March 18, 2020

GRANDE FINALE: Princeton University men’s hockey player Liam Grande goes after the puck in a game this winter. Senior forward Grande and his classmates saw their college careers come to a premature end last week as the ECAC Hockey playoffs and NCAA championships were canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In his finale, Grande scored a goal and an assist as Princeton defeated Dartmouth 5-4 in overtime on March 7 to sweep an ECACH best-of-three first round playoff series. The Tigers ended the winter with a 6-20-5 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the players on the Princeton University men’s hockey team, their locker room at Hobey Baker Rink is a sanctuary.

“The hockey dressing room is a terrific spot because the guys share their daily stories,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty.

“It is a lifetime of preparing for the games and the dressing room is a pretty special spot because of the bonds and brotherhoods that are forged.”

Last Thursday, the dressing room became a solemn spot as the 2019-20 season came to a premature end with the winter playoffs getting canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as Princeton was preparing to take part in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.

“When it is the last time in the dressing room with that group of guys that you have gotten to know for four years and underclassmen, it is is very difficult for them to say goodbye to each other,” said Fogarty, whose team swept Dartmouth in a best-of-three ECACH first round series from March 7-8 to improve to 6-20-5 and make the league quarters. more

LAST HURRAH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Carly Bullock, left, celebrates with Maggie Connors after a Tiger goal in the ECAC Hockey playoffs. Senior star Bullock helped Princeton win its first-ever ECACH title and earn an NCAA quarterfinal matchup at Northeastern. But Bullock and her teammates were denied a chance to go for another title as the NCAA championships were canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Princeton finished the winter with a 26-6-1 record, setting a program mark for most victories in a season.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team got together for dinner at the Metro North last Thursday, it was not a typical night out.

Instead, it marked a last supper as the ECAC Hockey championship squad had convened after the NCAA tournament was canceled due to ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“We went for a team dinner because Princeton University was also being evacuated and we were losing the chance to have a banquet,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey.

“It is hard because there is no real closure. We did the best we could to have something makeshift; it wasn’t a banquet but it was the best we could do for our seniors.” more

IN PLAY: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Brynne Hennessy looks to pass the ball in a game this winter. Playing in her first varsity campaign, junior guard and co-captain Hennessy emerged as a key offensive threat from the perimeter as PHS went 5-20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With a roster including no seniors and few of the returning players having any varsity experience, Dave Kosa knew that his Princeton High girls’ basketball team would take its lumps this winter.

While PHS ended up posting a 5-20 record, Tiger head coach Kosa saw positives as his young squad picked up valuable experience.

“I was definitely encouraged by the progress that we made throughout the course of the season, even though it didn’t show up in the win/loss column,” said Kosa. “Some girls really got better.”

In the last week of the campaign, PHS displayed that improvement, playing three tight games and picking up its fifth win in the process.

“The reason why we played these three games was to get more experience,” said Kosa, whose team fell 37-26 to Northern Burlington on February 25, defeated Willingboro 31-27 two days later, and ended with season by losing 39-33 to Bordentown on February 28. more

March 11, 2020

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Princeton University women’s hockey goalie Steph Neatby turns aside a shot on recent action. Last weekend, Neatby starred as Princeton defeated Clarkson 5-1 in the ECAC Hockey semifinals on Saturday and then rallied from a 2-0 deficit to edge No. 1 Cornell 3-2 in overtime in the title game to earn the program’s first ECACH crown. The Tigers, now 26-6-1 overall, are next in action when they play at Northeastern on March 14 in an NCAA quarterfinal contest. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s hockey team started the ECAC Hockey playoffs by surviving a three-game marathon against Quinnipiac, including winning a double overtime thriller in the decisive third game, it believed that experience could lead to a deep postseason run.

“I don’t think they realized how hard that first series was going to be,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey. “I think it really prepared them for the next games.”

Facing a hard game in the semis on Saturday against a Clarkson team that had beaten it 2-1 on February 15, the Tigers rode a three-goal outburst in the second period to a 5-1 victory at Ithaca, N.Y.

