Breakthrough Championships, Dominant Performances Made 2018 a Memorable Year on Local Sports Scene
TOUGH LOVE: Princeton University quarterback John Lovett heads upfield in a game this fall. Playing through a broken left wrist, senior star Lovett triggered the offense as Princeton went 10-0 overall and 7-0 Ivy League, the program’s first perfect campaign since 1964. Lovett was awarded the 2018 Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year after passing for 1,833 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushing for 894 yards and 13 touchdowns. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Over the course of 2018, the national sporting scene saw some breakthrough championships while other franchises solidified their status as perennial title contenders. In the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl, rewarding their long-suffering fans. On the ice, the Washington Capitals came through with their first-ever Stanley Cup, bringing a rare unity to the nation’s capital. Long past any curse, the Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, earning their fourth title in the last 14 years. Out west, the incomparable Golden State Warriors won their second straight NBA crown and third in the last four years.
On the local scene, the Princeton University men’s hockey team experienced a breakthrough of its own, capping an extended rebuilding process by winning the ECACH tournament for the first time since 2008. The Princeton women’s basketball team regained the Ivy crown, winning the league’s postseason tournament for the first time as it earned its sixth title in the last nine seasons. The Tiger men’s track team won its fourth consecutive indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship and 21st overall indoor title.
In the spring, the Princeton women’s open crew varsity eight won its third straight Ivy League regatta while the men’s track team won the Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Championship. It marked the sixth Outdoor Heps title in the last eight years for coach Fred Samara’s squad. Women’s lacrosse won its fifth straight Ivy crown.
The Princeton football team produced a fall for the ages, going 10-0, the program’s first perfect campaign since 1964. It was the third Ivy crown for the Tigers in the last five years. Tiger men’s soccer went on a late surge to take the Ivy crown, its first league championship since sharing the title in 2014, and made its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010. The powerhouse Princeton field hockey team failed to win the Ivy title, but it advanced to the NCAA final four for the second time in three years. Tiger men’s cross country won its second straight Ivy League Heptagonal championship meet, and then placed first at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional. The women’s soccer team won its second straight league crown and third in four years.
In high school sports, the Hun School boys’ hockey team won an unprecedented fifth straight Mercer County Tournament title. The Hun baseball team won its third straight state Prep A crown while boys’ lacrosse regained the Prep A championship.
Raider football produced another dominant campaign as won the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title for the fifth straight year. Freshman Charlotte Bednar won three titles on her own in cross country, placing first in the girls’ varsity division at the Mercer County championship meet, the state Prep A meet, and the MAPL championships.
At Princeton Day School, the boys’ lacrosse team continued a streak of its own, winning its third straight Mercer County Tournament title in coach Rich D’Andrea’s final year at the helm of the program. Making history, PDS girls’ soccer won its fifth straight state Prep B title, defeating Montclair Kimberley 4-2 in the championship game. The Panther boys’ tennis team won the state Prep B tournament, its fifth state crown in the last six years.
The Princeton High boys’ indoor track produced a memorable season as the squad won its first-ever indoor county crown and its third straight sectional crown. Alec Bobchin stood out for the PHS wrestling team as he won the District 19 and Region V titles at 138 pounds the way to making the state tournament. In the spring, boys’ track continued its brilliant run, accomplishing a rare triple crown by winning the county, Central Jersey Group 4 sectional, and state Group 4 meets. The Little Tigers girls’ lacrosse team won the program’s first Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title.
Experiencing a special breakthrough, the Stuart Country Day School basketball team made history as it earned its first-ever state Prep B crown. The Stuart track program also achieved a notable feat, winning the state Prep B indoor title and sharing the crown in the Prep B outdoor meet with Villa Walsh, marking the first time the program won both titles in the same school year.
The one-two scoring punch of Max Veronneau and Ryan Kuffner, who each tallied more than 50 points, along with the superb play of star defenseman Josh Teves and goalie Ryan Ferland, helped the Princeton University men’s hockey team produce a historic campaign. Overcoming a sluggish start, Princeton caught fire down the stretch, winning the ECAC Hockey tournament, matching the feats of the 1998 and 2008 Tiger squads. Coach Ron Fogarty’s team lost 4-2 to Ohio State in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to finish the winter at 19-13-4.
Under new head coach Cara Morey, the women’s hockey team enjoyed another playoff run. The Tigers advanced to the ECACH quarterfinals where they fell to Cornell, ending the season at 14-14-4.
