June 9, 2021

ON HIS TOES: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jack Ling hits a forehand last Monday in the state Group 3 semifinals at Mercer County Park. Freshman star Ling prevailed in his match at second singles, but PHS ended up falling 3-2 to Chatham to end the spring with a 17-1 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jack Ling displayed a composure beyond his years as he battled at second singles for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team when it faced Chatham in the state Group 3 semifinals last Monday.

With the temperatures soaring into the 90s at the Mercer County Park complex, things looked bleak for freshman star Ling. After winning the first set 7-5 against Chatham’s Dennis Isak, Ling dropped the second set 6-4 and trailed 4-2 in the decisive 10-point super tie-break.

Unfazed, Ling kept in the moment. “I had given up three games in a row in the second set,” said Ling.

“I don’t really have much to lose now. I wasn’t really thinking at that point, I was just playing one point at a time.”

Winning eight of the next 10 points, Ling won the tiebreaker 10-6 and took the match, making the team score 2-2.

“I just put a string of points together, I got the momentum going,” said Ling. “I had my team cheering me so that really helped too. I had to finish the match out.”

The semi came down to third singles and PHS freshman Melvin Huang won the first set and took a 6-5 lead in the second but started having leg problems due to the heat. The set went to a tiebreaker and Huang’s leg gave way and he had to retire as the Tigers fell 3-2.

While the defeat was disappointing, Ling was proud of the fortitude that Huang displayed as he gamely tried to finish his match.  more

PUTTING ON A SHOW: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Shoshi Henderson heads to goal in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior star and Pomona College-bound Henderson tallied six goals and four assists to help fourth-seeded PHS defeat 13th-seeded Monroe 17-8 in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 sectional. Two days later, Henderson had four goals and five assists as the Tigers topped fifth-seeded Southern 16-6 in the sectional quarters to improve to 9-5. PHS was slated to play at top-seeded Cherokee in the sectional semis with the victor advancing to the final on June 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Shoshi Henderson took the field for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team when it hosted Monroe in a South Jersey Group 4 sectional first round contest last Wednesday, she brought a straightforward approach.

“It was ‘don’t lose’; I didn’t want this to be my last game,” said PHS senior star midfielder and co-captain Henderson. “That was the main thing, come out intense with urgency.”

The fourth-seeded Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead over 13th-seeded Monroe but then found themselves locked in a 4-4 tie. At that point, the one-two punch of Henderson and junior Kate Becker took over, sparking an 8-0 run as PHS built a 12-4 lead at halftime and never looked back on the way to a 17-8 lead.

“I love playing with Kate. It is just so fun to have someone who has a high lax IQ that loves the game as much as I do,” said Henderson, who also had an assist to her younger sister, freshman Sarah, in that stretch.

“We have gotten so good at catching and passing. I pass it to her before she is even open, I know where she is going to be.”

While Henderson looks to set up her teammates with slick passing, she hit the shot of the day, flinging the ball from the midfield line into the net as the buzzer sounded at the end of the first half. more

STATEMENT WIN: Players on the Princeton High baseball team celebrate after the 13th-seeded Tigers upset fourth-seeded Edison 6-4 in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional last Wednesday. PHS went on to fall 8-1 to 12th-seeded Old Bridge in the sectional quarterfinals last Saturday to end the spring with an 11-9 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the 13th-seeded Princeton High baseball team, edging fourth-seeded Edison 6-4 in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional last Wednesday was more than an upset.

“That is the first state playoff win for us since the 1980s, we think,” said PHS head coach Dom Capuano.

“That is absolutely big. The message I said to them is you have to enjoy it, you have to be proud of yourselves. We just did something that hasn’t been done in 30 years.”

Capuano was proud of the way his team attacked the game, scoring three runs in their first at-bat of the contest.

“Getting three runs in the first, that was huge,” said Capuano. “We haven’t done that all year. I think their kid on the mound definitely had a little bit of nerves and we capitalized, which was good.”

PHS found itself trailing 4-3 entering the fifth and responded with another three-run frame to regain momentum.

“It was kind of the same thing, we had three-run first and three-run fifth,” said Capuano.

“Flynn Kinney came though both times with three RBIs of the six runs. Connor McDowell had two hits.”

Senior star pitcher Tommy Delany came through for Tigers, after yielding two runs in the first and working through jams later in the contest. more

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Princeton High girls’ track star Kendall Williamson displays her sprinting form at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet last Friday at Long Branch High. Producing a stellar performance at the sectional meet, junior Williamson placed second in the 100 meters, fourth in the 200 in 25.75, and helped the 4×400 relay place fourth. The PHS girls’ squad placed ninth in the team standings at the meet. Earlier in the week, Williamson helped the Tigers take first at the Colonial Valley Conference championship meet, winning the 100 meters and the 200 in 26.02 seconds and placing placed third in the 400. PHS scored 127 points to runner-up Hopewell Valley’s 115. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Kendall Williamson’s athletic focus used to be on gymnastics, but she has flipped to track and field in recent years and the Princeton High girls’ team couldn’t be happier.

