June 19, 2019

CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT: Princeton High boys’ track star Nils Wildberg shows off the medal he earned for taking fifth place in the Championship Long Jump at the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., last weekend. The Dartmouth-bound Wildberg jumped a huge personal best of 24’3.5, good for a school and Mercer County all-time record as he earned All-America status.

Heading south to compete in the New Balance National Championships in Greensboro, N.C., to wrap up its season, the Princeton High track team made some history.

PHS senior star sprinter and jumper Nils Wildberg leapt into the record book, flying to fifth place finish in the Championship Long Jump, earning All-America status. The Dartmouth-bound Wildberg jumped a huge personal best of 24’3.5, good for a school and Mercer County all-time record. Earlier in June, Wildberg had placed second in the long jump at the New Jersey Meet of Champions with a leap of 22’6. more

TOM TERRIFIC: Princeton High baseball player Tommy Reid takes a big cut in a game this spring. Senior outfielder and co-captain Reid helped spark PHS at the top of the lineup. The Tigers went 9-13 this spring, winning six of their last eight games and advancing to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High baseball team stunned many when it edged second-seeded Hamilton 1-0 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament this spring, Dom Capuano wasn’t surprised.

“That game was awesome; for whatever reason, I had confidence going into that game. I said to them before the game, ‘I have never believed in you more at this point,’” said first-year head coach Capuano, whose team was seeded 15th in the MCT and went on to fall to 10th-seeded Lawrence High in the quarterfinals. more

SWINGING AWAY: Princeton Day School softball player Julie Patterson takes a swing in a game this season. Senior catcher and co-captain Patterson was a stalwart for the program over the last four seasons, providing leadership and production from day one as a freshman. PDS posted a 2-8 record this spring. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Paul Lano made a promise when he took the helm of the Princeton Day School softball team in 2012.

“When I came into the program they only had eight players the year before, they had to borrow a player from Stuart Country Day to play games so they were really struggling,” said PDS head coach Lano.

“I came to the athletic department and said give me a year or so and I will build it back up. I will get players to come out and play. I had 15, 17 players at times. I was able to build the program back up to where it needs to be in order to become relevant.” more

REACHING OUT: Hun School softball player Gigi Venizelos, left, lunges to apply a tag in action this spring. Junior shortstop and co-captain Venizelos starred in the field and at the plate for Hun, which ended the season at 9-6 and advanced to the state Prep A semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Trailing by two runs heading into its last at-bat in the state Prep A semifinals, the Hun School softball team wasn’t about to throw in the towel as it played archival Lawrenceville School.

Hun rallied for two runs in the contest at Lawrenceville to tie the game at 5-5 and force extra innings.

Although the Raiders ended up losing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth in the May 15 contest, Kathy Quirk had no qualms with the effort she got from her players. more

TEEING IT UP: Jordan Glover drives to the basket for Loyaltees last Monday at the John Witherspoon Middle School in the opening night of the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Glover, a former standout for The College of New Jersey, scored 16 points to help Loyaltees pull out a 62-57 win over Sakana. In other action on Monday, NJ Spiritwear defeated Apex Sport 58-45 and Hometown Moving and Storage Co. topped Olives 46-20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors in 2016, it helped transform a title-winning club into an NBA dynasty.

Jordan Glover, a former standout for The College of New Jersey, is looking to have a similar impact this year in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League.

After playing for Majeski Foundation, the TCNJ men’s hoops entry in the league, the recently graduated Glover has joined Loyaltees, the summer league’s defending champion. more

June 12, 2019

HEAVY LIFTING: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight varsity eight shows its form in a race this spring. Earlier this month, the top boat placed sixth in the Grand Final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Having coached in the Princeton University rowing program since the late 1990s, Greg Hughes boasts a reservoir of experience in bringing boats together.

But Hughes knew he had to be innovative this spring as he guided the Princeton men’s heavyweight crew, with the Tigers having graduated a number of key seniors and thereby breaking new faces into the lineup.