Led by sophomore Bella Alarie, the Ivy League Player of the Year, the women’s basketball team rolled to the league title, its sixth in the last nine seasons. Coach Courtney Banghart’s team went on and won the Ivy postseason tournament to earn the league’s automatic berth to the NCAA tournament, where they were defeated 77-57 by Maryland to finish with a 24-6 record.
The big three of Myles Stephens, Devin Cannady, and Amir Bell each earned All-Ivy honors, but the men’s basketball team faltered down the stretch. Coach Mitch Henderson’s squad lost eight of its 10 games, ending the winter at 13-16 overall and 5-9 Ivy.
Matthew Kolodzik added another chapter to his already illustrious career for the wrestling team as the sophomore took third at the NCAA Championships at 141 pounds. Coach Chris Ayres also coached three other athletes to the NCAAs as senior Mile D’Angelo went at 157, senior Jonathan Schleifer qualified at 165, and freshman Patrick Brucki at 197.
Maia Chamberlain and Kasia Nixon came up big at the NCAA championships for the fencing team. Sophomore Chamberlain won the individual saber title while classmate Nixon took the epee. Coach Zoltan Dudas guided his team to a seventh place finish in the team standings at the event.
Regan Barney and Joanna Curry provided highlights as women’s swimming took third at the Ivy League championship meet. Freshman Barney prevailed in the 400-yard individual medley at the meet while junior Curry was the victor in the 200 butterfly. Coach Bret Lundgaard’s team showed progress in his first year at the helm as Princeton finished comfortably in third with 1,301 points, a dramatic improvement over the 1,024 it scored the previous year, trailing champion Harvard and runner-up Yale.
Zach Buerger finished his career for the men’s swimming team on a high note as he won the 200-yard butterfly at the Ivy championships. Coach Rob Orr guided his squad to a second-place finish overall at the meet which was won by Harvard.
Producing a dominant performance, the men’s track team won its fourth consecutive indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship and 21st overall indoor title. Coach Fred Samara’s squad achieved the largest margin of victory ever in an indoor Ivy Heps, as the Tigers piled up 169 points for a 67-point edge over second place Penn.
Ten Tigers earned first-team All-Ivy League honors with seniors Josh Freeman and Garrett O’Toole winning two apiece in the 400 and mile, and then a dominating performance in the distance medley relay. Senior Noah Kauppila was also a two-time all-Ivy League honoree, taking first in the distance medley relay and second-team honors in the mile.
Jackie Berardo starred as women’s track placed sixth at the indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championship. Junior Berardo placed second in the 800-meter race to come up with the top finish at the meet for coach Michelle Eisenreich’s squad.
Sophomore George Huhmann enjoyed a brilliant campaign for men’s volleyball. Huhmann was a first-team All-EIVA (Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association) choice as he led the league in kills/set (3.6) and points/set (4.5). Coach Sam Shweisky’s squad rode Huhmann’s heroics to a late surge, advancing to the EIVA championship match where it fell 3-1 to Harvard to end the season with a 12-16 record.
Senior Olivia Fiechter and freshman Raneem El Torky led the way for women’s squash. Fiechter went 15-2 between the regular season and postseason combined at No. 1 to earn first-team All-Ivy honors, while El Torky posted 10-4 record in the regular season at No. 2 and was named the Ivy Rookie of the Year. Gail Ramsay shared Coach of the Year honors as she guided the Tigers to a third-place finish at the Howe Cup national team championships.
Showing progress, men’s squash placed eighth at the CSA (College Squash Association) national team championships. Coach Sean Wilkinson’s squad features a rising star as freshman Youssef Ibrahim thrived at No. 1, going 12-3 in regular season matches (6-1 Ivy) and earning Ivy Rookie of the Year honors.
Kyla Sears made an immediate impact in her freshman season for the Princeton women’s lacrosse team, tallying 83 points and earning first-team All-Ivy League and second-team All-American honors to help the Tigers tie for the Ivy title and then win the league’s postseason tournament. Junior attacker Elizabeth George, senior midfielder Ellie McNulty, and junior defender Alex Argo were also first-team All-Ivy selections. Coach Chris Sailer’s team went 13-6 overall and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Sophomore attacker Michael Sowers enjoyed another historic campaign for men’s lacrosse as he broke his own Princeton single-season scoring record with 83 points, one more than he had in 2017, and his 56 assists were also a Princeton single-season record. Senior midfield Austin Sims was the other big weapon for the Tigers, posting career highs with 32 goals and 16 assists for 48 points and finishing his career with 111 career points. Coach Matt Madalon’s team ended the spring with five straight wins to go 8-5 overall and 3-3 Ivy League, but fell just short of qualifying for the league’s postseason tournament.
