September 15, 2021

GOING FORWARD: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Milan Shah controls the ball in a game last season. Senior forward Shah figures to be a key offensive threat for PDS this fall. The Panthers, who fell 4-3 in overtime to Hightstown last Monday to move to 1-1, play at Pennington on September 15 before hosting Hamilton West on September 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Soccer is in Brian Thomsen’s blood.

“My grandfather actually came over from Glasgow to play semi-professional soccer back in the 1960s,” said Thomsen, 31, a native of Brick, N.J.

“He has been over here ever since. My dad and my uncle played together on the same club team growing up. My dad played at Southern Connecticut State. My uncle played at Loyola and he played professionally. My brother just retired from playing professionally down in Richmond with the Richmond Kickers. We have a soccer family.”

Thomsen, for his part, starred at Monsignor Donovan High in Toms River before playing at Northeastern University for two years and then transferring to Stockton University for his final two seasons of college soccer. Getting into coaching in 2015, he has served as the director of operations for Next Level Soccer Academy, director of programs for Washington Crossing FC Select, as an assistant men’s coach at The College of New Jersey, and the head coach of the Real Central NJ women’s program.

Now he is bringing that background and experience in the game to the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team, taking the helm of the program after previous head coach Ollie Hilliker stepped down last fall.

“I felt it was a really good opportunity for me to build a program in a college prep-like environment that was different from a public school,” said Thomsen.

“It gave me what I was used to on the soccer side which was that these kids have good facilities, they have good academics, and they have good opportunities from school. There was a lot of support behind the program and athletics at the school.” more

By Bill Alden

The pieces are in place for the Hun School girls’ soccer team to be competitive this fall.

“We have a lot of young talent joined by our strong upperclass,” said Hun head coach Jenn Barrett, whose team went 0-4-1 last fall in a season abbreviated by COVID-19 concerns.

“We really don’t have many weak spots, we should really hold our own this year. We have solid, solid players in every position.”

The Raiders boast three solid players at forward in senior Olivia D’Aulerio, sophomore Tessa Falcone, and sophomore Mackenzie Turner.

“We are super excited that Olivia will have more help up top, we are really going to try to use her speed because she is so fast,” said Barrett of the trio who each scored a goal along with junior Lauren Soler as Hun defeated Moorestown Friends 4-1 last Monday to improve to 1-1.

“Tessa and MacKenzie are both high-level experienced club players so they will be able to feed her the ball and they have a nose for the goal also.” more

GETTING AFTER IT: Hun School field hockey player Ashley Jones goes after the ball in a game last season. Hun defeated Conwell-Egan (Pa.) 4-0 last Monday to improve to 1-1. The Raiders play at Hillsborough High on September 15, host Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on September 18, and then play at Stuart Country Day on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School field hockey team went 1-6 last fall, Tracey Arndt believes that the program made some important strides despite the record.

“There is so much more than what they have been showing on the score line,” said Hun head coach Arndt, who is in her third season at the helm of the program.

“In my first year, we were losing games 6-0, 4-0, whatever and last year, although we only played three teams, there were one-goal games. There is the progress that we have been focusing on and not the product. They are recognizing that they have skill and they have potential and they have ability to be successful.”

Arndt views her senior group as a key factor in producing a successful fall.

“They have been great, they have been through so much, all of the seniors have,” said Arndt, whose Class of 2022 includes Olivia Gall, Lynssi Italia, Ashley Jones, Nicole Schaefer, Nora Shea, Lexi Thomas, and Aletheia Watts.

“They got a new coach as sophomores and had that transition. We have one year and then COVID hits so they had to go through all of that. I do think time at home while apart did bring us together. I think they are really mature. We got to know each other a little bit more there, we got to understand each other a little bit better. They are very different in terms of their hockey but what is really special about them is that they all work really hard and they all care about each other very deeply.” more

BELLWETHER: Stuart Country Day School field hockey player Isabel Milley sends the ball up the field in a game last season. Milley and the Tartans are off to a fast start this fall as they topped Pemberton 6-0 last Monday to improve to 3-0. Stuart plays at Princeton Day School on September 15, hosts Bordentown High on September 17, plays at Hamilton High on September 20, and then hosts the Hun School on September 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In 2019, the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team enjoyed a stirring postseason run, advancing to the final of the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep B semis.

Last fall, Stuart was deprived of a chance to build on that tournament success as both the MCT and Prep competitions were canceled due to COVID-19 concerns.

As the Tartans prepared for the 2021 campaign, they were excited about the prospects of resuming postseason action this fall.

“The first thing I would say is that we are totally looking forward to the opportunity to play in the state and country tournament,” said longtime Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik, who guided the Tartans to a 5-3-1 record in the abbreviated 2020 campaign.

“That builds that excitement. Those tournaments are back and we are going to have a chance to participate.”

Bruvik is excited about her corps of seniors which includes Kaitlyn Magnani, Keya Patel, Sanya Khullar, Audrey Blandford, and Lauren Gracias.

“The senior leadership has been great, they have been leading the way at practice,” said Bruvik. more

September 12, 2021

Tailgate in style with the latest looks from J.McLaughlin.


September 8, 2021

The remnants of Hurricane Ida caused major flooding and destruction throughout the area last week, and the cleanup continues. People share how they were affected by the flooding in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn) 

WE REMEMBER: The 9/11 Memorial at the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad headquarters will be dedicated Saturday to those who lost their lives, and to the responders who helped with the aftermath, in 2001. A steel beam from the World Trade Center is shown as part of the memorial. (Photo courtesy of William Shields)

By Wendy Greenberg

Saturday marks 20 years since some 3,000 lives were lost when two hijacked airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York City, another struck the Pentagon, and one crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa. Nine of the dead were from Princeton and 17 others were from Mercer County.

Several area memorial observances are planned, including events in Princeton, at Rider University, and in Hopewell and Montgomery townships.

In Princeton, the Princeton 9/11 Memorial Committee will dedicate a permanent memorial at noon on Saturday, September 11. A ceremony will be held outside the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad headquarters at 2 Mount Lucas Road (inside with COVID-19 protocol in case of rain). The outdoor memorial is comprised of a nine-foot steel beam from the World Trade Center, as well as plaques describing the events of the day, and mileage to the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Shanksville plane crash sites. “We felt that 100 years from now, this will tell the story and have impact,” said Committee Chair William Shields.

During the ceremony, the names of the nine Princeton residents who died will be read, and first responders will be honored, said Shields, who explained that the names were culled from various sources. The fire bell will ring once after each of the nine names; and will sound again for the New York Police Department, Port Authority, Fire Department of New York, and members of the U.S. Intelligence communities. The last bell would be for all who died or suffered as a result of the attacks in the weeks or months following September 11, Shields said. The event will feature speakers, prayer, music, and the police honor guard will post colors.

“We think the town will be proud of this,” said Shields. “We are not closing a chapter but opening it up so others can read it.” more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton’s Cannabis Task Force (CTF) is preparing to recommend an ordinance for Princeton Council permitting three cannabis dispensaries in town. The CTF is seeking input at two public meetings in the next 10 days, on Thursday, September 9 at 7 p.m. on Zoom (link available on the municipal website at and Saturday, September 18 at 10 a.m. in person, location to be determined, or on Zoom depending on weather and COVID-19.

“The purpose of these meetings is to get people to weigh in on the proposed recommendations of the CTF to allow three retail establishments in town,” said Councilwoman and CTF Chair Eve Niedergang in a September 6 phone interview. “We’re reaching out to the public. We want people to be aware of this and the earlier we get input from the public the earlier we can take advantage of that input.”

The 23-member CTF, appointed by the municipality of Princeton, chose to opt out on the state’s August 21 deadline for passing ordinances for the cannabis industry in town. Their goal is to prepare an ordinance to opt in at some point this fall. The CTF felt that the community needed more time to solicit community input and develop plans and requirements that fit Princeton’s values and needs.

Niedergang explained that the CTF has been considering which of the town’s seven commercial zones might be the most appropriate locations for cannabis dispensaries. The discussion has been lively, she said, but the members seem to be in agreement on moving ahead with public meetings followed by an October recommendation to Council, if possible.

The Princeton zones under consideration include the central business district, the northern portion of Witherspoon Street, Jugtown near the intersection of Nassau and Harrison streets, the Alexander Street/Road area, the Princeton Shopping Center, and two areas on Route 206: one south of the Municipal Building near Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad and another near Bottle King. more

By Donald Gilpin

The population of Princeton is 30,681, in an area of about 18 square miles, with a population density of 1,729 per square mile, according to the United States Census Bureau 2020 results reported last month.