“It was an interesting year for me,” said Hughes, a former Princeton lightweight star rower who started as the coach for the Tiger freshman heavyweight crew before guiding the men’s lightweight program from 2006-09 and then taking the helm of the heavyweights in 2010.

“It was my 22nd year of coaching and what is so cool for me is to realize that you are still seeing new things and still learning. This was definitely one of those years.”

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CHAMPIONSHIP EFFORT: Princeton High boys’ track star Paul Brennan heaves the shot put in a meet this spring. Last Saturday, senior and Princeton University-bound Brennan placed first in the discus and 10th in the shot put at the New Jersey outdoor Meet of Champions at Northern Burlington High. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

A goal, a season, a dream, and a career all came together for Paul Brennan at the New Jersey outdoor Meet of Champions (MOC) last Saturday at Northern Burlington High.

The Princeton High senior won the discus with a throw of 186’ 8 to become the first outdoor champion for the Tiger boys since Stephen Fletcher repeated in the 110-meter hurdles in 1983. (PHS senior Nils Wildberg won the long jump at the indoor MOC this winter.)

“It feels awesome,” said Brennan, who is headed to Princeton University where he will compete for its men’s track program.

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EYE ON THE BALL: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse goalie Sam Brandt tracks the ball in a game this season as he prepares to make a save. Junior Brandt produced a solid campaign in the cage as PHS posted a 6-9 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although having some key veterans sidelined this spring kept the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team from reaching its potential, that misfortune allowed some new faces to get valuable playing time.

“We took a step forward because unfortunately we had three seniors getting injured,” said PHS head coach Chip Casto, who lost seniors Ben Drezner and Evan Filion to leg injuries before the season due to injury and then had tri-captain Alex Park sidelined early in the season.

“All of the young guys had to play. Out of this difficult year, going 6-9, came tremendous opportunity for the young guys. A lot of them took advantage of it and got better.”

PHS showed its progress in the season finale, putting together one of its better efforts as it posted a 12-9 win over Allentown.

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ELLE ON WHEELS: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Elle Anhut races up the field in a game this spring. Freshman midfielder Anhut enjoyed a big debut season for PDS, tallying 24 goals and 32 assists. The Panthers finished with an 8-7 record, advancing to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and state Prep B semifinals. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With a roster including five freshmen and eight sophomores, the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team was bound to take some lumps this spring as its young players got up to speed.

But with its senior captains providing leadership and the new faces coming of age quickly, PDS produced a winning campaign as it went 8-7, advancing to the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals and making the final four in the state Prep B tourney.

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TRUE BLUE: Zahrion Blue pulls down a rebound in action last year for Loyaltees in the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League. Former Princeton High standout Blue helped Loyaltees win the 2018 league title and is back this year as the squad goes for a repeat. The 2019 season tips off with a tripleheader on June 17 at the Community Park courts. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In early May, it looked like interest might be cooling as the Princeton Recreation Department Summer Men’s Basketball League headed into its 31st season.

After fielding seven teams last year, only five entries had committed to play this summer as league commissioner and the Rec Department’s Assistant Director of Recreation Evan Moorhead worked on organizing the 2019 campaign.

But in the last few weeks, four teams came into the fold, ensuring another summer of hot competition with the action slated to tip off with a triple-header on June 17 at the Community Park courts starting at 7:15 p.m.

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 By Bill Alden

Thomas Ramsay was looking to set the tone as the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team played at West Windsor-Plainsboro last Saturday.

Leading off the game, Ramsay singled, stole second, and got knocked in on a grounder by Teddy Durbin as Post 218 jumped out to a 1-0 lead.

“I thought we were off to a hot start, I  got on and it seemed like we were moving around,” said Ramsay.

WW-P, though, responded with a run in the bottom of the first and the game turned into a pitching duel. The contest was knotted at 1-1 after seven and went into extra innings.

Ramsay reached base in both the eighth and ninth on walks but couldn’t get farther than third base, and WW-P ended up pushing across the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to prevail 2-1.