Outfielder Jesper Horsted and senior pitcher Ben Gross, a former Princeton High standout, starred for baseball as it went through a rough spring. Horsted hit .324 to earn first-team All Ivy honors while Gross went 3-3 with 40 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings in league play to make second-team All-Ivy honors. Coach Scott Bradley’s squad went 10-17 overall and 7-14 Ivy.
Mackenzie Meyer enjoyed a superb debut campaign for softball, hitting .326 to earn first-team All-Ivy honors at outfield. Sophomore outfielder Megan Donahey and sophomore shortstop Allison Harvey earned second-team All-Ivy honors. Coach Lisa Van Ackeren’s squad finished 10-29 overall and 8-13 Ivy League.
Senior Haley Wan starred for women’s water polo, tallying 75 goals and 42 assists in her final college campaign. Wan’s heroics helped Princeton reach the CWPA (Collegiate Water Polo Association) Title game, where it fell 11-8 to Michigan. Interim head coach Becca Dorst guided the Tigers to a 23-8 record, filling in admirably after longtime coach Luis Nicolao left Princeton to lead the men’s water polo program at the Naval Academy, his alma mater.
Showing it could compete with the top boats in the nation, the men’s heavyweight crew produced another solid spring. Coach Greg Hughes saw plenty of positives as his varsity eight took fourth at the Eastern Sprints and fifth at the IRA national championship regatta.
Senior co-captains James Sincavage and James Goble led the way as the men’s lightweight varsity eight enjoyed a superb spring. Coach Marty Crotty’s top boat finished second at both the Eastern Sprints and the IRA (Intercollegiate Rowing Association) national championship regatta.
Solidifying its status as a national title contender, the women’s lightweight varsity eight earned its second straight third place finish at the IRAs. Coach Paul Rassam’s top boat became the first Tiger lightweight crew to earn back-to-back medals at the national championship regatta since 2010-11.
Coming up big down the stretch, the women’s open crew varsity eight won its third straight Ivy League regatta and took fifth at the NCAA championships, its highest finish at that competition since 2013. Coach Lori Dauphiny’s top boat was led by juniors Claire Collins and Emily Kallfelz, who were named to the 2018 CRCA All-America First Team, while classmate Ellie Sawyer earned Second-Team All-America honors.
Seniors Mitchel Charles and Josh Ingalls starred as men’s track won the Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Championship. Charles was named the Most Outstanding Field Performer of the Meet as he won both the shot put and the discus in his final Ivy Heps, while Ingalls was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet, running the second-fastest time in meet history to win the 800 before anchoring the 4×800 relay to a second-place finish. It marked the sixth Outdoor Heps title in the last eight years for coach Fred Samara’s squad.
Star thrower Kennedy O’Dell came up big as women’s track took third at the Ivy Outdoor Heps. Senior O’Dell was second on both the shot put and discus at the meet for coach Michelle Eisenreich’s team.
Evan Quinn produced a strong sophomore campaign for men’s golf, tying for 15th individually at the Ivy League Championships as he lead the way for the Tigers throughout the spring. Coach Will Green’s squad placed seventh in the team standings at the Ivy tourney.
Maya Walton starred for women’s golf, earning Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Joining sophomore Walton as All Ivy picks were freshman Annabelle Chang and junior Amber Wang.
Coach Erika DeSanty’s squad won its second straight Ivy League Championships title, marking the first time the program has accomplished that feat since 2004-05.
Senior Luke Gamble and freshman Damian Rodriguez earned second-team All-Ivy League doubles recognition for men’s tennis. Coach Billy Pate guided the Tigers to an 18-11 overall record and 3-4 Ivy.
Katrine Steffensen, a senior, earned unanimous first-team All-Ivy singles honors while Stephanie Schrage, a freshman, was a second-team All-Ivy singles selection as they helped women’s tennis roll to the Ivy title. Coach Laura Granville’s squad went 19-4 overall and 7-0 Ivy, falling 4-3 to Illinois in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
Featuring an explosive offense and a stingy defense, the Princeton football team was dominant as it produced a historic campaign. The Tigers scored an Ivy League record 470 points as they went 10-0 overall and 7-0 Ivy, producing the program’s first perfect season since 1964.
Senior quarterback John Lovett led the way, passed for 1,833 yards and 18 touchdowns, and rushed for 894 yards and 13 touchdowns as he won the Bushnell Cup Ivy Offensive Player of the Year for the second time in three years. Senior receiver Jesper Horsted ended his career as the programs’ all-time leader in receptions (196) and touchdown catches (28).
Other first-team All-Ivy performers for coach Bob Surace’s squad besides Lovett and Horsted included senior tight end Graham Adomitis, senior offensive lineman George Attea, junior offensive lineman Reily Radosevich and senior running back Charlie Volker, junior defensive back T.J. Floyd, senior linebacker Mark Fossati, and senior linebacker Tom Johnson.
Clara Roth triggered the attack and Elise Wong spearheaded the defense as field hockey saved its best for last, advancing to its second NCAA Final Four in the last three years. Coach Carla Tagliente’s team fell 1-0 in overtime to Maryland in the NCAA semis to end the fall at 15-5.
Mimi Asom solidified her status as one of the best players in program history for women’s soccer, scoring 12 goals and getting named as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. Asom, who ended her career third on the Princeton career list with 43 goals and 95 points, helped the Tigers win their second straight league crown and third in four years. Coach Sean Driscoll’s squad fell 3-0 to Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA tournament to post a final record of 11-4-2.
Overcoming a 1-3 start, men’s soccer caught fire, going 9-1-3 in its next 13 games on the way to the Ivy League title. Sophomore midfielder Kevin O’Toole was named the Ivy Player of Year as he scored a number of clutch goals in Ivy play.
Coach Jim Barlow’s team ended the fall in heartbreaking fashion, falling to Michigan after 14 rounds of penalty kicks in the first found of the NCAA tournament on the way to a 10-5-3 final record.
Conor Lundy set the pace as men’s cross country won its second straight Ivy League heptagonal championship meet. Junior Lundy placed second as the tigers won their second straight Heps title and 20th in program history. Coach Jason Vigilante’s squad went on the won the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional and went on to place 22nd at the NCAA championship meet.
Melia Chittenden starred as women’s cross country placed third at the Ivy League Heps meet. Sophomore Chittenden placed eighth individually as Princeton trailed champion Columbia and runner-up Dartmouth. Coach Brad Hunt’s runners later placed second at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic regional and 21st at the NCAA championship meet.
Matt Payne produced a special senior season for men’s water polo, tallying 77 goals and 45 assists as he earned honorable mention All-American honors. Payne’s heroics helped the Tigers win Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) title with Princeton defeating Harvard 12-10 in the conference championship game. New head coach Dustin Litvak’s squad fell just short of reaching the NCAA Final Four, getting edged 14-13 in overtime by George Washington in the opening round of the NCAA tourney to end the fall with a 19-11 record.
Juniors Maggie O’Connell and Devon Peterkin both earned 2018 first-team All-Ivy League honors to help women’s volleyball enjoy another superb season. Coach Sabrina King guided her team to a 19-6 overall record and 12-2 Ivy as the Tigers finished one game behind champion Yale.
Led by the one-two punch of Kyle Mandleur and Matt Argentina, the Hun School boys’ hockey team won its fifth straight Mercer County Tournament title. Coach Ian McNally’s squad defeated crosstown rival Princeton High 9-4 in the title game to end the winter at 13-8-1.
Unable to find an offensive rhythm and losing a number of close games, the boys’ basketball had a tough winter. Coach Jon Stone’s team went 4-19.
The inside-outside combination of center Kai Volcy and guard Jada Jones helped girls’ hoops enjoy a competitive season. The Raiders posted a 7-15 mark under the guidance of longtime head coach Bill Holup.
Featuring a powerful hitting attack sparked by McGwire Tuffy and Adam Wijaya, and solid starting pitching led by senior ace Chris Murdock, the baseball team won its third straight state Prep A title. Coach Tom Monfiletto’s squad ended the spring at 15-6.
Turning the tables on archival Lawrenceville, the boys’ lacrosse team defeated the Big Red 9-6 in the state Prep A title game. Trevor Deubner, Devon Cowan, and Grant Hansen led the attack for coach M.V. Whitlow’s squad, which posted a 9-3 record.