Having gone from a track neophyte to a superb sprinter, junior Williamson has emerged as a star for the PHS program.

“I’m happy too,” said Williamson, reflecting on her switch to track.

Williamson showed real promise as a gymnast, starting at age 8 and climbing the ranks until a serious injury gave her pause.

“I fractured my back,” said Williamson. “It was just very hard to go back and heal from that and keep doing gymnastics. I was getting injured a lot in gymnastics, so I decided it was time to quit. As a Level 10 gymnast, injuries are going to happen. I was home schooled for a year in seventh grade because gymnastics was such a big part of my life.”

Turning to track for something different, Williamson found a new pursuit. She competed in eighth grade for enjoyment before starting to get serious as a freshman. After a promising first year, she was headed for a big encore performance in the last spring after helping the 4×400 reach the Meet of Champions.

The COVID-19 pandemic ended the 2020 outdoor season, and Williamson came back even more motivated this year to perform well despite missing a season of formal training.

“I don’t know about making up for it,” said Williamson. “I think I might have been a little bit faster, but I think I’m doing the best I can do after a pandemic. The last time I ran outdoor was freshman year. I’ve improved so much since then, so maybe I would have been a little faster but I’m doing all I can do.”

Last week, Williamson showed her speed as she helped the Tigers win the Colonial Valley Conference championship meet, winning the 100 meters in 12.98 seconds, the 200 in 26.02 seconds, placing third in the 400 meters in 1:02.12 and anchoring the second-place 4×400 relay that ran 4:07.7. PHS scored 127 points to runner-up Hopewell Valley’s 115 in the meet which concluded on June 1 after being pushed back due to inclement weather over Memorial Day weekend. more

ON THE WAY TO A TITLE: Bailey Callaway shows her focus in USA Hockey Girls Tier I 16U national tournament in May. Princeton native Callaway helped her Detroit Little Caesars (Mich.) squad win the national title as it topped Minnesota Elite Vegas 5-2 in the title game. Star goalie Callaway made 19 saves in the final. (Photo provided by Bailey Callaway)

By Bill Alden

For Bailey Callaway, starring at goalie in a Mites On Ice scrimmage between periods at a Philadelphia Flyers game as a preschooler started her on a special hockey journey.

“I was the MVP and I got interviewed on the jumbotron,” said Princeton native Callaway, 17, who started playing hockey at age 3, following in the footsteps of her older siblings, Tooker and Ali, who went on the be hockey stars for Princeton High

“I was 4 or 5, I was really young. Having that attention and realizing that you are good at something made me stick with it. I really enjoyed the position.”

In order to get really good, Callaway played in boys’ leagues and went to goalie camps through grade school. When she was 12, Callaway switched to the girls’ side, playing for the New Jersey Colonials.

Looking to sharpen her skills against the best competition, Callaway left Princeton after middle school and headed to Rochester, N.Y., to attend the RYA at Selects Hockey Academy based at Bishop Kearney High.

“It was a huge adjustment going from being with your family all the time to living with 40 girls in a dorm, but everyone has each other’s backs,” said Callaway, whose daily schedule there started with breakfast at 7:40 a.m., school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., practice and working out from 3 to 6:30 p.m., dinner after that, study hall from 8:30 to 10 p.m., and then lights out at 10:30 p.m. more

June 2, 2021

PERFECT ENDING: Members of the Princeton High golf team celebrate after the squad defeated WW/P-North 157-167 at the Springdale Golf Club on May 25 to win the first-ever CVC Match Play Tournament. Pictured, from left, are head coach Sheryl Severance, Madeleine Zang, Peter Eaton, Adam MacMillan, Chris Shen, Brooks Cahill-Sanidas, Remmick Granozio, and assistant coach Patrick Noone. PHS finished the spring with a 15-0 record in dual match play in the final season for longtime head coach Severance. (Photo provided by Sheryl Severance)

By Bill Alden

Sheryl Severance will never forget her final days coaching the Princeton High golf program.

Culminating the 2021 campaign last week, PHS won the first-ever CVC Boys’ Match Play Tournament, defeating WW/P-North 157-167 on May 25 at the Springdale Golf Club to end the season with a 15-0 record.

A day later, the Tigers girls played in their CVC Match Play final, battling WW/P-North to a standstill, tying the Northern Knights 173-173 after the first four golfers’ scores were added up and 222-222 after the fifth golfers were calculated. The Northern Knights prevailed 271-277 with the scores of the sixth golfers being used as the final tiebreaker.

For Severance, who is stepping down after guiding the PHS golf team for 28 years, it was a perfect ending to a storied tenure.

“If you have to go out, you want to go out this way,” said Severance, who guided the Tigers to state titles in 2007 and 2008; sectional titles in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2019; and Mercer County Tournament crowns in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2007. “It was a fantastic year. The group of kids were amazing.”