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June 5, 2019

LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT: The Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity eight displays its form in a recent race. Last Sunday, Princeton’s top boat took second in a thrilling grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta in Sacramento, Calif. Turning the race into a nail-biter, the Tigers made a late surge and lost by just .4 seconds to champion Cornell as they earned silver at the IRAs for a second straight year. Princeton’s back-to-back medals are the first time the program has done that since 2009-10 when the Tigers won the varsity eight race both years. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

In mid-May, the Princeton University men’s lightweight varsity eight had a rough day at the Eastern Sprints, fading to fourth place in the grand final.

Last Sunday, Princeton’s top boat put that disappointment behind it, taking second in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.

This time, the Tigers surged to the finish, pushing past four boats as they nearly caught champion Cornell, finishing just .4 seconds behind the Big Red. Princeton clocked a time of 5:44.849 with Cornell just ahead in 5:44.426.

It marked the second straight silver medal at the IRA for the top boat and the first time Princeton had earned back-to-back medals at the competition since 2009-10 when the Tigers won the varsity eight race both years.

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ON COURSE: Members of the Princeton University men’s golf team enjoy the moment as they got ready to compete last month in the NCAA Athens Regional at the University of Georgia’s home course in Athens, Ga. The Tigers won the Ivy League Championship in late April to earn their first trip to the NCAA Regionals since 2013. Princeton ended up finishing 13th of 13 teams in Athens in a valuable learning experience for a young squad that brought a junior, three sophomores, and a freshman to Georgia. (Photo provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Will Green sensed that his Princeton University men’s golf team could do something special this spring, although he didn’t really have the numbers to back up that feeling. 

“I had been telling people all spring long we were going to win the Ivy title,” said Princeton head coach Green.

“It was based on a belief in the team we had. There wasn’t any reason for me to think that except I just really thought that we were going to play well.”

When the Tigers finished eighth in their Princeton Invitational in the final tune-up before the Ivy League Championships, Green’s vision looked like a pipe dream.

“After we got out of the Invitational, I was talking to some friends, saying ‘I don’t know how we can beat Yale, they are really good,’” recalled Green.

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By Bill Alden

Heading to Indianapolis last week to compete in the NCAA championship regatta, the Princeton University women’s open crew was primed to excel on the national stage.

“I thought our practices were going well between the Ivies and Indy,” said Princeton head coach Lori Dauphiny, whose varsity eight, second varsity eight, and varsity four had each placed first at the Ivy regatta on May 19 as the program qualified for the NCAA competition.

“We finished finals; it is always a delicate balance and I felt like we handled it very well. We were ready for Indy when we left.”

After a solid first day at the competition on Friday that saw the varsity 8 take first, the second varsity 8 take third and the four come in third in the their heats to advance straight to the semifinals, the Tigers didn’t handle things well a day later.

None of the three Princeton boats gained the top-three finish in the semis necessary to make the grand finals and compete for a national title.

“We expected more,” said Dauphiny. “When we went through the semis, I think all boats had hoped to make the grand final but especially the first varsity, they had the best chance. To fall short was challenging.”

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GROUP EFFORT: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Eva Petrone, right, chases down a foe in a game this spring. Last Thursday, junior star Petrone scored a team-high three goals but it wasn’t enough as Central Jersey sectional champion PHS fell 9-8 to South winner Eastern in the state Group 4 semis at Moorestown. The defeat left the Tigers with a final record of 18-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Eva Petrone was determined to be more productive this spring in her junior season for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team.

“Coming off last year I was doing alright [with] 25 goals but this year being a starter, I knew I had to step up on offense,” said attacker Petrone. “I did my best to contribute more and more each game.”

Last Thursday as Central Jersey sectional champion PHS faced South winner Eastern in the state Group 4 semis at Moorestown, Petrone stepped up. She tallied three goals in the first half of the high stakes contest as the Tigers took a 6-5 lead into intermission.

“We knew this game was going to be challenging; we saw the seeding and it gave us hope to come out with a big win,” said Petrone.

“We felt very good at halftime but you never know what is going to happen.”