The consolidated Princeton population (the municipality was established in its current form with the merging of the Borough and the Township in 2013) grew by about 7.4 percent over the past 10 years, making Princeton the 26th largest town in the state.

The racial composition of Princeton is 72.5 percent white, 16.9 percent Asian, 7.5 percent Hispanic or Latino, 5.7 percent Black or African American, and 3.7 percent two or more races.

The median house value in Princeton is $866,200, and the median age in Princeton is 33.8 years, 30.7 for males and 39.4 for females. Females make up 49.2 percent of the Princeton population, males 50.8 percent.

The population in Mercer County grew by 5.7 percent from 2010 to 2020, with Robbinsville seeing the biggest increase of 13.4 percent to 15,476, followed by East Windsor 10.5 percent to 30,045, West Windsor 8.7 percent to 29,518, Pennington 8.4 percent to 2,802, Hightstown 7.4 percent to 5,900, Trenton 7 percent to 90,871, Hamilton 4.3 percent to 92,297, Ewing 4.1 percent to 37,264, and Hopewell Township up 1.1 percent to 17,491. Hopewell Borough saw a .2 percent decline to 1,918, and Lawrence Township a 1.2 percent decline to 33,077.  more

FARMLAND PRESERVED: As Hunterdon Land Trust celebrates 25 years of preserving farmland and open space, it offers events such as a tour of the barns at Dvoor Farm, its headquarters in Flemington, on September 12 at 10:30 a.m. The farm tells the story of the region’s farm culture and architecture from the mid-18th to mid-20th centuries through its buildings and barns, like this horse barn built in the 1930s.

By Wendy Greenberg

Hunterdon Land Trust (HLT) is celebrating 25 years of protecting open space, but Patricia Ruby is looking forward as well.

“We are constantly working on new land preservation projects,” said Ruby, who has served as HLT executive director since 2012. “But one of the big stories is that this year we closed more projects than ever before.”

The goal, she said, was to have 10,000 acres preserved by 2020, “and we have blown through that milestone, and now we are at 10,350 acres,” she said. “We closed recently on 70 acres, and this year there have been nine closings compared to the typical two to five.” (Two additional closings were expected shortly.)

To celebrate both past and current achievements, a virtual Celebration and Fundraiser on September 19 at 5 p.m. will mark HLT’s 25-year anniversary, and also look ahead. In addition to workshops, the organization will honor Board Secretary Larry LaFevre, along with Ralph Celebre and Susan Haase, owners of Basil Bandwagon Natural Market.

The nationally accredited nonprofit HLT will host several events this fall, including a free tour of the historic barns at Dvoor Farm in Flemington, which serves as its headquarters, on Sunday, September 12 at 10:30 a.m. On the tour, Christopher Pickell of Pickell Architecture in Flemington will discuss the history of the property’s barns and wagon house, which date from around 1800 to the 1930s. For the first time, participants can see how the buildings were constructed and what makes them unique. Space is limited, and registration is required. To sign up, email Director of Outreach Dave Harding at

HLT’s plans for Dvoor Farm call for a “sensitive rehabilitation” of the barns, so they can be used for children’s camps, corporate retreats, life celebrations, and educational programming. Infrastructure improvements to provide public restrooms are on the agenda, as well as improved traffic flow and parking, and natural resource restorations to benefit pollinator meadows and wetlands, streams, and stormwater management. more

By Wendy Greenberg

Some three years ago Princeton architect Joshua Zinder viewed the film Sukkah City, the story of a New York City competition based on the creative design of a sukkah, a hut-like shelter made for the Jewish fall festival of Sukkot. The event was a means to draw attention to such issues as housing insecurity, homelessness, and hunger.

When Zinder brought the movie to The Jewish Center Princeton, it ignited the enthusiasm to hold a similar event in town. But fall 2019 was a busy time for the synagogue, celebrating its 75th anniversary, and by March 2020, COVID-19 canceled the plans.

“I’m not one who gives up so easily,” said Zinder, who is president of the AIA of New Jersey and managing partner of the Princeton integrated architecture and design firm JZA+D. “So this year we reinvigorated it.”

Sukkah Village Princeton 2021 is finally happening. The interfaith community program involves some 20 Princeton area religious and cultural groups bringing attention to affordable housing, hunger, homelessness, sustainability, and refugees, via architecture. Princeton’s Sukkah Village opens September 19 at noon and closes September 29 at 9 a.m.

“Even though Sukkot is a Jewish holiday,” said Zinder, “everyone can celebrate it. It brings awareness to critical issues in New Jersey.”

Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that celebrates the gathering of the harvest and commemorates the sheltering of the Israelites wandering for 40 years in the desert following the exodus from Egypt. The observance is marked by spending time in a sukkah, a recreation of the hut-like structures that housed the ancient Jews. As a temporary dwelling, Zinder explained, the sukkah symbolizes the fragility of human existence.  more

“A PRINCETITUTION”: The Trinity Church Rummage Sale, in operation since 1971, is scheduled for September 23, 24, and 25 at the Trinity Church on Mercer Street. Trinity Librarian Rob Fraser and Department Chair for Art and Antiquities Connie Escher display some of the thousands of items to be sold to support the church’s outreach efforts in what might be the end of a tradition after 50 years.

By Donald Gilpin

It started in 1971 with just one table for each sales category — used clothing, toys, jewelry, white elephants. A few “better things” (now known as “The Boutique”) were sold on the tiny stage, all in the old Pierce Hall at Trinity Church on Mercer Street. The idea originated in the “jumble sales” in Victorian England, where the Anglican church raised money for itself and for causes worldwide.

Fifty years later the Trinity Church Rummage Sale, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales over the years to support the church’s outreach efforts, is preparing for its possible grand finale on September 23, 24, and 25. Thousands of items — clothing, art, antiques, housewares, linens, books, and much more — will fill five or six large rooms at the church. Dozens of volunteers will be working long hours, with many hundreds of shoppers anticipated.

Thursday, September 23 is sale preview day from 1 to 5 p.m., with a $10 entry fee and a long waiting line expected before the 1 p.m. opening. On Friday, September 24, the sale runs from noon to 5 p.m., and on Saturday, September 25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (no entry fee on regular sale days).

In preparation for that first sale in 1971, a few volunteers sorted and priced items in front of the Pierce Hall stage, and the items were stored on the stage and in two small rooms. The treasurer’s report from 1971 lists a total of $2,585.77 in sales of accessories, children’s clothes, fun and games, household jewelry, bric-a-brac, and men’s and women’s clothes.

“The volume of the sale grew almost exponentially,” according to a 1987 Trinity Church report titled “Come, Celebrate Rummage at Trinity: A Serious Enterprise.” The previous year the Boutique and Better Dresses sections had produced “an astounding $18,000 in six hours of non-stop action,” with the one-day event earning $25,000.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

A little bit of courage is all we lack
So catch me if you can, I’m goin’ back…

—Carole King, from “Goin Back”

Looking ahead to Thursday, Princeton’s first day of the new school year, I’ve been going back to school, way way back to my first, McCalla Elementary, which was named for Bloomington Indiana’s first female school superintendent and was an easy two-block walk from home. Otherwise, all my schooling, K-12, took place in the same building, with one notable exception (ninth grade in New York City). The country school where I spent grades four through six is a lesser exception since getting there involved a long school bus ride through hills and valleys and woods to a two-room red-brick schoolhouse called Poplar Grove. That humble building still stands and so does the two-story Classical Revival structure that housed McCalla, which is currently used by the Indiana University School of Fine Arts for sculpture classes.

Lost and Found

After a too-hasty online search, I actually began to fear that the university had demolished the Art Deco building I’d entered as a kindergartner and left as a graduating senior. I was aware that the interior had been gutted long ago because I have a small, neatly cut and polished chunk of the wooden banister with a small plaque attached: University School 1937-1964. On the opening page of my senior yearbook there’s a two-page photograph of U-School’s Indiana limestone facade next to which a “lamentful” sophomore friend has drawn a ballpoint arrow and the words, “Stu, if you’re smart, boy, you’ll stay the hell out of here.”

And so I did for decades, until a classmate and I wandered inside on a June day in 1989. As soon as I walked down the hallway where my locker had been, I realized that I’d been there before in my dreams. I don’t mean nightmares, just dreams of the sort that take you down long, strange, vaguely familiar hallways and stairways and landings, while you try to fulfill enigmatic missions at the urging of various ghostly teachers whose names you’ve forgotten or would prefer not to remember. In these dreams I sometimes end up on the ground floor outside the boy’s locker room, the scene of an ugly, real-life fistfight between a senior class officer and a tough country kid. The class officer was getting the worst of it, his nose bleeding all over his powder blue cashmere sweater. Here were two societal extremes, the elite city kid and the country boy who was never invited to parties of the in-crowd, even if he happened to be a hero on the field.