As squad competed in the boys’ CVC final, Severance wasn’t sure if she was going to go out with a win.

“I was so nervous watching them, there was a bad shot and I was like ‘oh no,’” said Severance.  more

DRIVEN TO SUCCEED: Princeton High golf star Adam MacMillan follows through on a swing in action this spring. Senior MacMillan placed second individually in the state Central/South Jersey Sectional on May 10 as PHS took second in the team standings. Last week, he helped the Tigers win the first-ever CVC Match Play Tournament title with a 157-167 win over WW/P-North at the Springdale Golf Club. PHS ended the spring with a 15-0 record in dual match play. MacMillan will continuing his golf career at West Chester University next year.  (Photo provided courtesy of Sheryl Severance)

By Bill Alden

Adam MacMillan got off to a shaky start as he teed off in the CVC Match Play final for the Princeton High golf team last week when it hosted WW/P-North at the Springdale Golf Club.

“I hadn’t played there in a year and a half, I was not sure what to hit off the tee,” said MacMillan.

“I pull out an iron and I hooked it into the woods and it is gone. I played a provisional after that and I ended up double bogeying the first hole, but I didn’t let that get to me because I knew two-over was going to be a competitive score at the end of the day. It was a little nerve-wracking, but then I started to calm down a little bit.”

Senior star MacMillan settled down, shooting a four-over 39 for the nine-hole competition to help PHS defeat WW/P-North 157-167 to win the first-ever CVC Match Play and end the season with a 15-0 record in dual match play.

“On the fifth hole, I had my most memorable shot of the day: I was a half an inch from a hole in one,” said MacMillan.

“It was a big turnaround, it was a big shot for me. Once I made it, it was there you go, get one back and finish strong.”

The win over North in his PHS finale is leaving MacMillan with a special memory.

“We would always lose to North, they were the top team my first two years, so being able to win meant a lot to me,” said MacMillan

“I know my teammates feel the same way, it meant a lot of them and it meant a lot to coach [Sheryl Severance]. Having kids win it in their first or second season was a great experience for them. I hope they cherish that.” more

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Princeton High boys’ tennis player Jonathan Gu shows his focus in a recent match. Gu and PHS have a big week coming up as they will be competing in both the CVC finals and the state tournament. In the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional, the top-seeded Tigers, who moved to 15-0 by defeating fifth-seeded Freehold Borough 5-0 in the semis last Friday, are slated to host second-seeded WW/P-North in the final on June 1. The victor of that match will advance to the state Group semis on June 3 at Mercer County Park. In the CVC competition, second-seeded PHS is playing at top-seeded WW/P-South in the final on June 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jonathan Gu was fired up to make an impact at singles last spring in his freshman season for the Princeton High boys’ tennis team.

But with the 2020 season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gu never got the chance to show his skills.

This spring with the season in full swing, Gu is making the most of his delayed debut campaign, starring at first singles as PHS has gone 15-0, advancing to both the CVC tournament final and the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional title match.

Gu is enjoying getting the chance to be a part of the squad. “It is cool,” said Gu.

“Last year I was excited for the season and we didn’t get it and I was pretty disappointed. Last year I met some of the other guys. We didn’t really play a lot and then this season we know each other a lot better, it is pretty fun.”

Last Wednesday, Gu had fun in the quarterfinal round of the sectional, defeating Jared Abazia 6-0, 6-1 of Brick Memorial as top-seeded PHS defeated the eighth-seeded Mustangs 5-0.

“I was mostly working on my serve, trying to get the first and second serve down,” said Gu, who plays in regional and national tournaments and is ranked 116th in the USTA Boys’ 16 National Standings List. “It was good practice, I have been playing on clay courts for a while.”

Playing at the top spot in the Tiger lineup has been a challenge for Gu.

“There is pressure on you playing No. 1,” said Gu. “In tournaments, I play people that are older than me as well. I think my serve, especially, has improved a lot. I have been playing every day with the team and then doing matches and then playing on the weekend. I am playing a lot and it is paying off.” more

EL SID: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse Sid Suppiah fires a shot last Thursday as PHS played at Notre Dame in the CVC pod final. Senior midfielder Suppiah scored a goal in a losing cause as PHS fell 13-6 to the Irish and dropped to 8-4. The Tigers will be starting play in the North Jersey, Group 3 sectional tournament this week where they are seeded sixth and were slated to host 11th-seeded Morris Knolls on June 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the 2020 spring season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sid Suppiah used that hiatus to transform himself into a force for the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team.

“Benny Quinones [former PHS star midfielder] really pushed me in the weight room,” said Suppiah

“Quarantine put me in a rut a little bit. I wasn’t able to go to our Princeton High weight room, but I got a membership at a gym and started working out there.”

That work has paid off this spring with senior Suppiah emerging as a two-way midfielder for the Tigers, contributing goals and helping to spearhead the defense.