Unfortunately for PHS, some bad things happened down the stretch in the second half against Eastern. The Tigers took an 8-7 lead on a goal by Kathryn DeMilt with 11:52 left in the second half only to see the Vikings score two unanswered goals to go ahead 9-8 and then go into a stall for the last 7:26 of regulation to hold on for the win and earn a trip to the Group 4 state championship game

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TIGHT COMPETITION: Princeton High boys’ track stars Jackson McCarthy, right, and Tucker Zullo compete in Central Jersey Group 4 sectional outdoor track meet at Howell High in late May. Last weekend, senior McCarthy took fifth in the 800 meters and 10th in the 1,600 at the state Group 4 meet as PHS missed winning the team title by one point with host Franklin scoring 44 and the Tigers getting 43. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Jackson McCarthy and Jack Phelan came away from the Group 4 boys’ state championship meet last Saturday with new personal records.

The performances by the Princeton High seniors nearly delivered a second straight state title for the program but the Tigers were edged by champion Franklin, 44-43, which had sprinter Mario Heslop accounting for 30 individual points and sharing six more in the final relay.

“Obviously a 1-point loss is always going to hurt pretty bad,” said McCarthy. 

“We’re trying to defend our state title. We came with four or five fewer scorers than we had last year. We’re a lot thinner this year. We dealt with a crazy amount of injuries this year. We’re a group of fighters. When someone does something incredible, it inspires you. To come one-point short to a team that has one man that scored 30-some hurts. It’s hard to beat a team with him on it. We did everything we could. That’s all we wanted to do, say we did everything we could to walk away with that title.”

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SPOILS OF VICTORY: Members of the Princeton High boys’ golf team display the plaque and medals they earned for winning the Central Group 4 sectional at Charleston Springs in Millstone last month. Sophomore Adam MacMillan led the way for PHS, carding a two-over 74 to take third individually at the competition. The team’s lineup at the sectional also included Harry Skopas, Atticus Lynch, Abhi Vachani, and Jonathan Lin. MacMillan went on to compete individually at the Tournament of Champions at the Hopewell Valley Golf Club where he tied for 51st with an 11-over 83.

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High boys’ golf team finished seventh in the Mercer County Tournament in early May, Sheryl Severance saw that performance as a harbinger of good things to come in state competition.

“The county tournament is tough, you have the private schools like Pennington and Peddie,” said PHS head coach Severance.

“If it was just the public schools, we were right in there; WW/P-North and Allentown only beat us by a couple of strokes

Competing in the South/Central Group 4 sectional at Charleston Springs in Millstone on May 14, PHS displayed its toughness, placing fourth overall and first among Central teams to earn the sectional title.

The triumph caught Severance by surprise as she was initially focusing on the exploits of PHS sophomore star Adam MacMillan, who carded a two-over 74 to take third individually at the competition.

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BRINGING IT: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Kaitlyn Magnani brings the ball upfield in a game this spring. Freshman midfielder Magnani provided a spark for Stuart as it overcame a 1-4 start to finish with a 6-7 record, advancing to the second round of the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep B quarters along the way. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After getting off to a 1-4 start, it looked like it could be a rough spring for the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team.

But Stuart reeled off five straight wins to right the ship,  showing that it wasn’t about to fold after the bumpy beginning.

“It was the consistency that was working for us once we got a better transition game down,” said Stuart head coach Missy Bruvik.

“That is when we were really getting to know each other’s strengths and who was going to be playing where. To the kids’ credit, we were able to move many kids around to different positions.”

While the Tartans fell in the second round of the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep B quarters after posting wins in both tourneys, Bruvik liked the way her kids competed to the end.

“We played tough teams down the stretch,” said Bruvik,  whose squad lost 18-5 to Princeton Day School in the MCT and then fell 16-2 to Montclair Kimberley in the Prep B competition.

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May 29, 2019

LOVE OF THE GAME: Princeton University football star John Lovett enjoys the moment last November in the season finale as Princeton defeated Penn 42-14 to put the finishing touches on a 10-0 campaign. Quarterback Lovett went on the earn his second Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Offensive Player of the Year. This April, he signed a free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

John Lovett is trying to prove himself all over.

The Princeton University senior football star has taken the same attitude to Kansas City Chiefs preseason camp that he had when he started with the Tigers.

