VARSITY 2015-2016

3/5/16- NYS Federation CHAMPIONSHIPS

Over the weekend, the AquaRams travelled to Buffalo NY to compete in the New York State Swimming and Diving Federation Championships. For two days, the meet was filled with the best competition of high school swimming and diving in the state of New York and similar to past years, the Fordham Prep swimming team did not disappoint as they captured an impressive 2nd place finish overall just 12 points from 1st place!

Spencer Lafata led the team with a 2nd place finish in the 200yd freestyle with a time of 1:40.52 and an exciting come from behind 1st place finish in the 500yd freestyle with an Automatic All American time of  4:27.02.

Freshman Nick Torres also led the team with top finishes in his events including 5th place in the 200 individual medley of 1:52.64 just off our team record and 2nd place in the 100 backstroke 51.21!.

Other great individual performances were turned in by Aristides Speres in the 100 butterfly 51.51.45 along with Ryan Mairele and Stephan Gray in the 500yd freestyle coming in at  4:49.12 and 4:49.27 respectively. Gray also was nominated for the sportsmanship award of the meet for the Catholic High School Section.

In the relays, the team of Aristides Speres (46.41), Alec Nicaj (47.35), Nick Torres (45.81), and Spencer Lafata (46.10) captured 1st place in the 400yd freestyle relay for the 5th year in a row with an automatic all american time of 3:05.67, less than a second off the state record which is also held by Fordham Prep. In addition, the team of Nick Torres, Charles Lazaroni, Aristides Speres, and Alec Nicaj placed 5th overall in the 200medley relay and 4th in the  200freestyle relay with Speres, Francis Moran, Lafata, and Nicaj. 
Congratulations to the team on a fantastic meet and conclusion to the season!

2/7/16- NYCHSAA Championships

The Fordham prep swim and dive team concluded their CHSAA season on Sunday evening. The three day meet saw incredible competition throughout. Thursday evening the divers got the team some early points taking 2nd, 13, 18, and 19th. Saturday during the swimming trials the team placed themselves in a great position for sunday's finals, with all swimmers turning in best times of the season. Sunday's finals started with the 200 medley relay 1st through third place teams sepersted by less than a second. Through the next 5 events the lead changed hands between the Prep and two other teams multiple times. Prep swimmers Spencer Lafatta and Nick Torres were crowned individual champions in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley respectively. After the diving the top three teams were sepersted by only 11 points. Through the final 6 events the Aquarams continued to turn in top swims with Spencer Lafata winning the 500 freestyle, Nick Torres the 100 Back, and the 400 relay of Aristides Speres, Allan Cooke, Nick Torres and Spencer Lafata winning the final event. As the dust settled and the final score was announced the Prep had been crowned 2016 CHSAA runner ups. Congratulations to Stephen Gray, Ryan Maeirle, Allan Cooke, Charles Lazaroni, Aristidies Speres, Spencer Lafata, Nick Torres and Alec Nicaj all turned in State Championship qualifying times and will represent he Prep at the New York State Federation Championships. Congratulations to all Prep Swimmers and Divers on an excellent season!

1/25/16- FORDHAM PREP VS. st. anthonys

The Fordham Prep Swim and Dive Team concluded their duel meet season Monday evening against this years league powerhouse St. Anthony's.  What was billed to be a competitive and exciting meet surpassed all expectations.  The Aquarams turned in fantastic swim after fantastic swim, winning the first 3 events and going into the one meter diving tied 31 to 31.  The back and forth continued after the diving with St. Anthony's and the Prep swapping slim leads after each event.  Going into the final event, the 400 yard freestyle relay, the Aquarams had a slight 2 point lead.  After the final touches, in what was the most exciting race of the season, the Prep came up just a tad short, conceding victory to the Friars by 2 points. The team has much to be proud of at the conclusion of the duel meet season, many swimmers and divers turned in their best performances of the season on Monday and are looking to use this momentum to catapult them even further in the CHSAA Championships that are scheduled for February 4th, 6th and 7th.  Outstanding performances were turned in by Aristedes Speres, Jared Copeland, Frankie Moran, Nick Torres, Stephen Amato, Steven Gray, Alec Nicaj, Nick Malloy, Trevor Sermon, Chris Bennianti, and Spencer Lafata.