Suppiah’s play helped PHS pull off a dramatic 11-10 win over Allentown in the CVC pod semis and advance to the final against Notre Dame last Thursday.

Unable to build on the momentum from the win over the Redbirds, the Tigers sputtered early against the Irish in the final and found themselves trailing 7-1 at halftime.

“We came out a little flat-footed today,” said Suppiah. “We played our worst half of lacrosse of almost the entire season.”

With PHS looking to rally, Suppiah got it off to a good start in the second half, tallying a goal on a feed from Will Doran less than three minutes into the quarter.

“I just cut through the backside and Will Doran dimed me up so it was good,” said Suppiah, recalling the goal.

Tightening up at the defensive end and playing more efficiently offensively, the Tigers outscored Notre Dame 3-0 in third quarter but couldn’t close the deal as the Irish pulled away to a 13-6 win.

“We did better; we had to get more aggressive towards the end,” said Suppiah.

“We did feel like we were getting momentum, the time just ended up running out on us. Being down 7-1, you need to play an almost perfect game in order to come back from that.” more

goalie

SAVING GRACE: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse goalie Hailey Wexler makes a leaping save in a game this spring. On May 25, senior star Wexler made 15 saves in an 11-8 defeat to Lawrenceville. Two days later, Wexler recorded 11 saves in a losing cause as PDS fell 14-9 to Hillsborough High in its season finale. The Panthers ended the spring with an 8-7 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

This past winter, Hailey Wexler provided scoring punch to help the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team go 5-0-1.

Once spring rolled around, senior Wexler turned her attention to defense, starring at goalie for the PDS girls’ lax team.

While Wexler is accomplished at both sports, lacrosse became her priority over the years.

“I focus on lacrosse more; if I had something on the same day at the same time, I would pick lacrosse over hockey,” said Wexler.

“All of my coaches already knew which one came first. Playing hockey makes me more athletic. I think I might see better places to shoot in hockey from being a lacrosse goalie.”

Wexler displayed her athleticism in the cage last week as the Panthers hosted Lawrenceville, making 15 saves in a losing cause as PDS fell 11-8 to the Big Red

“We wanted to get the win and that didn’t happen,” said Wexler. “We came in saying this is the best team we have had in a while. We thought this was going to be the closest game we have had against Lawrenceville in a while and it was.” more

May 26, 2021

ROCKING ROBIN: Princeton High girls’ track star Robin Roth leads a foe from WW/P-South last Friday in the CVC Colonial Qualifier hosted by PHS last weekend. Sophomore Roth won the 3,200 meters in 11:44.48 at the meet, took second in the 1,600 meters in a personal-record 5:18.56, and placed sixth in the 800 meters in 2:36.44. Roth and the Tigers are next in action when they compete in the CVC Championship meet at WW/P-North on May 28 and 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Robin Roth did not feel great about winter training, but with the improving weather and a new focus and passion for track, the Princeton High sophomore is coming into her own in her first full outdoor season.

Like everyone, Roth didn’t get a spring track season last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she did enjoy some indoor track and field success. She posted a solid 1,600-meter time of 5:29.04 at the Mercer County Championships and went on to place fifth in the 3,200 meters in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet to qualify for the Group 4 state meet.

“I always feel like I have to go at least once step further than I did before, or at least to the same point,” said Roth.

“So I felt like I have to get to groups this spring. It felt like something that needed to happen. I knew I’d beat myself up over it if it didn’t happen. Where I was this winter was not on the way to groups.”

It was a good cross country season for Roth and the Tiger girls when they won the first CJ Group 4 sectional crown in school history. But the winter weather and training inconsistency eroded some confidence and fitness as the outdoor track season loomed.

“It was hard transitioning back especially after having such a good cross country season,” said Roth.

“We’d gotten to the point where we sort of assumed success. In February, we learned we did not still have that success going from the fall, and that we still needed to work hard to stay successful.”

Roth has found her pace at the perfect time to help the PHS girls track and field team position itself to compete for a Colonial Valley Conference championship. Though she bounced back and forth between the top runner in some cross country races and their fourth finisher at sectionals, Roth has been a front runner for the Tigers in the spring after getting herself out of a funk in the winter.

“After that I was able to recover a bit better than other people,” said Roth.

“This season, our mindset has been a big struggle of trying to stay motivated and have real goals when we don’t really know totally what’s going on and what’s going to happen. I did better than some to stay motivated. Charlotte (Gilmore) and Lucy (Kreipke) and Kyleigh (Tangen) are just better at some of the longer distances like 5K, and I have a little more brute speed and can kind of get through the little shorter 16 and 32.”

