Bergen Athletes Honored

Student-athlete Camille Calupad and Managing Director of Athletics Jorge Hernandez and coach Ed Kochakji.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College athletes, past and present, have added two significant honors to the institutional trophy case. Wrestling coach Ed Kochakji received the Lifetime Service to Wrestling award from the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, while pole vaulter Camille Calupad has earned the NJCAA Region XIX John Stauff Female Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

“This is a very special time for our athletics program,” Managing Director of Athletics Jorge Hernandez said. “As a wrestler, coach and ambassador, Ed Kochakji represents as a true living legend of the sport in New Jersey. Camille Calupad, a national champion pole vaulter, remains equally as impressive in the classroom. To excel at such a high level in both areas speaks to her rare abilities.”

Kochakji, of Montvale, received the award last month for his commitment to the sport – a lifelong passion. The owner of three Bergen County and state championships while attending Bergenfield High School, the Record honored him as one of the area’s top 10 high school wrestlers of all-time and the best grappler of the 1960s. As a coach for more than 25 years, Kochakji guided four student-athletes to all-America honors and more than 40 students to all-region and all-Garden State Athletic Conference accolades. Among many distinctions, Kochakji earned induction into the NJCAA Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2012.

Calupad, of Paramus, won the Stauff award on the strength of her performance in the classroom – a 3.7 GPA – and as a first team all-America pole vaulter. Her leap of 2.81 meters not only secured her gold medal finish, but her place in Bergen history – she represents the only national champion pole vaulter in the College’s 50 years. A Bergen student has now won the Stauff award in consecutive years; volleyball player Nadia Vaso earned the honor in 2016 – the first in Bergen’s history.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017-18, enrolls 15,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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