“It was surreal, hockey is interesting, you can have a ton of chances and you can feel like they just never go in the net,” said Morey, who got goals from Solveig Neunzert, Shannon Griffin, Sarah Fillier, Kate Monihan and Maggie Connors in the win with goalie Steph Neatby making 29 saves. more

ON THE MARK: Princeton University men’s hockey player Mark Paolini controls the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, junior defenseman Paolini scored the winning goal in overtime as 11th-seeded Princeton defeated sixth-seeded Dartmouth 5-4 to sweep a best-of-three ECAC Hockey first round playoff series. The Tigers, now 6-20-5, play at top-seeded and No. 1 Cornell (23-2-4) in a best-of-three ECACH quarterfinal series scheduled to start on March 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having scored a total of five goals in its last six regular season games, the Princeton University men’s hockey team needed to jump-start its offense as it played at Dartmouth last weekend in a best-of-three ECAC Hockey first round playoff series.

“We were just trying to keep the puck out of the middle of the ice and the neutral zone and have smart entries,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty.

The 11th-seeded Tigers played smart and tough against the sixth-seeded Big Green in the opener on Friday night. Trailing 1-0, Princeton responded with a goal by Christian O’Neill to make it 1-1. With the Tigers down 2-1 O’Neill tallied a second goal to make it 2-2 and then trailing 3-2 late in the game, Finn Evans scored for Princeton with 2:45 left in regulation to force overtime. more

CREASE CONTROL: Princeton University men’s lacrosse goalie Erik Peters guards the crease in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior goalie Peters made 10 saves to help No. 3 Princeton defeat Rutgers 16-11. The Tigers, now 5-0, are slated to host No. 16 Penn (2-3) on March 14 in the Ivy League opener for both squads. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Erik Peters beamed as he clutched the Meistrell Cup last Saturday afternoon at the Class of 52 Stadium after the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team defeated local rival Rutgers 16-11.

Princeton junior goalie Peters played a key role in helping the Tigers earn the hardware that goes to the winner of the storied rivalry, making 10 saves in the win.

For Peters, the Rutgers matchup is particularly memorable since he came on in relief in a 9-8 loss to the Scarlet Knights last year and has been the starter ever since.

“This was the game last year where I got my first chance; every game is really big but this one was really special,” said Peters of the win which improved No. 3 Princeton to 5-0. more

RICH LEGACY: Princeton University men’s basketball player Richmond Aririguzoh takes the ball to the hoops last Friday against Columbia. Senior star Aririguzoh had 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists as Princeton defeated Lions 81-58. A night later, Aririguzoh had six points and 10 rebounds in a losing cause as Princeton fell 85-82 to Cornell. The Tigers who moved to 14-13 overall and 9-5 Ivy League with the loss won’t get the chance to play for a shot at the NCAA tournament as the Ivy postseason tourney at Harvard was canceled on Tuesday in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and regular season champion Yale will get the league’s automatic bid to March Madness. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Richmond Aririguzoh came a long way in making the journey to his Senior Night last Saturday for the Princeton University men’s basketball team.

Born in Italy, Aririguzoh moved to the U.S. at age 12. When he started his basketball career at Trenton Catholic Academy, he would get winded going up and down the court.

Coming across the county to join the Princeton University mens basketball team, Aririguzoh was a little-used reserve in his first two seasons with the Tigers.

Experiencing a breakthrough season as a junior last winter, forward Aririguzoh emerged as an All-Ivy League performer, averaging 12.1 points and 6.4 rebounds a game. more

GIRLS’ WEEKEND: Princeton High wrestler Chloe Ayres controls a foe in a match last season. Last Saturday, junior Ayres won the 107-pound weight class in the NJSIAA girls’ wrestling championships in Atlantic City to earn her second straight state crown. PHS freshman Ava Rose took second at 100 at the competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Chloe Ayres and Ava Rose gave the Princeton High  wrestling team a pair of aces in the finals of NJSIAA girls’ wrestling championships in Atlantic City last weekend.

Ayres, a junior, repeated as champion at 107 pounds in a close bout while Rose, a freshman, took second at 100 to a two-time champion Sydney Petzinger of Parsippany in her first trip to states Saturday.

“Anyone taking two girls or two boys to the state tournament and placing that high, it would be tremendous for any program,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo.

“We’re just looking to grow our program and grow our numbers, so having two girls have success always helps. At the same time, having girls be successful like that kind of scares people because now, coming into a program, they’re not too sure about what their role would be.” more

BIG BEN: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Ben Moyer looks to pass the ball in recent action. Senior guard Moyer’s hard-nosed play helped PHS advance to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and post a final record of 13-12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Winning eight of its last 10 regular season games, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team was primed for a big postseason run.

