July 16, 2014
STICKING IT OUT: Doug Bryant heads upfield in action this spring in his senior season for the University of Michigan men’s lacrosse team. Bryant, a former Princeton High standout, tallied seven goals and two assists this spring to help the Wolverines go 5-11.(Photo Courtesy of Michigan’s Office of Media Relations)

STICKING IT OUT: Doug Bryant heads upfield in action this spring in his senior season for the University of Michigan men’s lacrosse team. Bryant, a former Princeton High standout, tallied seven goals and two assists this spring to help the Wolverines go 5-11. (Photo Courtesy of Michigan’s Office of Media Relations)

When the University of Michigan men’s lacrosse team played its first-ever varsity game at the Division I level in 2012, Doug Bryant got things started with a bang.

The former Princeton High standout scored the first two goals for the Wolverines against Detroit as they made the jump from the club level.

“That was pretty crazy; I was in the right place at the right time,” said Bryant, recalling those historic tallies in the 13-9 loss.

“It was like my whole career, coming to Michigan and walking on to a club team and then the club becomes a D-1 program.”

While Michigan predictably struggled in its first D-I campaign, going 1-13, Bryant showed the right stuff, scoring 16 points on 13 goals and three assists.

But the 6’2, 199-pound midfielder ran into some tough times in the latter stages of the campaign.

“I was injured my sophomore year and that carried into fall ball,” said Bryant.

“I had a torn PCL in my knee. I injured it in the middle of my sophomore year and I kept playing on it which made it worse. I had to take time off in the fall to let it heal.”

The lost time doomed Bryant to a tough junior campaign in 2013, as he scored just one goal in five appearances.

Entering this spring, Bryant was determined to end things on a high note.

“I was excited to be coming back,” said Bryant. “The coaches emphasized that whoever worked hardest in practice would get to play. I worked my way up to the second line.”

Bryant enjoyed a solid start to 2014, picking up seven goals and two assists in Michigan’s first eight contests, highlighted by a goal against perennial lax powerhouse Johns Hopkins.

“That was definitely special,” said Bryant, reflecting on the tally at Hopkins. “It was something I had been working for; to get it at Homewood was great.”

Bryant, though, got hit by the injury bug once again, rupturing his spleen in a March 15 win over
Bellarmine.

While Bryant did return to the field, he wasn’t 100 percent going down the stretch.

“I came back for the last couple of weeks,” said Bryant. “I was a little behind; it is tough to be out for a month in the middle of the season.”

With Michigan going 5-11 this spring after posting a combined 2-26 record over the previous two seasons, Bryant believes the squad will be tougher to beat in the future.

“We had a really good group of underclassmen guys, they followed our lead and they were very coachable,” said Bryant.

“I am excited to see how things go in the future; things are starting to turn around. Five wins wasn’t great but it was a lot better than one win in two straight years. It was great for the underclassmen. There is going to be a Big 10 lacrosse league next year with Hopkins, Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.”

Bryant led the way in terms of conditioning, earning the program’s 2014 Weight Room Warrior Award.

“It was for the guys who trained the hardest,” said Bryant, reflecting on the honor. “I was in Argentina last summer and I had access to a great gym. Lacrosse is a year-long thing for me.”

Playing lacrosse at Michigan gave Bryant some great lessons on battling through tough times.

“It was definitely about sticking with things and being persistent; I went through ups and downs,” said Bryant, a cellular and molecular biology major who is planning to apply to medical school after taking a gap year.

“Junior year was a downer. I had a lot of injuries but I persevered. It was incredible to play for Michigan athletics, particularly for someone who wasn’t even recruited for the club team. My closest friends were on the lacrosse team. It is definitely a great sports environment. We played our home games this spring in the Big House (the 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium).”

CARDINAL RULE: Sophia Monaghan poses for a team photo this spring in her freshman season with the Stanford University women’s water polo program. Princeton resident and former Lawrenceville school star Monaghan enjoyed a memorable debut campaign, helping the Cardinals win the NCAA title. (Photo Courtesy of Stanford’s Office of Athletic Communications)

CARDINAL RULE: Sophia Monaghan poses for a team photo this spring in her freshman season with the Stanford University women’s water polo program. Princeton resident and former Lawrenceville school star Monaghan enjoyed a memorable debut campaign, helping the Cardinals win the NCAA title.
(Photo Courtesy of Stanford’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Sophia Monaghan feared that she might be in over her head when she joined the Stanford University women’s polo team last fall.

With Stanford boasting a roster containing mainly California natives, some of whom are national team members, Princeton resident and former Lawrenceville School star Monaghan realized that she was stepping way up in class.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Monaghan. “I thought I may not get much playing time but that I would learn a lot.”

Exceeding her expectations, Monaghan scored six goals this spring in her freshman campaign, seeing action on defense and at utility.

“I was surprised by how much I got to play,” said Monaghan. “I had never played at that high a level. I rose to the occasion.”

In the process, Monaghan helped Stanford rise to the top of the college water polo world as the Cardinals won the NCAA title, topping UCLA 9-5 in the championship game.

For Monaghan, the moments after the national title win seem surreal even two months later.

“I could see the coach taking his phone out of his pocket and taking off his watch with a minute left; we had our arms interlocked on the bench,” recalled Monaghan.

“We were up by four goals and I realized we are going to win this game. All the people went in the pool. Everything seemed crazy, things were out of focus. I was thinking did we just spend the last 9 months of our life working hard for this. We were getting hats and t-shirts; we had to be respectful when UCLA got its trophy. It was a slow, gradual process for it to sink in.”

Getting ready for the season entailed a grueling process that started last fall.

“Being on the junior national team, I was used to short bursts of long practices,” said the 5’9 Monaghan, who helped Lawrenceville capture the Eastern Championships in 2011 and 2012.

“This was an entire year of hard training and spending a lot of time with your teammates. We did three lifts a week in the fall and we would do swimming before and after. We had five 20-hour weeks in the fall with 2½ hours practice in the afternoon and one hour in the morning. We had a three-day camp during winter break, going six hours a day. After winter break, we had another camp and then we had a scrimmage tournament.”

Showing the fruits of that training, Monaghan scored a goal in the team’s 16-3 opening day win over UC Davis on February 1.

“It was a pass across the pool, I caught it and fired it in, like the way we practiced it,” recalled Monaghan. “It showed the trust I had built with my teammates over the previous four or five months and the communication that we had developed.”

Two weeks later, Monaghan tallied three goals in a doubleheader sweep of UC Davis and Pacific.

“That was the peak of my season; it was the last game that I scored in before I got a concussion,” said Monaghan. “I got knocked around and I had to sit out a week.”

With Stanford having lost to USC 10-9 in quadruple overtime in the 2013 NCAA title game, the Cardinal players were hungry to knock off the competition in this year’s national tournament.

“We had a meeting the day before the first game, one of the players had made a slide show of the season and it got emotional,” said Monaghan. “We saw how much the team meant to all of us. Also, we talked about how much the loss to USC the year before had hurt and how we didn’t want that feeling again.”

While Monaghan’s playing time was reduced during the tournament she did get a goal in an 18-2 victory over Indiana in the quarters and saw action in a 12-8 win over Cal in the semis.

While Stanford wasn’t feeling great in the title game as it fell behind 5-2, the Cardinal players showed what they had learned from their 2013 loss to USC as they rallied to win their third NCAA crown in the last four years.

“We started off slowly but at halftime I was looking at the seniors and the girls who were playing and I saw that no one was panicking,” said Monaghan.

“We are beyond confident and we know we can do this. We had been a second half team all year. We were so composed, both the players in water and those on the bench. It was just natural, we started scoring goals and played good defense.”

The experience that Monaghan gained this season has given her a lot of confidence going forward. “I am 100 percent better definitely,” asserted Monaghan. “My knowledge of the game is better. I am more comfortable with the people I am playing with. I am making plays, I am using my voice. People had to talk to me at first, telling me to speak up. My shooting has improved and my defending is better.”

Since the end of the school, Monaghan has continued to improve. “We went to Europe; we played the Dutch national team in the Netherlands and we played the French national team in Nice,” added Monaghan, who has competed for the Princeton Tigers Aquatics water polo club and the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings swim program in past summers.

“There was a lot of training, the trip went from June 19-July 3. Right now we are doing more training, we are practicing from 6-to-8 every morning. We have one tournament, it is optional. For me, it is a great way to get competition. We go through July and then I come home.”

Out of the water, Monaghan has found a home at Stanford. “I love it, the people are so humble,” said Monaghan, who is studying human biology and is thinking about eventually going to medical school and working overseas for Doctors Without Borders.

“A girl in my dorm is a famous fashion photographer and another classmate won the Fortune innovator award but they never talk about it. The academic people have so much respect for the athletes, saying I can’t believe you are doing that. Everyone has school spirit, people are for the football games even if they know nothing about it.”

Having earned the respect of her teammates, Monaghan is looking to be more of a factor for the Cardinals next season.

“I want to take on a greater role and be more of a presence,” said Monaghan. “I want to increase my playing time and be that first, second, or third sub off the bench.”

JUST RIGHT: Justin Leith is all smiles after being named as the new director of athletics at the Stuart Country Day School. Leith, a former basketball star at Princeton Day School, started his tenure earlier this month. He is the replacement for Kim Ciarrocca, who is moving to Michigan where her husband coaches for the Western Michigan football team.(Photo Courtesy of Stuart Country Day School)

JUST RIGHT: Justin Leith is all smiles after being named as the new director of athletics at the Stuart Country Day School. Leith, a former basketball star at Princeton Day School, started his tenure earlier this month. He is the replacement for Kim Ciarrocca, who is moving to Michigan where her husband coaches for the Western Michigan football team. (Photo Courtesy of Stuart Country Day School)

For Justin Leith, transferring to Princeton Day School from Nottingham High in 1996 during his sophomore year proved to be a transformational event.

“The whole PDS experience was the biggest game-changer in my life,” said Leith, a Hamilton native and basketball star for the Panthers who scored more than 1,400 points in his career and helped the team win two state Prep titles.

“You can take everything and it goes back to that and the opportunities there. It was all of those lifelong things. There was certainly a learning curve but I buckled down and was able to catch up.”

Now, Leith is looking to be a game-changer across Great Road at the Stuart Country Day School as he returns to Princeton to serve as the school’s new director of athletics.

“There is an energy here I felt; other places had great energy but this place had the best energy,” said Leith, the replacement for Kim Ciarrocca, who is moving to Michigan where her husband coaches for the Western Michigan football team.

“I felt an unbelievable connection and I felt so comfortable here. I didn’t want to come to a place where this is the position and just keep things the way that they are.”

Leith, 33, is bringing varied experience to the position, having starred for the Merrimack College basketball team before playing pro ball in Europe, Asia, Central, and South America. He also had a two-year stint as the strength and conditioning coach at the Peddie School and most recently was at the Asheville School in North Carolina from 2011-14, where he served as associate athletics director, an admissions officer, and boys’ basketball coach.

Playing basketball overseas from 2004-5 and 2007-11 reinforced Leith’s belief that relentlessly pursing a goal constitutes victory, no matter what the result.

“It was amazing, you put everything into something and you have no regrets,” said Leith, a 6’6 forward who had pro stops in the Czech Republic, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina, and Malaysia after a stellar college career that saw him score more than 1,500 points and grab more than 700 rebounds.

“Was the ultimate goal to play in the NBA, of course it was, but I was paid pretty well to play basketball and I put everything into it. It is like the man in the arena quote, at least I know I put myself out there and there is nothing wrong with that. The definition of success is really putting your all into something and whatever the outcome is, you are successful.”

For Leith, serving as the strength and conditioning coach at Peddie between 2005-07 gave him a glimpse of his future course.

“I lived on campus, I was a faculty member in residence,” recalled Leith. “I loved the academic setting. I always talk about the access you have to the kids. It is a boarding school, an independent school environment. I am a kid that came from an independent school so I know that academic rigor.”

Heading to the Asheville School after completing his pro career, Leith wore many hats as he immersed himself into that school’s environment.

“It was a great experience,” said Leith, whose fiancée, Meredith, joined him at the school and worked in the admissions office as they looked forward to their wedding that took place this June.

“After my first year, I was given the title of associate director of athletics. and was handed a lot more responsibility around school. I was doing a lot more admissions work. I was an advisor to six students. Boarding school is an animal. You are just working all the time. We both lived on campus; it is a lot but we enjoyed it. We loved the kids. When everything else is all said and done, you know people professionally but it is about the kids. That is what was so hard about leaving.”

Meeting the Stuart kids when he interviewed at the all-girls school helped convince Leith that he was making the right move.

“It is on the itinerary for the day that I am going to meet with some third graders,” said Leith.

“The head of the middle school brought in seven or eight third grade girls into one of the rooms here and left for 15-20 minutes. I was grilled. It becomes like OK, I cross my arms and I am going to fire back right at them. It put such a big smile on my face and I had such a good time with them. What a highlight, they were funny, they were articulate. They exuded so much confidence. That is what any father or parent would want from their daughter, especially at such a young age and obviously all the way through high school. It was like that all day, meeting the young ladies. I was at the student council meeting and they were asking questions. They were fantastic.”

One of Leith’s main goals as he takes the helm of Tartan athletics is to get more students playing sports.

“There are ways to do that; I have a lot of ideas about that,” noted Leith, who plans to resurrect Stuart’s upper school soccer program.

“The school that I am coming from is 275 kids, cut that in half, we are a similar sized school at the high school age and we fielded a lot more sports than here. There are requirement things that can be done.”

In addition to getting wider participation, Leith is determined to see the Stuart teams win more games.

“I want, in the next few years, through the department mission statement and our coaching, to have our athletic success meet our academic success because this is a great place for that,” asserted Leith.

“There seems to be a feeling, especially in the independent school world, that you do one or the other. You are either a strong academic school who is weak athletically or you are considered a weaker academic school and super strong in athletics.”

In Leith’s view, having the school’s varsity athletes reach out to Stuart’s younger students will help make that success possible.

“One of my goals for sure, is to have our varsity girls work with our middle school girls to help grow our programs,” said Leith.

“I really believe that needs to happen so when young ladies are in middle school, when they are around a varsity girl and they go to their games, they are looking up to them and saying that can be us someday. It is a great yield tool, going into our high school to keep our girls really excited about being here. If they are constantly understanding the mission of Stuart and it is embedded in them, they want to stay a part of it.”

While Leith has only been part of the Stuart community for a matter of days, he is already passionate about the school’s mission.

“I am extremely excited to be here,” said Leith. “My first day here, there is a buzz that is going on, people are working hard. It is all business but it is all for the benefit of Stuart. I hit the pavement running, it is a lot of stuff. It is a lot of small things. You have to put together scheduling, get stuff up on the internet, and return e-mails. We are looking for a trainer right now. I have a bunch of coaches that I need to hire. It is fun so far to be a part of it. It is only a week but when you walk down the hall there is constantly stuff going on already. Everyone is working together and being like a team.”

