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Spartans develop military flair
Story and photo by Sgt. Wayne Woolley, NJ DMAVA/PA

One of the highest compliments a football coach can get is that his team “moved with military precision.”

Steinert High School Head Coach Dan Caruso might hear a lot of that this season.

His players went to the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt for part of their preseason camp and found themselves nose-to-nose with Army Guard Recruiting and Retention Command Soldiers who led some of their conditioning drills.

“It was intense,” said Vince Fiorello, a senior defensive back.

Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Vega, right, encourages Steinert High School sophomore quarterback Adam Riese during the team's pre-season camp at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt. Vega enabled the Mercer County High School to hold its training camp there.
“We pushed ourselves harder than any training camp I’ve been a part of.”

The way the team reached the most unusual training camp location of perhaps any high school in New Jersey history is the story of the relationships built over the last several years by Sgt. 1st Class Bruce Vega, a Lawrencevillebased recruiter.

On a visit to the Hamilton Township school more than a year ago, the coaches told Vega they dreamed of holding training camp in a “military atmosphere.”

Vega worked to make it happen. By late August, the team was cleared to report to Sea Girt.

The coaches ran the two-a-day practices, but Vega and a few fellow recruiters led some conditioning exercises, including workouts on the beach.

“They looked like sugar cookies when we were done,” Vega said. The Soldiers apparently made an impression on the players after the workout sessions as well.

“I know there are some guys who are thinking more about (joining) after this week,” said Nicki Maciolek, 16, senior defensive back and running back.


More than 40 Soldiers from the 50th Infantry Brigade Combat Team got the opportunity to honored during halftime of the Giants and Jets preseason football game at Giants Stadium on Aug. 29. The game started off with a Blackhawk flyover and Army Guard Soldiers presenting the colors. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Mauricio Vega, Recruiting and Retention Command.

Table of Contents
Volume 34 Number 5 Staff / Information
(c) 2009 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs