September 19, 2018

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School field hockey Gwen Allen controls the ball in recent action. Last Thursday, senior star and tri-captain Allen scored the winning goal as PDS edged Stuart Country Day School 2-1 in overtime. The Panthers, now 3-0, host Blair Academy on September 22 and Peddie School on September 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gwen Allen and her teammates on the Princeton Day School field hockey team were a bit frustrated as their battle with local rival Stuart Country Day School headed into overtime last Thursday.

“I feel like we should have scored earlier on; we had a lot more opportunities than they did and we had great offensive sequences,” said Allen.

“We felt like we were playing well, we just weren’t able to finish it. It was ‘let’s just close it out.’”

After coming to the bench for a brief rest during the overtime, Allen returned to the contest and finished it off, tallying a goal with 3:36 left in the extra session to give PDS a 2-1 win as it improved to 3-0.

“When I went back in, Val [Radvany] had the ball at midfield and there was nobody in front and I got it and it was a one versus two,” said Allen.

“I tried to get close to the circle and my first shot was bad, but Lyla Allen (not Gwen’s sister) got the rebound and passed it to me. It was a weird shot; it kind of trickled in.”

While the shot may not have been a thing of beauty, the result was heartening for PDS.

“It was really exciting. It was definitely a relief,” said Allen. “Most of all, I was really proud of my team. It was the first time we have gone to overtime and we have a really young team with a lot of freshman. I was proud of everyone for sticking with it.”

Allen credited the Stuart defense with making PDS work overtime.

“They were good at getting out quickly and finding the girl in the middle and distributing it out, but for the most part we had possession, which was awesome,” said Allen.

In Allen’s view, the team’s 3-0 start has been awesome if a little unexpected.

“After the preseason, I was a little worried; we lost a lot of really good players and starters from last year,” said Allen.

“We have a super young team. The Allen twins (freshmen Lyla and Emily) have really been helping; they are super athletic and in shape. They are a huge help, and the other younger players are all stepping up and doing well. We had some players who were on JV last year and got bumped up to varsity and they have been great.”

The trio of senior stars Allen, Radvany, and Sasha Sindhwani looking to help the younger players feel comfortable on the varsity.

“We are really close; it has been us three since freshman year, so we are super excited to be able to lead the team together,” said Allen.

“It is a good dynamic; we have good communication. We all agree on leadership style and how we do things. It is fun to be captains with Val and Sasha.”

PDS head coach Heather Farlow had fun seeing Allen come through with the game-winning tally.

“We were talking to Gwen; we wanted her to shoot more at the top of the circle,” said Farlow. “During the game, we were telling her you have got to yell that you are wide open and stuff. We finally got her the ball; it was good.”

The Panthers played some good hockey against the Tartans.

“I knew that we wanted to play a passing game; I felt that we really did control possession most of the game,” said Farlow, who also got a goal from Sindhwani on a first half penalty stroke. “They had some good defensive plays; they were tough.”

Surviving the extra session was a good step forward early in the season for PDS.

“It points out some strengths and weaknesses; it is good competition,” said Farlow, whose team hosts Blair Academy on September 22 and Peddie School on September 25.

“We just want to keep moving forward, we have done some nice things. We have executed what we have practiced but we just need to keep putting it together.”

Allen, for her part, believes that the Panthers need to sharpen up on their execution around goal.

“I think next week we are definitely going to be working on fitness and finishing on attack,” said Allen. “It will be moving and shooting and how to get around the defense and the goalie. Circle attack will be the focus.”

THIRD PARTY: Princeton High girls’ tennis player Nicole Samios hits a serve in a match last fall. Junior Samios is playing at third singles again for PHS this fall and has helped the team get off to a 2-1 start. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers have matches at WW/P-South on September 20 and at Allentown on September 21 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament on September 24 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ tennis team may not boast any superstars in its 2018 lineup, it possesses the depth and experience to maintain the program’s winning tradition.

“We have a lot of seniors,” said PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert, noting that the roster includes six seniors with four currently in the starting lineup.

“We want to send them out on a high note and we are hoping to have the best season we can.”

One of those seniors, Sydney Vine, has moved into the first singles spot.  more

September 12, 2018

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) hosted its annual Fall Open House on Saturday afternoon, which included an opening reception for the “Members Exhibition” in the Taplin Gallery. Participants share their favorite art forms in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The conflict seems to intensify as postponement of the Princeton Board of Education (BOE) vote on Princeton Public Schools’ (PPS) proposed $129.6M bond issue, and consequent postponement of the ballot issue until after the November 6 general election, gives both sides the opportunity to develop and clarify their cases.

Last week, shortly before its Tuesday night meeting at which it was planning to vote to place the referendum on the November ballot, the BOE was informed that due to a backlog the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) was still reviewing the district’s plans and that the referendum would have to be postponed until after the November ballot.  more

August 29, 2018


CHINESE LESSON: Ian McNally, left, instructs players at a camp in China this summer. Hun School boys’ hockey head coach and former Princeton University player McNally took part in the ECAC Hockey/Princeton camps in Beijing and Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.

By Bill Alden

Ron Fogarty helped guide the Princeton University men’s hockey team from the ECAC Hockey cellar to the NCAA tournament, while Ian McNally has built the Hun School boys’ program into a local powerhouse as it has won five straight Mercer County Tournament titles.

This July, the two coaches flew nearly 7,000 miles across the world to help grow the game they love as they took part in the ECAC Hockey/Princeton camp in China.

 more

READING THE GAME: Princeton High boys’ soccer star Thomas Reid controls the ball in a game last fall. Senior defender Reid has emerged as the leader of the PHS back line. The Little Tigers get the 2018 season underway when they play at WW/P-South on September 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last fall, the Princeton High boys’ soccer team added a special chapter to the program’s storied history.

Catching fire after a rocky start, PHS won the Group 4 Central Jersey title and advanced to the state final where it fell to powerhouse Kearny to end the fall with a 17-6-1 record.

 more

BIG JAY: Princeton High football player Jaylen Johnson takes a break in action last fall. Senior Johnson is going to be busy for PHS this year, playing running back and defensive line. The Little Tigers open their 2018 campaign when they host Hamilton on September 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The goal for the Princeton High football team is simple as it heads into the 2018 season.

“We want to win some football games,” said PHS head coach Charlie Gallagher, whose squad went 0-10 last fall. “I am excited about our coaching staff because we have put in great work and we are coaching these kids up.”

 more

GETTING IN FORM: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Camille Franklin controls the ball in a training session last week. Senior Franklin figures to be a key offensive weapon for PHS this fall. The Little Tigers kick off their 2018 season by hosting WW/P-South on September 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ soccer team having lost a slew of seniors after going 10-6-2 in 2017, there will be new faces in new places for the squad this fall.

“It seems like everybody is ready to step up and really contribute and fill their role,” said PHS head coach Val Rodriguez, whose team opens regular season play by hosting WW/P-South on September 6.

 more

August 22, 2018

ON TRACK: Alex Roth is competing for the University of Pennsylvania men’s track team in a meet last March at Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Former Princeton High standout Roth ended his freshman campaign by taking ninth in the 10,000-meter run at the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships this past May. Last week, he returned to Penn to begin preseason practice for his sophomore cross country season. (Photo Provided by Penn Athletics)

By Bill Alden

Alex Roth enjoyed a dominant senior season in 2016-17, setting the pace for the Princeton High boys’ cross country and track programs.

In the fall, Roth placed first in the county cross country meet, fourth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet, and second at the state Group 4 meet as the Little Tigers finished first in the team standings at each competition. He ended the historic campaign by helping PHS win the Meet of Champions (MOC) for the first time in school history as he placed third individually. more

August 15, 2018

LEADING LIGHTS: Maddy Peel, far right, pilots the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA)/Mercer Juniors women’s lightweight eight in action this spring. Coxswain Peel, a Princeton High graduate who is headed to Cornell this month to join its women’s rowing program, helped the Mercer boat take fifth at the USRowing Youth National Championship in Sacramento, Calif. this June.

By Bill Alden

For Maddy Peel, mastering a new vocabulary proved to be a key challenge when she joined the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) Mercer Junior rowing program as a neophyte coxswain in the fall of 2014.

“It was a lot about learning the lingo at first. There are a lot of words that aren’t used anywhere else,” said Peel.

“Once you get the hang of what to say, it starts getting a little bit easier. It is also knowing what is going on in your boat. When you are brand new, you are sitting down and you can’t really tell what is going on. You see eight oars but you don’t really know what is happening.” more

HEAD START: C.J. Uche, right, heads the ball during a game last fall in his senior season for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team. Star midfielder Uche, who helped PDS win the state Prep B title in 2016, is now in preseason practice for the Bucknell University men’s soccer team as he gets ready to start his college career. Bucknell opens regular season action when it plays at Mount St. Mary’s on August 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When C.J. Uche joined the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team in 2014 as a freshman, he didn’t see himself playing at the next level.

“I came in thinking that I wasn’t the D-I soccer type; that wasn’t my goal at that time,” said Uche.

But after emerging as a star midfielder early in his PDS career, Uche realized that he might have a future in college soccer.

“I played Match Fit Academy for four years and the summer after sophomore year, we won the national tournament against some of the highest competition,” said Uche. more

Alex Ni competes at the 7th World Junior Wushu Championships held last month in Brazil. Ni, a West Windsor resident and rising junior at the Hun School, won two gold medals and a silver medal at the competition. He prevailed in the Changquan (Long Fist) and straightsword events and took second in spear. The event is held biennially and each country/region can send up to two boys and two girls for each of three age groups -12 and under, 13-15, and 16-18. Athletes from 42 countries competed in this year’s Championships. Ni, who took up martial arts at age 6, has earned spots in the U.S. junior wushu team, the U.S. senior wushu team, as well as the U.S. kungfu team. In addition, he regularly performs in school and local community talent and cultural shows, in senior and rehab centers, Plainsboro Founders Day, Chinese New Year celebrations, and in Lincoln Center in New York City.  Ni has been teaching Xingyi Quan, a fist form in the martial arts club at the Hun School.

August 8, 2018

SHARP PERFORMANCE: Community Park Bluefish swimmer Serena Sharpless displays her breaststroke form in a race this summer. Sharpless starred for the 18-and-under girls as the Bluefish took first in Division 1 at the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet at the John Witherspoon Middle School pool on  July 23-24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Community Park Bluefish swim team rolled to another undefeated dual meet season in Division 1 PASDA action this summer, the squad outdid itself at the league’s championship meet.

The Bluefish, who have been undefeated in dual meets since 2015, rolled up 3,934.50 points in winning the Division 1 competition, nearly doubling the 2,030 scored by the runner-up Lawrenceville Swim Association. more

IN CONTROL: Daniel Baytin churns through the water in a meet last year for the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings. In late July, Baytin helped the Lemmings take fourth in Division 2 at Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet, starring in the 12-and-under boys’ group. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Cranbury Swim Club closed in 2014, Will Kinney had to find another outlet for his summer swimming.

Joining the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings as a swimmer and assistant coach, Princeton High standout Kinney quickly found a home.

“The team is a lot of fun, it is positive and it is such a great experience for everyone,” said Kinney, who is heading into his sophomore year at William and Mary. “I don’t think it could have worked out any better. I have met so many people; it has been really nice to grow with this team.” more

August 1, 2018

CROWNING MOMENT: Nicole Angelini kisses the trophy after her Player Development Academy (PDA) South ’02 16-U girls’ squad won its age group at the US Club Soccer NPL (National Premier Leagues) National Championship last month in Aurora, Colo. Rising Hun School junior midfielder Angelini scored on a penalty kick in the final as PDA topped GPS (Mass.) 5-0 to earn the national title.

By Bill Alden

By the time she was 10 years old, Nicole Angelini decided that she was ready to make a deeper commitment to soccer and joined the high-powered Player Development Academy program in Somerset.

“I was on a travel team in Hamilton, but I wanted to step it up,” said Angelini, now a rising junior at the Hun School. “My dad asked me if I wanted to play more seriously and how much I actually liked it. I wanted to take it up a notch and PDA was pretty close. It was a different level.” more

ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH: Members of the Princeton Football Club (PFC) Boca U-16 (2002) boys’ team show off the medals they earned for winning their age group at the U.S. Club National Cup in Aurora, Colo. PFC Boca defeated FC Cardinals Man City (N.C.) 3-1 in the final. Pictured in the front row, from left, are Xavier Guerreiro, Connor Staples, Aron Szoke, Brandon Sagbo, Jose Rodriguez-Chacon, Silvio Aparicio, Ian Cabrera, Noah LaPoint, Daniel Ingersoll, and Herbert Ramirez. In the back row, from left, are head coach Yordan Hristov, Jared Bell, Andres Argueta, Simon Sheppard, and Ian Pompliano.

By Bill Alden

As his Princeton Football Club (PFC) Boca U-16 (2002) got ready to start play in the U.S. Club National Cup in Aurora, Colo. last month, Yordan Hristov urged his players to savor the experience.

“I said, ‘guys look where you are, we are at the highest stage; you had a dream and this is where we are at the moment,’” said PFC Boca head coach Hristov. more

LOYALTY REWARD: Davon Black of LoyalTees, right, puts the pressure on John McArthur of NJ Spiritwear last week in the opening game of the best-of-three championship series in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High star Black helped LoyalTees earn the title as it defeated NJ Spiritwear 76-60 in game three of the series last Friday night at the Hun School gym.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Davon Black sensed early on that his LoyalTees squad could be something special this season in its second campaign in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

Coming into the summer, former Princeton High boys’ hoops star Black, the player/manager for LoyalTees, added some key pieces to augment the team after its league debut in 2017. more

NICK OF TIME: Nick Davidson of LoyalTees grabs the ball in action last week against NJ Spiritwear in the best-of-three championship series in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Davidson helped LoyalTees win the series, scoring 29 points as the team defeated NJ Spiritwear 76-60 in the third and deciding game last Friday at the Hun School gym. Davidson was named as the winner of the league’s Foreal Wooden Playoff MVP award. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After Nick Davidson and his LoyalTees teammates fell to NJ Spiritwear in the opening contest of the best-of-three championship series in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League, they brought a scrappy approach into game two.

“In the first game we came out a little lackadaisical; we were trying to feel them out a little bit and they ended up pouncing on us,” said Davidson, reflecting on the team’s 70-67 loss in the opener on July 23 at the Princeton High gym. more

July 25, 2018

ON COURSE: A view of the third hole at the Springdale Golf Club, which is hosting the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Championship from July 30-August 1. The field of the event includes 71 of the top boy and girl junior players in the country. (Photo Courtesy of Springdale Golf Club)

By Bill Alden

For Stuart Francis, the lessons he learned spending hours around the Springdale Golf Club while competing for the Princeton University men’s golf team in the early 1970s changed the course of his life.

“We had a team of very good players; like all Princeton student athletes, they worked hard on their game and hard academically,” said Francis, a 1974 Princeton alum who was the co-captain of the Tigers his senior year, helping the team win the Ivy League title and earning All-Ivy and All-American honors. more

HIGH SPIRITS: NJ Spiritwear guard Troy Jones flies to the rim against LoyalTees last Monday as the teams met in the opening game of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League’s best-of-three championship series. Jones scored 19 points as NJ Spiritwear edged LoyalTees 70-67. Game two is slated for July 25 with game three, if necessary, to be played on July 27. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In its regular season finale in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League earlier this month, NJ Spiritwear had a chance to clinch first place when it faced LoyalTees.

But failing to rise to the occasion, NJ Spiritwear lost 66-51 as LoyalTees earned the top seed for the playoffs. more

HEADING TO THE HALL: Chris Hatchell heads to the hoop for Winberie’s in 2013 action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Hatchell, who earned two regular season MVP awards and was named the playoff MVP four times over the years, was inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame last Wednesday. Getting inducted along with Hatchell in this year’s HOF class was the Ivy Inn team, which won three straight league titles from 2008-10 and six overall, and Town Topics sports editor Bill Alden, who has been covering the league since 2003. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

During his heyday in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League, a flurry of three-pointers from Chris Hatchell would often prompt the admonition “don’t let him heat up” from the scorer’s table at the Community Park courts.