Hosting 10th-seeded Trenton in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament on February 19, seventh-seeded PHS got off to a good start, racing past the Tornadoes 69-41.

“That was great, we hadn’t beat them in a very long time; we beat them twice this year and that is saying a lot,” said PHS head coach Pat Noone.

“It was a rough first quarter but the team really hung in there. We started hitting shots and we really defended well against them and stopped them in transition so that was really good. We hit a lot of shots that game, that was good to see. That was a big momentum builder for us.”

Unfortunately, the Tigers didn’t hit shots in the MCT quarters two days later, falling 46-29 at second-seeded Robbinsville. more

ON THE RISE: Hun School girls’ basketball player Nicole Angelini goes up for a lay-up in a game this winter. Senior guard Angelini provided a spark off the bench for Hun as it advanced to the state Prep A final and ended the winter with an 18-7 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is an oft-stated sports adage that it is hard to beat the same opponent three times in one season and the Hun School girls’ basketball team was happy to provide evidence this winter to help support that proposition.

Having fallen to Lawrenceville 57-44 in a regular season meeting in late January and then losing 68-53 to the Big Red in the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) semis on February 8, Hun turned the tables on its archrivals by defeating them 61-55 in the state Prep A semis on February 17.

In reflecting on the win in the rubber match, Hun head coach Bill Holup pointed to defensive versatility and a quick start as factors that made a difference for the Raiders.  more

March 4, 2020

OVERJOYED: Princeton University women’s hockey players Sarah Fillier, right, and Maggie Connors celebrate after the Tigers scored last Friday in the opening game of their best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series against visiting Quinnipiac. The matchup turned into an epic battle as Princeton won the first game 5-1 before falling 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. A day later, sophomore Fillier scored the winning goal as Princeton pulled out a thrilling 3-2 victory in double overtime to win the series. Sixth-ranked Princeton, now 24-6-1 overall, will head to the ECACH Final 4 next weekend in Ithaca, N.Y. where it faces No. 7 Clarkson (25-5-6) in the semis on March 7 with the victor advancing to the title game a day later. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sarah Fillier sensed that Princeton University women’s hockey team was in for a tough fight as it hosted Quinnipiac in a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series last weekend at Hobey Baker Rink.

“We knew we were going to get their best game,” said sophomore forward Fillier.

“They are ranked 10th in the country. Arguably we play in the best league in the nation and we knew it was going to be a battle.”

The battle with the Bobcats turned into a war as sixth-ranked Princeton won the opener 5-1 on Friday but then fell 3-2 in overtime on Saturday as Quinnipiac forced a decisive game three on Sunday.

In the finale, Princeton built a 2-0 lead in the third period and was on the verge of victory before a feisty Quinnipiac squad responded with a pair of late goals to force overtime for a second straight day. more

EL-TRAIN: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ellie Mitchell dribbles the ball upcourt in recent action. Freshman forward Mitchell enjoyed a big game last week as Princeton defeated Penn 80-44 on February 25, tallying 13 points with eight rebounds and six assists. Mitchell and the Tigers went on to defeat Brown 81-39 on Friday and Yale 64-49 a night later to clinch the Ivy League outright regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming league postseason tournament. The 21st-ranked Tigers, now 24-1 overall and 12-0 Ivy, are riding a 21-game winning streak and will complete regular season play with games at Columbia on March 6 and at Cornell on March 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Bella Alarie remembers that Ellie Mitchell wore a bow in her hair on the basketball court four years ago.

That memory draws a laugh from the Princeton University women’s basketball teammates who were adversaries back then on rival Independent School League (ISL) teams in the Washington, D.C. area.

“I looked up to her so much when I was a freshman,” said Mitchell, a native of Chevy Chase, Md.

“I heard so many great things about her and to be able to play against her was such a great opportunity. To finally come here and get to play with her has been so much fun. It’s been like a dream come true.” more

MAC ATTACK: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Connor McCarthy looks to unload the ball in a game last spring. Last Saturday, senior midfielder McCarthy tallied a career-high five goals to help Princeton defeat Johns Hopkins 18-11. The Tigers, now 4-0 and ranked third nationally, host Rutgers (2-3) on March 7 in the battle for the Meistrell Cup.  (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Connor McCarthy has endured a star-crossed career for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team as injury woes have hampered his progress.