VILLAGE CHIEF: Skye Ettin heads up the court in action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last week, Ettin, a former Princeton High star and rising senior captain for the The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, assumed the role as player-coach, helping Tortuga’s Mexican Village edge Northeast Realty 43-41. In summer hoops action last Monday, King’s Pizzarama topped Princeton Interventional Cardiology 55-49 while Winberie’s edged Ivy Inn 64-57 and Belle Mead Physical Therapy defeated Northeast Realty 48-35. The regular season concludes on July 16. The first round of the playoffs tips off on July 21 with a triple-header at the Community Park courts.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

VILLAGE CHIEF: Skye Ettin heads up the court in action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last week, Ettin, a former Princeton High star and rising senior captain for the The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, assumed the role as player-coach, helping Tortuga’s Mexican Village edge Northeast Realty 43-41. In summer hoops action last Monday, King’s Pizzarama topped Princeton Interventional Cardiology 55-49 while Winberie’s edged Ivy Inn 64-57 and Belle Mead Physical Therapy defeated Northeast Realty 48-35. The regular season concludes on July 16. The first round of the playoffs tips off on July 21 with a triple-header at the Community Park courts. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Skye Ettin couldn’t buy a basket as Tortuga’s Mexican Village played Northeast Realty last week in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.

Although the former Princeton High standout Ettin managed only four points for Tortuga’s, which is comprised of players from The College of New Jersey men’s hoops team, it turned out to be an educational evening for him.

Serving as a player-coach, Ettin called out plays and defensive sets, directing his teammates all night long as Tortuga’s pulled out a 43-41 win, prevailing on a buzzer beating jump shot by Jayson Johnson.

“This is going to be my third year as captain so I have taken on that leadership role,” said rising TCNJ senior Ettin, a 6’4, 170-pound forward who averaged 7.9 points and 1.9 rebounds a game last winter as the Lions went 8-17.

“I try to direct on the court as well as off the court. With coach [Jason] Carter not here today, it was on me to do a little bit of coaching and playing. I did a lot more coaching than playing for sure.”

While Tortuga’s looked unsure of itself as it fell behind 19-9 in the early going of the June 30 contest, it started playing better, reeling off a 14-0 run to take a 23-19 lead at halftime.

“I think we just had to settle down, we really weren’t getting out to shooters and identifying who was going to hurt us,” said Ettin.

“I think then defensively we went on a stretch where we held them to one basket every couple possessions. We also wanted to get it down low and make them play defense. We weren’t pushing the ball; we weren’t running any sets so we ran one set to kind of get us going. We tried to get it down low to Bobby Brackett and establish him. If you establish him, they have to double him and everything else opens up.”

In the second half, Tortuga’s built its lead to 38-27 but then struggled down the stretch as Northeast knotted the game at 41-41 with a minute left in regulation. In the waning seconds, Johnson proved to be the hero as he dropped in a jumper just before the buzzer.

“We were able to get it together a little bit and even though that is not the way that we want to play, that is going to help us come late in the season next year,” said Ettin.

“We will be in a tight game where we are not playing our best but we will know that we can make a show and have the ability to pull games out.”

Ettin is looking to take a shot at coaching after graduating from TCNJ and is working with Princeton University men’s basketball program this summer.

“I am interning in the basketball office so I have been helping out with the director of basketball operations,” said Ettin.

“I have done camps, to film breakdown, to office work. They have been really great in showing me the life of a coach everyday. I love it. I feel like I am leaps and bound ahead of where I was in the coaching field just from a month and a half of  working with them. I never got to do anything like film breakdown; they told me how to do all of that. I have been able to sit in on some of the meetings to see what they are doing as far as recruiting. They have all been so great in helping me so it has been good.”

The game against Northeast gave Ettin a good opportunity to apply some of the lessons he has learned this summer.

“It is beneficial for me honestly to be able to coach and see it from a coach’s perspective with my own team,” said Ettin.

“As one of the seniors on the team and a captain, it helps me for coaching to be able to direct the guys.”

From Ettin’s perspective, Tortuga’s has what it takes to be a title contender this summer.

“I think last year we had a great run; it was our first year in the league and we lost in the championship,” said Ettin of the squad who improved to 4-3 with the win over Northeast.

“We have had a different team almost every game this summer. I think in the playoffs when we hopefully get our whole group, we’ll be able to get it together. I feel confident that we can make a push in the league, we have some experience. If I don’t play great or someone else doesn’t play great, there are other members that can pick it up. Jayson hit the game-winning shot tonight so it is not always on one person.”

July 9, 2014
FAMILY BUSINESS: Spencer Washburn surveys the action as an assistant coach for the Princeton University men’s heavyweight crew program. Washburn, a former star Tiger rower who has been coaching at his alma mater for the last seven years, is heading to Deerfield Academy (Mass.) to be the head coach of its crew program. In so doing, Washburn is following in a proud family legacy as his father and grandfather both had legendary runs as prep crew coaches. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Rowing)

FAMILY BUSINESS: Spencer Washburn surveys the action as an assistant coach for the Princeton University men’s heavyweight crew program. Washburn, a former star Tiger rower who has been coaching at his alma mater for the last seven years, is heading to Deerfield Academy (Mass.) to be the head coach of its crew program. In so doing, Washburn is following in a proud family legacy as his father and grandfather both had legendary runs as prep crew coaches.
(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Rowing)

His grandfather coached crew at the St. Andrew’s School (Del.) for 40 years and his father became a legend in New England rowing circles during his three decades guiding the Phillips Andover Academy (Mass.) program.

So when Spencer Washburn got an offer in 2005 to serve as a coach for the Hun School crew team after completing his career as a heavyweight rower for Princeton University, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I grew up around the sport, the whole family has been involved,” said Washburn.

“I have been immersed in it since birth; there are lots of pictures of me as a little toddler out on the launch watching the practice. I saw the impact that my father had on the kids that rowed for him and that was really powerful to me. I had met people who had rowed for my grandfather at St. Andrews and remember hearing the stories about that. So coming out of here there was no question that this was a path that I wanted to take.”

After a two-year stint at Hun, Washburn came across town to his alma mater where he served three years as an assistant coach for the Princeton men’s lightweights and four years assisting for the Tiger heavyweight program.

But the tug of the family business is taking him away from Princeton as he will be taking over the Deerfield Academy (Mass.) crew program this August.

“There is no part of me that will ever want to leave this place but Deerfield is offering a great opportunity for our family and for us professionally so I think we need to go,” said Washburn, whose wife, Megan, will be teaching science at Deerfield as the couple raises their two young sons, Caden, age 3, and Teague, age 1. “It is a challenge we need to take on.”

In starting his coaching career at Hun, Washburn relished the challenge of putting together a team.

“Hun was a great opportunity for me,” said Washburn, who coached the girls’ team and was also the school’s Associate Director of Residential Life.

“At the time, I felt like I was in there doing a good job, the girls were doing a good job and the results were good. Looking back now, I realize I dove into it without any sense of what I was doing or how to do it well. I think it was a real testament to the girls that they were as successful as they were because it wasn’t really me. It was a great experience for me to go in there and have a program and to be able to have the freedom to try some things and make some mistakes. There were some coaches around there, like Geoff Evans, who were really helpful.”

Living in town, Washburn developed the itch to coach at Princeton and got the opportunity to join the Tiger men’s lightweight program after some pestering of head coach Greg Hughes and assistant coach Scott Alwin’s promotion to head coach at Columbia.

While Washburn knew the college drill from a rower’s perspective, he quickly realized that coaching at that level was all consuming.

“High school is a short season, just a couple of weeks in the spring,” said Washburn.

“You get here and it is rowing 24/7. As much as I have really enjoyed it, that was a big adjustment. You go from being able to balance out the rowing and being able to step back and think about the dorm stuff to where you are always thinking about the lineup or the training or recruiting.”

Washburn got the chance to cut his teeth by guiding the freshman lightweight boat.

“I had the freshman boat and Greg was really hands off,” said Washburn. “He said ‘I have got the varsity boats and this is your boat. If you have got questions, let me know and we will do stuff together here or there but this is your boat.’”

Handling a key aspect of college coaching, the recruiting of student-athletes, required Washburn to master new stuff.

“The recruiting piece really required a lot of time,” said Washburn “You have got to learn the rules and how to go about it. You also have to find your voice and you have to find the way that you connect with these kids who are going through a pretty significant time in their lives. I think over the time I have found my voice. I don’t think I am one of those coaches that tells a kid that you have to come here. It is much more let’s figure out if this is a good place for you and a place where you will thrive and where you will develop and enjoy things. If it is not, OK.”

Seeing the lightweight first varsity boat produce a historic 2009 campaign that saw it win championships at the Eastern Sprints, the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) nationals and the Henley Royal Regatta proved to be a key step in Washburn’s development as a coach.

“I was watching what he was doing from afar and that was where you saw those guys operating at maximum capacity and maximum ability,” said Washburn.

“Greg was reading what they needed and giving them what they needed as they needed it. To see that work was truly inspiring and you realized that OK when it is all working together, that is what you can achieve.”

Moving up to the Tiger men’s heavyweight program along with Hughes after that season was a natural step for Washburn.

“I knew the schedule, I knew the rhythm of that year, I knew the opponents much more so I felt much more comfortable,” said Washburn.

“It became much more personal, not that the lightweight stuff wasn’t, but this is the team I spent four years really trying to develop. All of my buddies who had graduated were excited to see me go back to that and they were saying let’s get it back up and going to where we know it can be. So for me there was a lot of personal pride tied up, not just in the team succeeding but it was my team succeeding. It was really exciting for me to have a chance to be involved with that program.”

With the heavyweights having hit a lull, Washburn and Hughes concluded that the rowers needed to put their noses to the grindstone.

“Greg and I spent a lot of time that summer talking,” said Washburn. “From afar, we saw where that program was and what we thought they might need. I think ultimately we felt like there were some good athletes there and they just might need a push.”

Over the last few years, Washburn became essentially a co-coach with Hughes.

“I think for me the first couple of years were hard because I had rowed for him so I still had this kind of feeling, he is the coach and I am rowing for him,” said Washburn.

“I think in the past couple of years that dynamic has adjusted from my end where I have allowed myself to come out of that and I have become much more of a partner with him. We are talking about the whole team and every guy. I really appreciate the fact that he takes my opinion and I think puts a lot of weight on it.”

Hughes, for his part, made his opinion of Washburn clear in comments on the Princeton athletics website upon the announcement of Wyatt Allen as the new assistant coach.

“Spencer’s impact on rowing at Princeton is immeasurable,” Hughes said.

“First as an athlete, then as a coach, he has consistently proven himself as a winner. This success was not just seen in results, but also in the way that Princeton trained and raced. Spencer is the hardest worker I’ve ever known and he leads by example with the kind of attitude and character that inspires those around him to strive for excellence in what they do and the way that they do it …. I wish Spencer all the best up at Deerfield. He is pursuing a passion that has long pulled him and the fact that he earned this opportunity is evidence that good things happen to good people.”

In his final Tiger campaign, Washburn had to put in some extra work to get his second varsity boat on track. “This was definitely a year where it took some time to come together,” said Washburn.

“Last year’s 2V, that got second in the sprints and fourth at the IRAs, jelled early on and we spent a lot of the spring trying to maintain that speed. With this year’s group, I think there was a lot more overlap between the 1V and the 2V. We spent more time doing selection so we didn’t set the boat until the late spring. Then once we did, the 2V showed lots of flashes of real ability but it just took us a little more time to figure out how to draw it all out.”

Figuring things out at the right time, the boat finished second at the IRAs, producing a fitting finale to Washburn’s Princeton tenure.

“That was such an exciting race, to see them out together, all of the elements of which they are capable of doing on that big stage against really, really good crews,” said Washburn, noting that the boat topped perennial champion Washington and trailed only a powerhouse Cal crew.

“That is what you hope you get as a coach and as an athlete. You hope you can produce your best performance when it matters most and they did. So that was amazingly gratifying to see them do it. It was a pretty good way to go out.”

As Washburn heads to Deerfield, he will be focused on getting his new rowers to produce their best.

“Whether it is high school or college rowing, you coach the same way,” said Washburn, noting that he will be going against his two younger brothers as Taylor will be coaching at Tabor Academy (Mass.) and Parker is coaching at Choate Rosemary Hall (Conn.).

“What I learned from Greg in the past two years is that kids have an amazing way of reaching the expectations you set for them. Sometimes, and I was guilty of this, you would set a bar lower because you wanted to make sure that they hit it. I think what we found in the last couple of years is that if you keep pushing it out there, they find ways of getting there. One of the big lessons that I learned was to challenge the kids and give them goals they might not think they can achieve but you help them and you provide the right structure for them to get there. When they do achieve them, they look back and say, wow I have come a long way, and they are pretty excited.”

Washburn’s goal now is to achieve special things over the long term at Deerfield.

“I look around at the people I admire the most and they have all found a program they can lock into and develop and make their own,” said Washburn, who will also be working in the school’s college advising office.

“My father and my grandfather did that and the fact that Greg and Lori (Princeton women’s open coach Lori Dauphiny) are doing it here is a really appealing thing. You can really create a standard and a culture that you can be proud of and the kids come in and want to be part of. I don’t think you can do that overnight and I don’t think you want to bounce around to do that at a million places.”

SHINING MOMENT: Liam Helstrom takes a break on the sideline last week at the Sunshine Classic all-star football game played at The College of New Jersey. Former Princeton High star Helstrom made two catches for 42 yards for the West team but it wasn’t enough as the East prevailed 14-7. It was the last game of organized football for Helstrom, who is headed to Clemson University this fall.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

SHINING MOMENT: Liam Helstrom takes a break on the sideline last week at the Sunshine Classic all-star football game played at The College of New Jersey. Former Princeton High star Helstrom made two catches for 42 yards for the West team but it wasn’t enough as the East prevailed 14-7. It was the last game of organized football for Helstrom, who is headed to Clemson University this fall. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

J.T. Bucsek and Liam Helstrom are going in different directions this fall when it comes to football.

Former Hun School standout Bucsek is heading to Muhlenberg College where he will be playing for the school’s football team and looking to make an impact on the offensive line.

Helstrom, a Princeton High star receiver and linebacker, is moving south to Clemson University and will be seeing a lot of big-time football games from the stands.

Despite their varying prospects, both Bucsek and Helstrom found playing for the West squad in last week’s Sunshine Classic all-star football game to be a valuable experience.

“Coming in I knew two people so you meet everyone, and everyone is a really good player,” said Bucsek, who was joined on the West squad by Hun teammate Muhammad Wainwright and coach John Law. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Helstrom, for his part, enjoyed the level of competition he found on the West squad.

“It was awesome,” said Helstrom. “It is fun playing with kids that know what they are doing and are real good. I made a lot of new friends, kids I knew from reading the papers.”

While the West ended up losing 14-7 in the July 1 contest played at The College of New Jersey’s Lions Stadium, both Helstrom and Bucsek had good nights.

Helstrom had two receptions for 42 yards, highlighted by a spectacular 35-yard catch and run down the sidelines in the second quarter. Bucsek saw a lot of action at guard and got some reps on the defensive line as well.

