Since Teaneck’s Schechter Regional High School opened in September of ‘003, it has taken a grassroots approach to its athletics. What sports the students want, and what they demonstrate they can sustain, they generally get.
In scoring a school-record 54 points in a ‘0-point boys basketball victory over the New Jersey Home Schoolers team, SRHS proved its student-led approach can succeed on the hardwood as well as it can on the dance floor, on the wrestling mats, in the water, on the slopes, or on the courts.
"We have played soccer and basketball each year [since ‘003]," said athletic director David Robinson, explaining that the school has "added hip hop dancing and baseball last year, and fencing, skiing, junior life-saving, and perhaps rugby and tennis this year."
Although Schechter is a relatively new school, Robinson said that its ability to compete in such a diverse assortment of contests is a combination of student interest and favorable circumstances.
"Though we’re new, we think about our program on a large scale," said Robinson, who has been with SRHS since the school’s inception. "Our working assumption has always been that we can run the sports program we want, and we do. The students step up to the plate to make it happen."
"Of course," he added, "our full sports facilities help. We’re housed at the Teaneck Jewish Center, so we have a full gymnasium and swimming pool, and for outdoor sports, we have access to the great fields in Teaneck as well as the fields at Solomon Schechter Day School in Bergen County."
For the time being, SRHS is trying to establish credibility with the other teams in the yeshiva sports league, which includes mainly Orthodox day schools such as Torah Academy of Bergen County (Teaneck), The Frisch School (Paramus), and the Ramaz Upper School (Manhattan).
"We joined the yeshiva league this year, and next year we’ll field more teams at both the junior varsity and varsity levels," said Robinson. "The other schools have been encouraging and supportive. They seem to be excited that we have joined the league."
Robinson hopes that, as SRHS establishes credibility in the yeshiva league, other Schechter schools in the area will join as well.
"Three or four other Schechter High Schools could possibly join [the league]," said Robinson. "We will certainly be encouraging them to join. The more Schechter schools that join, the more influence the Schechter schools will have on the league.