PAST POINT CHAMPIONS
and Philipsburg High Schools:
First-Ever High School Sports Rivalry in Quoits!
rivals get competitive in ancient game
June 09, 2004
By JOSH PONTRELLI
The newest chapter in the Easton-Phillipsburg rivalry was written this
week, but this time it didn't involve screaming fans or cheerleaders.
Not yet, at least.
Twenty students from each school participated Monday night in the
rivals' first quoits tournament.
"In Phillipsburg, this is the thing to do," said 18-year old
senior Stephen Nicolosi. "But it's intense, especially with the
Quoits (pronounced "kwaits") is an ancient throwing game in
which heavy metal rings are pitched at short metal stakes driven into
the ground. Quoits are recognized as the predecessor to the more
commonly known game of horseshoe pitching.
George Chilmonik, a Phillipsburg math teacher, founded the high school's
quoits club three years ago. Since then, the club has grown into more
than a hobby for its members. He said the club meets roughly once a
week, although it offers students a chance to play in the courtyard
almost every day after school.
Months ago, Chilmonik called the principal of Easton Area High School.
The principal alerted Student Council President Luke Carlson, who set up
the tournament with Chilmonik.
"This is the greatest high school rivalry, and we're taking it to
the next level," Chilmonik said. "Whoever comes out the winner
will be the United States High School Quoits Champion until further
notice," he said.
He believes this is the only high school quoits club in the nation, and
he issued an open challenge to any high school wishing to contend.
"We know of no others," he said. "I have never seen
anything about another team, so we'll claim it."
For now, Easton has claimed the quoits crown.
The students played in a four-round pool tournament. Easton will be
awarded a trophy once it is purchased, as will each year's winner.
"We hope to promote good sportsmanship and goodwill between the two
high schools," Chilmonik said. "It's going to be a good
experience for everyone involved. One hundred years from now, they'll be
talking about this."
Quoits Club President Becky Kessler said the tournament was a great way
to end her senior year.
"It's a great way to bring Easton and P'burg together," she
said. "It's definitely laid back and there is not as big a crowd,
but the intensity is still there."
Kessler, one of six girls who played, said quoits isn't just for guys.
"Guys don't want to lose to girls," she said. "But when
the girls get playing the guys get intimidated and distracted."
Carlson, a senior, said his school doesn't have a club yet, but after
this event students may want to form one.
"We may not have a club, but we commit a lot of hours pitching
during the spring and summer," he said. "This is something
cool to celebrate the rivalry."
Both students and Chilmonik would like to make the quoits tournament a
"We hope it will become an annual event," he said. "Maybe
we can do it as a fund-raiser eventually and get more people involved to
raise money for charity."
Nicolosi said Chilmonik would do anything to support students playing
"He puts quoits in his lessons," Nicolosi said. "He lives
for playing quoits."
Despite the Phillipsburg club losing the inaugural battle, Chilmonik
said he was thrilled to see the event take place.
"It doesn't get any better than this," he said.