Flashing a wide grin, Helstrom beamed as he recalled his big first half play. “It was a double post; I cut in and the kid gave me the inside,” explained Helstrom.

“The corner seemed like he was manned up on cover 3 so I cut in and he bit and I caught it.”

Helstrom was also happy with his second reception. “They were cheating back on us a lot so the hitch was there,” added the 6’1, 195-pound Helstrom. “It was good. I got thrown to twice and I caught both balls.”

In reflecting on his performance, Bucsek was satisfied with how things went for him in the trenches.

“I thought I did really well, there were a couple of plays here or there where I could have done better,” said the 6’0, 240-pound Bucsek, in assessing his play at guard.

“I played some nose tackle and defensive end; the defensive line coach brought me in because I knew the systems. It was good competition; I felt like from line to line, we were all pretty even.”

Playing in the Sunshine game helped Bucsek get ready for the competition he will face at the college level.

“It is good preparation because in high school there are few good players but when you come here everyone is good,” said Bucsek.

“I report on August 13 to Muhlenberg; they sent me a packet with all of this running and lifting so I stick pretty much to that. I will probably play center or guard. It was good playing guard tonight because I had played center the past three years.”

Helstrom, for his part, won’t soon forget his final night of organized football.

“This is actually my last game so I wanted to play like I always do,” said Helstrom.

“I played with some kids that were real good and could actually play ball. It made me want to play better.”

RETURN FIRE: Rohit Chawla fires a pitch in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. ­Chawla, a former Princeton High star who played club baseball this spring in his freshman year at Rutgers University, has sparked Post 218 on the mound and at the plate in returning for his last campaign of Legion ball.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

RETURN FIRE: Rohit Chawla fires a pitch in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. ­Chawla, a former Princeton High star who played club baseball this spring in his freshman year at Rutgers University, has sparked Post 218 on the mound and at the plate in returning for his last campaign of Legion ball. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Looking to address some unfinished business, Rohit Chawla decided to return this summer for another season with the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team.

“Because we were one game away from the playoffs last year, I felt good about coming back this year,” said Chawla, a former Princeton High star who played club baseball this spring in his freshman year at Rutgers University. “I felt we were going to be right in there this year.”

Playing club ball kept Chawla sharp as he looked ahead to the summer. “We had 20-22 games,” said Chawla.

“We had weekend series against Delaware, Hofstra, and other colleges around here. I played shortstop and I pitched a lot during the end of the year. I got a couple of starts and some relief appearances. Our main pitcher was also a shortstop. I played short when he was pitching and when I was pitching, he was playing shortstop.”

This summer, Chawla has assumed a similar role for Post 218, serving as one of the team’s starting pitchers and playing shortstop when he isn’t on the mound.

In assessing his pitching, Chawla acknowledged that he has been a little inconsistent.

“I started pretty good but I am getting a little tired now,” explained Chawla. “It’s tough because I didn’t throw a lot during the school year so now I am working back. I am going to step it up now.”

Chawla has stepped things up at the plate and in the field. “I hit well during the school year, that was one of my stronger assets when I was playing club ball,” said Chawla, who had a sharp single last Thursday as Post 218 played Ewing Post 314 in a game that was suspended in the fifth inning with Princeton trailing 6-3.

“Now I feel good at the plate. I am seeing pitches well and I am staying hot. It is helping our team out because we need to hit better. I feel comfortable at shortstop.”

Post 218 has picked things up offensively as it has gone 4-4 after starting the summer by losing five of its first six games. “We were pitching well in the beginning and we weren’t hitting and then we were hitting but not pitching,” said Chawla.

“We are hitting; we had eight runs against South Brunswick and 14 against Lawrence. We just have to put everything together. We have solid pitching, as we did last year, and once our bats come around, we will be really dangerous.”

Utilizing his experience, Chawla has provided some solid leadership this summer for Princeton. “I try to encourage the guys as much as possible, especially the pitchers,” said Chawla.

“Pitching over all of these years, I have a decent idea of what to do on the mound. Like Ben Grass going out there today (against Ewing), he hasn’t thrown much and he is a pretty young guy. I tried to help him throw first pitch strikes and not walk the leadoff hitter and all of that stuff. He is learning out there; he is doing a good job. That is basically what I try to do. I use my experience and what I see and try to help out the other guys.”

Noting that Post 218 has a good group of guys, Chawla believes the players will keep competing hard down the stretch, with the team slated to host South Brunswick Post 401 on July 9 and play at Hightstown Post 148 on July 11 before hosting Bordentown Post 26 for a doubleheader on July 12 and North Hamilton on July 14.

“We have a lot of chemistry; we have fun,” said Chawla. “It is frustrating when we lose those close games. We are feeling more confident putting runs on the board now; it was just a matter of getting the rust off and now everyone is producing. Everyone can play. Once we play to our capabilities, we’ll be right there.”

WINNING EFFORT: Chris Hatchell of Winberie’s dribbles upcourt in action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Hatchell tallied 20 points as Winberie’s edged Northeast Realty 66-61 in triple overtime to remain undefeated on the summer, improving to 6-0. In summer hoops action on Monday, Belle Mead Physical Therapy topped Princeton Youth Sports 50-42 while King’s Pizzarama posted a 52-42 win over Ivy Inn and Tortuga’s Mexican Village edged Northeast Realty 43-41 in a buzzer beater by Jayson Johnson.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

WINNING EFFORT: Chris Hatchell of Winberie’s dribbles upcourt in action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Hatchell tallied 20 points as Winberie’s edged Northeast Realty 66-61 in triple overtime to remain undefeated on the summer, improving to 6-0. In summer hoops action on Monday, Belle Mead Physical Therapy topped Princeton Youth Sports 50-42 while King’s Pizzarama posted a 52-42 win over Ivy Inn and Tortuga’s Mexican Village edged Northeast Realty 43-41 in a buzzer beater by Jayson Johnson. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Getting caught in the deluge that hit the area last Wednesday evening, Chris Hatchell was running late to hit the court for Winberie’s as it faced Northeast Realty in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.

Arriving as the contest was about to tip off in the Princeton High gym, Hatchell hurriedly peeled off his warm-ups, realizing he was needed to be the fifth player for his squad.

Taking a while to get into the flow of the game, Hatchell had just four points in the first half.

“I didn’t try to force anything,” said Hatchell. “I was sitting back and letting my legs get together first and then taking a couple of shots.”

Ending up with only six players, Winberie’s labored, trailing 25-21 at half and 39-31 in the second half as former PHS stars Anthony Brown and Davon Black provided some sharp shooting for Northeast.

Despite the deficit and being shorthanded, Hatchell wasn’t fazed. “We are a veteran team and as long as we play defense, we can claw back into the game here or there,” said Hatchell.

With Hatchell catching fire from the perimeter, Winberie’s did claw back into the game, nudging ahead 42-41 and then hanging on as the teams headed into overtime, locked in a 50-50 tie at end of regulation.

“I was looking for it a little more instead of trying to come off screens,” said Hatchell, who scored 11 points in the second half.

“I just wanted to bring the ball up and try to create a little bit and if I didn’t have it, kick it to one of my teammates.”

The fierce battle turned into a marathon with Winberie’s finally prevailing 66-61 in three overtimes as it remained undefeated on the summer, improving to 6-0.

Hatchell acknowledged that Winberie’s made things hard on itself in the overtime.

“We made a couple of mental mistakes and a couple of turnovers when we were up by two,” said Hatchell.

“We could have stalled the ball out instead of scoring real quick. It is all about the time and possession, it is not about the actual score.”

Coming through with a big score, Hatchell hit a long three-pointer to give Winberie’s a 57-54 lead with seconds left in the second overtime that was answered by a trey from Brown.

“I knew if I could get a good look, I had a good chance of making the shot,” said Hatchell, who added a basket in the third overtime to end up with 20 points while Brown tallied 19 in a losing cause with Black chipping in 18.

“I just needed to create a little bit of space to get my shot off; it happened and it went in.”

With Winberie’s off to a very good start this summer, Hatchell believes the squad can contend for the title.

“We have been playing together for a while and as we got older, we actually got younger guys,” said Hatchell of Winberie’s, who fell in the summer league 2013 semis after winning the title in 2012.

“We got the three guys from the PA Blue Devils (Jesse Krasna, Zack Sibol, and John Sibol) to come over along with Jay Frank and Terrence Bailey so we added more youth to the veterans. It is a great mix, we just have to get used to playing together a little more. All of these guys scored in high school or college so it is really all about our defense. If we get our defense together, we’ll be OK.”

Seeing the end of his hoops career fast approaching, Hatchell is playing with a sense of urgency.

“This is my last year,” said Hatchell, acknowledging that he is closing in on his 40th birthday.

“I am a plumber and pipefitter and I come straight to the games from work so I am tired. I have just been playing for the love.”

July 2, 2014
ATHLETIC MOVE: Michael Fagan uncorks a pitch this spring during his senior campaign for the Princeton University baseball team. Fagan earned first-team All-Ivy League recognition this year as he went 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA. The San Diego native was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the organization and is currently pitching for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New-York Pennsylvania League, a short-season A circuit.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

ATHLETIC MOVE: Michael Fagan uncorks a pitch this spring during his senior campaign for the Princeton University baseball team. Fagan earned first-team All-Ivy League recognition this year as he went 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA. The San Diego native was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He signed with the organization and is currently pitching for the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New-York Pennsylvania League, a short-season A circuit. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

After a frustrating junior season with the Princeton University baseball team in 2013, Michael Fagan took a hiatus from the game.

“I got burned out and didn’t play over the summer last year,” said Fagan, who went 1-4 with a 7.99 ERA in 2013.

“I took an internship in New York City. It cleared my head, working 9-5, I saw how baseball could be fun again. I didn’t pick up a ball, except to play softball for my office. That was fun, I could hit and they needed me for my defense.”

Coming back to Princeton for his senior year, Fagan brought a fresh perspective.

“I went into the fall only expecting to lead the team and have fun,” said Fagan, a 5’11, 160-pound lefty who hails from San Diego, Calif.

“I thought it was going to be my last year of organized baseball. I worked with Matt Bowman (former Princeton star currently pitching for Binghamton in the New York Mets organization) that fall; he hammered in some mechanics for me. After the fall, I worked with a sports psychologist. He helped me develop a pre-pitch routine so one pitch didn’t carry over to the next. One of my big problems was that I would go to a 1-0 count and then start thinking that I was going to walk the batter. I learned that balls will happen, errors will happen.”

Applying those mechanical and mental lessons, Fagan developed into one of the top pitchers in the Ivy League this spring, going 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA as he earned first-team All-Ivy recognition. Fagan struck out 77 and walked 18 while allowing 46 hits in 58 innings pitched.

Turning heads with his dramatic improvement, Fagan was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Signing with the A’s, Fagan started his pro career with the Athletics of the rookie-level Arizona League and was quickly promoted to the Vermont Lake Monsters of the New-York Pennsylvania League, a short-season A circuit.

Fagan, who had been chosen by the San Diego Padres in the 45th round of the 2010 MLB draft after finishing high school, sensed he was back on the pro radar after an outstanding effort against Cornell in late April when he struck out 11 in nine innings against the Big Red.

“After the weekend at Cornell I thought I would be taken,” said Fagan. “I went against the top pitching prospect in the Ivy League (Brent Jones who got chosen in the 4th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks) and there were 50-60 scouts there. After that I had some pre-draft workouts but no real contact with Oakland. In the 8th round, Oakland called and said if I was still available in the 9th, they would take me. I was excited. I thought it was a good fit and a good organization.”

For Fagan, getting organized at Princeton took some work. “Time management was a big thing, the baseball wasn’t so hard but it was balancing time with studies,” said Fagan.

“Going from high school to Princeton was a huge adjustment. I could spend 15 minutes a week on a course in high school and get an A; it was not like that at Princeton. Also in high school, baseball was basically 3-5 p.m. At Princeton, we had morning lifts and practices at night. It took me a few years to get used to the system.”

After going a combined 3-10 in his first three years with the Tigers, Fagan was ready to lift his game.

“By the time I got to the fourth year, I could lead on and off the field,” asserted Fagan.

“I had my worst outing at Greensboro, I went out after four innings and then I had a great outing against Cornell and there was no discernible difference with the way I walked off the field.”

When Fagan walked on the field for his first pro outing on June 20, he was definitely feeling some butterflies.

“I had the A’s home uniform on and my heart was racing,” recalled Fagan, who went 1 2/3 innings, giving up no runs and one hit with two strikeouts.

“I walked the first batter on four pitches and none of them were close. After the first batter. I got two ground balls. In the next inning, I got two strikeouts before I reached my pitching count. I calmed down my emotions; it is a testament to how well things went with Matt and the sports psychologist.”

Since signing with the A’s, Fagan has benefitted from some intense training on the nuances of pitching.

“It has been great,” said Fagan. “I spent the first two weeks in Arizona, honing mechanics, working on pitching philosophy and learning what pitches to throw when, there is so much to learn.”

While Fagan has been mainly a starting pitcher on his way to the pros, it looks like he will be coming out of the bullpen for the A’s organization.

“I think they will be using me as a reliever for the most part,” said Fagan, who had one more outing for Arizona before getting promoted to the Lake Monsters, where he has posted a 3.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings of work in two outings with a 0-0 record and three strikeouts.

“They are into velocity. I throw 89-91 mph as a starter; I can bring it up to 91-93 as a reliever. In summer after sophomore year, I played in the Northwoods League and I was a reliever the whole time. I like the idea of coming in and throwing my best for 25 pitches. It is a different type of game, you are not trying to set batters up, like showing less on a slider and then showing more the second time through the lineup.”

Now, Fagan is looking to spend a long time in the game. “I just want to be a professional everyday and continue learning,” said Fagan.

“I have 3+ pitches but I need to learn when to use them and learn the sequence of pitching.”

 

SMASHING DEBUT: Samantha Asch chases down a shot in action this spring for the Wake Forest women’s tennis team. Former Princeton Day School standout Asch enjoyed a solid debut campaign for the Demon Deacons, stepping up in the spring portion of the schedule, going 14-19  and compiling a 21-8 record with Luisa Fernandez in doubles.(Photo by Brian Westerholt, Courtesy of Wake Forest’s Office of Athletic Communications)

SMASHING DEBUT: Samantha Asch chases down a shot in action this spring for the Wake Forest women’s tennis team. Former Princeton Day School standout Asch enjoyed a solid debut campaign for the Demon Deacons, stepping up in the spring portion of the schedule, going 14-19 and compiling a 21-8 record with Luisa Fernandez in doubles. (Photo by Brian Westerholt, Courtesy of Wake Forest’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Samantha Asch couldn’t wait to start her college tennis career at Wake Forest but soon learned that she had some growing up to do.

Finishing up at Princeton Day School in December, 2012, six months ahead of her classmates, tennis standout Asch arrived at Wake in January and plunged into her schoolwork and hit the court with the Demon Deacons.

“The work was tough and I learned a lot,” said Asch, a four-time Mercer County Tournament singles champion during her storied PDS career.

“I was the youngest person at Wake which isn’t easy. It was an adjustment. I was on a team with a lot of upperclassmen. I made the team but we weren’t so good and the coach wanted me to redshirt.”

