September 4, 2019

IN CONTROL: Princeton Day School field hockey player Caroline Haggerty controls the ball in a game last fall. Senior defender/midfielder Haggerty will be leading things in the defensive half of the field for the Panthers this fall. PDS was slated to start 2019 regular season action by playing at Mount Saint Mary Academy on September 3 and then hosting Princeton High on September 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the last three years, the Princeton Day School field hockey program developed into a powerhouse, going 39-15 as it won the state Prep B title in 2016 and reached the final in the other two seasons and also advanced to a pair of Mercer County Tournament title games.

In enjoying that run of success, PDS was fueled by its big three of Gwen Allen, Val Radvany, and Sasha Sindhwani.

But with those three having graduated, the Panthers know that things might not got as smoothly this fall. more

GOAL-ORIENTED: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Ariana Jones goes to goal in a preseason scrimmage last week. Jones emerged as a key finisher for Panthers last fall and is looking to have a big senior year. PDS is getting its 2019 season underway this week by playing at Kent Place on September 3 before hosting Moorestown Friends on September 6 and Princeton High on September 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having won five straight Prep B state titles, the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team has a major bull’s eye on its back coming into the 2019 campaign.

“We have played a couple of scrimmages and teams are coming at us like it is tournament time because of our reputation,” said PDS head coach Pat Trombetta, who guided the Panthers to a 14-4-1 record last fall and an appearance in the Mercer County Tournament semis as well as sharing the Prep B title.

“We played Rutgers Prep in a scrimmage the other day and they had a group of fans there, yelling and supporting like it was a tournament game. I was amazed. I am looking at kids, we haven’t even finalized our varsity roster yet. It was good for the kids to get that kind of experience.” more

KICK START: Hun School girls’ soccer player Allison Cowan, left, kicks the ball in 2018 action. Senior Cowan proved to be a spark for Hun last fall in her first campaign with the program. Hun, which is being led by new head coach Jenn Barrett, kicks off its 2019 season by hosting Ewing on September 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Jenn Barrett takes the helm of the Hun School girls’ soccer team this fall, she is emphasizing a holistic approach.

“My main message is that better people make better athletes and I am really working on shifting the focus to being better than yesterday,” said Barrett, who served as an assistant coach for the program the last two seasons and is succeeding Joanna Hallac.

“It is putting in your best effort and eventually things will fall into place. It is also working on leadership skills.” more

FRONT RHO: Hun School field hockey player Allison Rho heads after the ball in a 2018 game. Junior Rho figures to be a key player on the front line for Hun this fall. Hun, which is being guided by new head coach Tracey Arndt, hosts Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) on September 10 in its season opener. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After guiding the Princeton Day School field hockey program from 2012-14, Tracey Arndt left the school and focused her efforts on younger players, coaching for the Princeton Field Hockey Club.

But while Arndt enjoyed working with the club’s U-10, U-12 and U-14 squads, she realized it wasn’t quite the same as coaching at the high school level.

“There is something about a high school season; that is where the friendships are made,” said Arndt.

“There is something so unique about the relationships that you can form; you find out things about yourself that you didn’t know before. I think that is really cool.” more

FIRING LINE: Stuart Country Day School midfielder Caroline Mullen fires the ball up the field in a game last fall. Senior star Mullen figures to be a catalyst for Stuart again this season. The Tartans open their 2019 season by hosting South Hunterdon on September 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Stuart Country Day School field hockey team went through its preseason practices over the last two weeks of August, the focus was on sharpening fundamentals.

“I am really proud of the kids and how hard they are working and the improvement that we are seeing in the last couple of weeks,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik.

“It is getting down all of those basic skills and to make sure that we are sound in them. The kids are putting in a good effort.” more

August 28, 2019

WILL TO SUCCEED: Will Hare competes in a race last spring during his freshman year with the University of Pennsylvania men’s track team. Former Princeton High track and cross country standout Hare is heading into his sophomore year with the Quakers. During his first year of collegiate competition, Hare scored in one cross country race last fall before setting a personal record of 8:21.47 in the 3,000 meters indoors in the winter and then taking 10th in the steeplechase at the Ivy League Heptagonal Outdoor Track Championships. (Photo provided by Penn’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Justin Feil

On a drive to Colorado this summer, Penn distance runner Will Hare and a teammate stopped in Terre Haute, Ind. to look at the NCAA championship cross country course.