Kudos to all swimmers and divers for an excellent duel meet season, and to the Class of 2016 Aquarams completing their duel meet careers 39-1.  Good Luck at Championships!


On Tuesday, December 22nd the Prep Swim and Dive Team had one last task to take care of before winter break.  Set for a show down with school rival Xavier, the team was committed to continuing their undefeated season moving into the holidays. Several fantastic swims were turned in highlighted by Aristedes Speres, Spencer Lafata, Alec Nicaj, Brian Chrystal, Trevor Sermon, and many more.  The team jumped out to a quick lead, and was able to maintain and build winning some exciting races along the way.  The team looks forward to capitalizing on its winter break practices at their next meet, against Xavieran on Tuesday, January 5th at the Fordham University Pool.  All are welcome to come and cheer on the team. Good Job and Good Luck to all Aquarams!

12/3/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Francis

The Prep swim and dive team welcomed the terriers of St. Francis Prep to the Rose Hill campus.  The Aquarams snapped to a quick start sweeping 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the meet's initial event, the 200 yard Medley relay.  The second event saw Freshman Nick Torres win the 200 yard freestyle, followed by Junior Spencer LaFata in the third event, the 200 yard Individual Medley, also capturing 1st place.  Seniors Alec Nicaj and Brian Chrystal continued the winning ways securing the prep's 4th and 5th wins in the 50 and 100 yard freestyles. The team went on to win each of the remaining 8 events and the overall meet 93-67.  Outstanding swims were also turned in by some younger members of the team when Freshmen Andrew Wetty, Chis Garcia and Sophomores Daniel Masseo, Ryan Garvey, Lukas Petit all made their A-championship qualifying times.  The team looks forward to continuing its season against Molloy, on Monday December 14th.  Congratulations to all Swimmers and Divers on a job well done!  


11/22/15- FORDHAM PREP VS. ST. Peters

Sunday evening the Prep Swim and Dive team swam Staten Island powerhouse St. Peters.  The Aquarams got off to a quick start taking first and second place in the 200 yard medley relay, and continued their winning pace for the remainder of the meet.  The Prep won every event, including sweeping the 1 meter diving. Alec Nicaj, Michael Filaridi, Jalen Ramjohn, Chris Benninati, Brian Chrystal, Stephen Amato, Dylan Walsh and Mike Marun all turned in great swims. Congratulations to freshman Austin Hourican, Luke Rosato, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle, and Nick Torres all who made their Varisty A-championships cut.  The team looks forward to the annual Relay Carnival on Tuesday evening.



The Prep Swimming and Diving team kicked off its variety season Thursday night welcoming St. Dominics to the University natatorium.  The team got off to a quick start sweeping the 1 meter diving and the 200 yard medley relay event, and continued to its fast pace throughout the night.  Junior Spencer Lafata won the 200 yard freestyle in a New York State Championship qualifying time of 1:45.34 seconds.  Alan Cooke, Trevor Sermon, Frankie Moran, Aristides Speres, Ryan Maierle, Jared Copeland and Nick Torres also turned in excellent swimming performances.  The team has a quick turnaround for its second meet as they look to take on St. Peters High School, Sunday at 5:30pm.  Congratulations to all swimmers and divers on a great first meet! 


2015 Fordham Prep Freshman Swimming & Diving

Congratulations to the FP Freshman Swimming & Diving for finishing 2nd place at CHSAA Championships.  The team won 5 of the 8 swimming events. Nick Torres was named the meet MVP, breaking 3 league and team records (100 IM, 50 Back, 50 Free). Ryan Maierle won two events (50 Free & 100 Free). In the final race of the day, the 200 Free Relay team of Luke Rosatto, Jared Copeland, Ryan Maierle and Nick Torres set a new league and team record. 