Putting those hard-earned lessons to good use, Asch was primed to get into action last September.

“Nothing was a surprise in the fall,” said Asch. “It was like playing the best players in juniors everyday. There is competition just to make the lineup.”

Asch proved to be up to the competition, playing well in the season-opening William and Mary Invitational.

“It was really good,” said Asch, who combined with classmate Luisa Fernandez to win their doubles flight at the competition.

“I got my first win off of a ranked player, she was #51. It was a good win for me, I got a big lead and then almost choked it away.”

In order to be a winning player at the college level, Asch quickly realized that she had to get bigger physically.

“I am one of the smaller players and I was weak,” acknowledged Asch. “I worked a lot on my strength, the coaches really pushed that. I did weight training and running.”

Getting ill last fall weakened Asch and stunted her progress. “I wasn’t cleared until a week before the spring season started,” said Asch. “I was thrown into the lineup at No. 2. I lost my first two matches and four of my first five; it was discouraging. I was a little rusty and lacking strength.”

Once she regained her strength, Asch produced a solid spring campaign, going 14-19 in singles and compiling a 21-8 record with Fernandez in doubles.

“The doubles went really well, we had some really good streaks,” said Asch. “I think we won four in a row at one point. Doubles was important. We won a lot of matches 4-3 and the doubles point turned out to be the clincher.”

Clinching a 4-1 win over Maryland in the ACC tournament proved to be a highlight for Asch.

“I honestly didn’t think I was playing well that day,” recalled Asch, who won 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4 singles and combined with Fernandez for a come-from-behind 8-7 win in doubles.

“We were down 7-4 in doubles and our third doubles was losing so we knew we had to win it to get the point. In singles, our No. 3 was getting killed and our No. 1 lost so I knew I had to win my match. It was our first win in the ACC tournament in five years.”

Along the way, Asch posted some other big wins. “One weekend, I played at No. 2 and we played Miami and I beat a highly ranked player who had wins over some big players,” said Asch, referring to her 4-6, 7-6 (4), 1-0 (8) victory over Miami’s Clementina Riobueno. “I played my best match of the year. My doubles team reached the final of an invitational in California.”

Being at her best at the college level has required Asch to raise the level of her game, physically and mentally.

“College is a whole different ball game,” said Asch. “January to May is unreal. You are out there every week and you always have to have your game. It is extremely mental, there is a lot of pressure on you.”

Withstanding that pressure has Asch aiming for some big things over the rest of her Wake Forest career.

“I feel like I am a more solid player,” said Asch, who is planning to be a math/business double major.

“I think being an All-American would be my ultimate goal. The season was a huge improvement for the team and we want to keep getting better.”

 

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Akira Nishiu fires a pitch for the Princeton Little League squad against Bordentown in the final round of the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week at Farmview Fields. Nishiu’s superb mound work and a clutch two-run single helped Princeton top Bordentown 8-3 on June 24 to clinch the title.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

SPECIAL DELIVERY: Akira Nishiu fires a pitch for the Princeton Little League squad against Bordentown in the final round of the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week at Farmview Fields. Nishiu’s superb mound work and a clutch two-run single helped Princeton top Bordentown 8-3 on June 24 to clinch the title. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Akira Nishiu was fired up as he took the mound for the Princeton Little League (PLL) squad against Bordentown in the final round of the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week at Farmview Fields.

“I wanted to win again because we lost last year to Bordentown,” said Nishiu, a native of Osaka, Japan talking through translation provided by his father. “I wanted to get revenge.”

With starter Nishiu pitching well, Princeton got payback as it topped defending champion Bordentown 8-3 to win the competition, which utilizes a modified baseball field using a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths and is open to players ages 11-13.

Holding Bordentown to a pair of runs on three hits in three innings and picking up three strikeouts, Nishiu helped Princeton seize momentum in the contest. “I wanted to spot it low and away on both the straight and breaking ball,” said Nishiu, reflecting on his mound effort.

Nishiu helped Princeton break the game open as he delivered a key two-run single in a four-run rally in the third inning.

“I wanted to bring the two runners home so I hit the ball hard,” said Nishiu, recalling the hit.

Princeton manager Jon Durbin credited Nishiu’s pitching with helping to get things off on the right note.

“He had the Bordentown hitters baffled again,” said Durbin, whose team took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

“That is pretty much what he has done in all three games. I think getting off to the early start made a huge difference because once again it showed to us that we could definitely play with them.”

The squad’s four-run fourth inning made a big difference. “That was huge,” said Durbin. “Teddy [Durbin] getting a hit to get one run in and then Jackson [Rho] and Akira getting the two big hits to open up the game gave us a lot of confidence.”

In Durbin’s view, the title is the product of years of diligence. “I think for the team it is the fruition of all the years of hard work that they have been putting in,” asserted Durbin, whose team went 4-0 in the District 12 tournament, outscoring its foes 46-6 in the process.

“These three age groups, in particular, are the beginning of revitalization and transformation of the Princeton Little League program. This is the first cohort where we really started to systematically put through more rigorous training, both within the PLL and encouraging them to play travel baseball and working with pro coaches. All three of these groups are lined up together sequentially, which is one of the reasons that this came together so well. We really took it to the competition in this tournament. Now between the 11s, 12s, 13s on the team, you can see how well trained they are and how much poise they have.”

Princeton also blended a good chemistry with the training and poise. “I think the biggest thing that I noticed in this tournament was the total unselfish attitude towards the team,” added Durbin.

“For this group to come together the way they did in basically one week as a select all-star team and to play so unselfishly as a team with no complaints was totally different from last year’s experience.”

Experiencing success in the double-elimination Section 3 tournament in Lacey, which was slated to start on July 1, would earn Princeton a return trip to Farmview Fields.

“I think knowing that the state championship is going to be back here in Princeton definitely turned out to be the hidden motivating force,” said Durbin.

“They didn’t go crazy tonight. I think a lot of them were already starting to focus on the sectionals. We are going to the sectionals and we are playing to come back to compete in the state championships in Princeton.”

Nishiu, for his part, believes the club can compete with anyone. “I believe in my teammates, coaches, and manager,” said Nishiu. “I think they are the best.”

 

FEELING THE HEAT: Kevin Kane of Princeton Youth Sports (PYS), right, looks for an opening as he gets guarded by Bobby Davison of Ivy Inn last week in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Monday, Kane and PYS, Princeton High boys’ basketball entry in the league, fell 68-49 to Northeast Realty. In other action on Monday, King’s Pizzarama topped Princeton Pi/Sketch Yogurt 71-62 as Anthony Gaffney scored 21 points for the victors while Juwan Harrison poured in 33 points in a losing cause.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

FEELING THE HEAT: Kevin Kane of Princeton Youth Sports (PYS), right, looks for an opening as he gets guarded by Bobby Davison of Ivy Inn last week in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Monday, Kane and PYS, Princeton High boys’ basketball entry in the league, fell 68-49 to Northeast Realty. In other action on Monday, King’s Pizzarama topped Princeton Pi/Sketch Yogurt 71-62 as Anthony Gaffney scored 21 points for the victors while Juwan Harrison poured in 33 points in a losing cause. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The Princeton Youth Sports (PYS) team took its lumps last Monday as it fell 68-49 to Northeast Realty in the Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League but that’s OK with Shahid Abdul-Karim.

For PYS, the Princeton High boys’ basketball entry in the league, the goal is to be tested by tough competition, not post easy wins.

“They played well, they played hard but it is tough for them,” said PHS assistant coach Abdul-Karim, reflecting on the loss that dropped PYS to 0-4 this summer.

“It is frustrating. That is why we put them in there so they can get beat up and understand what it is like to go against some older, bigger, and faster guys bumping them around. Now with this league being so young, you have the TCNJ team and guys who are still playing in college.”

Playing well in the first half, PYS jumped out to an 18-17 lead and trailed just 33-25 at halftime.

“We played decent in the first half; we did a pretty decent of job of penetrating, kicking, and making some shots and we were in it. We had some cuts and some backdoors. We were making shots.”

Abdul-Karim acknowledged that PYS struggled defensively down the stretch of the contest.

“In the second half, our transition defense was down the drain and that is what I was talking to them about so we have to do a better job on transition.” said Abdul-Karim.

“We didn’t have a big man tonight, we were missing two of our inside guys to rebound. Timmy and Tad Moore weren’t here so it was tough. We had all guards and no one is used to playing down low.”

The team’s guards, Michael Dowers, Kevin Kane, and J.C. Silva, kept firing away. “Dowers did a good job, he made some shots early,” said Abdul-Karim, who got 12 points from Silva with Dowers chipping in 10.

“Kevin Kane made some shots, he was getting down in transition and made a couple of baskets. J.C. Silva got some baskets and got to the line on that three-pointer and made all three.”

Although PYS hasn’t posted a win yet this summer, the players haven’t lost their confidence.

“They see some of the teams and think we can win,” said Abdul-Karim. “That is a good thing for them to have going into the game, thinking they can win.”

In the view of Abdul-Karim, a former PHS hoops standout who went on to play at Springfield College, the best thing about playing in the summer league for PYS is developing some extra grit.

“We have been doing this since I was in high school and even before,” said Abdul-Karim, noting that the team just finished a camp at Princeton University and is getting extra work in weekly open gym sessions.

“The main thing is the toughness. We just want them to be tougher and understand that when we get into the season, the mentality is that we played against men all summer and we want to show and apply that. It is a pretty busy summer but that is good, the more basketball, the better.”

 

HOGAN’S ALLEY: Princeton resident Bill Hogan displays his form on the driving range at the Bedens Brook Club in Skillman. Hogan, who turns 76 this week, averaged 200 rounds of golf a year from 2004-2013 and achieved the feat of a golfing lifetime last December when he shot a round lower than his age, carding a 73.(Photo Courtesy of Bedens Brook Country Club)

HOGAN’S ALLEY: Princeton resident Bill Hogan displays his form on the driving range at the Bedens Brook Club in Skillman. Hogan, who turns 76 this week, averaged 200 rounds of golf a year from 2004-2013 and achieved the feat of a golfing lifetime last December when he shot a round lower than his age, carding a 73. (Photo Courtesy of Bedens Brook Country Club)

The legendary golfer Ben Hogan was so devoted to the game that he sometimes practiced until his hands bled.

Overcoming a car accident in 1949 that nearly killed him mid-career, Hogan went on to win nine major titles and stands squarely in the pantheon of golf 17 years after his death in 1997.

Living up to that famous surname, Princeton resident Bill Hogan has displayed his love of golf in his own way over the last decade. A member of the Bedens Brook Club in Skillman, he has averaged 200 rounds of golf a year from 2004-2013.

Hogan, who turns 76 this week, achieved the feat of a golfing lifetime last December when he shot a round lower than his age, carding a 73.

Like the golf legend, the Princeton Hogan was introduced to the sport through a summer job.

I started playing golf when I started caddying at age 14,” said Hogan, a native of Hawthorne, N.J. who worked at the Ridgewood Country Club. “We were allowed to play on Mondays.”

As a teenager, Hogan actually crossed paths with his namesake.I did caddie for Ben Hogan at Ridgewood when I was 19,” recalled Hogan, noting that the main attraction that day was a trick shot artist named Paul Hahn.

I introduced myself to Hogan and told him that I was Bill Hogan and he said huh. He didn’t say much the whole time.On the practice range, he had me stand 140 yards away and he was hitting shots on one bounce to me one after the another. I knew every blade of grass on that course and he never once asked me for any help, he was doing it all on his own. It was a Monday exhibition and he was still so focused.”

After playing basketball and baseball in high school, Hogan’s last name led to him joining the golf team at Montclair State.

My phys. ed. teacher was also the golf coach,” said Hogan, whose career goal was to became a coach and a teacher.

“I was planning to play baseball and one day he saw me headed to practice with my spikes and he saw me and said you are named Hogan, you can’t play baseball. He convinced me to join the golf team.”

While Hogan wasn’t a star for Montclair State, he had his moments.

I was shooting in the mid-80s,” said Hogan. “We played in the collegiate open in Bethpage that had about 120 players. I shot an 83 and finished in the top 10 percent. I probably should have quit after that.”

After graduation in 1960, Hogan coached basketball and taught math at two Catholic high schools in Northern Jersey. He took a job with IBM in 1965 and moved to Princeton in 1968 when he became a sales manager at the company’s Trenton office. He coached the Notre Dame High boys’ hoops team from 1969-73 in his spare time. Raising a family and busy with his career, Hogan didn’t play a lot of golf from 1972-85.

Joining Bedens Brook in 1985, Hogan renewed his passion for the game and began playing on a 12-month basis, aided by the fact that he is working from home running his own management consulting business.

In 2001, he started keeping track of how many rounds he was playing on an annual basis, getting out 161 times that year. He played 2001 rounds from 2004-2013, with a high of 231 in 2012. Last year, he needed 225 rounds to hit the 200 average and he ended up playing 226 as he hit the course twice in the last week of December.

Noting with a chuckle that playing so often has not improved his game, Hogan does not take part in many tournaments.

“I don’t play much in competition, some Bedens Brook events like the member-member, and member-guest,” said Hogan, explaining that he sometimes plays alone and also has some regular playing partners.

“I have played some Trenton District stuff. I have played in the Bedens Brook seniors championship for players 70 and older and won it four straight times. I was second last year and third this year.”

Last December 3, though, he put in a championship effort as he carded a 73 to achieve the bucket list item of shooting his age.

It has been a goal but I thought that when I got near 80, I would have a good chance so I wasn’t thinking about it that day,” said Hogan

When I had 34 on front 9, I needed a 41 on the back and I have done that a lot of times. But then I had four bogies on the back 9 and I needed to par 17 and 18. No. 17 is a par 5 and my third shot was a 9-iron and I thought this was it. I took about 15 practice swings and hit a real good shot, about 6-7 feet from the hole. I sunk the birdie putt. I was so loose that I went and parred the 18th.”

Hogan’s current golfing goal is to keep out on the course as long as possible. “I want to stay healthy enough to keep playing,” said Hogan, who had played 76 rounds in 2014 headed into the last week of June. “I carry my bag most of the time. I have done that since I started caddying.”

For Hogan, the allure of the game comes from chasing perfection. It is a sport you can’t master but tomorrow you think you will be better,” said Hogan, who hasn’t achieve a hole-in-one but notes that he has five eagles, two hit with a 5-wood, one with a 3-iron, one with a 3-wood, and another with a 9-iron. “There are those shots that bring you back, like my 9-iron on 17 the day I shot my age.”

June 25, 2014
VOICE OF CHANGE: Ron Fogarty makes a point at his introductory press conference last week after he was named as the new head coach of the Princeton University men’s hockey program. Fogarty spent the last seven seasons as the head coach at Adrian College in Michigan where he posted a 167-23-10 record with the Bulldogs making four appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing to the championship game in 2010-11.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

VOICE OF CHANGE: Ron Fogarty makes a point at his introductory press conference last week after he was named as the new head coach of the Princeton University men’s hockey program. Fogarty spent the last seven seasons as the head coach at Adrian College in Michigan where he posted a 167-23-10 record with the Bulldogs making four appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing to the championship game in 2010-11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Ron Fogarty has proven that he can build a college hockey program from scratch.