Hatchell became a league legend as his hot shooting from the perimeter in crunch time helped him earn two regular season MVP awards (2011, 2014) and get named the playoff MVP four times (2003, 2004, 2012, and 2014). more

RITE STUFF: Members of the Princeton High boys’ hockey team celebrate after a goal last season. The team’s run to the state Public B semifinals helped PHS tie for fifth place in the Group IV standings for the ShopRite Cup, a contest among NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) programs based on points earned for finishing in the top four in state championship competition across 31 sports. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With fall preseason practices starting in a few weeks, the Princeton High athletics program was recently recognized for its accomplishments during the 2017-18 school year.

PHS tied for fifth place in the Group IV standings for the ShopRite Cup, a contest among NJSIAA (New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association) programs based on points earned for finishing in the top four in state championship competition across 31 sports. more

July 18, 2018

BRONZE STAR: Katarina Stough, center, celebrates with her boat mates after piloting the Georgetown University women’s lightweight four to a bronze medal at the Eastern Sprints in late April in Worcester, Mass. The Princeton High grad and former standout coxswain for PNRA (Princeton National Rowing Association) Mercer Rowing enjoyed two homecomings this spring, competing for the Hoyas against Princeton on Lake Carnegie in a regular season matchup in April and then taking part in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Mercer Lake in June.

Katarina Stough got off to a good start when she joined the Georgetown University women’s lightweight rowing program in the fall of 2015.

The Princeton High grad and former standout coxswain for PNRA (Princeton National Rowing Association) Mercer Rowing immediately found a home on the Potomac with her new teammates.

“All of the girls were so accepting of me, they all really wanted me to succeed,” said Stough, who took up coxing in eighth grade when she took part in a Mercer Rowing camp. “In the fall, I was in the freshman eight.”

 more

SHOWING HIS STUFF: Chris Murdock delivers a pitch in a game this summer for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Murdock, a recently graduated Hun School star, helped Post 218 go 7-5 in its final 12 games of the season as it bounced back from a 0-10 start. Last week, Murdock got the win on the mound in a 5-2 win over North Hamilton on July 9 and then contributed a hit as Post 218 defeated Ewing 5-3 a day later in its season finale to end with a final record of 7-15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

When the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team started the summer 0-10, things could have fallen apart for the squad.

Instead, the Post 218 players bonded, going 7-5 over the final 12 games of the campaign.

“It was getting to know everybody as a team chemistry-wise because we definitely had the talent going into it,” said recently graduated Hun star Chris Murdock, a starting pitcher and infielder/outfielder for Post 218.

 more

SEMI TOUGH: Members of the Princeton Football Club (PFC) Napoli U16 girls’ soccer team pose after they represented New Jersey at the Region 1 Tournament in West Virginia earlier this month. Napoli went 2-1 in group play to advance to the semifinals where it fell 2-1 to Montgomery United (Pa.) 2-1 in the second period of overtime. Pictured in the front row, from left to right, are Alison Walsh (Montgomery High), Vannessa Ponce (Princeton High), Kaitlyn St. Amour (WW/P-North High), Stavroula Papakonstantinou (PHS), Vanessa Devlin (Princeton Day School), Jessica Wu (PHS), and Talya Deutsch (Montgomery). In the back row, from left, are head coach Milen Nikolov, Ashley Moritz (WW/P-North), Neena O’Mara (Montgomery), Nicolette Evich (Hopewell Valley Central High), Emily DeNero (Hopewell Valley), Molly Frain (PHS), Sophia Kavulich (The Pennington School), Morgan Beamer (PHS), Claire Tellier (Hopewell Valley), Dylan Wellborne (The Lawrenceville School), and assistant coach Natalie Wilson. Not pictured is Elizabeth Nielsen (WW/P-South High).

When his Princeton Football Club (PFC) Napoli girls’ soccer team fell in the final four of the State Cup last season, Milen Nikolov believed the defeat could end up being a blessing in disguise.

“When they lost in the semifinal for the state cup on penalty kicks, I told them you are going to get another chance and this is a lesson,” said PFC Napoli head coach Nikolov.

 more