Roth has become a frontrunner for the Tigers on the track,  finding success consistently. She hasn’t finished worse than third in a 1,600 or 3,200 this spring. more

LIFE OF RILEY: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Riley Devlin heads to goal against WW/P-North last Wednesday. Freshman Devlin scored three goals in the contest to help PHS prevail 14-3. On Monday, the third-seeded Tigers fell 7-6 to second-seeded Notre Dame in the CVC Pod semis. PHS, now 6-5, will host Hopewell Valley on May 26 and then start play in the South Jersey Group 4 sectional where it is seeded fourth and slated to host 13th-seeded Monroe on June 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As usual this spring, the one-two punch of Kate Becker and Shoshi Henderson got things started for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted WW/P-North last Wednesday.

The prolific pair of junior Becker and senior Henderson tallied two and three goals, respectively, as PHS jumped out to a 5-0 lead.

But freshman Riley Devlin was fired up to make her presence felt as well.

“The game against Notre Dame really pushed me,” said Devlin, referring to a 13-8 loss to the Irish on May 17. “Losing really got me upset and this game really fixed that.”

Fueled by that disappointment, Devlin tallied three straight goals in first half, establishing a new career high as the Tigers built a 13-1 lead by intermission and never looked back on the way to a 14-3 win.

“It was just to push it as much as we could,” said Devlin, reflecting on the team’s sizzling start. more

By Bill Alden

Something had to give as the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team hosted Allentown in a Colonial Valley Conference showdown last Thursday.

PHS brought a six-game winning streak into the clash while Allentown had reeled off nine straight victories.

Tiger defender Lucas Kirby, for his part, brought some extra emotion into the contest as PHS held its annual Senior Day celebration before face-off.

“It was surreal walking through all of the sticks, realizing that this is my last regular season game,” said senior star Kirby.

“I have been with this program for four years, of course we lost last year. It means a lot.”

PHS appeared a bit distracted as they fell behind 3-1 midway through the first period.

“Coming into this, we wanted to get after them,” said Kirby, noting that PHS had lost 12-11 to the Redbirds earlier in the season.

“I think Senior Day got to us a little bit, we weren’t all there to start the game. They got us a little bit.”

Narrowing the gap to 8-7 at halftime, PHS seized momentum after the break, outscoring the Redbirds 4-1 to take an 11-9 lead heading into the fourth quarter. more

FINAL CUT: Hun School softball team player Hanna Babuschak takes a cut in a game earlier this season. Senior catcher Babuschak’s play behind the plate and hitting helped Hun go 9-4 this season. The Raiders saw their 2021 season end last week when they fell 2-1 to the Blair Academy in the state Prep A semifinals on May 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School softball team had defeated the Blair Academy twice in regular season play this spring, Hanna Babuschak and her Raider teammates didn’t take the Buccaneers lightly when the rivals met in the state Prep A semis last week.

“We weren’t underestimating them even though we had beat them before,” said Hun senior catcher Babuschak. “They are always a good team to play.”

The third meeting turned into a tense pitching duel between Hun’s Lexi Kobryn and Blair’s Mallory Allen as the teams were knotted in a 0-0 stalemate in the May 18 contest heading into the fifth inning.

Babuschak, for her part, battled hard in her first two at-bats, fouling off a number of pitches before making outs in the second and the fourth inning.

“I wanted to help my team out and try to hit, that was my mindset going into the at-bats,” said Babuschak. “I was just trying to get on and do what  I could.”

Hun forged ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth but Blair responded with two runs in the sixth to take a 2-1 lead.

Coming up in the bottom of the seventh with the Raiders still trailing 2-1, Babuschak blasted a screaming liner that appeared to be heading to the gap but was speared by the Blair shortstop in a leaping grab. Hun went on to lose 2-1, finishing the spring with a 9-4 record. more

FINDING A WAY: Hun School third baseman Carson Wehner makes a play in recent action. Last Sunday, junior Wehner went 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville 16-0 in the state Prep A final. It marked the fifth straight Prep A crown for the Raiders who improved to 19-2. Hun wraps up its 2021 campaign by playing Allentown on May 26 at Moody Park and at Steinert on May 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Entering the final round of the state Prep A baseball tournament last Sunday needing one win to clinch the title in the double-elimination competition, the Hun School squad wasn’t about to mess around as it hosted the Lawrenceville School.

“We just wanted to take care of business and win it on our home turf,” said Hun junior third baseman Carson Wehner. “We tried to put the ball in play, do the job, and win the game.”

After scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning on a sweltering day with temperatures reaching the 90s, the Raiders erupted for seven tallies in the second. Wehner contributed a single to help spark the outburst and later slapped a two-run double down the left field line to plate the final two runs of the frame.

“At the beginning of the inning, I just wanted to get on base and move it to the next guy,” said Wehner.

“They will get me in, the whole lineup can hit. On the double, with two strikes I just had to put the ball in play. I spread my stance out, don’t stride and just do the job and I got it down the line.”

