Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Jan. 9, 2021 — A cold closing

Remember this and this, partially balanced by this?

Yesterday, the hammer dropped on another private school, one which had a small part in field hockey lore, but has a pretty large history in sports in its area.

Trenton (N.J.) Catholic Academy yesterday announced that it would be closing at then end of the academic year, citing both financial and COVID-19 concerns. It is a school which has built its reputation largely on athletics since its founding in 1962. It hosted, at one time, the most important boys’ basketball holiday tournament in the country, the Eastern States Catholic Invitational Tournament, which brought in regional as well as occasional national powerhouse teams.

TCA, when it was known as St. Anthony’s, also had a field hockey team at the dawn of Title IX, but the sport was long gone once the first Mercer County Tournament was held in 1981.

Since then, sports at the school have driven many decisions. When your Founder was doing the dailies, the football team at the school was at the bottom of the table in the Colonial Valley Conference. At one time, the Iron Mikes football team was dangerously close to being unable to field a team because of low turnout and injuries.

A few years ago, however, the school made the radical decision to break its geographical boundary and play its sports within the Burlington County Scholastic League. This is the high-school equivalent of Australia playing soccer within the Asian Football Confederation or the years when Phillipsburg (N.J.) was part of the East Penn Conference, which was the case until 1995.

Trenton Catholic’s move to the BCSL had the desired effect for the football team; it was placed in the Freedom Division of the BCSL with several small school districts along the Delaware River where the team at least would have a chance to compete on a fair basis.

But the consolidation of nearly 100 schools into the West Jersey Football League complicated matters, and TCA dropped football.

The basketball enterprise, however, grew in prestige and importance. The girls’ basketball team at the school was ranked in the Top 10 in numerous polls, and the boys’ team was winning county and state tournaments. And the school’s apex was when the boys’ team was able to win the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions in 2010.

Regrettably, TCA is going to be remembered as yet another COVID-19 casualty.

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