Starting the men’s hockey team at Adrian College in Michigan seven years ago, Fogarty experienced instant success, guiding the Bulldogs to a 26-3 record during their inaugural campaign in 2007-08.

During his tenure at Adrian, Fogarty compiled a 167-23-10 record as the Bulldogs made four appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament, advancing to the championship game in 2010-11 where they lost 4-3 to St. Norbert.

Now Fogarty is getting the chance to prove he can rebuild a proud but struggling program, getting named last week as the new head coach of the Princeton University men’s hockey program, which posted an overall 6-26 record last winter as it sank to the cellar of ECAC Hockey.

True to character, Fogarty, a former standout player at Colgate in the mid-1990s, is hitting the ground running as he takes the helm of the Tigers.

“I am so excited to be here at Princeton; this opportunity doesn’t come up much in someone’s life,” said Fogarty, 42, at his introductory press conference on June 17.

“I can’t wait to call the current players and incoming freshmen today. I am looking forward to seeing what their goals are individually and what their team-oriented goals are for the upcoming season. I want them to have full ownership in the team. This is their team, it is not my team. It is the Princeton’s community, our alumni, our staff, administrators, faculty, and fan base; it is our team.”

Fogarty is unfazed about making the jump to coaching at the Division I level as he replaces Bob Prier, who resigned this spring after three years at Princeton where he compiled an overall record of 25-58-12.

“It is not a challenge, it is the same thing with hockey; I think there are three things that you have to have regardless of what level you are being a coach,” said the amiable and earnest Fogarty, citing trust, enthusiasm, and ownership as those bedrock qualities.

“You can win everywhere and anywhere. I think you just have to treat people the right way and get the most out of them.”

Fogarty’s squads at Adrian played offense at a high level, leading D-III teams in scoring four times.

“I am a puck possession coach,” explained Fogarty, who served as an assistant coach at Colgate, Clarkson, and Bowling Green before coming to Adrian.

“I want to keep the puck, I want to control the middle of the ice and outnumber them in the defensive zone but also allow the forwards and defensemen to join the play and create. At the end of the day, you want to score one more goal than the opponent and our mission is to score one more goal than the opponent. I want the guys to play freely and come back to the bench, to tell what they see during the game. The style of play is going to be predicated on the practices and what is coming into the program and then we’ll go from there.”

Fogarty’s experience in the ECACH as a player and assistant coach will come in handy as he takes the reins at Princeton.

“It helps me greatly, I am familiar with the arenas and I am very familiar with the other coaches in the conference and their styles,” said Fogarty, a native of Sarnia, Ontario who scored 141 points in his playing career at Colgate, ranking 20th on the program’s all-time scoring list at the time of his graduation in 1995.

“I follow college hockey at the D-1 level albeit I am in Adrian, Michigan but I am a hockey fanatic. I appreciate the coaches, I am going to have to prepare smarter, harder, and longer because it is a great fraternity of coaches in the ECAC, look at the two past national champions (ECACH members Union and Yale). A lot has changed since I left the ECAC, it has become a stronger conference in terms of the hockey product. I am eagerly looking forward to the challenge.”

Incoming Princeton Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux believes that Fogarty is up to the challenge.

“Ron knows how to build a winning program,” said Marcoux in her introductory remarks at the press conference.

“He knows the value of teamwork and working hard toward individual and team improvement everyday. He values the overall student-athlete experience and the role coaches play in helping athletes achieve their goals. We are confident that those qualities coupled with his tremendous hockey knowledge will allow him to bring greatness back to Baker Rink. Under Ron’s leadership and with the very talented student athletes that we have in our program, we are confident that Princeton will consistently compete for Ivy, ECAC, and national titles and will be a team that is admired and respected by all.”

Fogarty, for his part, is confident that Princeton can be great on and off the ice under his stewardship.

“It is a work in progress and it starts after I leave here to start calling those incoming freshmen and returning players to see what their goals are and how collectively we are going to get there,” said Fogarty, noting that he is considering retaining one of the two current Tiger assistant coaches, Scott Garrow or Greg Gardner, to aid continuity.

“We will win and we will be successful in the classroom. We’ll be ambassadors on and off the ice in the community and we will have relentless competitors on the ice.”

LAST CHANCE TO SHINE: Princeton High football star Liam Helstrom heads up the field in action last fall. Helstrom starred on both sides of the ball for PHS, grabbing 50 receptions for 853 yards and seven touchdowns at receiver and making 110 tackles with four forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery from his linebacker spot. Helstrom’s heroics earned him a place on the West team for this year’s Sunshine Classic all-star football game, which is slated for July 1 at The College of New Jersey.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

LAST CHANCE TO SHINE: Princeton High football star Liam Helstrom heads up the field in action last fall. Helstrom starred on both sides of the ball for PHS, grabbing 50 receptions for 853 yards and seven touchdowns at receiver and making 110 tackles with four forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery from his linebacker spot. Helstrom’s heroics earned him a place on the West team for this year’s Sunshine Classic all-star football game, which is slated for July 1 at The College of New Jersey. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

As a wiry 130-pounder toiling for the Princeton High freshman football team in the fall of 2010, Liam Helstrom didn’t appear to be on the path to becoming one of the best players in the county.

But under the influence of then — PHS varsity coach Joe Gargione — Helstrom committed himself to becoming a physical force.

“Coach Gargione was religious with the weightlifting and the work,” said Helstrom, who moved up to the varsity as a sophomore, playing at tight end and defensive end.

“If you missed one workout he would get on you. As a freshman I went to every weightlifting session. I went from 130 to 160 pounds as a sophomore to 180-85 pounds. It was a lot of red meat and whole milk
and a lot of lifting.”

Last fall in his senior campaign, Helstrom, who grew to 6’2 and 190 pounds, lifted his game to lofty heights, grabbing 50 receptions for 853 yards and seven touchdowns and making 110 tackles with four forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Helstrom’s heroics turned heads, earning him a spot on the West team for this year’s Sunshine Classic all-star football game, which is slated for July 1 at The College of New Jersey.

While PHS struggled to a 0-10 record last fall, Helstrom’s intensity never wavered.

“It was tough but since I knew I wasn’t going to be playing in college, I had the mindset to play every game like it was my last game,” said Helstrom, who is headed to Clemson University where he plans to study political science and attend a lot of big-time college football games.

“I knew we wouldn’t be a powerhouse. The year before, some of the seniors had quit. I was still going to have fun no matter what.”

Helstrom enjoyed moving to wide receiver last fall after playing tight end the previous two seasons.

“Offensively, it was back to backyard two-hand touch where everyone is a receiver,” said Helstrom, who enjoyed some big games at the end, making seven catches for 71 yards against WW/P-S, eight receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns against Trenton, six catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns against Lawrence, and five catches for 149 yards and a touchdown in his finale against Marlboro. “I was stronger than the defensive backs.”

Helstrom’s strength came in handy at linebacker as well. “Defensively, I was the only guy that was going to make some of those tackles, especially after Sam (star linebacker Sam Smallzman) went out,” said Helstrom, who had 11 tackles and 2 forced fumbles in the WW/P-S game. “I was tackling guys 5-10 yards down the field.”

While Helstrom didn’t get to taste victory in his final campaign, he made fans out of his foes.

“I got a lot of respect from the other coaches, telling me that I was playing hard and that I was a leader,” said Helstrom.

Earning respect among his peers, Helstrom recently won the Bob James Award, which is given to the senior male or female athlete who best represents the highest aspirations of PHS athletics.

“There were a helluva lot of good senior athletes so that was the most important football award I won,” said Helstrom.

One of the highlights of Helstrom’s athletic career came in his junior season when his older bother, Carl, and younger brother, Rory, both played on the football team.

“It was a lot of fun, even the practices were a lot of fun, watching Rory go against Carl,” said Helstrom. “You talk about teammates being brothers but there is nothing like playing with your real brothers.”

Helstrom is excited to be getting the chance to go at it one more time on the football field.

“I thought it was awesome; I have been looking forward to it since I was a sophomore, seeing Alex Mitko and those guys play in the game,” said Helstrom, reflecting on getting chosen to play in the Sunshine game.

“It will be the last time I put on a helmet and shoulder pads and hit someone. It is humbling, it will be like sophomore year, I will have to prove something. I know a lot of those guys are really good.”

Having grown into a brilliant two-way performer, Helstrom has already proven he is a very good player.

WHITE WATER: Rena White, left, pulls hard in the stroke seat earlier this month for the Mercer Rowing Club women’s youth varsity 8 at the USRowing Youth Nationals with coxswain Noa Rothstein urging her on. The Mercer boat took fifth in the grand final at the competition on Lake Natoma near Sacramento, Calif., becoming the first women’s boat in club history to make the ‘A’ final in the open 8 category.

WHITE WATER: Rena White, left, pulls hard in the stroke seat earlier this month for the Mercer Rowing Club women’s youth varsity 8 at the USRowing Youth Nationals with coxswain Noa Rothstein urging her on. The Mercer boat took fifth in the grand final at the competition on Lake Natoma near Sacramento, Calif., becoming the first women’s boat in club history to make the ‘A’ final in the open 8 category.

Rena White was proud to see her hard work pay off last season as she competed for the Mercer Rowing Club.

“I was just more serious, focused, and fitter,” said White, who originally joined Mercer in the spring of 2011 as an eighth grader.

“I was doing extra conditioning. In the winter, I was doing 5-7k on the erg (ergometer) before practice and 12k on the erg on Wednesdays when we have half days. I also started rowing in pairs. I am not the biggest runner but I was doing more of that. I was on the lightweight 8 and we took 3rd at nationals.”

But as Princeton High junior White came into the 2013-14 season, she and her boatmates wanted to take things to a higher level.

“We decided to make the jump into the open weights,” said White. “We got a new girl from Hun, two of the novices stepped up and a girl came over from another club.”

Earlier this month, the boat stepped up big time, taking fifth at the USRowing Youth Nationals on Lake Natoma near Sacramento, Calif., becoming the first women’s boat in club history to make the ‘A’ final in the open 8 category.

For White, shifting
position in the boat helped the crew go into overdrive.

“I was 7th seat all spring and then was moved to stroke before the regionals,” said White, who was joined in the boat by Beatrice Sclapari, Caitlin Cleary, Kate Hickey, Kelly Fischer, Badia Shehab, Hayley Bork, Alex Natale, and coxswain Noa Rothstein.

“It was tough, it was a challenge. It was good to be able to set the rhythm for the boat but it is definitely a lot of pressure.”

The Mercer 8 proved it could handle the pressure collectively as it cruised to victory in mid-May in the Mid-Atlantic Junior Championships to qualify for the nationals.

“At regionals, we won by open water,” said White. “It was a really good piece, our best race of the year to that point.”

In the weeks leading up to nationals, White could feel the boat gaining even more speed.

“We were putting up really good splits,” said White. “Our coach (Ted Sobolewski) wasn’t sure if it was tailwind or our lake. Everything started coming together and we really started going for it.”

Starting the nationals in style, Mercer took second in its first heat, trailing only eventual champion Oakland Strokes.

“We were in a really good place, everyone was really focused,” said White, reflecting on the race in which the boat clocked a time of 6:48.596 over the 2,000-meter course with Oakland just ahead in 6:47.389. “We did well enough in that heat to go straight to the semis; that was really helpful.”

In the semis, the boat placed second to secure a spot in the grand final and a shot at a national title.

“Our coach said before the final that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and to leave it on the course,” recalled White.

While Mercer finished fifth in the final, White has no qualms with the result.

“We didn’t expect to medal,” said White in assessing the race which saw Mercer come in at 7:18.051, less than six seconds
away from a bronze medal.

“We surpassed expectations by making grand final. We have four lightweights and looking at the other boats, we saw how much smaller we were. It was not our best race but we were excited to be in grand final.”

In White’s view, the boat’s balance was a key factor exceeding expectations. “We are all pretty fit; we are all in the same place,” said White. “No one is really ahead or behind.”

In her senior season, White will be looking to lead the way as she was elected as a co-captain of the Mercer girls’ squad.

“That was really exciting,” said White, who also won the Mercer girls’ most valuable rower award.

“I want to lead by example and do the best I can everyday. I want kids to realize that whatever shape they are in, they can get good and have fun.”

After enjoying the ride to Lake Natoma this spring, White is looking to have even more fun next year.

“We have seven of nine people on the boat coming back; we are excited but it requires a lot of luck to make it to grand final,” said White, who is looking to row at the Division I level after high school.

“We know that because we made it this year, that doesn’t mean we will make it next year. We all want to be the best boat we can, everyone is focused.”

DEUTSCHLAND: Alex Deutsch takes a cut in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Former Hun School standout, and Middlebury College-bound, Deutsch has given Post 218 a lift in his first season with the club. Last Monday, centerfielder Deutsch went 3-for-3 with a two-run triple to help Princeton beat Hopewell Post 339 8-4 in eight innings and improve to 2-5.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

DEUTSCHLAND: Alex Deutsch takes a cut in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Former Hun School standout, and Middlebury College-bound, Deutsch has given Post 218 a lift in his first season with the club. Last Monday, centerfielder Deutsch went 3-for-3 with a two-run triple to help Princeton beat Hopewell Post 339 8-4 in eight innings and improve to 2-5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

With two men on base in the third inning last Saturday against Hamilton Post 31, Alex Deutsch came through for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team.

Centerfielder Deutsch stroked a liner to center to knock in a run, sparking a four-run rally.

“I had seen him in my first at-bat; I walked when he threw me 4 balls and I knew he was going to come with a fast ball,” said Deutsch, reflecting on his approach in that at-bat. “I was looking for the fast ball over the plate and I hit it over the middle.”

Unfortunately for Post 218, the four-run outburst came after the team had dug an early 12-0 hole on the way to a 16-4 loss.

With Princeton having dropped several nailbiters in the first two weeks of the season, the rally was an encouraging sign.

“It’s funny because that is what we needed the entire season,” said Deutsch, who graduated from The Hun School earlier this month and was a co-captain and starting centerfielder for the Raider baseball team this spring.

“We have gotten one or two runs here or there and then we had one big inning when we were down by 12 runs. I think it was more that we were just playing loose.”

After an uneven senior season for Hun, Deutsch has been coming up big this summer for Post 218.

“I have been hitting really well,” said Deutsch, who went 3-for-3 with a two-run triple last Monday to help Post 218 beat Hopewell Post 339 8-4 in eight innings and improve to 2-5.

“I wasn’t consistent over the course of the season for Hun. I have had a hit every game so far with this team. I had a big hit yesterday (an RBI double in a 3-1 win over North Hamilton).”

The Middlebury College-bound Deutsch is enjoying playing his first season with Post 218. “I did all the showcase and the travel stuff the last couple of years so I wanted to play for my town in the last year,” said Deutsch.

“It is fun; it doesn’t get better than playing with a bunch of guys from your town.”