But coming into his senior year this spring, midfielder McCarthy is at full strength and ready to star for Princeton.

“I have been battling injuries for the last couple of years,” said McCarthy, whose right knee is wrapped and had four goals in just nine appearances last spring. “I am feeling good this year; it is real nice to get out there. I feel 100 percent.”

Last Saturday as Princeton hosted Johns Hopkins, McCarthy produced a really good game, tallying a career-high five goals to help the Tigers defeat the Blue Jays 18-11 and improve to 4-0 before a crowd of 1,815 at Class of 52 Stadium braving a chilly 35-degree day.  more

TOP LEADER: Princeton University men’s hockey player Derek Topatigh brings the puck up the ice in a game last winter. Last Saturday, senior defenseman and team captain Topatigh made his final appearance at Hobey Baker Rink, fighting hard in a losing cause as Princeton fell 2-0 to Brown. The Tigers, now 4-20-5 overall, start play in the ECAC Hockey playoffs where they are seeded 11th and are playing at sixth-seeded Dartmouth in a best-of-three first round series starting on March 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emotions were swirling for Derek Topatigh last Saturday night as he made his final appearance at Hobey Baker Rink for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

The senior defenseman was part of a special pregame presentation along with his parents Sergio Topatigh and Karen Trudell since his mother was unable to attend the program’s Senior Day ceremony earlier in the year due to being under a treatment regimen for Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

“That was huge for me and my family, my mom really didn’t want to miss it at the beginning of the year,” said Topatigh, a 5’11, 185-pound native of Mississauga, Ontario. “It was great on coach [Ron] Fogarty and everyone to make it happen. It was just a blast to able to do it.”

Once Topatigh hit the ice for the Tigers against Brown, he was looking for a huge game in his Baker finale. more

SOUTHERN STATE: Princeton High boys’ hockey Cooper Zullo controls the puck in a game earlier this winter. Last Friday, freshman forward Zullo scored the lone goal as ninth-seeded PHS fell 4-1 at eighth-seeded Southern High in the first round of the Public B state tournament. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 18-4-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having lost 6-1 to Southern High in a regular season meeting in early February, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team was determined to put the pressure on when the foes met for a rematch last Friday in the first round of the state Public B tournament.

“We were trying to screen the goalie more and take advantage of the opportunities that we got,” said PHS head coach Joe Bensky.

“We just really needed to finish more, that was evident the first time we played them.”

Having rallied from a 5-0 deficit a week earlier to defeat Hun 7-5 in the Mercer County Tournament final, ninth-seeded PHS wasn’t fazed when it fell behind eighth-seeded Southern 1-0. more

ON THE MOVE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Aleah James races past a Trenton Catholic Academy defender last Friday evening in the Mercer County Tournament final at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton. Junior guard James scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as second-seeded Stuart fell 60-43 to top-seeded and defending champion TCA in the program’s first-ever appearance in the county title game. The defeat left the Tartans with a final record of 21-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For the Stuart Country Day School basketball team, facing nationally-ranked Trenton Catholic Academy in the Mercer County Tournament final at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton was exactly where it wanted to end the season.

Heading out to Phoenix in December to play in the Nike Tournament of Champions and then going through a gauntlet of tough foes such as Blair, Immaculate Conception Lodi, Saddle River Day, Moorestown Friends, and Markham Prep (Can.), Stuart was ready for the challenge presented by TCA.

“We came in laser focused and set on showing everybody exactly who we are because sometimes I think people take the Stuart name for granted,” said Stuart junior guard Aleah James. more

KNIGHT MOVES: Hun School boys’ basketball player Dylan Knight drives to the hoops in a game this winter. Senior guard Knight helped Hun overcome a shaky 4-9 start to end the season at 12-14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Hun School boys’ basketball team started its 2019-20 campaign by losing nine of its first 13 games, its players could have given up on the season.

Instead, displaying resilience, Hun won eight of its next 13 contests, posting some memorable wins on the way to a 12-14 record.

“It was a pretty rough start for us overall; we struggled early,” said Hun head coach Jon Stone. “We were finding ourselves and having said that, I think we really made a lot of progress throughout the year. We grew and got better.”