2015 NY State Federation Champs

The Fordham Prep Swim team captured their 5th consecutive New York State Federation Championship this weekend in Ithica, NY. The 200 Medley Relay of Jalen Ramjohn, Ian Bidwell, Aristides Speres and Alec Nicaj began the meet with a 3rd place finish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Timothy Buttigieg, Alec Nicaj, and Steven Tierney won with a time of 1:24.92. Top eight performances were turned in by Michael Verini (50 Free & 100 Free), Steven Tierney (200 Free, 100 free), Jack Collins (500 Free), Ian Bidwell (200 IM & 500 Free), & Spencer LaFata (200 Free & 500 Free), The final event of the day, the 400 Freestyle relay, the team of Michael Verini, Spencer LaFata, Jack Collins, Steven Tierney, finished the meet with a fantastic swim of 3:06.19 and sealed the deal assuring the team's dominating win with 245 points. Congratulations to all!
Congratulations to all!


FP Archives
Posted 06/13/2016 04:41PM

Making an Entrance
Lou DiGiorno ’88

By the time you read this article, Mr. James Pollard and the rest of the maintenance staff will have wrapped up a few last details on the Pre-Dobransbicentennial Grand Antechamber Project — more prosaically known as the new lobby construction.

chair cushions in place: yes
fingerprints off the new glass sliding doors: yes
portrait of Fr. Shea hung: yes

[Incidentally, the portrait of Shea has been to the conservator’s for a cleaning and revarnishing. Father will be looking spiffier than ever to celebrate the Prep’s 175th anniversary. {And in case you’re keeping score: 2016 is the 96th anniversary of Fr. Shea’s arrival at the Prep. We’re going to have to mark that centennial in four years, too. Perhaps with a long afternoon of walking jug? (Oh, and if you happen to have a spare bust of Knute Rockne dating back to the 1930s, let me know before 2020 — I’m going to need one for the festivities. [Long story.])}]

The construction of the new entranceway has given the Prep a truly remarkable space, as well as a truly remarkable way to kick off the school’s jubilee. [Fact: traditional scholarship ultimately derives the word jubilee from the Hebrew word yovél, “a ram,” since Old Testament jubilee periods were declared with the sounding of the ramshorn. How’s that for a Fordham connection?] While the lobby’s openness, brightness, and clean, contemporary architecture belong to the Prep of today, the preservation of the preexisting terrazzo flooring and the hand-set stonework reference the institution’s venerability.  And of course, the artistry of the reliefs of St. John the Baptist and St. Ignatius of Loyola have about them an air of timelessness. Altogether, the new lobby is perfect for marking this important milestone in the Prep’s present, past and future.

Besides a lounge and reception area [Note to self: pick up a small statue of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ for Mrs. Corinne Walsh’s desk. If she’s going to be at the front door, she can probably do with a little inspiration from the patron saint of porters {and portresses} of Jesuit institutions.], the lobby has also been designed as a gallery and museumette. Team trophies, student artwork and artifacts from the school’s past century-and-three-quarters are now on display for the Prep community at large. The first exhibits included Fordham Prep’s connection to the 19th century birth of Caribbean baseball, a look at the Prep’s first computer lab [We even dug up one of Fr. Sloun and Fr. Lombardi’s first generation Ataris from the ‘80s!], a desk from the early 1900s, and a retrospective on four decades of accumulated Star Wars memorabilia. Future planned exhibits include Fordham Prep and the invention of the gummy bear [No joke!], and a look back at a century’s worth of Fordham phones. [Yes, we have the old Commons pay phone in storage. Actual comment from freshman Seamus Cooper, Class of 2019: “Oh, pay phones. I’ve heard of those. You needed quarters, right?” {Obviously he was joking. We’re not that old, are we?}]

Other items will grace the new lobby on a more permanent basis: memorials to the Prep alums who gave their lives fighting for our country, the Prepbuilders Plaque recalling the generosity of those who sustained the Prep during the legal separation from the University and move to Shea Hall, and a weatherworn metal cross excavated from the vault not so long ago by the Prep’s very own Madam Bursar, Mrs. Debra DiDomizio. In a way, there could be no more perfect place for that old cross than the brand new lobby, because that particular cross has been associated with Prep entranceways for a long, long time: 125 years, to be exact. Naturally, you will be wondering how we have determined the artifact’s age so precisely.