As he heads to Middlebury this fall, Deutsch is looking forward to playing with a new bunch of guys.

“Definitely the playing in the NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference) is a huge thing, it is so competitive,” said Deutsch.

“It is great athletics balanced with academics. When I visited and went up there, it just felt right, they always talk about the cliché moment when you walk on campus. I also love the guys on the team; they have had a rough last couple of years so I am hoping to go up there and help turn things around.”

Post 218 manager Tommy Parker loves having Deutsch on the squad. “Alex has been a great addition, he really has been a catalyst,” said Parker.

Parker is hoping that the four-run rally on Saturday could be a catalyst for his club going forward.

“That is something we can build on, these guys are capable of doing that,” said Parker. “There is no quit in them. You don’t lay down, you just keep pushing and things will happen.”

While the lopsided loss to Post 31 was disappointing, Parker doesn’t believe it is an accurate reflection of his team’s quality.

“We have been playing a lot of close games; we are a much better team than we showed here today,” maintained Parker.

“These guys are as talented as anyone in the league. We have had some really tough ones. The bats are beginning to come alive and that has really been the difference in the games that we haven’t won; we haven’t been able to get the offense. The pitching has been excellent. It will turn around; I can say that.”

In order to turn things around, Post 218 needs to display a mental toughness.

“What I think they need to do to get over the hump is to just have the old school mentality of putting them away when you get up,” said Parker, whose team plays Broad Street Park Post 313 on June 27 at Nottingham High, hosts Trenton Post 93/182 on June 28, Robbinsville Post 530 on June 29, and then plays Lawrence Post 414 at Eggerts Crossing Park on June 30 and faces Ewing Post 314 on July 1 at Moody Park.

“It is learning what true swagger is and having the confidence that when you are down, you are never out until the last strike or the last out. We have 21 more games to go and I have seen things turn around before. Last year, we made a push and this team is better than that.”

Deutsch, for his part, believes Post 218 can make a push. “We are a good hitting team, it is going to come along over the course of the season,” asserted Deutsch. “I honestly can tell you that I have not seen a team that we can’t beat.”

LYNCH-PIN: Atticus Lynch of the Princeton Little League Intermediate Division all-star team races to first base last weekend in the District 12 Intermediate (50/70) tournament. With shortstop Lynch providing plenty of offensive punch, Princeton rolled to the championship round of the double-elimination competition with three straight convincing wins, topping Cranbury 10-0 on Thursday, Millstone-Roosevelt 17-2 on Friday, and defending champion Bordentown 11-1 a day later.

LYNCH-PIN: Atticus Lynch of the Princeton Little League Intermediate Division all-star team races to first base last weekend in the District 12 Intermediate (50/70) tournament. With shortstop Lynch providing plenty of offensive punch, Princeton rolled to the championship round of the double-elimination competition with three straight convincing wins, topping Cranbury 10-0 on Thursday, Millstone-Roosevelt 17-2 on Friday, and defending champion Bordentown 11-1 a day later.

Coming into the District 12 Little League Intermediate (50/70) tournament last week at Farmview Fields, the Princeton squad had to scramble.

“The team was put together 10 days ago,” said manager Jon Durbin. “We started practicing the day after the team was announced so we had six practices as a team.”

While the squad didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, it was able to apply the perspective it gained last year from its first appearance in the Intermediate tourney which utilizes a modified baseball field using a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths and is open to players ages 11-13.

“With a year of experience we learned a lot strategically in putting together the team and handling the pitching,” said Durbin.

“Last year we were young, we had only one 13-year-old. This year, we have five 13-year-olds, six 12-year-olds and two 11-year-olds. We are an older, more mature team.”

Showing its maturity and skill, Princeton rolled to the championship round of the double-elimination competition with three straight convincing wins, topping Cranbury 10-0 on Thursday, Millstone-Roosevelt 17-2 on Friday, and defending champion Bordentown 11-1 a day later.

Princeton is slated to host Bordentown on June 24 in the finals and would earn the title with a victory. A loss by Princeton would set up a winner-take-all finale on June 25.

In Durbin’s view, the team’s hot play is due, in part, to a selfless mentality and a heightened emphasis on defense.

“There are two things we have been really focusing on in practice,” said Durbin.

“One is getting all the guys to buy into the team and doing whatever the team needs. It doesn’t matter where you bat or what position you play. They are all in. We are doing extended fielding in practice. We have them doing the same amount of time in the infield as in the outfield so if they are called on to play a position that they are not familiar with, they will be more comfortable.”

Princeton developed a comfort level in the opener as pitchers Akira Nishiu, Jackson Rho, and Atticus Lynch combined for a no-hitter with Lynch and Eli Okoye each getting two hits to spark the offense. Lynch supplied the power in the win over Millstone-Roosevelt, going 4-for-5 with two homers, four runs, and two RBIs.

The combination of timely hitting and superb pitching has made Princeton a force to be reckoned with.

“Atticus has been on fire at the plate and has been playing a terrific shortstop,” said Durbin. “Okoye has been hitting well as has Tommy Reid. Nishiu and Rho have been pitching really strongly.”

Princeton’s strong start along with some sparkling glove work made the difference in the win over powerful Bordentown.

“When we saw Bordentown last year, the guys were thinking they are so big, how can we be on the same field with them,” said Durbin.

“Our confidence was higher this year after the two wins and we were able to push back after they took the lead in the first inning. We had some good defensive plays that put a lid on a couple of potentially big innings. We are not afraid of Bordentown and that is 75 percent of the battle.”

Durbin expects his players to keep battling with the title on the line. “If the boys are still fired up, still focused, and not getting overconfident, we should keep playing well,” said Durbin.

WARMING TO THE TASK: Adam Oresky warms up before a game this past winter in his senior season with the University of Hartford men’s basketball team. Oresky, who played for the Princeton Day School varsity boys’ hoops team from 2008-10, is currently making an impact for King’s Pizzarama in its debut campaign in Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, the 6’8, 200-pound Oresky scored a team-high nine points to help King’s defeat Tortuga’s Mexican Village 49-40. On Monday, he chipped in six points as King’s topped Northeast Realty 41-34 to improve to 3-1.(Photo Courtesy of University of Hartford Athletic Communications)

WARMING TO THE TASK: Adam Oresky warms up before a game this past winter in his senior season with the University of Hartford men’s basketball team. Oresky, who played for the Princeton Day School varsity boys’ hoops team from 2008-10, is currently making an impact for King’s Pizzarama in its debut campaign in Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, the 6’8, 200-pound Oresky scored a team-high nine points to help King’s defeat Tortuga’s Mexican Village 49-40. On Monday, he chipped in six points as King’s topped Northeast Realty 41-34 to improve to 3-1. (Photo Courtesy of University of Hartford Athletic Communications)

During his career with the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team, Adam Oresky was a member of the supporting cast.

Although Oresky, a 2010 PDS grad, didn’t crack the starting lineup in his two years on the Panther varsity squad, he was determined to play basketball in college.

Heading to the University of Hartford, Oresky sought to walk on to the school’s Division I hoops program.

“I tried out my freshman year but I didn’t make it,” said Oresky. “I had to get better; I had to keep working.”

Oresky put in the work and his dream eventually came true as he made the squad as a senior, getting into seven games last winter for the Hawks.

“I always loved playing basketball and just playing in the gym everyday and getting workouts,” said the 6’8, 200-pound Oresky, who noted that he was a rail-thin 165 pounds during his PDS days. “I just stuck with it and I was able to get a spot on the team.”

Last Wednesday, Oresky showed how much his game has progressed as he helped King’s Pizzarama top Tortuga’s Mexican Village 49-40 in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.

Scoring a team-high 9 points, Oresky helped King’s overcome a 28-27 halftime deficit as they pulled away to the victory.

“We just want to go out and have a good time and see what happens,” said Oresky, who helped King’s start the second half with a 14-0 run that changed the tone of the contest. “Playing defense made the difference, getting stops on defense and turning that into offense.”

Oresky is looking to make a difference for King’s with his inside/out play.

“I shoot if I am open,” said Oresky, who scored six points on Monday as King’s topped Northeast Realty 41-34 to improve to 3-1 in its debut campaign in the summer league.

“I also go and crash the boards and get some rebounds inside. I do a little bit of both so I don’t get locked into one role.”

With King’s showing balance as nine players scored in the victory over Tortuga’s, Oresky believes the team can do some damage this summer.

“We have got a full bench, it is nice having subs when you get tired and everybody gets to play,” said Oresky, noting that former PDS teammate Kenny Holzhammer invited him to join the King’s squad. “I think our chemistry is getting better and we can make a run at it later.”

June 18, 2014
FAREWELL ADDRESS: Gary Walters speaks at a press conference during his tenure as the Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton University. Walters, who announced last September that he was stepping aside, will be on the job until June 30, at which point he will have been Princeton’s athletic director for exactly 20 years.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

FAREWELL ADDRESS: Gary Walters speaks at a press conference during his tenure as the Ford Family Director of Athletics at Princeton University. Walters, who announced last September that he was stepping aside, will be on the job until June 30, at which point he will have been Princeton’s athletic director for exactly 20 years. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Despite the seemingly idyllic scene as he lounged in his backyard a few weeks ago on Memorial Day, casually dressed in a t-shirt and shorts with birds chirping overhead and the pool gleaming in the sun nearby, Gary Walters felt something was out of place.

“I believe in my 20 years in Princeton, this is the first Memorial Day that I haven’t been at an event,” said Walters, the school’s Director of Athletics since 1994. “In many years, it was lacrosse. You could have track, you could have crew.”

As Walters reflected on his successful run at the helm of Princeton Athletics, he acknowledged that he had to track a multitude of issues.

“When you look at the athletic director’s (AD) role here, as I like to say or observe, other than the presidency, I don’t know of any other position at Princeton that intersects with the students, the faculty, the staff, the alumni, and the community,” said Walters, 68.

“This position is at the intersection of all of those constituencies on campus and so it is one of those jobs that is a 7-day-a-week job and, in particular, the role of social media has made the job even more difficult obviously.”

While being in that vortex can be disconcerting, Walters has thrived in the role.

“On the one hand, it is daunting,” said Walters. “On the other hand it is fun too because it is intellectually challenging. There is never a dull moment but you are also developing a comprehensive portfolio of skills because of the multi-faceted nature of the job. Candidly I have enjoyed that, that is the essence of what management is, and then the most important thing is sustaining change over a period of time.”

Walters welcomes the changing of the guard in his post as former Tiger hockey and soccer star Mollie Marcoux ’91 was named in April to succeed him, becoming the first woman to hold the AD job.

“I am absolutely delighted that Mollie has been appointed,” said Walters. “She obviously has had a distinguished student athlete career at Princeton. She represents the balance we seek as it relates to the hyphen connecting student and athlete. Mollie is going to have a learning curve but she is surrounded by very, very good people. The senior administrative staff is solid. The administration, staff and  coaches are all outstanding people and so she is going to inherit, I think, stability, competence, and people who care about their job and love their job. This is after all athletics and the athletic world is a calling because we are student-athlete centered and my people are.”

It didn’t take long for Walters to start his learning curve upon assuming the AD post.

“I was walking over to the first press conference and Kurt says to me Gary I have been asked to share with you this fact, Palmer Stadium has some really significant structural issues, it is basically falling apart, all the engineering reports said that, so if you get any questions about the football stadium, try to tap dance around them,” said Walters with a laugh. “Can you imagine that?”

Palmer Stadium was razed and the facility that ended up being constructed on Walters’ watch stands as an extension of the campus that is designed to be integrated into the daily life of the University with a north end containing large openings that serve as windows to the campus just up the hill. It also fulfilled the marching orders Walters received when he took the helm.

“When I came here, I got a distinct charge from the president and the trustees and that was to strengthen the relationships between the athletic department and, in particular, the academic side of the house,” said Walters. “I feel very good about the initiatives we took to do that.”

Taking that charge to heart, Walters created the Academic-Athletic Fellows program and the Princeton Varsity Club and coined the phrase “Education Through Athletics,” which has become the mantra for Tiger sports program.

Walters was uniquely qualified to bridge the gap between athletics and academics. A son of a welder who came to Princeton from blue collar Reading, Pa., Walters became the point guard for the school’s legendary 1965 Final 4 team and was featured in 1967 on the cover of Sports Illustrated with teammate Chris Thomforde.

In the classroom, Walters graduated with a BA degree in psychology. As an undergraduate he co-authored, with psychology professors Marvin Karlins and Thomas Coffman, a study entitled “On the Fading of Social Stereotypes: Studies in Three Generations of College Students,” which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1969.

“I played on a basketball team with three guys, one guy who got a Rhodes scholarship, Bill Bradley, and two guys that were Rhodes Scholar finalists, Larry Lucchino and Chris Thomforde, just think of that,” said Walters, who went on to serve as a basketball head coach at Middlebury, Union, Dartmouth, and Providence and an assistant at Princeton before going into business and working at Kidder, Peabody & Co., Woolf Associates Sports Management, and Seaward Management. “In addition, there were guys who went to Harvard Business School, law school, and so on.”

For Walters, teamwork is the key to success on and off the court. “In the athletic world, what differentiates it is that the coaches and players take their exams in public and they take it together so people keep score; there is accountability,” said Walters, whose personal scorecard includes 220 Ivy League championships and 47 team or individual national titles during his tenure.

“Competition is part of a continuum and the other end of that continuum is collaboration. Unless you have teamwork and people working selflessly for each other, you are not going to be successful and every team I have been on, the assist has always been as important, if not more important, than the person who is scoring the goal. So my takeaway as I now complete a significant arc of my life and career is never forget that success in competition is almost always the outcome of the collaborative experience that people share.”

Walters has enjoyed experiencing his victory lap, even though his last few months on the job have been a whirlwind.

“It’s been a roller-coaster for sure, it is like being seated in a centrifuge which has ironically gone faster and faster,” said Walters.

“One would have thought it would have decelerated and a lot of that has to do with the celebratory function, for sure. Some of it has to do with the fact that in this job you always have unguided missiles that are coming your way so that tends to keep you occupied.”

One of the grander celebrations took place in April when Princeton held a “Roast and Toast” to Walters at Jadwin Gym.

“The nice thing about that night were the various threads of my life that were represented,” said Walters, who received a number of gifts that evening to add to the treasure trove of photos and mementos cramming the walls of his upstairs office in Jadwin.

“To see 600 people there was truly remarkable. I enjoyed the evening immensely, how could you not, since I was being recognized for my years of service to the university, but I never got a chance to savor it. I always had two or three people in front of me during the reception.”

As he steps aside, Walters isn’t straying from the university that he loves.

“I am going to have a small office in Dillon; I’ll have a computer and I will be operating on a volunteer basis,” said Walters, who was recently granted emeritus status by the Board of Trustees.

“I’ll be far enough away that I am out of Mollie’s hair but close enough that she can call me if she wants to. I am still so engrossed with this job. Everything that is out there when I step aside is sketchy. I was just recently appointed to the board of a publicly held company. I am probably going to get involved in one or two charitable things. In addition to that, I have to figure out other things; do I want to coach, do I maybe want to do some writing, do I maybe want to do some TV work. Those are all open items.”