Hun never looked back, cruising to a 16-0 win in six innings, winning the program’s fifth straight Prep A crown and improving to 19-2.  more

DOUBLE PLAY: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis doubles players, from left, Will Sedgley, Oliver Silverio, Aaron Phogat, and Mark Santamaria show off the medals they earned after winning titles at the state Prep B tournament last week. Senior Phogat and sophomore Silverio prevailed at first doubles while seniors Sedgley and Santamaria won the second doubles flight. Their victories helped the Panthers take third in the team standings in the event behind champion Pennington and runner-up Rutgers Prep. (Photo provided by Michael Augsberger)

By Bill Alden

Aaron Phogat came into his final season for the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team this spring looking to star at singles while Oliver Silverio was simply hoping to contribute to the squad in his first varsity campaign.

After some injuries and lineup juggling, senior Phogat and sophomore Silverio ended up being paired at first doubles late in the season and clicked immediately. They went on to win the state Prep B title in their flight last week as did the PDS second doubles team of senior Will Sedgley and Mark Santamaria, helping the Panthers take third in the team standings in the event behind champion Pennington and runner-up Rutgers Prep.

Silverio sensed something special right away with the duo. “From our first match against Hill, we had a really good partnership, especially in terms of  communication with each other and overall chemistry,” said Silverio.

“That helped us through our matches, especially longer three-set matches. We encouraged each other and problem solved together.”

Phogat saw the partnership as a good fit from the start as well. “I didn’t know Oliver too well, I am two years older than him,” said Phogat. “What is nice is that right off the bat, we got along really well. We had really good chemistry. What felt really nice too is that when we were on the court, we were always in synch. We always knew where we needed to be and where the other guy was. We never felt like we were disorganized.”

In addition to being in synch, their styles of play meshed well.

“We both have solid groundstrokes from the baseline and  think Aaron’s work at the net is very good,” said Silverio. more

May 19, 2021

CATCHING ON: Princeton High softball catcher Clare Johnson makes a throw in recent action. Sophomore Johnson has emerged this spring as a star in the field and at the plate for the Tigers. PHS, which fell to 1-11 with a 15-0 loss to Allentown last Saturday, hosts Ewing on May 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is very rare to see a left-handed catcher in baseball or softball; there hasn’t been one in Major League Baseball since lefty Benny Distefano caught three games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1989.

Among the reasons for the paucity of lefty catchers include difficulty throwing to second base around right-handed batters, having to pivot in order to make throws to third base, and having to turn the body to make tags on plays at home plate.

But those obstacles haven’t deterred lefty Clare Johnson from taking the catching role for the Princeton High softball team and she is proving herself to be a rare talent with the bat and the glove.

In a 20-0 win over Trenton Central on May 11, sophomore Johnson pounded out two hits for five RBIs. Two days later in a 16-0 loss to Robbinsville, Johnson smacked a line-drive single and made several key defensive plays behind the plate, including a superb over-the-shoulder catch on a pop foul.

Johnson enjoys breaking the mold. “It is very unusual, it is a bit of a surprise, nobody expects a left-handed catcher, said Johnson who also catches for her travel team, the Montgomery Mavericks.

“There are definitely some challenges when you are a left-handed catcher, like throwing down the third. There are a lot of advantages, especially catching outside pitches. I am able to frame them a lot better and able to get around it.”

After losing its first eight games playing a challenging schedule, PHS was thrilled to break into the win column with victory over Trenton.

“That was a very exciting win for us; the first one of the season is always great,” said Johnson.

“We played really well, we were making all of our outs. We had some really good hitting. It was a really good game. I had a couple of good hits which is always nice. All of the girls did well, we definitely needed that first win.” more

FLYING HOME: Princeton High baseball player Jensen Bergman races home last Monday on the way to an inside-the-park homer in a 12-2 win over Trenton Central. The Tigers, who improved to 7-6 with the victory, host Ewing High on May 20, Lawrence High on May 21, and Hightstown High on May 25. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Batting leadoff for the Princeton High baseball team, Jensen Bergman strives to be a catalyst.

“I am just trying to get on base every time and in any way possible,” said PHS junior center fielder Bergman. “Walking or getting a hit, I have got to make it happen.”

Last Monday as the Tigers hosted Trenton Central, Bergman did his job, reaching base to lead off the bottom of the first inning and then scoring the first run of the day as PHS plated three runs in the frame to go up 3-0.

“It was good right off the bat to get runs,” said Bergman. “We just kept expanding off of that.”

In the fourth, though, Bergman flipped the script, blasting a line drive to right center field past the Trenton outfielders and racing around the bases for an inside the park homer. His two-run shot gave the Tigers a 6-2 lead and they never looked back on the way to a 12-2 win over Trenton and improved to 7-6.

“I was looking for a fastball, I think it was a 2-0 count,” said Bergman, reflecting on his round-tripper.

“I saw it and I just hit it. When you hit the ball well, it doesn’t feel like anything. That was the feeling.”

