Gutowski, Digney and Patrizi Earn Post-Season Honors After Impressive Fall Sports Seasons

Courtesy of The Buccaneer
Senior Hailey Gutowski was named an All-American after completing an impressive season leading the CHS girls' soccer team.

Lauren Wahl, Staff Writer

There was a lot of success this year when it came to the Cinnaminson fall sports teams.

Overall, Cinnaminson High School (CHS) had five division winners and one sectional champion with the girls’ soccer team.  Eventually, the girls soccer team made it all the way to the semi-state finals before losing to the top-ranked team in NJ, Wall Township, in penalty kicks. It was a great way to end the season with their 19-3-1 record.

After such a successful season, the first of the post-season honors rolled in on December 4 when Hailey Gutowski was named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches Fall High School Girls All-America Team.  Hailey was one of four girls from the state of New Jersey to be given this incredible honor. But, Hailey earned it throughout this 2017 soccer season, as she scored 21 goals and 19 assists.

There are 60 total girls to be named to this team from the United Soccer Coaches Association. When asked how she felt about being named an All-American, Hailey was taken back.

“It was a great honor and was something I was not expecting at all,” she said. 

Hailey, who is headed to St. Joe’s University in Philadelphia next year, has worked her way up from only scoring three goals during her freshman year to scoring 21 her senior year. Hailey also has some insight into what she thought were the main reasons were in developing her ability.

“The training I had while growing up and the environment that was always around me while growing up (made me successful). My teammates were always very competitive which made every practice feel like a game and we all trained very hard,” Hailey said.

Hailey gave credit where credit was due, especially when she was asked about whom she would like to thank for her success.

“I have so many people I would like to thank including my mom, my teammates, Coach Shawn and Coach John, but mainly my dad (Peter),” she finished.

She concluded by saying the main person she would like to thank would have to be her dad who was never her main coach but always helped her out and picked her up every time she got down on herself. She said he pushed her to be the player she is today. Hailey was really able to make her legacy for soccer at the Cinnaminson High School as one to remember.

After such an amazing season, the girls’ soccer coach, Mr. Digney was also honored for the team he put together this season when he was named the Burlington County Times Coach of the Year on December 1.  If you consider that the girls only lost one game in regulation this year, to Kingsway, in their second game of the year on Sept. 9, the girls had an absolutely remarkable season.

Nj.com ended the season with the girls ranked as the 16th-best team in the entire state and the second-best Group 2 team behind the state champion, Wall.  This team was probably Mr. Digney’s best team he has coached while coaching at Cinnaminson since 2011.  Although his 2012 team also reached the state semifinals, that team got hot at the right team and this team was dominant throughout the entire season.

Mr. Digney brushed off the honor, saying that being named Burlington County Times was more reflective of the success of the team than anything that he did.

“Any award, either individual or group, is always a reflection of the entire team’s effort over many, many weeks and months. This year’s team was special – we worked for each other every day,” Mr. Digney said.

But, to him, it was quite an honor to be recognized by the people he grew up around as a student and athlete at Delran and now as the girl’s soccer coach since 2011.

“Much of my playing days and coaching have been right here in Burlington County.  To be recognized by that area is an honor.  I am very fortunate to work in such a great School District like Cinnaminson that fully supports our coaches,” Mr. Digney said.

Also honored this year was our football coach, Mr. Patrizi, who was named the Brooks-Irvine 2017 South Jersey Coach of the Year after leading the Pirates to the semifinal round of the sectional playoffs and an 8-3 overall record.  The team defeated sectional finalist West Deptford in the CHS Homecoming game, 21-7, and the second overall seed, Camden in what was the fifth consecutive season that the Pirates have won at least seven games.  The Pirates only started the year 1-2, but won six games in a row before losing in the playoffs to Haddonfield and trouncing Delran on Thanksgiving.

When Mr. Patrizi was asked how he felt about being named the South Jersey football coach of the year, he also deflected the credit to his staff and team.

“It doesn’t feel any different and it was something the whole staff earned and also the players, the coaches, and the school,” Patrizi continued. “You’re pretty much as good as the other people around you and you have to have good players that are committed, coaches that are loyal and hardworking and I am lucky to have all of that.”

The coach seemed to be very quick to give credit those around him as he doesn’t seem to think he would be their without their help. Mr. Patrizi was also asked how he felt about the current state of the football program.

“We’re in great shape right now, we have almost 80 kids in the whole program which is a group three number and we are a small group two. Next year we will have close to 60 kids on varsity and jayvee and usually around 20-25 kids on freshman so it’s stronger than its ever been,” he said.

The team looks like they will continue to have great seasons ahead of them after making it as far as they did this season and having the amount of numbers they will have. The coach was lastly asked what his expectations are for the future of the team.

He said, “the expectations are to win a state championship and that’s the goal. We came close this year and next year we have a very good shot at doing it in a tough group two but as long as the kids work hard and the coaches are committed, we have a good shot.”