“It’s kind of funny how it’s this off in the middle of nowhere town and you take this side road and all of a sudden you’re at the NCAA cross country course,” said former Princeton High cross country and track standout Hare.

“It was cool seeing it with no one there, nobody around. I think there was one other person walking around. We talked about how cool and meaningful it would be a part of a team to qualify to go there to the biggest race in the country. As a team that’s our goal.” more

DOUBLE PLAY: Gwen Allen shows her form in lacrosse and field hockey during her Princeton Day School career. Allen, a 2019 PDS grad, is heading to Amherst College, where she will be playing for both its field hockey and women’s lacrosse programs. She starts preseason practice this week for field hockey as the Mammoths prepare for their season opener at Mount Holyoke on September 5. (Photos by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gwen Allen displayed a special versatility during her athletic career at the Princeton Day School.

Allen developing into a field hockey and lacrosse standout through her four years for the Panthers while also playing one season of ice hockey and two seasons of basketball for good measure.

For Allen, keeping busy all year led to improvement in her two main sports.  more

TOUGH DEFENSE: Princeton High girls’ soccer player Greta Bush, left, battles a foe for the ball in a game last season. Junior defender Bush will help lead the back line again this fall for the Tigers. PHS opens its 2019 campaign by playing at Nottingham on September 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Val Rodriguez likes the vibe around her Princeton High girls’ soccer team as it prepares for the 2019 season.

“The preseason has been good; the seniors and the captains have been setting the tone really nicely,” said PHS head coach Rodriguez, whose quartet of senior captains includes Shaylah Marciano, Lauren Rougas, Morgan Beamer, and Kirin Kunukkasseril. “It is good work ethic and good team chemistry so far.”

After making the quarterfinals of both the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional and the Mercer County Tournament last year on the way to a 9-7-2 record, the squad’s returners are brimming with confidence. more

STRIKING BACK: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Nick Petruso goes after the ball in a game last year. Junior striker Petruso figures to be a go-to scorer this fall for PHS. The Tigers open their 2019 campaign by hosting Nottingham on September 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although the Princeton High boys’ soccer team posted another winning season last year as it went 8-6-3, the proud program was frustrated by its lack of postseason success.

After having won the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title on the way to the final of state Group 4 tourney and making the Mercer County Tournament semifinals in 2017, the Tigers didn’t mount a deep playoff run last year, losing in the first round of the states and getting eliminated in the county quarterfinals.

Longtime PHS head coach Wayne Sutcliffe is happy to turn the page on 2018. more

August 21, 2019

KICKING OFF: Madi Coyne clears a ball in action last fall during her freshmen season on the George Washington University women’s soccer team. The former Princeton Day School star played in nine games last fall at center half for the Colonials, making three starts. She is currently going through preseason practices with GW slated to open regular season action by playing at William and Mary on August 22.  (Photo provided by George Washington University)

By Bill Alden

Madi Coyne never doubted that she would end up as a college soccer player.

“I knew because of my skill level, I could play in college; it was never not an option,” said Coyne, a star defender for the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team who helped the Panthers win four straight state Prep B crowns from 2014-17.

“I never thought maybe I should do this is in college, it was I am going to do this in college.”

After considering a number of Division I programs, Coyne’s choice came down to George Washington and Georgetown and she ended up opting for GW. more

SPARTAN EFFORT: Val Radvany controls the ball in game last fall during her senior season for the Princeton Day School field hockey team. Star defender/midfielder Radvany is currently in preseason training for Michigan State’s D-I field hockey program as she prepares to make her college debut with the Spartans.Michigan State set to scrimmage Michigan on August 24 and then start open regular season action by playing St. Francis on August, 31 in Kent, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though it was bumpy ride for Val Radvany during her freshman season with the Princeton Day School field hockey team in 2015, she had faith that the program would get on the winning track.