Bergman, who starred as a sprinter this past winter for the PHS indoor track team, utilized that training in his jaunt around the diamond. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse player Gibson Linnehan clears the ball in a game earlier this spring. Last Wednesday, senior defender/midfielder Linnehan had a goal in a losing cause as top-seeded PDS fell 13-8 to second-seeded Montclair Kimberley Academy in the state Prep B title game. The Panthers, who topped Pennington 16-6 last Monday in improving to 4-7, play at the Hun School on May 19, at St. Joe’s Metuchen on May 20 and Shawnee High on May 22 before hosting Hillsborough High on May 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

He wore black braces supporting his left shin and right ankle but painful legs weren’t going to stop Gibson Linnehan from giving his all as the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team hosted Montclair Kimberley Academy in the state Prep B title game last Wednesday.

“It is my last time ever playing for this team and I can’t really take time off the field,” said senior defender/midfielder and co-captain Linnehan. “It hurts every single time I walk but I have to push through.”

PDS dug an early 5-1 hole but scored the last two goals of the second quarter to make it a 5-3 contest at halftime.

“We have got to push back, we are definitely a grinding team,” said Linnehan.

“Every single play we have to work for, it doesn’t come naturally.”

Linnehan helped lead the push back, tallying a goal with 1:55 left in the half to narrow the MKA lead to 5-2.

“I just saw an opening down low and Charlie Hogshire was at X,” recalled Linnehan more

SPECIAL DAY: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Catherine Martin, right, heads to goal last Friday against Gill St. Bernard’s. Rising to the occasion on her Senior Day, co-captain and attacker/midfielder Martin tallied a career-high seven goals to spark Stuart as it battled valiantly before falling 16-12 to Gill. The Tartans, who lost 11-8 to East Brunswick last Monday in moving to 1-11, are hosting the Pennington School on May 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Catherine Martin saved her best for last as she took the field for the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team last Friday after being honored along with her classmates in the program’s annual Senior Day ceremony.

Co-captain and attacker/midfielder Martin tallied a career-high seven goals to spark Stuart as it battled valiantly before falling 16-12 to Gill St. Bernard’s.

“We have to make the most of it, the season is almost over and our girls have worked so hard this year,” said Martin.

“It just felt so good to play. The adrenaline was so high; it was just one of those games.”

Stuart got off to a good start, building a 5-4 lead with Martin scoring three goals but Gill went on a 9-1 run to go up 13-6 early in the second half. The Tartans reeled off four straight goals to narrow the gap to 13-10 but could never get closer than that.

“In the second half, we tend to drop off but we were like we can’t let this happen again,” said Martin.

“We just have to keep pushing. We talked together as a team and we said to ourselves, what do we want to do, we want to win. So we are going to try everything we can, we are going to put everything on the field.”

In addition to tallying four goals and an assist in the second half, Martin looked to provide inspiration to her teammates.

“My role on this team is to guide others and give advice,” said Martin.

“It is a learning year, we have a lot of new players. It is so exciting, we get to play lacrosse.” more

STEPPING UP: Lawrenceville School shortstop Hawkins Sutter makes a throw in recent action. Junior star and St. Paul School alum Sutter has helped the Big Red enjoy a superb campaign this spring.  Lawrenceville defeated Blair Academy 11-1 last Monday in the first round of the state Prep A tournament to improve to 10-8, a vast improvement on the four wins posted by the program in the 2019 season. (Photo by Paloma Torres, provided courtesy of the Lawrenceville Communications Department)

By Bill Alden

Hawkins Sutter worked through some growing pains during his freshman season for the Lawrenceville School baseball team in the spring of 2019.

“The pitching was a lot harder; whenever I would strike out in the beginning of the season, it would get in my head,” said Sutter, who attended the St. Paul School in Princeton before heading to Lawrenceville.

“I definitely matured as the season went along. The captains on the team helped me through the whole process. I just had a really fun time.”

This spring, Sutter has matured into a star shortstop for Lawrenceville, batting .439 on the season with three home runs, seven doubles, two triples, and 31 RBIs through the team’s first 18 games.

While Sutter was disappointed to not get the chance to play last spring after the season was canceled due to the pandemic, he laid the groundwork for his big 2021 campaign.

“I did a lot of training on my own, especially with fielding during the spring; I really worked on my footwork,” said Sutter.

“I did have a travel season. I got a lot better and I definitely made a jump last year. I played in the Last Dance Tournament for Lawrenceville last summer and only got out one time.”

Having won just four games in 2019, the Lawrenceville squad was looking to make a jump collectively this spring.

“We were all fired up, we wanted to turn things around for the program,” said Sutter.