Hun showed that growth in the last week of the season, bouncing back from a disappointing 53-46 loss to Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in the opening round of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament on February 7 to defeat rival Lawrenceville 62-45 in a MAPL consolation contest the next day and then topping a formidable West Nottingham (Md.) squad 56-45 in the regular season finale on February 13. more

February 26, 2020

BULLY FOR HER: Princeton University women’s hockey player Carly Bullock tracks the puck in recent action. Bullock enjoyed a milestone Senior Weekend as Princeton posted 5-1 wins over Brown on Friday and Yale a day later. Star forward Bullock tallied three goals and an assist against the Bears and then had two goals and an assist in the win over the Bulldogs, hitting the 150-point mark in her career in the process. The Tigers, now 22-5-1 overall and 17-4-1 ECAC Hockey, start action in the ECACH quarterfinals where they are seeded second and will host seventh-seeded Quinnipiac (18-13-3 overall,11-9-2 ECACH)  in a best-of-three series starting on February 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carly Bullock wanted to put on a show for her family as the Princeton University women’s hockey team held its annual Senior Day celebration last weekend.

“My siblings are here, they didn’t get to come out a lot,” said senior forward Bullock, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn. “I have always wanted to do my best when everyone is watching.”

Bullock came through with one of the best weekends of her career, tallying three goals and an assist as Princeton defeated Brown 5-1 on Friday night and then chipping in two goals and an assist as the Tigers defeated Yale 5-1 a day later.

“At the end of the season, every game matters and every team is coming out and bringing their all,” said Bullock, who hit the 150-point mark (91 goals, 59 assists) in her Princeton career with her final goal against Yale, becoming the ninth player in program history to achieve that milestone. more

LIFE OF REILLY: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Katie Reilly heads up the field last Saturday as ninth-ranked Princeton hosted No. 8 Virginia. Senior attacker Reilly contributed an assist in a losing cause as the Tigers fell 12-10 to the Cavaliers. Princeton, now 1-1, plays at Villanova on February 26 and then opens Ivy League play with a game at Columbia on February 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Katie Reilly is especially motivated to make the most of her final season with the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team.

The senior attacker is one of the Tiger captains along with classmates Annie Cory and Tess D’Orsi and has started the first two games of the year after appearing in just 13 total games in her first three seasons since coming from Huntingdon, N.Y., where she was a three-sport star, playing soccer and basketball in addition to lacrosse.

“Obviously it stinks a little bit to come and have to watch and learn, but I think that’s exactly what you do,” said Reilly. “You watch and learn. The difference between high school and college, there’s a really big difference in tempo, intensity, all this. For most programs, unless you’re phenomenal, you’re not just going to walk in and displace anybody. Everybody is really good. I think it’s really valuable to see the other perspective and be on the sideline. It teaches you that you have to work hard if you want to get something, it’s not just going to come to you. It gives you a different perspective and I think that’s helpful in being a leader and being a player in general.” more

ROLLING STONE: Princeton University women’s basketball player Grace Stone dribbles up the court in recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore guard Stone matched her career high with 16 points as Princeton defeated Dartmouth 87-55 to post its 17th straight win. The Tigers, who improved to 21-1 overall and 9-0 Ivy League with the win, were slated to host Penn on February 25, Brown on February 28, and Yale on February 29. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Karen Stone sang the national anthem before the Princeton University women’s basketball team played Dartmouth last Saturday evening, one player was particularly inspired.

“It was super cool for me,” said Stone’s daughter, Princeton sophomore guard Grace Stone.

“She used to sing at my high school games too. It was always a nice thing that we shared, so it was nice for her to come in and represent the Stone family. It just sent me with a lot of energy into the game.”

One minute into the game, the energy in the building was sapped when Princeton senior star and two-time Ivy League Player of the Year Bella Alarie crumpled to the floor after missing a layup, clutching her right knee and yelping in pain. more

ROCKING THE HOUSE: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Rocco Salvato follows through after firing the puck up the ice last Friday in the final of the Mercer County Tournament. Senior star Salvato tallied four goals and an assist as second-seeded PHS rallied from a 5-2 deficit with 3:57 left in the game at Mercer County Park to stun top-seeded and six-time defending champion Hun 7-5. The Tigers, now 18-3-2, are next in action when they compete in the state Public B tournament where they are seeded ninth and slated to play at eighth-seeded Southern in a first round contest on February 28 with the victor advancing to the quarterfinals on March 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When it was over, Rocco Salvato had trouble finding the words to describe what he just experienced. The Princeton High boys’ hockey team produced a stunning rally to defeat Hun 7-5 in the final of the Mercer County Tournament last Friday evening.