My friend and I were in there no longer than the time it took to hear the spooky quavering of our voices echoing in the hallway. We’d been kidding around, like old times, and the sounds we were making came back at us like something on the soundtrack of a low-grade horror movie.  more

SO PERCUSSION: The ensemble will perform in a free (ticketed) concert in Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium on Saturday, September 18. The event marks the University Department of Music’s first in-person campus concert since the pandemic.

So Percussion will present a free (ticketed) concert on Saturday, September 18, at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, on the campus of Princeton University.

This marks the University Department of Music’s first in-person campus concert since the pandemic. The University’s Edward T. Cone Performers-in-Residence will be joined by guest artist Shodekeh Talifero, a beatboxer, vocal percussionist, and breath artist who pushes the boundaries of the human voice.

The program will feature works by Bryce Dessner, Nathalie Joachim, Shodekeh Talifero, Jason Treuting, and Julia Wolfe, including Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings, a work commissioned by Carnegie Hall for which the composer worked with instrument builder Aron Sanchez of the Blue Man Group to develop new dulcimer-like instruments for the ensemble. Dessner has become a familiar voice on campus, with a new work co-commissioned by Princeton University Concerts to be performed by the Takács String Quartet in February. 

In accordance with Princeton University policy, all concert attendees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to wear a mask inside the concert venue. Unvaccinated children will not be permitted entry. Free tickets are required, and will become available on Monday, September 13 at 12 p.m. (ET) online at Remaining tickets will be available at the door.

Fingers crossed, New York City Ballet’s production of “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” will be back on the stage of the David Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center from November 26 through January 2. There are 47 performances of the holiday classic, which Balanchine created in 1954. Single tickets go on sale October 11. There are certain protocols in place involving COVID testing for unvaccinated children, and other requirements. Visit for details and online purchases.

Danielia Cotton

After a year and a half pandemic shutdown, Hopewell Theater is reopening its doors on Friday, September 10 at 8 p.m. — the date of the Theater’s four-year anniversary — with a grand reopening show featuring international recording artist Danielia Cotton.

The event begins with a pre-show party at 6:30 p.m., followed by the 8 p.m. live music performance by Cotton.

“Happy to be a part of the official reopening of my hometown theater post COVID lockdown,” says Cotton, a rock singer-songwriter born and raised in Hopewell. “It is my honor to once again perform in this small but mighty theater that has become a true gem in the town I grew up in.”

During the pre-show celebration, patrons are invited to enjoy light gourmet refreshments, and sip to toast the grand reopening. There will also be activities such as a photo booth and prize giveaways. Patrons can enter to win giveaways such as Danielia Cotton merchandise and a dual membership to the theater. Additionally, all attending patrons will receive a free gift, courtesy of the artist and Hopewell Theater.

“We are relived to be reopening and grateful to our patrons for their support during this long shutdown,” says Sara Scully, co-owner of Hopewell Theater. “We cannot wait to see everyone together again in out theater at our reopening celebration, September 10.”

The theater has taken the necessary precautions for the safety of its patrons, staff, and artists, including HVAC upgrades, thorough cleaning and sanitation before and after shows, and requiring all patrons, talent, and staff to wear a mask when in the building.

Tickets for the reopening celebration are for sale for $30-35 ($36 on day of show) and can be purchased at

Following the reopening celebration, the theater will reopen at full capacity with an eclectic lineup of fall programs.

Hopewell Theater is located at 5 South Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell. For more information, visit

The Nassau Club of Princeton, 6 Mercer Street, will present an Artist’s Reception with Charles David Viera on Sunday, September 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. Viera will discuss his current exhibition, “Reality Revisited: Paintings by Charles David Viera,” on display at The Nassau Club through September 26. The reception is free and open to the public but due to COVID restrictions, no refreshments will be served, and visitors are encouraged to wear masks. For more about the artist, visit

“CROSSWORLDS”: This work by Jeff McConnell is part of a pinhole photography exhibit, featuring photographs by seven local artists, on view at Small World Coffee on Nassau Street September 9 through October 5. A reception is Sunday, September 12 from 12-3 p.m.

Small World Coffee, 254 Nassau Street will host an exhibit by seven local artists working with the historical photography process of pinhole photography. On view Thursday, September 9 through October 5., the exhibit will be open daily during business hours. A reception with the artists will be held on Sunday, September 12 from 12 to 3 p.m.