Zoe Cook had a big year offensively to provide a highlight as girls’ lacrosse struggled through a tough spring. Coach Liz Cook’s squad went 7-10.
The hitting of Gigi Venizelos and Meghan Donahue and the pitching of Alanna Person helped softball produce another solid campaign. Coach Kathy Quirk’s squad advanced to the state Prep A championship game, where it fell 4-3 to Blair to end the spring at 10-7.
Running back Josh Henderson and lineman Caedan Wallace were standouts as there football team enjoyed another championship campaign. Coach Todd Smith’s squad went 8-1 overall and 5-0 in Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) to win the league title for the fifth straight year. A highlight of the season came when the Raiders edged Peddie 21-16 to avenge a loss to the Falcons in 2017, taking a big step in securing the outright title.
Freshman Charlotte Bednar won three titles on her own in cross country, placing first in the girls’ varsity division at the Mercer County championship meet, the state Prep A meet and the MAPL championships. Bednar went undefeated this season for coach Stacy Collingham.
Senior star Martin Adams enjoyed a superb final campaign, placing eighth at the state Prep A meets to help boys’ cross country take fifth in the team standings at the meet.
Junior Nicole Angelini and senior Bryonna “Breezy” Worthy were bright spots as the girls’ soccer team had a rough fall. Coach Joann Hallac’s squad went 4-11.
Senior standout and two-time captain Elijah Smarr triggered the offense from the midfield as boys’ soccer made progress. Coach Pat Quirk’s squad went 9-10 and advanced to the state Prep A semifinals for the first time in years.
Saving its best for last, field hockey won four of its last six games, including a 2-1 win over Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in the season finale. The Raiders ended up 6-11 in what turned out to be the final season at the helm of the program for longtime coach Kathy Quirk as she stepped down from the post at the end of the fall.
Led by a trio of juniors, forwards Ty Eastman and Coby Auslander along with defenseman Chip Hamlett, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team enjoyed another winning campaign. Coach Scott Bertoli’s squad went 17-8, reaching the championship game of the Mid-Atlantic Hockey League (MAHL) where it fell 1-0 to Wyoming Seminary (Pa.).
Gia Massari and Julie Patterson triggered the offense for the girls’ hockey. Coach Lorna Cook’s squad took fifth place at the WIHLMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) playoffs to finish 9-13-1.
David “Diggy” Coit passed the 1,000-point mark in his career for provide a highlight for the boys’ basketball team. Coach Kerry Foderingham guided the squad to a 12-13 record and the state Prep B semis. Foderingham stepped down after the season and was succeeded by former Hun and Princeton University standout Doug Davis.
A quartet of senior stalwarts — Bridget Kane, Madi Coyne, Kate Bennett, and Ryan Robinson — held things together for girls’ basketball. Coach Kamau Bailey’s squad went 5-16. Bailey left the program after the season and was replaced by former Lehigh women’s hoops standout Liz Sharlow.
Elon Tuckman and Coby Auslander triggered the attack as boys’ lacrosse enjoyed another championship season in coach Rich D’Andrea’s final campaign at the helm of the program. The Panthers defeated Hightstown 9-3 in Mercer County Tournament final to earn the program’s third straight county crown and end the spring with a 10-5 record.
Falling just short of a Prep B title four-peat, girls’ lacrosse lost 10-9 to Morristown-Beard in the title game. Led by senior stars Kate Bennett, Kyra Hall, Bridget Kane, and Madison Mundenar, coach Jill Thomas’s team ended the spring with an 8-9 record. Earlier in the year, Thomas was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
Senior star Luke Franzoni enjoyed a huge season for the the baseball team. Xavier University-bound Franzoni hits .538 with 10 homers and 25 RBIs on the spring as coach Brian Dudeck’s squad posted an 8-11 record.
Julie Patterson starred at catcher for softball as Paul Lano’s squad posted a 1-9 record.
With freshman Aaron Phogat coming through with the title at third singles, boys’ tennis won the state Prep B tournament, earning its fifth state crown in the last six years. Senior Lex Decker enjoyed a big final campaign at first singles for coach Will Asch taking fourth at the Mercer County Tournament and making the finals of the Prep B tourney.
