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December 15, 2022

They Lived in Manalapan Township, NJ: Famous Manalapan Residents

Manalapan Township gets its name from the Lenape Native American word from “good bread,” “good bread to settle upon” or “land of good bread.” It should come as no surprise, then, that so many famous and successful people heralded from this humble yet fertile ground in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Robby Andrews

Specializing in the 1500- and 800-meter races, American middle-distance runner Robby Andrews graduated from Manalapan High School in 2009. During his senior year there, he set two U.S. high school indoor records: one for the 800-meter and the other for the 1000-meter.

In 2011, while attending the University of Virginia, he won the 800-meter men’s event at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships. He also earned the bronze medal in the 4×800 meter relay at the 2014 IAAF World Relays and, one year later, the gold medal in the same event. Andrews went on to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games and won his first national championship at the 2017 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Jim Babjak

Originally from Carteret, New Jersey, Jim Babjak is a guitarist and co-founder of The Smithereens. His music has appeared in a host of films, including Boys Don’t Cry, Encino Man, and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

He writes and performs material for soap operas and television commercials, and has also served as bandleader for the group Buzzed Meg. His band appeared briefly in the film Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Babjik is currently a resident of Manalapan Township.

Joe Pesci

This Academy Award-winning actor was born in Manalapan in 1943 and went on to become a much-loved star of the silver screen. His characters are known for their quick wit and sharp one-liners, making him an unforgettable presence in film history.

Alyssa Campanella

Born in New Brunswick, NJ and raised in Manalapan Township, Alyssa Campanella was the winner of the 2011 Miss USA pageant. This made her the second of only two redheaded Miss USA titleholders and the first ever to be a former runner-up in the Miss Teen USA pageant.

She graduated from Freehold Township High School in 2008, and went on to attend classes at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and the Institute of Culinary Education. After winning the Miss USA 2011 title, Campanella competed in the Miss Universe 2011 pageant.

David DeJesus

David DeJesus is a former outfielder in professional baseball who played for several Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, including the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

DeJesus was raised in Manalapan Township, where he was drafted by the New York Mets straight out of Manalapan High School. Rather than signing with the team, however, he chose to study at Rutgers. After being named a Cape Cod Baseball League (CCBL) all-star, he was eventually drafted by the Royals in 2000. Since his 2017 retirement, DeJesus has worked as an analyst with NBC Sports Chicago for the Cubs.

Michael Sorrentino

A 1999 graduate of Manalapan High School, Michael Sorrentino appeared on the MTV reality show Jersey Shore for all six seasons between 2009 and 2012. Since appearing on the franchise, Sorrentino has competed with Karina Smirnoff in Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars and appeared on several talk shows, including Chelsea Lately, Conan, Lopez Tonight, SportsNation, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and The Jay Leno Show.

Carl R. Woodward

Born in Manalapan Township’s Tennent community, Carl R. Woodward was an educator who served as the University of Rhode Island’s first president between 1951 and 1958. Graduating from Freehold High School in 1906, he attended both Rutgers University and Cornell University. He also belongs to the ​State of Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

These are just a few of the notable figures that have called Manalapan Township home at some point in their lives. Manalapan takes great pride in its residents past and present. As Bruce Springsteen once said, “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”

Springpoint Living at Manalapan is where older adults will find person-centered living that enriches each day, celebrates shared experiences, and fosters friendships. Contact us to schedule a visit today.

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