Orange Campus High School to be the recipient of the 2017 “Essex Award.”

The Essex Awards, 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 been recognized statewide as a prestige salute to the ‘best and brightest’ for the past 58 years.

Poole, the Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year last spring and one of the top recruits in the nation, plans to attend the University of Florida in the fall. This past spring, Poole became just the third boy in Meet of Champions history to win both the 400-meter hurdles (52.50), and the 110 hurdles in an Essex County record 13.71, which is No. 9 in state history. And he nearly won a third gold medal when he threw down a sizzling anchor personal-best of 47.0 and almost brought East Orange Campus across first in a thrilling 4-x-400 as East Orange and Old Tappan each ran 3:15.43. Old Tappan was declared the winner. Poole followed that up with a great quadruple at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N.C. Poole ran a 33.1 300 leg on East Orange’s winning Swedish Relay in 1:54.88, led off the second place shuttle hurdles team (58.82), placed second in the 400 hurdles in 51.56, the seventh-fastest time in state history, and split 47.49 to bring EOCHS across the line, third in the 4-x-400 in an Essex County record 3:12.83, No. 10 in state history.

The keynote speaker is Mark Wilf, President and CEO of the Minnesota Vikings Professional Football Franchise. Wilf, a native of Hillside, N.J., is Principal of Garden Homes Development, a nationwide leader in retail, commercial and private residential development. A graduate of Princeton University, Mark served as the radio voice of Princeton Tigers football and basketball. He later graduated from the New York University School of Law. Mark currently serves on several boards, including Vanderbilt University, the NYU School of Law and Princeton Varsity Club. He also serves on the NFL’s Business Ventures Committee.

More than 200 guests are expected to be in attendance at the Essex Awards Dinner, including educators, parents, coaches and a loyal following of avid supporters. Tickets are $70. Sponsorship and ticket information can be obtained by contacting David Clark at 973-673-8632 or by visiting

Men of Essex honorees


Rasheed Boyd, Orange High School

Daniel Carter, Bloomfield High School

Gayle A. Edelstein, Livingston High School

Jillian Jennings, Montclair High School

Oliver Ortman, West Essex Regional High School

Camille Pham, Columbia High School

Jalia Santos, Bloomfield High School

Isabella Waung, Millburn High School

Travis J. Wright, St. Benedict’s Prep

Zoe Steck, Nutley High School


Baseball: Jack Zyska, Seton Hall Prep

Girls Basketball: Mya Bembry, West Orange High School

Boys Basketball: Elijah Olaniyi, Newark East Side High School

Girls Bowling: Lauren Potechin, Millburn High School

Girls Cross-Country: Katie Delidow, Millburn High School

Boys Cross-Country: Matt Grossman, Millburn High School

Girls Fencing: Julia Thompson, Montclair Kimberley Academy

Girls Fencing: Amina Troupe (Montclair High School

Boys Fencing: Zohaib Mannan, Millburn High School

Field Hockey: Julia Russo, West Essex Regional High School

Field Hockey: Lia Sinisi, West Essex Regional High School

Football-Offense: Jasiah Provillon, Irvington High School

Football-Defense: Paul Theobald, Seton Hall Prep

Girls Soccer: Megan Leffler, Livingston High School

Boys Soccer: Mason Toye, Seton Hall Prep

Softball: Kelsey Oh, Mount St. Dominic Academy

Girls Swimming: Natalie Dalla Riva, Caldwell High School

Boys Swimming: Eric Wang, Millburn High School

Girls Tennis: Stephanie Schrage, Millburn High School

Boys Tennis: Thomas Ito,  Newark Academy

Girls Track: Kishona McCray, Newark Central High School

Boys Track: Willesley Lindo, East Orange Campus High School

Girls Volleyball: Carly Waterman, Verona High School.

Boys Volleyball: Alcides Dos Reis, Belleville High School

Wrestling: Aidan Monteverdi, Seton Hall Prep