Making history, girls’ soccer won its fifth straight state Prep B title, defeating Montclair Kimberly 4-2 in the championship game. Ariana Jones, Brooke Smukler, and Jules Romano helped trigger the offense while Kelsey Lane and goalie Riley Felsher led the defense. Coach Pat Trombetta’s squad, which also advanced to the Mercer County Tournament semis, ended the fall at 14-4-1.
Wesley Leggett enjoyed a brilliant final campaign for boys’ soccer as he tallied 22 goals. Coach Ollie Hilliker’s squad posted an 8-7-3 record, falling 4-3 to Montclair Kimberley Academy in the state Prep B title game.
Senior stars Val Radvany, Gwen Allen, and Sasha Sindhwani led the way as field hockey made a superb postseason run. Coach Heather Farlow’s team advanced to the Mercer County Tournament final, where it was edged by Lawrenceville 1-0, and the state Prep B final, where it fell 2-0 to Montclair Kimberley Academy. The Panthers ended the fall with an 11-6 record.
Grace Marshall won the title at third singles at the Mercer County Tournament to provide a highlight for girls’ tennis. Coach Will Asch’s squad placed seventh in the team standings at the MCT.
Sophomore Gunnar Clingman and junior Kevin Dougherty starred for boys’ cross country, placing seventh and 14th, respectively, at the state Prep B championship meet. Coach John Woodside guided the Panthers to a fifth-place finish in the team standings at the meet.
Not missing a beat under new head coach Tim Chase, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team advanced to the finals of the Mercer County Tournament and the state Public B semis for a second straight year. Aidan Trainor and Keith Goldberg sparked the offense while Max Garlock starred on defense as the Little Tigers finished the winter at 18-9-2.
Showing marked improvement with Dave Kosa taking the helm as coach, girls’ basketball went 14-14 after going 6-20 the year before. The trio of Taylor Stone, Erin Devine, and Catherine Dyevich provided scoring and hustle as the Little Tigers defeated South Brunswick in the opening round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional to earn its first state tournament win since the mid-1990s.
Having trouble filling the void left by 1,000-point scorer Zahrion Blue, boys’ basketball went through a rebuilding season. Coach Pat Noone’s squad posted a 4-21 record.
Dan Barberis and Jeshurun Reyen starred in the sprinting event for boys’ swimming as PHS took fifth in the county meet. Coach Carly Misiewicz’s squad ended the winter at 8-4.
Freshman Becca Della Rocca starred at the county meet for girls’ swimming, placing first in the 400-meter freestyle, second in the 100 butterfly, and doing the anchor leg for the victorious 400 free relay. Coach Carly Misiewicz guided the Little Tigers to a third place in the team standings at the meet and a final record of 9-4.
The production of freshman Maddie Samaan along with the Zammit sisters, Alexa and Victoria, sparked girls’ hockey. Coach Christian Herzog’s squad ended the winter at 9-7-3.
Featuring a balanced squad with such stars as distance runner Will Hare, pole vaulter Simon Schenk, thrower Paul Brennan, jumpers Varun Narayan and Nils Wildberg along with sprinter Matt Perelle, boys’ indoor track produced a memorable season. Coach Ben Samara’s team won its first-ever indoor county crown, its third straight sectional crown, and placed fifth in the state Group 4 indoor meet.
Junior Alec Bobchin stood out for the wrestling team as he won the District 19 and Region V titles at 138 pounds, becoming the first PHS wrestler to win a region crown since Thomas Frantzen did so in 2006. Bobchin ended up placing eighth at that state tournament, the first time a PHS wrestler had made the podium at the event since Ian Reddy took fourth in 1993. Coach Rashone Johnson led his wrestlers to a ninth-place finish at the county tournament.
Led by the one-two scoring punch of Mariana Lopez-Ona and Shaylah Marciano, girls’ lacrosse made history as they won the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title, rallying to edge Rancocas Valley 9-8 in the final. Coach Sara Doran’s team fell 20-7 to Clearview in the Group 4 state semis to finish with a 13-11 record.
Dealing with inexperience and hampered by some key injuries, boys’ lacrosse had a rough spring. Coach Chip Casto’s squad ended with a 5-12 record.
Led by the hitting of senior stalwarts Paul Cooke and Alec Silverman and the pitching of junior standout Teddy Durbin, baseball enjoyed a special season. PHS advanced to the Mercer County Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2005. Coach Dave Roberts guided the Little Tigers to a record of 13-9.