“My class, Gwen [Allen], Sasha [Sindhwani], and me was always so close,” said Radvany, looking back on a debut campaign that saw the Panthers post a 6-13-1 record.

“From where we started our freshman year and the year before, the program wasn’t doing so well. So when we got there, we were really able to build it.” more

August 14, 2019

ON THE BALL: Devon Lis dribbles the ball up the field last fall in her debut season for the Georgetown University women’s soccer team. Former Princeton High star Lis helped Georgetown go 21-1-3 in 2018 on the way to the NCAA semifinals. Midfielder Lis is currently going through preseason training for the Hoyas, who are slated to open their 2019 season by playing at James Madison University on August 22. (Photo provided courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics Communications)

By Bill Alden

When Devon Lis started preseason training last summer in her freshman season with the Georgetown University women’s soccer team, she sensed that the squad could do some special things.

“What has always been clear to me is that we were really dedicated and willing to work very hard,” said former Princeton High standout Lis. “Every practice we gave it our all, there was no slacking off.”

There was no slacking off for Lis as she adjusted to the rigors and quicker pace of the college game. more

BACK IN THE FLOW: Stephen Baytin of the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings shows his backstroke form in a 2017 meet. Last month, Baytin starred at the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet, earning MVP honors for the Division 2 8-and-under boys. Baytin’s heroics helped the Lemmings place third in the Division 2 team standings at the meet. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Nassau Swim Club Lemmings posted a pedestrian 2-2-1 record in Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) dual meet competition this summer, Will Kinney was confident that the team would step up at the season-ending league championship meet.

“We saw the quality of our individual swims in our dual meets,” said Lemmings head coach Will Kinney. “We felt pretty good going into champs.”

Nassau displayed its quality at the PASDA championship meet held at the West Windsor Waterworks. Taking third in the Division 2 standings, four of the team’s boy swimmers earned MVP honors. The Lemmings scored 1,394 points in the two-day meet with the Ben Franklin Swim Team piling up 2,339 points to win the Division 2 title. more

August 7, 2019

GOLDEN MOMENT: Lior Levy displays the gold medal he earned for helping the U.S. open men’s basketball team win the title contest at the 14th Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico City last month. The former Princeton High and Franklin & Marshall standout emerged as a key frontcourt reserve for the squad.

By Bill Alden

After wrapping up his college basketball career for Franklin & Marshall in 2017, Lior Levy headed to New York City to work in the Teach for America program.

The former Princeton High standout immersed himself in his day job, teaching at Herbert Lehman High in the Bronx with little time for hoops.

But earlier his year, Levy was motivated to start spending more time in the gym as he was chosen to play for the U.S. men’s open basketball team at the 14th Pan American Maccabi Games in Mexico City this July. more

HIGH HOPES: Wesley Leggett flies high to boot the ball last fall in his senior campaign for the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team. Leggett, who led the area with 22 goals in 2018, will be starting his college career next week when he hits the field for preseason practice with the University of Connecticut men’s soccer team. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Over the years, the University of Connecticut has developed into an athletic powerhouse, highlighted by the women’s basketball program with its record 11 NCAA titles and the men’s hoops winning four national crowns of its own.

Several Husky athletes have gone on to star in the pro ranks, including Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi of the WNBA, Ray Allen and Kemba Walker in the NBA, along with George Springer of the Houston Astros and Byron Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.

Next week, Wesley Leggett will aim to start a new chapter in the school’s storied sports legacy, hitting the field for preseason training in his freshman season on the UConn men’s soccer team. more

BITTERSWEET: Zoe Bitterman displays her breaststroke form in a race earlier this summer for the Community Park Bluefish swim team. Bitterman starred at the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) championship meet in July, earning PASDA MVP honors for the 10-and-under girls. The Bluefish won their fifth straight Division 1 crown at the meet, piling up 3,649 points with Lawrenceville Swim Association well behind in second with 2.159.50. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Boasting a throng of 220 athletes, the Community Park Bluefish swim team continued its dominance of the Princeton-Area Swimming and Diving Association (PASDA) this summer.