Pinhole photography requires the artist to use a rudimentary lens-less camera, oftentimes homemade from recycled materials, to capture an image through a small pin-sized hole. This type of camera lends itself to creating photographs with long exposures with almost infinite depth of field, possible light leaks, and warped perspectives.  more


Warren Street downtown Trenton, St. Joe’s Avenue in East Trenton, the Roebling Wire Works building, and Artworks’ main galleries will be bursting with art and activities as a combined Art All Day/Ciclovia returns on Saturday, September 18 from noon to 6 p.m. Mindful of the continuing threat of COVID-19, organizers are again planning an event where safety is a priority, featuring outdoor activities and multiple safety protocols for indoor sites.

Highlights include the Freedom Skate Park and Trenton Circus Squad at the Roebling Wire Works, live mural painting outdoors and artist open studios and two special exhibits inside at Artworks, plus an activated open Warren Street downtown in partnership with the Trenton Downtown Association, and another open street on St. Joe’s Avenue at Breunig Avenue Park in partnership with the East Trenton Collaborative. more

“THE LOOK”: This mixed media mosaic by Helene Plank was featured on the cover of the National Button Bulletin, and will be on display at the New Jersey State Button Society’s Fall Show September 11 at the Union Fire Company in Titusville. Measuring 25 by 31 inches, it uses buttons, sequins, and beads made from glass, plastic, metal, wood, and ceramics, and it took 118 hours to complete.

Celebrating its 80th birthday, the New Jersey State Button Society (NJSBS) will open its Fall Show and Competition to the public, for free, on Saturday, September 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Union Fire Company and Rescue Squad hall, 1396 River Road in Titusville.

“We’re offering special activities for those new to button collecting, says Barbara Figge Fox, NJSBS president. “Safety is our first priority. Masks, available at the door, will be required at all times.”

Members of the NJSBS share an interest in studying, collecting, and preserving clothing buttons, both old and new. Sewers, knitters, quilters, costume designers, and re-enactors will be able to choose from thousands of clothing buttons offered by dealers from the eastern seaboard.

Button displays will celebrate its birthday, and Frank Sinatra song hits from 1941 (“Oh Look at Me Now”) will signal the hourly drawing of door prizes. On view will be button art by Helene Plank, who has created more than 20 prize-winning button mosaics, each using from 1,700 to 1,900 buttons, sewn onto the canvas.

For information on “Together Again,” the first in-person button show in the tri-state area since COVID, go to, email, or call (609) 759-4804.

EXPERTISE AND EXPERIENCE: “In addition to instructing students and introducing them to all aspects of dance, a huge part of our program is building relationships. We’ve had some students since they were 3 years old, and who have continued to come over the years. We offer a wonderful program for students of all ages and levels of ability.” Elise Knecht, left, and her daughter Ashlee, co-owners of Knecht’s Danceworks, are enthusiastic about their current program, which is on site and in person.

By Jean Stratton

For more than 60 years, the Knecht family has been sharing its dance expertise with students, audiences, and all those who love the dance in all its forms.

Established in 1959 by Fred and Joanne Knecht, Danceworks (then known as Knecht Dance Academy) has been a dynamic force in dance instruction, and it is a true family operation.

Their daughter Elise is now co-owner of the studio with her daughter Ashlee, who is the third generation to be actively involved. Both women also serve as instructors.

After many years in Bucks County, Knecht’s Danceworks moved to the Pennington Square Shopping Center on Route 31 in Pennington last year. Formerly the location of Karen Martin’s Dance Works of Mercer County, the spacious setting offers two state-of-the-art dance studios, featuring sprung and Marley floors, which are easier on the legs and feet and overall body health, points out Elise Knecht. more

BIRD IN FLIGHT: Lizzie Bird flies over a hurdle in a 3,000-meter steeplechase race during her career with the Princeton University women’s track team. Last month, Bird ’17, competing for Great Britain, took ninth in the women’s steeplechase in the Tokyo Olympics, setting a new British national record of 9:19.68 in the process. (Photo provided by Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

Lizzie Bird felt that she could run better after graduating from Princeton University, but even she was surprised by the level of her recent success.

The 2017 Princeton graduate and native of St. Albans Herts, England, set a new British national record of 9:19.68 and placed ninth in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in August.