On our way to Fordham’s 175th on June 24th, the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, we should probably take a moment to remember that the 2015-2016 school year also marks the 125th anniversary of Hughes Hall, the home of Fordham Prep from 1890 to 1972. To echo the sentiments of Archivist Emeritus Gus Stellwag, Class of 1949, and many a pre-Shea Hall alum: “for those who spent their four years of high school in Hughes Hall, no newer construction could ever replace the sights and sounds that only that building could possess — the high-ceilinged halls, the creaking, polished floors, the wide main staircase with the center of each tread curved and worn under the scuffling of millions of adolescent footsteps.”

Ground was broken for Hughes Hall in December 1889 and the structure was completed and opened in the fall of 1890. In the contemporary words of Thomas Gaffney Taaffe, Class of 1886:

[It is] of the same quality stone [as Dealy Hall], and finished in hard wood. The Gymnasium, Reading Room, and Billiard Room are on the First Floor; the Study Hall and Vice President’s Office on the Second, the office having been moved from the First Division Building on the completion of the newer edifice. The third and fourth stories are occupied as classrooms and the Dormitory, respectively.

Despite popular belief, Hughes Hall was not the original home of the Prep, or the Second Division of St. John’s College, as the school was first known. In the 1840s, all Prep and College offices, classrooms, and even dorms were housed together in what is today the University’s Administration Building (now known as Cunniffe House, named for Mo Cunniffe, Prep Class of 1950). Around 1850, an extension was added which connected to a three-story addition that would become the Second Division Building: the Prep’s first distinct home. In fact, it was the Prep’s outgrowing of this wing a few decades later that would prompt Hughes’ construction.

Hughes Hall was not originally known as Hughes Hall at all. When it first opened, it was simply called Junior Hall (in contrast to the main College building, Senior Hall [today, Dealy Hall]). It was also known colloquially as “Second Division Building.” In 1899, it was renamed Jouin Hall in honor of Fr. Louis A. Jouin, SJ (1818-1899), linguist, philosopher, author and longtime professor at Fordham. Only a decade or so into the 20th century would the building be rededicated as Hughes Hall.

A metal crucifix originally hung over the front door of the building. Over time, the elements would take their toll, and the attached corpus would be damaged beyond repair leaving a simple metal cross behind. That cross would leave an indelible mark on collective campus memory — all subsequent refurbishments of that Hughes Hall entrance have somehow included a nod to it —remarkable, considering how small a detail it was. Even today, as the home of the Gabelli School of Business (named for Mario Gabelli, Prep Class of 1961), what was the old main door to the Prep is marked with cross carved beneath the words Hughes Hall. How fortunate we are that Fr. Shea had the presence of mind to tuck the original away when it came down in the 20th century.

As Fordham approached its 50th anniversary 125 years ago, the boys of Fordham Prep were ready to start classes in their newly opened Second Division Building. However, when they arrived at the start of the exciting 1890-1891 school year, they found that construction was not quite finished. From that year’s first issue of the Fordham Monthly:

At College once again fellow-students! We greet you and extend to you our heartiest good wishes for 1890. Although “Second” did not immediately on their return hither-ward make the New Building their habitat, and although they had to use First Division Gymnasium as a stop-gap for a time, they never lost their good nature or sportiveness and without any conceit they can extend to themselves the encouraging hand of congratulations.

125 years later, and what do the Prepsters of today think of their new lobby? According to Panayiotis Nicolas, Prep Class of 2016, “It was rough at first coming in and out of the building with all the construction, but it was really cool watching it all come together.” To which his classmate and fellow senior Jerrin Kakkanatt added, “Totally worth the wait!”

It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same after all.

cross at the entrance: yes

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