Princeton’s Ethan Guerra, Hun’s Chris Renna selected for student-athlete awards dinner
2/21/2017 1:26 PM

Ethan Guerra and Chris Renna go to schools in the same town, and the two student-athletes also share the same dedication in the classroom as they do on the football field.

Princeton High’s Guerra and Hun’s Renna will be honored for their excellence on and off the gridiron as their respective schools’ honorees at the 55th Annual George Wah Scholar-Leader-Athlete Awards Dinner.

The dinner takes place at 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 12, at the Westin Princeton at Forrestal Village. Tickets are $75 each and can be purchased for families, individuals or organizations by calling Ron Hoehn at 609-731-6610.

There will be 23 schools representing six counties whose players will be honored. Each receives a $1,000 scholarship, while three standouts will earn the $5,000 Jack Stephan Scholarship, the $2,500 Ron Rick Sr. Scholarship and the $1,500 Ed Cook Scholarship. A silent auction of sports memorabilia provided by Best Authentics will also be held. A dozen adults will also be honored for their contributions to amateur football.

Guerra was a captain and three-year starter at guard, center and defensive tackle for the Little Tigers. He was a first-team All-Division pick as a senior after recording 46 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles; and was a second-team pick as a junior, when he also won the 12th Man TD Club’s Offensive Lineman of the Week. Ethan was also captain and four-year starter for the PHS wrestling team.

“During Ethan’s junior year, he became one of those Iron Man players, never leaving the field,” said coach Charlie Gallagher, who marveled at Guerra’s ability to play hurt. “He played at defensive tackle and would end up playing all offensive line positions that year. Ethan stepped up and really thrived at all positions. He understood our entire scheme and played with such tenacity, we knew we were in good shape no matter where he was.

“As a senior he was always a conversation piece from other coaches, about ‘How number 76 was easy to spot on tape because he played with such passion and was always around the ball.’ Our program will be hard-pressed to replace such a fine young man. Coaches always are looking for that coachable kid. Ethan Guerra is just that.”

Off the field, Ethan has a 3.75 weighted GPA, is a member of the Robotics Club and part of the Nyack Homeless Project, a program that aims to help those who are homeless receive goods that they may not be able to afford. He is part of an independent study learning to use 3D printers; make printable 3D designs and fixing and maintaining printers.

“Ethan continues to propel himself forward,” PHS guidance counselor Paulo Velasco said. “His intelligence is apparent and is blossoming at the right time. He has always been a great student. He is curious about a wide array of subjects, which has triggered learning beyond the classroom.

“Ethan is smart, funny, respectful, understanding, compassionate, independent and cooperative. He’s not afraid of taking risks; and he understands the appropriateness between right and wrong. Throughout his high school career, Ethan has contributed to our school as a responsible student and citizen of our community.”

Renna, a South Jersey product from Mount Laurel, was a three-year varsity performer in football for the Raiders and will play four years of varsity lacrosse. As a tight end/outside linebacker, he had 16 receptions for 341 yards and five touchdowns and was the team’s second-leading tackler with 37 (five for loss) during his senior year.

Chris was named the Raiders Most Improved Player and was second-team All-MAPL and All-Prep tight end. He played for three MAPL championship teams and Hun was ranked the No. 1 prep school in the nation his senior year. In lacrosse, he helped the Raiders to a 19-1 record and No. 4 ranking in North America last spring. 

“Chris would never describe himself as a leader, but that’s exactly what he was,” Hun coach Todd Smith said. “On several occasions his hard work and effort would shine through and take over practice and games; and that would inspire his teammates to step up and work harder themselves.”

Renna hails from area football royalty. His grandfather Gene Renna was a three-year starting guard for Rutgers, his father, Mike, and uncle, Jim, both played for West Windsor-Plainsboro High School with Mike being an All-American at Delaware and Jim an All-American at Princeton.

“Chris didn’t let down his family legacy,” Smith said. “Through his hard work and dedication he honored his family name, something that was very important for him. As a coach and teacher, it is incredibly fulfilling to witness a student-athlete make this kind of personal progress.”

In the classroom, Renna has an A average taking courses such as pre-calculus, US History honors, public speaking and debate, micro and macro economics and creative writing. He has made the honor roll every semester and is a member of various clubs at Hun. 

“Chris demonstrates a genuine interest in learning,” said Hun economics teacher Bill Holup. “He always is prepared with his work for class and his work is always of high quality. He asks questions and answers questions during class. His critical thinking and problem solving skills are evident in his answers. 

“He is a top student in my AP Economics class and a positive role model for younger student athletes at our school. Chris is able to show that not only can he be a strong player on the football field but also carries himself at a high academic level in the classroom.”

Follow Rich Fisher on twitter @fish4scores

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