Working younger players into the lineup, softball took its lumps. Coach Marissa Soprano’s squad went 2-18 on the spring.
Showing its talent and depth, boys’ track accomplished a rare triple crown, winning the county, Central Jersey Group 4 sectional, and state Group 4 meets. Coach Rashone Johnson sent athletes to the Meet of Champions in 13 events with seven individuals or relays seeded in the top 10.
Siena Moran and Jackie Patterson led the way for girls’ track, Moran starred in the 1,600 while Patterson was a standout in the 400 for coach Jim Smirk’s team, which took fourth at the county meet and 10th at the sectionals.
Led by a trio of singles stars Noah Lilienthal, Jerry Gu, and Kevin Yang, PHS advanced to the NJSIAA Group 3 state team final where it fell 4-1 to WW/P-South. Coach Sarah Hibbert’s squad posted a final record of 20-3.
Fueled by a talented and cohesive group of seniors, field hockey enjoyed a special season. With senior stars Mariana Lopez-Ona and Isabel Kinney along with junior Eleanor Wilkinson sparking the offense, the Little Tigers brought a 14-0 record into the Mercer County Tournament semifinals. Coach Heather Serverson’s team ended up falling to PDS in the MCT semis and then advanced to the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional semis where they fell 3-2 to Rancocas Valley to end with a 15-2 record.
Getting into the win column for the first time since 2016, football edged Cherry Hill East 21-14 in late September to snap a 21-game losing streak. Two weeks later, PHS posted another win as they defeated West Windsor Plainsboro 22-19. Coach Charlie Gallagher’s team ended the fall at 2-7.
Hurt by a series of injuries and working new faces into the lineup, boys’ soccer had a bumpy fall. Coach Wayne Sutcliffe’s team ended the season at 8-6-3, losing in the MCT quarterfinals and the first round of the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional.
Freshman forward Sophia Lis emerged as star to help girls’ soccer make progress. Coach Val Rodriguez’s squad advanced to the quarterfinals of both the MCT quarterfinals and the Group 4 Central Jersey sectional on the way to going to 9-7-2.
The trio of seniors Tucker Zullo, Jackson McCarty, and Acasio Pinheiro set the pace as boys’ cross country maintained its status as a powerhouse. Coach Jim Smirk guided his runners to a fifth place finish at the county meet, second in the Central Jersey group 4 sectionals, fifth at the state Group 4 meet, and 13th at the Meet of Champions.
Siena Moran starred for girls’ cross country, taking second at the county meet to help PHS place third in the team standings. Coach Jim Smirk’s squad ended the fall by taking seventh at the Central Jersey group 4 sectional meet.
Senior Natalia Drobnjak along with juniors Gillian Hauschild, Kim Cheng, Gwen Matsukawa, and Cosette Hansen led the way as girls’ volleyball won the BCSL (Burlington County Scholastic League) tournament. Coach Patty Manhart’s squad fell to Cherokee in the opening round of the Group 4 state tournament to end the fall at 20-6.
The first doubles team of Bella Lependorf and Jordan Johnson won their flight at the county tournament for girls’ tennis as it placed second to Hightstown in the team standings at the competition. Coach Sarah Hibbert’s team advanced to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals where it fell to nemesis Hightstown. The Little Tigers ended up posting a final record of 14-2.
The trio of senior Jalynn Spaulding, junior Bey-Shana Clark, and freshman Nia Melvin helped the Stuart Country Day School basketball team make history as it earned its first-ever state Prep B crown. The Tartans routed Academy of St. Elizabeth 62-22 in the Prep B title game and also advanced to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. Coach Justin Leith guided the squad to a final record of 17-8.
The track teams also made history as they won the state Prep B indoor title and were the co-champions in the Prep B outdoor meet along Villa Walsh, marking the first time the program won both titles in the same school year. Coach Len Klepack’s squad was led by senior star sprinter and hurdler Michelle Kwafo and senior high jumper Allison Walsh.
Seniors Ali Hannah and Gin Gin Plehn starred for lacrosse as coach Missy Bruvik’s squad went 5-11-1.
Caroline Mullen and Catherine Martin triggered the offense while Priscilla Francois led the back line as field hockey enjoyed a superb campaign. Coach Missy Bruvik’s team advanced to the state Prep B semis and the MCT quarterfinals on the way to a 12-5 record.