“I wouldn’t have expected this three or four years ago when I just graduated,” said Bird. “I feel like the progression since 2018 has been steady.”

Bird closed her racing season by taking 12th place in the women’s steeple at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., after the Olympics, and shifted attention to starting law school.

Given her recent success, Bird has no plans to stop racing, but the build-up will look different while she studies and trains quite fortunately in the running mecca at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

“I know not being full-time, I won’t be able to train at the same rate,” said Bird.

“I can’t do two-a-days. I think I still have a lot more in me. I think I can still improve. At the Olympics, just seeing I was third European, maybe I can be challenging for a medal at Europeans or Commonwealths and that can be a pretty cool thing for this year. I have to be realistic that by taking on law school at the same time it will be more challenging and I might not improve at the same rate; but this is a decision I made that I’m ready to do something else on the side that’s a little less of a selfish pursuit.” more

ON HIS TOES: Princeton University men’s soccer player Daniel Diaz-Bonilla, right, battles Nico Rosamilia of Rutgers for the ball last Friday night in Princeton’s season opener. Junior forward Diaz-Bonilla generated a number of chances for the Tigers in a losing cause as Princeton fell 1-0 to the Scarlet Knights. Princeton was slated to play at Vermont on September 7 before heading to Colgate on September 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Daniel Diaz-Bonilla and his teammates on the Princeton University men’s soccer team were bound to be a bit rusty as they hosted Rutgers last Friday night in their season opener.

Princeton hadn’t played a game in nearly two years with the 2020 season having been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns and had a brief preseason in preparing to play a battle-tested Scarlet Knight squad.

“This team has only been together for two weeks after two years off and that team had a season in the spring,” said junior forward Diaz-Bonilla. “They have already had two games and a month together.”

But with the shifty Diaz-Bonilla displaying some dazzling footwork, the Tigers were able to put Rutgers on its heels several times outshooting the Scarlet Knights 8-7 in the first half as rivals played to a scoreless draw over the first 45 minutes of the contest.

The attacking unit of senior Kevin O’Toole, sophomore Walker Gillespie, senior Frankie DeRosa, and junior Ryan Clare along with Diaz-Bonilla was in sync despite the long hiatus from game action.

“We trust each other,” said Diaz-Bonilla. “We are always fluid, we are moving, we are getting off each other. I could play on the right, Kevin can play on the left and Walker can drop down. It is super fluid. We have got Frankie coming off the bench and Ryan sometimes goes up for us. We have a lot of options.” more

FRESH APPROACH: Princeton University field hockey player Beth Yeager, center, races upfield past two North Carolina defenders last Friday in Princeton’s season opener. The 13th-ranked Tigers fell 4-1 to top-ranked UNC and then showed progress in losing 3-2 in overtime to No. 5 Louisville two days later. Freshman star Yeager notched her first college goals in the loss to the Cardinals, tallying both scores for Princeton in the defeat. In upcoming action, the Tigers host No. 12 Duke on September 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for Beth Yeager to make an impact for the Princeton University field hockey team last weekend in her collegiate debut.

After the highly touted striker generated five shots on goal but was held scoreless in a 4-1 loss to top-ranked and three-time defending national champion North Carolina on Friday, Yeager tallied both goals for No. 13 Princeton in a 3-2 overtime loss to fifth-ranked Louisville two days later.

While Yeager was disappointed by the defeat to the Cardinals, she saw positives coming out of the setback.

“We were excited to come out today and work on a few things,” said Yeager.

“Even though it was a disappointing result, there was a lot of progress that we made. It is a long season, there is lots to build on.”

Yeager was excited to notch her first collegiate goal, which came on a penalty stroke midway through the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

“I was just aiming for the spot, trying to keep calm, not focus on all of the noise around me and do my best,” recalled Yeager, a 5’7 native of Greenwich, Conn., who has competed for the U.S. U-17 and U-19 outdoor junior teams.  more

Princeton High football player Jaiden Johnson, center, leaps for the ball in a game last fall. Last Saturday, Johnson and the PHS kicked off the 2021 campaign by falling 26-7 at Overbrook High. Senior receiver Johnson scored the lone Tiger touchdown in the game on a 27-yard reception from quarterback Jaxon Petrone. Johnson made nine catches for 140 yards in the contest with Petrone completing 14-of-35 passes for 189 yards. The Tigers will look to get on the winning track when they host Haddon Heights (1-0) on September 11 in their home opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)