For Walters, being in the middle of campus holds a special significance. “Princeton is defined by pathways and intersections,” added Walters. “As a result, you get a chance to see everybody every day and thus broaden the reach of friends that you have. You are not defined by the rectangles of a city.”

In Walters’ view, sports has a unique broadening effect on its participants.

“People who compete in athletics are having a sociological experience as it relates to the roles and norms of the team and the understanding of how all of the functions and pieces fit together,” said Walters.

“But is also a psychological experience where it tests you when you are confronting adversity and where you have to evaluate yourself and look yourself in the mirror. As far as I am concerned, those are aspects of athletics that are not fully understood.”

As a result, Walters believes that those co-curricular aspects merit recognition in their own right.

“Were I a president at a liberal arts school, I would give an athlete who plays for four years academic credit for that experience,” asserted Walters with his voice rising.

“It is the sweatiest of the liberal arts. It is not only in terms of time, but the reality is that what you learn through osmosis in that experience translates directly into the organizational challenges that you will face in the real world. You are basically learning leadership and organizational behavior.”

Applying those lessons over the last 20 years, Walters deserves credit for providing a brand of leadership that has enhanced Princeton’s mission to provide education through athletics.

LATE SHOW: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Kevin Halliday heads upfield in action this spring. Senior midfielder Halliday’s late-game heroics helped PHS edge Allentown 11-10 in overtime to win its second straight Mercer County Tournament championship. Halliday scored the tying goal in the waning seconds of regulation and then tallied the game-winner in overtime. The Tufts-bound Halliday had 54 goals and 19 assists in his final campaign as PHS posted a record of 16-4.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

LATE SHOW: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Kevin Halliday heads upfield in action this spring. Senior midfielder Halliday’s late-game heroics helped PHS edge Allentown 11-10 in overtime to win its second straight Mercer County Tournament championship. Halliday scored the tying goal in the waning seconds of regulation and then tallied the game-winner in overtime. The Tufts-bound Halliday had 54 goals and 19 assists in his final campaign as PHS posted a record of 16-4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Kevin Halliday isn’t one to give up easily.

With the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team trailing Allentown 10-9 with seconds remaining in the second half of the Mercer County Tournament championship game, PHS senior midfielder Halliday visualized a happy ending.

“When I came over to the wing, I was like oh god if I could get a goal right here, it would be a highlight play,” said Halliday.

The ball came to Halliday’s side and he scooped it up and sprinted to the goal and made the highlight play he envisioned, burying the ball in the back of the net with 4.1 seconds left to knot the game at 10-10 and force overtime.

“I wasn’t expecting it to happen; it bounced out and I got the ball,” said a smiling Halliday.

“There was one guy, I saw the time and I thought it is now or never. I went to the goal and luckily I was able to get by the other guy and get it in the net.”

Moments later, Halliday got another good bounce as he gathered in the ball on the overtime face-off and fired in the game-winning tally 10 seconds into the extra session.

Having committed to attend Tufts University and play for its men’s soccer team, Halliday brought a special sense of urgency this spring to the lacrosse field.

“This is it for me in lacrosse,” said Halliday. “I had fantasies of maybe trying out for the team at Tufts. I thought that would be fun but I think it is time that I focus on soccer. I have to choose one by the time I am in college. I will still love lacrosse. I will still play it when I am back here.”

Halliday had a lot of fun this spring, tallying 54 goals and 19 assists as PHS advanced to the Group III sectional semis and posted a final record of 16-4.

PHS head coach Peter Stanton credited Halliday with making a major contribution to the team’s success.

“Kevin is fantastic,” asserted Stanton. “He has the things that you can’t coach — the quickness, the change of direction, creativity, and vision. He is just a special athlete.”

For Halliday, the special camaraderie the Little Tigers developed this spring may have been the most memorable thing about his final lax campaign.

“Our coach (PHS head coach Peter Stanton) has been saying all year that this is one of the best teams he has coached,” said Halliday.

“We are so close; in every practice, everyone is working together. It is competitive; defense versus offense but it’s all good.”

For being one of the best players in the area and competing to the end, Halliday is the choice as the Town Topics top male performer of the spring season.

Top Female Performer

When Emilia Lopez-Ona started her career with the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team in the spring of 2011, she didn’t have records on her mind.

Instead, she was simply looking to get the most out of her ability. “Part of the beauty of the sport is in terms of the growth and the ability of someone to improve,” said Lopez-Ona.

“The sport allows for people to make rapid transitions throughout their career. I know that I have watched a lot of the younger players on our team raise the level of their games.”

Lopez-Ona, though, took her game to an incredibly high level, hitting the 300-goal mark in her career with a 6-goal performance in a 14-10 win over Allentown on April 24.

The game was stopped and the PHS players mobbed Lopez-Ona, waving posters and posing for photos.

“I am glad I scored it here at home; my dad was able to see it, he missed my 100th because he was coming back from a business trip,” said Lopez-Ona, who is heading to Penn where she will play for its women’s lacrosse program.

“It means a lot that my teammates would do that; they were truly happy for me. Watching them do that for me, it feels really nice.”

While Lopez-Ona possesses true athletic gifts in terms of speed and coordination, PHS head coach Kelsey O’Gorman points to diligence as the key ingredient in the midfielder’s success.

“It didn’t come easy; she works really hard,” said O’Gorman. “Those 300 goals came from coming out here when no one is on the turf with a bag of balls and shooting nonstop. She has worked hard for this milestone. I am really proud of her; it is phenomenal to coach a player like her.”

Lopez-Ona ended up producing a phenomenal spring, scoring 89 goals and getting 31 assists as the Little Tigers went 17-4 on the way to advancing to the MCT championship game and the finals of the state Group III South sectional.

Noting that the Little Tigers started the season with two losses in their first three games, Lopez-Ona liked the way PHS improved collectively as the spring went on.

“When we do need to make changes as a team, we can control the tempo and the possessions in the middle of the game to gather ourselves,” said Lopez-Ona. “That shows a lot of maturity.”

O’Gorman, for her part, credited Lopez-Ona with being the catalyst that drove the PHS team.

“Emilia fought with all of her heart and soul,” said O’Gorman. “She lives and breathes lacrosse. She has enhanced her game over time.”

Lopez-Ona’s blend of competitive fire and skill earns her the nod as the top female performer this spring.

Top Newcomers

After pitching ace Ben Gross was sidelined this spring by arm problems, things looked bleak for the PHS baseball team.

Little Tiger head coach Dave Roberts, though, had a feeling that sophomore Joaquin Hernandez-Burt could help fill the void in his debut season at the varsity level. “He is a sophomore but he is big and he has some velocity,” said Roberts when assessing Hernandez-Burt in March.

The precocious sophomore turned out to be a big plus for the Little Tigers, emerging not only as the team’s ace but one of the top pitchers in the area. Hernandez-Burt posted a 5-4 record for a 9-14 PHS squad. He posted a sparkling 2.25 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched.

By the end of the spring, Roberts credited Hernandez-Burt with playing a pivotal role as the Little Tigers made their first appearance in the state tournament since 2001.

“Joaquin has been tremendous all year, he has been dominant on the mound,” said Roberts.

“He’s been our absolute workhorse; every single outing he had would qualify as a quality start. He has two shutouts; he’s been awesome on the mound.”

Hernandez-Burt’s stellar mound work makes him the pick as the top male newcomer of the spring.

Kathy Quirk wasn’t sure if Julie Fassl would be around the Hun School this spring for her freshman season on the softball team.

“I will tell you that the first couple of weeks in field hockey with her were brutal,” said Quirk of Fassl, who was transferring into Hun. “She said ‘I can’t stay here, this isn’t for me, I miss my high school friends.’ I really thought we were going to lose her.”

Fassl stayed at Hun and emerged as a valuable contributor for the field hockey team.

In the spring, she was a star for the softball team from day one, starting at catcher and hitting third in the Hun batting order. She provided superb defense behind the plate all spring long and was a reliable producer offensively.

“Fassl really stepped up, she was the only player in our lineup who didn’t have a strikeout this year,” said Quirk.

“She ended up making All-MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) and All-Prep as a freshman catcher. I had coaches saying to me after games that she is the real deal.”

For stepping up in such impressive fashion, Fassl is the selection for top female newcomer.

Top Coaches

Before the spring even started, Rob Tuckman knew he would be savoring this season with the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team.

Last fall, PDS head coach Tuckman announced that he would be retiring from coaching after the 2014 campaign.

Coming into the season, Tuckman had the sense that the Panthers were poised for big things as he looked ahead to his eighth season at the helm of the program.

“If we stay healthy, we can make runs,” asserted Tuckman. “We want to hang banners. We are going for the state Prep B title and the county championship.”

Featuring a potent offense and a stingy defense, PDS started the season with a 9-1 run, including wins over such formidable foes as Voorhees, Rutgers Prep, Peddie, and Somerville.

The Panthers started the postseason by overcoming an 8-2 halftime deficit to edge Montclair Kimberly 11-10 in the Prep B semis and then rolled to a 15-2 win over New Egypt in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament.

After stubbing its toe with a 5-4 loss to Notre Dame in the MCT quarters, PDS finished the season by hosting defending champion Rutgers Prep two days later in the Prep B title game.

The Panthers were primed to prevail in Tuckman’s finale. “They were hyped up for it, especially coming off of Saturday,” said Tuckman. “It made it all about just this game and they were able to really focus on it.”

Showing that focus, PDS jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the title game. After Rutgers Prep knotted the contest at 5-5 early in the second half, the Panthers produced a decisive 5-1 run on the way to a 10-8 win and the program’s first Prep crown since 1996.

To make things sweeter for Tuckman, his son, sophomore midfielder, Jonah, contributed three goals and two assists to help trigger the triumph which left the Panthers with a final record of 13-3.

As Tuckman reflected on the afternoon with his players hugging each other and posing for photos nearby, he couldn’t think of a happier ending.

“It is wonderful,” said Tuckman, with his voice cracking and his clothes soaked after having the water bucket dumped on him by his players in the raucous postgame celebration. “It is a great way to end my career as a head coach.”

For ending things with a bang, Tuckman gets the nod as the top coach of a male program.

After falling to WW/P-N and Notre Dame in the first week of the season, the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team could have suffered a crisis of confidence.

“We didn’t let the early losses to North (WW/P-N) and Notre Dame set the tone,” said PHS head coach Kelsey O’Gorman. “We knew we had a lot to offer.”

Indeed, the Little Tigers reeled off a 13-game winning streak, avenging the defeat to Notre Dame by beating the Irish 19-9 in the Mercer County Tournament semis.

After dropping a 13-11 nailbiter to WW/P-N in the MCT championship game, PHS won three straight games in the state tournament, outscoring its foes 48-24, in advancing to the Group III South sectional title game.

While the Little Tigers fell 17-5 to the powerful Quakers, O’Gorman was proud of how her players acquitted themselves.

“We were excited to show our talent and I think we did,” said O’Gorman, whose team posted a final record of 17-4. “We didn’t slow down and we played to the end. We brought it up to a new level for Princeton lacrosse.”

O’Gorman’s role in getting PHS to a higher level earned her the nod as the top coach of a female team this spring.

STRAIGHT SHOOTER: Princeton High golfer Laura Burke displays her swing form. Senior Burke, who has been the team’s top player the last two seasons, enjoyed a superb final campaign, taking third in the Mercer County girls’ golf tournament and 21st in the girls’ NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.

STRAIGHT SHOOTER: Princeton High golfer Laura Burke displays her swing form. Senior Burke, who has been the team’s top player the last two seasons, enjoyed a superb final campaign, taking third in the Mercer County girls’ golf tournament and 21st in the girls’ NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.

Having divided her athletic efforts between golf and soccer, Laura Burke faced a crossroads in 2011 during her freshman year at Princeton High.

“I was playing golf pretty well my freshman year and then I broke my foot playing soccer so I didn’t play in any matches,” recalled Burke.

“I had been playing soccer since third grade. After I broke my foot, my parents said I had to pick one sport so I chose golf.”

Burke made the right choice, emerging as the No. 2 player on the PHS golf team in her sophomore season and then holding down the top spot that last two years.

While being the leading player can be a burden, Burke has enjoyed that role.

“I don’t look at it like that,” said Burke. “I am very competitive; the high school matches didn’t have as much pressure as the tournaments I play in the summer.”

After taking up golf as a grade-schooler, Burke became more competitive by middle school.

“My dad is a golf fanatic so I started when I was young,” said Burke. “I started getting serious in 8th grade. I was taking lessons at Bedens Brook and my coach said I was pretty talented.”

Fitting in with the PHS squad proved to be a serious challenge at first. “It was kind of tough; there is no girls’ team so I had to play with the boys,” said Burke.

“The top boys’ player in the state (Fraser Graham) was on the team at the time so that was pretty intimidating.”

Longtime PHS head coach Sheryl Severance played a key role in helping Burke feel welcome.

“I have gotten so close to Sheryl, she is like my mother at school,” said Burke.

Getting more intense about her game after her junior year prompted Burke to take a brief hiatus from golf before her final PHS campaign.

“Last summer, I tried to play everything,” said Burke. “I was in a different tournament every week, I was all over the country. I had some trouble with my swing; I wasn’t playing my best. I took a break this fall and then worked with a different coach. I felt I was really playing well coming into the spring.”

Burke has enjoyed some highlights this spring, carding a memorable 38 in a win over Lawrence, taking third in the county girls’ tourney, and ending her season by placing 21st in the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions.

“In the 38 against Lawrence; I had three birdies and a double, it was a weird round,” said Burke.

“I got third in the counties,” said Burke. “I double-bogeyed the last 2 holes so I was pretty disappointed. The Tournament of Champions was nice, playing at Cherry Valley. I shot a 79.”

In assessing her strengths as a player, Burke points to consistency off the tee and on the green.

“It is definitely my driving; I like my RocketBallz (TaylorMade driver),” said Burke, who will be taking a gap year before matriculating to Lehigh where she is hoping to play for the women’s golf team.

“I can put it right in the fairway. I had some trouble in the past with pulling it. When I am practicing my putting, I can do really well with that.”

As Burke reflects on her high school career, she believes that taking on the boys has made her a tougher player.

“I think the experience of playing with the boys has really helped me,” said Burke.

“They put a lot of pressure on me in practice and it was a good feeling to beat them. It helped me gain confidence and has made me more competitive in the girls events.”

VISION OF SUCCESS: Hun School softball head coach Kathy Quirk views the action from the dugout. Quirk, who just completed her 39th season at the helm of the program, was recently inducted into the Trenton Softball Hall of Fame in the women’s coaching division.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

VISION OF SUCCESS: Hun School softball head coach Kathy Quirk views the action from the dugout. Quirk, who just completed her 39th season at the helm of the program, was recently inducted into the Trenton Softball Hall of Fame in the women’s coaching division. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

For players on the Hun School softball team, earning the squad’s “Iron Woman” award is a coveted honor.

“It is for commitment; you get it if you don’t miss a practice and you are ready to play in every game,” said Hun head coach Kathy Quirk, explaining the award.