Competing at the PASDA championship meet in late July at the West Windsor Waterworks, the Bluefish cruised to their fifth straight Division 1 team title, piling up 3,649 points with Lawrenceville Swim Association well behind in second with 2.159.50. That victory culminated a 2019 campaign that saw the Bluefish go undefeated in dual meet competition for a fifth straight season. more

July 31, 2019

PULLING AHEAD: Morgan Linsley, center, competes for the U.S. U-19 women’s four in recent action. Recent Princeton High grad and Duke University commit Linsley is heading to Tokyo next week to row for the U.S. in 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

By Bill Alden

For Morgan Linsley, suffering a knee injury put her on the path to competing in rowing on the world stage.

After being involved in competitive swimming for nine years, Linsley hurt her knee in eighth grade and was forced to take a hiatus from the pool. When she recovered, Linsley realized that she needed to find a new athletic outlet as she entered her freshman year at Princeton High in 2015.

“I saw that I had lost a lot of my swimming ability since I had to take a whole year off,” said Linsley.

“I wanted to try a new sport. My knee doctor was the wife of the Princeton men’s crew coach [Greg Hughes] and she said I could be a good rower so give it a shot.” more

FAB FOUR: Recent Stuart Country Day School grad Annie Huber, third from left, enjoys the moment after helping the Princeton National Rowing Association Mercer Junior Rowing (PNRA-Mercer) Youth Men’s 4 with coxswain take second at the USRowing Youth National Championships last month in Sarasota, Fla. The boat included Brady Stergion (Notre Dame High), Jack Gallagher (Council Rock North), and juniors Leon Deng (Princeton High) and Grant Smith (Montgomery High) in addition to coxswain Huber.

By Bill Alden

In her junior season with Princeton National Rowing Association Mercer Junior Rowing (PNRA-Mercer) in 2018, Annie Huber wasn’t expecting to guide her Men’s Four to a medal at the USRowing Youth National Championships.

“I don’t think I understood how good we were; I knew that the boys on my boat were fast and that we rowed well together,” said coxswain Huber, who helped the crew place third and earn bronze. “I was thinking maybe we could make the A final.”

Losing three rowers from that boat, Huber wasn’t sure if this year’s four could make a big run at nationals. more

BLAZE OF GLORY: Jude Blaser takes a swing last week at the Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional. Blaser, a Princeton resident, helped the West Windsor-Plainsboro 14U all-star team reach the quarterfinals of the competition, which was held at Switlik Park in Hamilton. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the West Windsor-Plainsboro 14U all-star team had already clinched a spot in the quarterfinals of the Babe Ruth Middle Atlantic Regional, it kept scrapping as it faced SORENSCO (Southern Rensselaer County, N.Y.) in a pool play game last Wednesday night.

WW-P yielded two runs in the top of the first inning in the contest played at Switlik Park in Hamilton but answered back quickly as Jude Blaser knocked in a run in the bottom of the frame. Jack Durbin added an RBI in the bottom of the third to knot the game at 2-2.

After SORENSCO broke the deadlock with two runs in the the top of the fourth, Kenny Schiavone blasted a homer over the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth to narrow the gap to 4-3. more

BLUE THUNDER: Loyaltees star Zahrion Blue flies to the hoop earlier this season in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Monday, former Princeton High star Blue poured in a game-high 29 points as top-seeded and defending champion Loyaltees defeated second-seeded NJ Spiritwear 88-45 in game one of the best-of-three championship series. Game two is slated for Wednesday evening at the Community Park courts with game three, if necessary, to take place on August 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Zahrion Blue is saving his best for last as he stars for the Loyaltees squad in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

Former Princeton High star and current Lincoln University standout Blue poured in 35 points as top-seeded and defending champion Loyaltees defeated second-seeded defeated eighth-seeded Team NRGY 83-62 in a playoff quarterfinal contest last Wednesday.

