Zak Westerberg of Hamilton earned headlines during a recent trip to the Virgin Islands when, on a training trip to St. Croix with the Montclair State University men’s swimming and diving team, the former Nottingham High School standout won a race partially due to his foot speed.

While in St. Croix, the Red Hawks participated in the 9th annual Dolphins Swim Team Sea Swim at Rainbow Beach in Frederiksted and the outcome of the race of 125 competitors was decided on land.

Westerberg won the overall race, which included all MSU swimmers and coaches, as he outsprinted a local teenager named Victor Gaud. After 22 minutes of swimming in the event, a fundraiser which began with the blow of a conch shell, Westerberg and Gaud came out of the water simultaneously.

Stumbling up the beach for the finish line, Gaud fell, which gave Westerberg the opportunity to scramble up to the finish line. Westerberg, who had placed 19th in the race the year before, dove head first and landed face down in the sand to win this year.

Quoted in a story in the Virgin Islands Daily News, Westerberg talked about his work as a lifeguard over the summer in New Jersey and how he was able to log hours of swimming in open water and also how to keep his footing in the sand.

“Sometimes the land is your friend,” he joked. “You can run a lot faster than you can swim.”

Westerberg wasn’t sure how the race would end, but he wanted the victory.

“I didn’t even know what place I was in. I just knew that I would really be upset if I let someone beat me at the end like that,” he said.

The senior also continues to earn rave reviews in the pool, including winning three events to help the Red Hawks capture the Golden Bear Invitational in Kutztown, Pa., earlier this year.

Locals leading William Paterson hoopsters

Hamilton Township is well represented in the women’s basketball program at William Paterson University. Dana Jeter, the scoring champ at Steinert High, is a junior forward and BriAnna Lucas, a former star at Nottingham, is a member of the Pioneer coaching staff.

Jeter, who started in 51 of 58 games in her first two seasons, compiled 11 double-digit scoring games, 11 double-figure rebounding totals and five double-doubles during that span. She continues to excel at WPU.

Lucas is William Paterson’s undergraduate assistant coach for the 2012-13 season. A 2012 honorable-mention Women’s Basketball Coaches Association all-American, Lucas was the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Defensive Player of the Year as a senior. She finished as WP’s career steals leader (308) and second at William Paterson in scoring (1,702).

Lucas was named to the 2011 WBCA All-America Team and the D3hoops.com All-America Third Team, was a four-time all-conference honoree, the 2011 ECAC Metro Player of the Year and NJAC Co-Player and Defensive Player of the Year, a three-time all-region selection and the 2009 NJAC and ECAC Metro Region Rookie of the Year.

Lucas is completing a bachelor’s degree in art at William Paterson.

Abey honored for her defense

Allison Abey of Ewing was named to the First Team Landmark Conference for her role with the 2012 Susquehanna University field hockey team. Abey, a senior midfield/back, helped the Crusaders make the league playoffs.

Abey finished tied for first in the conference with four defensive saves while adding two goals and two assists. During her four-year career, Abey played in 71 games and she had five goals and five assists.

Abey also had a four-year career with the Ewing High field hockey program.

Massenat dishing, scoring at Drexel

Franz Massenat, the former Trenton Catholic Academy standout, continues to be a factor for the Drexel University men’s basketball team. Massenat, who ranks 20th in Drexel history with 275 career assists after just two seasons and is fifth all-time in assists per game, emerged as one of the top players in the region last season. Massenat, of Ewing, is putting up good numbers as a junior guard.

IN OTHER NEWS … Doug Ranson of Ewing continues to excel for the Misericordia swim team. The Notre Dame High alumnus is a junior who competes in breaststroke and freestyle events … Ex-Hopewell Valley High standout Kelly Williams is a member of the women’s basketball team at Montclair. The freshman guard from Titusville was averaging more than 4 points a game for the Red Hawks who were undefeated as of press time … Emily Summers of Hamilton is enjoying her senior campaign with the swim program at Albright College. The Nottingham High grad was feted during recent Senior Day activities … Simone Christen of Princeton is a sophomore at Oberlin College in Ohio, where she is a standout in the butterfly for the Yeowomen’s swim team. Christen is Princeton Day School alumna … Lisa Lebak of Robbinsville is a senior guard for the women’s basketball team at Quinnipiac University. Lebak was a three-sport athlete at The Peddie School.

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