“We did have a big influx of talent with my class and the sophomore class. We are both really good classes and laid a really solid foundation for a good season. But more than that, it was a change of energy. We were ready to win some games.” more

May 12, 2021

TURNING THE CORNER: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Patrick McDonald heads to goal against Robbinsville last week. Senior attackman and co-captain McDonald tallied four goals and three assists in the May 4 contest to help PHS roll to a 14-5 victory. Two days later, McDonald had four goals and an assist as the Tigers defeated WW/P-South 17-5 to post their third straight win and improve to 4-2. PHS hosts Hopewell Valley on May 13 and plays at Notre Dame on May 15. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Patrick McDonald and his teammates on the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team have been looking to start games strongly but they outdid themselves when they hosted Robbinsville last week.

PHS scored four unanswered goals in the first seven minutes of the game on the way to building an 11-0 halftime lead in the May 4 contest.

“We have really tried to focus on that in our last two games,” said senior attackman and co-captain McDonald, reflecting on getting out of the gate.

“It felt good to get the first face-off, the first ground ball, the first goal. That is how you want to start every game.

The goals kept coming as PHS cruised to a 14-5 win. “Everyone is playing a role in our offense on the team in general and it is starting to click,” said McDonald. “That is a good feeling.”

McDonald is feeling good about playing on the team’s top attack unit along with junior Will Doran and freshman Pat Kenah. In the win over the Ravens, McDonald tallied four goals and three assists with Doran chipping in five goals and an assist and Kenah contributing three goals and two assists. more

By Bill Alden

Sheryl Severance knew that this spring would be her 28th and final season coaching the Princeton High golf program, but she had no idea how strong her last team might be.

“There were question marks,” said Severance, who is retiring from teaching and coaching at the end of this school year.

“Some of the freshman will tell you that they are really good golfers; I saw them for four days last year and you can’t really make an assessment before we went out for COVID. I knew we would be good but I didn’t know how good.”

Severance has been pleasantly surprised as her squad got off to a 10-0 start in dual match play and finished second in the NJSIAA Central and South Jersey, Group 4 boys golf sectional at Charleston Springs last Monday with a score of 328, 16 strokes behind champion Montgomery. The Tigers qualified for the Tournament of Champions, which takes place at Hawk Pointe Golf Club in Washington on May 19.

A key constant for the program has been senior Adam MacMillan, who took second individually at the sectional with a one-over 73 with sophomore Madeleine Zang firing an 80 to tie for 13th and freshman Remmick Granozio carding an 84 to tie for 23rd.

“His game is not only good his head is also good,” said Severance of MacMillan. more

ON A ROLL: Princeton High pitcher Jaxon Petrone fires a pitch in recent action. Junior standout Petrone has helped PHS post three straight wins and improve to 5-4. In upcoming action, the Tigers will look to keep on the winning track as they host Robbinsville on May 12 and Trenton Central on May 17. In addition, PHS will continue play in the CVC Tournament, where it is seeded eighth and is slated to play at top-seeded Allentown on May 15 in a quarterfinal contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton High baseball team lost its first two games this season, Dom Capuano urged his players to concentrate on execution.

“Our focus is the connection between mind and body, it is understanding what we need to do and then actually doing it and putting it into play,” said PHS head coach Capuano.

“Having the conversation about it is nice but if we can’t translate it onto the field, it is only a conversation.”

Getting the message, PHS edged Ewing 3-2 on April 24 and outslugged Nottingham 11-7 two days later to get on the winning track.

Last week, the Tigers built on that, going 3-0 as they topped WW/P-South 6-0 in the first round of the CVC tournament on May 3, edged Lawrence 4-2 in extra innings two days later, and then defeated WW/P-South 6-4 in a rematch last Thursday.

“In the back-to-back wins, the offense started to come around there,” said Capuano, referring to the victories over Ewing and Nottingham.

“We are still trying to find our way a little but any time you can put up six runs, it is always good.” more

RACING TO GOAL: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ali Surace sprints upfield in recent action. Last Saturday, junior midfielder Surace tallied three goals and an assist in a losing cause as PHS fell 14-12 to Blair Academy. On Monday, Surace scored two goals but it wasn’t enough as third-seeded PDS fell 24-5 at second-seeded Trinity Hall in the state Prep B semifinals. The Panthers, now 6-3, host the Hun School on May 14 and the Hill School (Pa.) on May 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Ali Surace emerged as a key defensive performer for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team as a freshman during the 2019 season.

After not getting to play last year when the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, Surace has transformed herself into a different player this spring, making an impact at the attacking end.

“I feel like freshman year I played all defense, so it has been great to play midfield,” said junior standout Surace.

“I have been working really hard on shooting more and attacking more because I am not normally in that role. I have been working on driving more and really working it up top.”

Last Saturday against visiting Blair Academy, Surace displayed her attacking prowess, tallying three goals and an assist but it wasn’t enough as a late PDS rally fell short in a 14-12 loss to the Buccaneers.

“We started off really strong, I think in all of our games we have started off really strong,” said Surace, who notched two first half goals as the Panthers built an early 5-4 lead.

“We have had a lot coming from the underclassmen like Tessa [Caputo] and Paige [Gardner]. Everybody worked really hard.” more