Trailing six-time defending champion Hun 5-0 in the second period and 5-2 with 3:57 left in the third period, PHS scored four goals in the next 2:26 to take the lead and then added an empty net tally to put the finishing touch on a shocking 7-5 victory.

“The past three years getting here we just fell a little short so tonight is extra special,” said senior star Salvato, who scored three goals in the third period rally and ended the night with four goals and an assist. more

MAIN MAN: Princeton High wrestler James Romaine, left, battles a foe in a match last season. Over the weekend, junior Romaine placed first at 152 pounds in the District 17 tournament at South Plainfield. He advanced to the Region 5 tournament at Franklin High this weekend along with senior teammate Dominic Riendeau-Krause, who took second at 145 pounds. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

James Romaine had to change his attitude to become a top wrestler.

“I’d go in scared before,” said Romaine. “I’d wrestle scared, which is never good.”

Losing that fear has made a huge difference for the Princeton High junior as he has turned into a formidable competitor on the mat.

As part of that process, Romaine thought about why he had been wrestling since he started in first grade with the Princeton Wrestling Club, thought of all the fun he had and how much he enjoyed the sport and realized there was nothing to be scared of. He had to be confident. more

GETTING IT DONE: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Ethan Garita passes the ball in a recent game. Last Sunday, junior forward Garita scored 18 points to help second-seeded PDS defeat top-seeded Doane Academy 64-50 in the state Prep B final. The Panthers ended with winter with a 14-11 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Losing 69-63 to Hightstown in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals last Friday helped fuel the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team as it prepared to face Doane Academy in the state Prep B final two days later.

“After the game we used that intensity and that loss and brought it to this game,” said PDS junior forward Ethan Garita.

“We worked hard yesterday in practice, we just ran over all defensive drills. We were talking, having our hands up. It is a family, we worked hard for this.”

With second-seeded PDS playing at top-seeded Doane in a bandbox of a gym with the bleachers packed and people lining the baselines at both ends of the court, the Panthers quieted the home fans, outscoring the Spartans 15-7 in the third quarter to go up 44-33. more

ENDGAME: Hun School boys’ hockey player Eddie Evaldi speeds up the ice last Friday in the Mercer County Tournament championship game. Junior star Evaldi tallied a goal in the contest for top-seeded and six-time defending champion Hun but it wasn’t enough as second-seeded Princeton High overcame a 5-0 deficit to pull out a 7-5 win. The defeat left the Raiders with a final record of 9-14-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

History appeared to be repeating itself as the Hun School boys’ hockey team faced Princeton High in the Mercer County Tournament final last Friday evening.

Having won six straight county crowns with PHS as the runner-up the past three seasons, Hun built a 5-0 lead over the Tigers early in the second period in the contest at the Mercer County Park Skating Center.

With 4:00 left in the third period, Hun had a 5-2 advantage and its student section was chanting “warm up the bus, warm up the bus” at the PHS fans. more

THREE’S COMPANY: Senior guard Jasmine Hansford (front row, far right), celebrates with her teammates on the Stuart Country Day basketball team after the Tartans topped Academy of St. Elizabeth 65-33 in the state Prep B final last Wednesday to win their third straight state crown. On Friday, Hansford and the Tartans took a step toward another title as second-seeded Stuart topped seventh-seeded Hopewell Valley 51-23 in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. Stuart, now 20-6, faces third-seeded Notre Dame on February 26 in the MCT semis at the CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton with the victor advancing to the title game on February 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although Jasmine Hansford scored only two points as the Stuart Country Day basketball team topped Academy of St. Elizabeth 65-33 in the state Prep B title game last Wednesday, she helped set the tone for the Tartans.

“Defense is my main thing,” said Stuart senior guard Hansford. “I always guard the best players on the other team and make sure that they get the least amount of points possible. That is my main goal.”

Against second-seeded St. Elizabeth, top-seeded Stuart produced a stifling defensive effort on the way to building a 31-16 halftime lead and never looked back as it earned its third straight Prep B title.

“There was a lot of energy. We wanted to win; we wanted to get the third one,” said Hansford, who had four steals, two assists and a rebound in the title game. more