“On this year’s team out of 12 girls, seven got it. I strive to make kids feel that softball is important to them.”

Quirk herself qualifies as an iron lady, having just finished her 39th spring guiding the Hun softball program. In recognition of her longevity and a run of success that has seen the Raiders win 10 state Prep titles in her tenure, Quirk was recently inducted into the Trenton Softball Hall of Fame in the women’s coaching division.

In reflecting on the honor, Quirk, 63, wasn’t expecting it to come her way.

“I was caught off guard, I said you have to be kidding me,” said Quirk. “There are so many qualified coaches in the area and they are just as deserving so it was kind of a shock. It is very well appreciated.”

It was a high school coach that put Quirk on the path to her Hall of Fame career.

“I was influenced to get into coaching by my field hockey coach, Mary Anne Morgan, she was this young, dynamic coach,” said Quirk, a native of Runnymede, N.J. who went to Sterling High.

“I remember we went to camp and she stood on the table and she was dancing to the Supremes. She had such a positive influence on me.”

Quirk starred in field hockey, softball and basketball at Sterling and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1997.

Applying to Trenton State (now The College of New Jersey) against her father’s wishes, who wanted her to stay home and go to Glassboro State (now Rowan University), Quirk was accepted and came to Mercer County to continue her athletics career and pursue her goal of teaching and coaching.

“When I went to Trenton State I played all three sports up until my senior year,” said Quirk, who was named the school’s top female athlete in her sophomore year.

“My junior year I went abroad and played field hockey over in England and then came back in January so I didn’t play basketball; I just played softball. In my senior year, I just played field hockey and softball.”

After graduating from Trenton State in 1973, Quirk stayed in the area as she found a home at the Hun School.

“I graduated from Trenton State and Hun was looking for a field hockey coach,” said Quirk.

“I remember taking the bus and walking up and coming down here. I can remember what I actually wore that day. It is crazy. By the time I left, they hired me as a health and Phys. Ed. teacher and I was going to coach field hockey, basketball, and softball for $5,500 a year.”

Just months out of college, Quirk had to be a quick study as she plunged into  coaching.

“It was tough because you are not much older than the kids you are coaching,” said Quirk

“I think I was 22 and the school had just taken girls the year before or two years before and some of them were 17, 18. It was a challenge.”

Quirk faced a challenge in making the fledging Hun softball program competitive.

“It was more of a rec type program, more of a JV program, they were still building,” said Quirk.

“We didn’t have the equipment and facilities. I think it was just a gradual thing. We were playing on a grass field and my parents one weekend helped us skin the infield down there. We took wheel barrows and brought it all out; we took the dirt in. At that time, you didn’t have a big budget.”

By the 1990s, Hun was a big-time power in New Jersey prep softball circles. “In 1997, 1998, 1999 we won three in a row, which was really great,” said Quirk, whose office in the school’s Athletic Center has framed photos of each of those teams on the wall with other championships squads. “They were a good bunch of kids, they worked hard.”

Hard work and tenacity are two of the main cornerstones of Quirk’s coaching approach.

“I am a believer in fundamentals and drills,” said Quirk, who was inducted into the Hun School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001.

“I tell them that it is not always the most talented people that win but it is those who have the desire to win. You get that from constant repetition and constant drilling. I am not a screamer and a yeller. I think I prepare them enough that when they step on the field, they are ready to play the game.”

Getting Hun ready to play has been a family affair as Quirk’s husband, Bill, is her longtime assistant, and youngest son, Patrick, has helped out as well.

“We all bring something different to the table,” said Quirk, who guided the raiders to a 9-8 record this spring and an appearance in the state Prep A semifinals. “Pat worked with the infield, I work with the outfielders, Bill works with the batters so we all have our own role. It has been a family type thing.”

Over the years, Quirk’s former players have started to feel like family. “We had an alumni weekend; it was a little crazy, I am trying to coach a game and they are walking on the field to say hello,” said Quirk.

“Some of them have told me I have gotten a little soft in my years. I still hear from players. Aly Klemmer ’10 is coming back today to have lunch with me. I am not their best friend but I think they respect me and know what is expected and I think they appreciate that when it’s all done and all over.”

Quirk has appreciated getting the opportunity to coach for so many years. “I just think that coaching is very special; you form a bond with these girls,” asserted Quirk.

“There are days when they are having a bad day and I have to look past that. I always tell them when you walk into that team room and you walk down to that field, I want two hours of your time and I think they have learned to do that. I think they have learned to grow. I just watch my players, like I watched Kristen Manochio this year who we brought out of center field and to third base and by the end of the season you saw something shine in her eyes when she made a good play. It was not easy for her but as we told her, we believe in you and if we believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. I try to instill that about believing in themselves.”

In the final analysis, Quirk tries to instill life lessons that resonate long after high school.

“I am very competitive but there is more to the game than winning,” said Quirk.

“It is about building character and learning how to work with each other and learning how to be a teammate. It is learning how the game goes and being able to take the losses with the wins.”

OPENING STATEMENT: Bobby Davison of Ivy Inn dribbles the ball upcourt last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Davison helped defending league champion Ivy Inn edge Northeast Realty 53-44 in the opening night of 2014 summer hoops action.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

OPENING STATEMENT: Bobby Davison of Ivy Inn dribbles the ball upcourt last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Davison helped defending league champion Ivy Inn edge Northeast Realty 53-44 in the opening night of 2014 summer hoops action. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Bobby Davison acknowledged that Father Time is catching up with him as his Ivy Inn squad started its 2014 campaign last week in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League.

“Honestly, I never thought I would be one of the oldest guys in the league,” said Davison, a former hoops standout for Princeton High and The College of New Jersey.

“It was like yesterday that I was playing for SMB and now all of a sudden I am 30 and I have been in the league for 15 years.”

It took Ivy Inn a while to get its legs moving last Wednesday in the opener against Northeast Realty stocked with recent PHS alums. Knotted at 31-31 midway through the second half, Ivy pulled away to a 53-44 victory.

“It is never easy as the years go on,” said Davison. “We all have families now and we are not playing nearly as much as we used to. Playing a team like these guys is a very difficult first game for us coming right out of the gate.”

But with age comes savvy and defending league champion Ivy used that quality in overcoming Northeast.

“Arguably, we are the oldest, most experienced team in the league aside from Winberie’s probably,” said Davison, noting that Ivy Inn includes such stalwarts as Shahid Abdul-Karim, Mark Aziz, and Buddy Thomas.

“It is all veteran guys who have won championships, we have managed to keep the nucleus of the team together. Down the stretch you go to the foul line and we make foul shots and that’s what the experience and all that brings.”

Ivy Inn has supplemented that nucleus by adding Sherm Brittingham last year and picking up Greg Ford this summer.

“Last year having Sherm was a huge pickup and immediately we reached out to him again this year; he was excited and more than happy to be part of the team again,” added Davison.

“He just fits what we do, he is a great guy. He is a team player, he plays defense and he’s perfect for the Ivy Inn. I had the opportunity to play with Greg in the Hamilton league and I had so much fun playing with him. I figured this year I would rather play with him than against him. Every year we try to pick up one or two people, this year, it was Greg and I think he is going to be a huge addition to the team.”

In reflecting on his role, Davison is looking to provide some key intangibles for Ivy Inn, which fell 44-40 last Friday to Tortuga’s Mexican Village, the squad featuring the current TCNJ hoops players.

“I don’t get a chance to play as much but as the season progresses my role will increase,” said Davison, an officer with the East Windsor police department.

“I just try to be a leader and help us out on defense. I try to focus all of my attention on the defensive end and then on offense, create shots for the offensive players.”

Davison and his teammates are focused on getting another title this summer. “We have done it a couple of times,” said Davison of Ivy Inn, which has won four crowns in the last six summers.

“It is funny because even when we were running into guys here or there, they were saying we can’t wait to get back out and defend the title. I think it means a lot, guys are excited, they want to come out here and they take pride getting another title and repeating.”

June 11, 2014
HAMMER TIME: Princeton University sophomore Julia Ratcliffe displays her form in the hammer throw. This week, Ratcliffe will be competing in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. ­Ratcliffe, a native of Hamilton, New Zealand, is undefeated in 11 competitions this spring and is ranked No. 1 nationally in the event. She has produced the best mark in the nation this year at 230’7, the furthest throw in the college hammer since 2011 and the fifth best throw in collegiate history.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

HAMMER TIME: Princeton University sophomore Julia Ratcliffe displays her form in the hammer throw. This week, Ratcliffe will be competing in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. ­Ratcliffe, a native of Hamilton, New Zealand, is undefeated in 11 competitions this spring and is ranked No. 1 nationally in the event. She has produced the best mark in the nation this year at 230’7, the furthest throw in the college hammer since 2011 and the fifth best throw in collegiate history. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

When Julia Ratcliffe was about 12, her father brought home a special surprise one day.

“He said Julia I have got you a present,” said Ratcliffe, a native of Hamilton, New Zealand.

“I thought oh great, he never gives me presents out of the blue. It was on my bed and I said what the hell was that, that looks serious.”

The mystery package turned out to be hammer throw equipment and it didn’t take long for Ratcliffe to show that she had a gift for the event.

After dominating local and national competitions, Ratcliffe started to make her mark internationally.

“The Australian Youth Olympic festival in 2009 was my first big one,” said Ratcliffe.

“I got a gold in that. It was cool to have some success overseas especially because I wasn’t picked to win that one. I started getting more and more into it as I got older in high school. I started going to bigger international meets and things like that.”

Ratcliffe set the New Zealand U-18 and U-19 record for the women’s hammer throw on her way to placing fourth in the 2012 IAAFWorld Junior Championships.

In 2012, Ratcliffe came to the U.S., joining the Princeton University women’s track team and made an immediate impact, setting a school record in the weight throw in her debut meet and going on to take second in the event at the Ivy League Heptagonal Indoor championship. In the spring season, she broke the school and Ivy record in the hammer throw several times and won the outdoor Heps title in the event.

This week, Ratcliffe is in Eugene, Oreg., competing in the NCAA Championships. Having won all 11 of her competitions so far this spring, sophomore star Ratcliffe is ranked No. 1 nationally in the event.

Ratcliffe is bringing some extra motivation into the NCAA meet, having finished 11th at the nationals last spring.

“I was ranked second, even if I had an average day I should have done a lot better,” said Ratcliffe, who boasts the best mark in the nation this year in the hammer throw at 230’7, the furthest throw in the college hammer since 2011 and the fifth best throw in collegiate history.

“I just tried too hard so coming off that, I had renewed energy, really wanting to get better, do my best, and just figure out what went wrong and fix it.”

Staying in the moment this spring has helped Ratcliffe produce a brilliant campaign.

“As long as I go out there and give it everything and just be mentally and physically prepared as best as I can, you can’t complain about the result,” said Ratcliffe, citing her experience at the Penn Relays as an  example of her progress, noting that she fouled out of the 2013 competition and then uncorked a heave of 216’2 to place first this year and record the third best throw in the history of the storied meet.

“I just feel a lot more mentally prepared this year and I feel like I have the process better understood in my head. I understand myself a lot better when I am competing.”

Ratcliffe has enjoyed competing at and for Princeton. “It was unreal, we have nothing like this in New Zealand, just in terms of all these sports complexes in one place,” said Ratcliffe, who came to Princeton sight unseen and had only been to the U.S. for a family trip to California when she was 10.

“It was 60 ready made friends on the team. I would have probably found it a lot harder if I weren’t on a team. I am pretty social though but it is nice to have a wide range of interests on the team.”

In looking to the U.S. for college, she followed in the footsteps of high school friends.

“There were a few girls in my high school who went overseas on field hockey scholarships and so I thought that might be something I would like to do; I think I might have a good enough academic record to do that,” said Ratcliffe, who attended the Waikato Diocesan School for Girls.

“I didn’t know how I ranked academically and athletically against kids applying to different colleges.”

Considering such schools as Duke, Stanford, and Cornell, Ratcliffe concluded that Princeton was her dream school.

“I decided to go for my top choice which was Princeton because of the economics program here,” said Ratcliffe.

“I just really wanted to study economics. In New Zealand, it is expected that when you go into university that you know what you want to study so you start specializing immediately. I actually reached out to Ed Roskiewicz, who was the Princeton field coach at the time, and so I said hi, these are my distances, these are my SAT scores, will you have me.’”

Princeton women’s track head coach Peter Farrell is certainly glad to have Ratcliffe.

“There is an uncertainty with foreign athletes, you never know how they are going to mesh, it is a different system,” said Farrell.

“I was at a football game her freshman year and I saw a bunch of our freshman athletes there and one of them was in a tiger outfit and it was Julia. I said look at that, she has picked up on the college spirit.”

Farrell believes the lessons Ratcliffe gained from her freshman year has helped her pick it up this spring.

“She had ups and downs as a freshman and that is to be expected; she seemed to do well at home and not as well when she left the confines here,” said Farrell.

“She has one year of maturity and one year of competition under her belt. She is so methodical and consistent in her training, it is like a distance runner who runs 100 miles a week. She throws five to six days a week and not many throwers do that. She is devoted to her craft; it is her passion. She is incredibly fast at the end of her four turns but is still in control.”

Ratcliffe has also made an impression through her engaging personality. “She is an outgoing person, she has made friends easily with teammates,” added Farrell of Ratcliffe, who was recently named the Regional Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

“She has made friends with her opponents, she talks to every single competitor. It is not condescending, she is inclusive with her opponents. We have a grandfather class, 1966, for 2016 and there are three guys that have been coming to the meets and she talks and jokes with them.”

For Ratcliffe, there is no kidding around when it comes to her training regimen.

“I do a lot of power lifting and Olympic lifting, cleans and snatches and things like that,” said the 5’7 Ratcliffe, noting that her dad helps set her weight training program.

“The key muscle groups are the rotational core and quad strength. I do a lot of squats and dead lifts. I take 20 throws generally in a session. I throw different weights for speed and strength work. It is the power you can get into it from getting in the right body positions because I have been doing it for so long, especially in competition.”

As Ratcliffe looks forward to the hammer competition in Eugene, which is slated for June 11, she is focused on having the right frame of mind.

“I just want to throw well and keep it together because it is so easy to get overexcited and really nervous,” said Ratcliffe, who will be joined at the meet by five Princeton teammates, freshman Megan Curham (10,000 run), sophomore Adam Bragg (pole vault), senior Damon McLean (triple jump), junior Eddie Owens (steeplechase), and senior Chris Bentsen (10,000 run).

“So it is just having a solid series. I obviously want to throw far and the goal is obviously to win but you can’t control what everyone else does on the day so you can only do the best for you. In team sports, like field hockey, you can react to how the other people are playing. In this, you have to focus on yourself and do the best for you.”

Having qualified to compete in this summer’s Commonwealth Games, a major international meet being held in Glasgow, Scotland, Ratcliffe has her sights set on the world stage.

“I would love to go the Olympics in 2016 so that’s a big goal,” said Ratcliffe.

“I would also like to make it to a world champs. It would be kind of cool to get the NCAA record. I am not entirely sure what it is but if it is within reach that would be good.”