Two days later, Blue tallied 19 points to help Loyaltees overcome a 40-30 second half deficit against fifth-seeded Sakana and pull out a 52-50 win in the semis. more

July 24, 2019

SEEING THE LIGHT: Elizabeth Brennan controls the ball during a game in the fall of 2017 as she played in her senior season for the Princeton Day School field hockey team. Matriculating to Princeton University last fall, Brennan has switched from the turf to the water, walking on to the Tiger women’s lightweight rowing program. She competed for the third varsity eight this past spring for Princeton. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Some of Elizabeth Brennan’s fondest memories of her time at Princeton Day School came from playing field hockey and lacrosse.

When Brennan went across town last fall to start her freshman year at Princeton University, she felt a void in her life.

“I missed being on a team,” said Brennan. “I think it is one of the biggest things that I loved about high school, having my teammates and having that connection with them.”

Searching for a new sporting outlet, Brennan went to the school’s athletic exposition last September to survey her options. more

DIPLOMATIC APPROACH: Bridget Kane, right, battles to get past a foe in a game during her career for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team. This past spring, Kane competed in her debut season for the Franklin & Marshall women’s program, helping the Diplomats advance to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Bridget Kane started going to the Franklin & Marshall lacrosse camp in seventh grade, she was focusing on sharpening her skills.

“I did the college camps, not to get recruited but to improve my game,” said Kane.

Entering the Princeton Day School in the fall of 2014, Kane got serious about the college recruiting process.

“My freshman year is when I started going to the big recruiting tournaments,” said Kane. “It was really real, that it is was an option to play in college.” more

July 17, 2019

X-MAN: Luke Franzoni takes a swing in a game this spring during his freshman season for the Xavier University baseball team. Former Princeton Day School standout Franzoni enjoyed a superb debut season for the Musketeers, batting .254 with a team-high 11 homers and 35 RBIs in 43 games. (Photo by Jason Whitman, provided courtesy of Xavier University)

By Bill Alden

Luke Franzoni produced a power surge in his senior season for Princeton Day School in 2018, batting .538 with 10 homers, and 25 RBIs in 18 games.

As Franzoni moved up the college level, joining the Xavier University baseball team this spring, he struggled in the early going with only one hit in his first 13 at-bats for the Musketeers.

But in Xavier’s home opener against Evansville on March 22, Franzoni regained his power stroke, going 2-for-4 with a homer and five RBIs. more

SAVING THE SEASON: Gib Versfeld makes a save in action this spring for the Amherst College men’s lacrosse team. Sophomore Versfeld, a former Hun School standout, helped Amherst reach the NCAA Division III title game, taking over in the cage midway through the season after the team’s starting goalie Chad Simons was sidelined by injury. Versfeld ended up with a 10.79 goals against average and a 52.7 save percentage this spring, making 15 appearances with eight starts. (Photo provided courtesy of Amherst College)

By Bill Alden

For Gib Versfeld, attending the NCAA men’s lacrosse championship weekend was a family tradition over the last decade.

This spring, however, Versfeld found himself on the field at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the climax of the lacrosse season, starting at goalie for the Amherst College men’s squad as it played Cabrini in the NCAA Division III championship game.

“It is something I have always dreamt of, it is literally 30 minutes from my house,” said Versfeld, a former Hun School standout who hails from Langhorne, Pa. more

REACHING AN APEX: Chris Bellofatto of Apex Sport, left, guards a foe in recent action in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Last Wednesday, Bellofatto scored 19 points to help Apex defeat Olives 76-28 and post its fifth straight victory. On Monday, Apex fell 63-52 to defending champion Loyaltees to see its winning streak snapped as it moved to 5-2. In other action on Monday, NJ Spiritwear defeated Hometown Moving and Storage 69-46 while Sakana edged RRBB 66-64. The league wraps up regular season play on July 17 with the playoffs starting on July 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Bellofatto wasn’t fazed even though his Apex Sport team fell to NJ Spiritwear on opening night this season in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

Knowing that Apex has plenty of talent, Bellofatto sensed that it wouldn’t take long for the squad to get in synch in the wake of the 58-45 loss to Spiritwear.

“We all don’t play together any time but the summer,” said Bellofatto, a 5’10 guard who starred at North Hunterdon High and went on to play at Stevens Institute of Technology. “A lot of us play off of Matt [Mancuso] and we are all starting to get used to him too.” more