Vol. LXII, No. 19
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
WISE MOVE: Princeton High senior jumping star Megan Wiseman flies high in a meet last season. This spring, the Delaware-bound Wiseman has been a force at the long jump and triple jump as PHS has gone 6-2 in dual meets. The Little Tigers will look to fly high on May 10 when they compete in the Mercer County Track and Field Championship at Steinert.
While Jim Smirk was not surprised that his Princeton High girls’ track team beat Lawrence in a dual meet last week, he was impressed by the effort he got from his athletes.
PHS showed both balance and competitive fire as it cruised to a 96-39 win over the Cardinals.
“Lawrence is still a growing program so we weren’t so worried about the points,” said Little Tiger head coach Smirk. “I saw some good things.”
PHS got a lot of good things from senior Olivia Johnston, who won the 400 hurdles, the 200, and the 100 in the meet.
“O.J. has been having a good time this year; last year it took her a while to get going and she ended up having a great season,” said Smirk, whose team is now 6-2 in dual meets.
“She has committed to running the 400 hurdles, we knew that she had talent to do it and she has really enjoyed the challenge of another event. She’s such a versatile athlete.
The hard-nosed veteran has given the squad more than just points. “She’s really taken the younger runners under her wing,” added Smirk.
“She has been working with the whole sprinting crew; showing them how to work out and to give your best everyday.”
Junior standout Molly Lynch gave her best as she beat nemesis Molly Goodell of Lawrence. “Molly Lynch had lost to Molly Goodell twice over the winter and it was great to see her control that race wire to wire,” asserted Smirk. “She also brought along Clara Hartmanstern and Priya Gupta.”
Senior jumping star Megan Wiseman has been bringing along the Little Tigers with her.
“Megan is doing a great job, she is working with the young triple jumpers,” said Smirk, noting that freshman Rebekka Vuojoain has gone over 32 feet.
“I do see her in the Meet of Champions again; she is reworking her triple jump. She has had better distance in the past but her technique wasn’t great, it was her raw jumping ability. She is going to Delaware and she needs to have better technique to compete there. You see that she is running the 100 and 200. She needs to be stronger; she is fiercely competitive.”
Smirk is seeing a good competitive attitude in his corps of distance runners. “Molly is our leader in the 800,” said Smirk. “Mina Juhn, Emma Kostenbader, and Clara Hartmanstern are doing well in the 1,600. In the 3,200 Helene Cody, Joanna Casey, and Emily Ullmann are at 13:00; they are pushing hard, coming together.”
In the throwing events, senior Alysia Kanda has come on for the Little Tigers. “Alysia is a real fun girl, she is very good natured,” said Smirk of Kanda who won the shot put and the discus in the Lawrence meet.
“In her freshman year, she struggled with what it meant to be on the team. With every passing year, she has gotten better. She’s in the 90s in the discus; we can see in practice that she is a blink of an eye from getting to 100. She tasted what it was like to be on the bubble in the big meets last year and that has made her work harder.”
One of PHS’ hardest workers has been senior sprinter Cece Jefferson. “Cece is down to 13:00 in the 100; she’s a workhorse for us in that event,” said Smirk.
“She’s also doing the 200; she brings a die hard attitude. She joined us as a sophomore and the team idea was new for her. She was very cautious; last year as a junior she showed glimpses. She exemplifies the work ethic; she is the first at practice and the last to leave. She works on the little things; she works on her technique, her starts, and her finishes.”
The Little Tigers will need to bring that work ethic collectively as they compete in the Mercer County Track and Field Championship at Steinert on May 10.
“It will be a challenge for us to do well, it’s not going to be a walk in the park,” asserted Smirk, who sees Wiseman, Johnston, Lynch, and jumper Dana Sahil as medal contenders at the county meet.
“We have to compete well and do our best; you want to go into a meet like this knowing that you have to go all out. They need a good honest effort on the day; that’s all you can ask for as a coach. That will help us for the states.”
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