By Al Mattei


Sandy Chronic, the head coach of Flemington Hunterdon Central (N.J.), whose exterior calm and ability to motivate her players won her teams three New Jersey Group IV championships in the mid 1990s, will not be coming back to coach her Red Devils in the 1999 season.

The coaching reins will be taken by one of her former players, Jennifer Borucki, who was a fullback on the 1993 state championship team.

"It's special to go back and coach," Borucki told The Times of Trenton, N.J. "I was part of the first team to win a state championship. I want to bring back and share my experiences from Hunterdon Central and my college years. I don't think I'd want to be anywhere else."

Chronic left the Hunterdon Central position to take an administrative position within the school district.

"I knew that it was time," Chronic had said. "I was finding myself not being able to commit as much time to coaching as I would like."

At about the same time Chronic was considering leaving her coaching post, the school's options for her replacement had begun to shrink. Central assistants Robin Meaney and Cathy Filippello had decided to devote themselves full-time to running recreational off-season leagues in the hopes of forming a United States Field Hockey Association (USFHA) age-group club for the National Festival.

One may consider Borucki's appointment a stopgap measure, unless one considers her history within the Hunterdon Central hockey family.

Borucki is not one of several of her fellow Central alumnae with multiple titles. Instead, she was one of dozens of players who went through the struggles of the late 1980s and early 1990s in trying to become the best team in Central Jersey Group IV.

And, as such, Borucki knows that the struggle to get to a championship level is often more important than remaining there.

"It's tough because I'm taking over for Sandy Chronic, who had a winning season every year, and I want to continue that," Borucki said to The Times. "I'm basically going to try to stay with that and a little of what I learned at college (Misericordia, Pa.) and see what fits."

Hunterdon Central goes into the 1999 season having won seven of the last eight Group IV Central championships, but finds itself in the realigned Group IV North-2 section in the fall.