Former ‘Spartan of the Year’ will be inducted into the Steinert Hall of Fame
By Mary Ann Tarr
You may know him as a longtime member of the Hamilton business community.
Or you may remember him as the veteran youth baseball coach.
But you might not know that Dave Lauer was one of the most versatile track and field athletes in the history of Steinert High School.
A member of the SHS Class of 1980, Lauer was a record-setting performer in track and field. He also played football at Steinert for three years. Stories about the leadership qualities and strong work ethic that helped him be chosen as “Spartan of the Year” will be in the forefront as Lauer is inducted into the Steinert High School Athletic Hall of Fame during ceremonies that will take place April 14 at Stone Terrace.
“Dave was one of the most popular and likeable young men to walk the halls of Steinert,” said former SHS coach Andre Modica. “He was a pleasure to have in your classroom as well as on and off the field. He was a true team player.”
Lauer burst on the athletic scene as a track and field youngster at the then-named Reynolds Junior High and continued to shine there and at numerous other venues through the years.
“He excelled as a sprinter, middle distance runner and in the field events as well — long jump, discus and especially the javelin,” Modica said.
Lauer starred in the 100-, 220- and 440-yard dashes, was the top field-event contributor and was a member of the record-breaking mile relay team as a freshman. He was the leading point scorer as the team was undefeated and captured the title at the prestigious Lawrenceville Freshman Invitational.
He continued to rack up points as a sophomore and junior. He was a major contributor to the 1979 track and field team that won the Mercer County championship and placed second in an NJSIAA Central Jersey competition.
Lauer completed a special senior year as a Spartan.
He joined the cross country team as a senior and had an immediate impact as he helped the Spartans qualify for the Group 4 state meet. As a first-time cross-country runner, Dave was recognized with second-team all-county honors.
“He was quiet, humble, and very competitive through hard work and incentive to win,” said former SHS coach Jerry Bleistein.
On the way to multiple all-county honors, Lauer excelled in numerous events including the 800-meter run and the javelin. You can find his name at the top of the record books at SHS for his efforts in the 55-meter dash (6.5) and as a member of the 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams. He is also among the top performers in the javelin. He received MVP awards in indoor and outdoor track and field.
“If there was a decathlon in high school, Dave would have been a champion in that event,” Modica said.
Lauer competed with and against some top athletes. Teammates included Steinert Hall of Famers Darryl Reaves, Tom Matlock and Rich Henrie. And somewhere in his archives there is an especially memorable photograph.
“… running against (former Willingboro High standout) Carl Lewis in the 60-yard dash at Lawrenceville Prep. I was a junior and he was a senior. We knew then he was going to be an Olympian. Somewhere I have a great picture of me narrowly losing to him … a year later he qualified for the Olympics.”
“I couldn’t be prouder to have been Dave’s track and field coach for six consecutive years,” Modica said. “Dave came out for the team in 7th grade, while I was a teacher/coach at Reynolds Jr. High. We both moved over to the high school in the fall of 1976 and remained together until his graduation in 1980. I also had the privilege of being his teacher during that span. Dave was probably the best all-around/versatile athlete I’ve ever coached. He excelled in the field and on the track. He, when called on, would run all track events from the 100 meter to the 800 meter. More importantly, Dave was one of the nicest, most personable individuals I’ve ever come to know.”
Lauer also treasures the relationships forged and the uniqueness of the timeframe of his youth.
“(It) is more a sign of the era, teachers and students spending time together outside of school was not uncommon,” he explained. “I have great memories of summertime training runs with (coach) Doug Martin and teammates at the Jersey Shore, and the streets of Philadelphia, and pool-opening parties at Andre’s mother’s house. Great times I will never forget.”
Lauer has been able to give back to his community in various ways.
“I had the privilege of coaching youth baseball for 20 years and served on the boards of Nottingham Little League, Hamilton Babe Ruth League, and the Babe Ruth World Series Board that
brought the event to Hamilton,” he said.
“I am also grateful that I have been able to have a business in my hometown serving businesses and families for almost 30 years, and this past year my firm (Boscarelli, Lauer, Lazzaro & Millen, Inc.) established a Charitable Foundation that each year selects a local charity to benefit from a yearly fundraising event we sponsor. This year’s recipient was Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County.”
For information about the Steinert Athletic Hall of Fame visit steinertathletichof.com or the group’s Facebook page. The deadline to make arrangements to attend the dinner is March 31.