“When he first got here, he just wanted to get on the field,” recalled Princeton football head coach Bob Surace. “He said, ‘Coach, I can long snap.’ I don’t know if he ever long snapped before, and he had no technique, but the ball went exactly where it was supposed to go faster than anyone else we had. He’s going to find his way to make the club.”

Surace never did let Lovett long snap — for fear of losing his job if his starting quarterback with NFL potential were to be hurt — but instead watched him grow into a player that the Tigers had to get on the field. It meant that Lovett played his favorite spot, quarterback, at times, but also lined up at running back and wide receiver. He could be doing the same for Kansas City. more

RALLY TIME: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Shaylah Marciano runs past a Howell High defender last week in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semis. Junior star Marciano tallied three goals and two assists as top-seeded PHS defeated fourth-seeded Howell 21-4 in the May 21 contest. Last Friday, Marciano had three goals and an assist as PHS rallied from a 4-2 halftime deficit to defeat second-seeded Rancocas Valley 10-5 in the sectional final. The Tigers, now 18-2, will face South sectional champion Eastern (17-3) in the Group 4 semis on May 29 at Moorestown with the victor advancing to the title game on June 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team trailed Rancocas Valley 4-2 at halftime of the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final last Friday, Shaylah Marciano had no doubts that PHS could rally for victory.

“I knew we had in it us to come back,” said Tiger junior star midfielder Marciano. “We knew if we put the foot on the pedal, we just would be able to keep it going.”

That confidence was also based on experience as PHS had overcome an 8-4 deficit against Rancocas Valley in last year’s sectional final to pull out a 9-8 win, sparked by Mariana Lopez-Ona dominating the draw control. more

CENTURY CLUB: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Kathryn DeMilt, left, races up the field last week as PHS hosted Howell in Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semis. Senior attacker DeMilt tallied 10 points in six goals and four assists, including her 100th career goal, as top-seeded PHS defeated fourth-seeded Howell 21-4 in the May 21 contest. Three days later, DeMilt chipped in a goal as PHS defeated second-seeded Rancocas Valley 10-5 in the sectional final. The Tigers, now 18-2, will face South sectional champion Eastern in the Group 4 semis on May 29 at Moorestown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As part of the supporting cast for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team during her debut season in the spring of 2016, Kathyrn DeMilt set a goal.

“When I started off my freshman year I would look up to my seniors, like Taylor Lis,” recalled DeMilt.

All these players are getting their 100th goal and I thought I want to be like them one day.”

Over the last three years, DeMilt followed in their footsteps, emerging as a top scorer for the Tigers. With top-seeded PHS hosting fourth-seeded Howell High in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semis last week, DeMilt was approaching her target, coming into the contest with 94 goals on her career. more

IN THE FAST LANE: Princeton High boys’ track star Nils Wildberg heads to the finish line in action last weekend at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional outdoor track meet at Howell High. Dartmouth-bound Wildberg starred at the meet, winning the long jump and taking second in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. Wildberg’s heroics helped PHS tie Freehold for third in the team standings. The Tigers are next in action when they compete in the state Group 4 meet at Franklin High from May 31-June 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Competing in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional outdoor meet at Howell High last weekend, the Princeton High boys’ track team found itself in a four-horse race for the team title.

While PHS ended up tying Freehold for third with 70 pointe behind winner Franklin (78) and runner-up South Brunswick (71), Ben Samara had no qualms with the effort he got from his athletes.

“We fell short in just a couple of places but pretty much across the board everyone performed really well,” said PHS associate head coach Samara. “We were so proud of the team.”

Senior star and Dartmouth-bound Nils Wildberg performed at a very high level, winning the long jump and taking second in  both the 100 and 200-meter dashes. more

AD COURT: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis player Neel Adusimilli hits a forehand in a match this spring. Last week, freshman singles player Adusimilli and PDS wrapped up their season by competing in the state Prep B tournament. The Panthers finished third in the team standings at the tourney. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Going with a youth movement by necessity and dealing with a number of injuries, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team experienced an up-and-down spring.

But with everyone up to speed for the state Prep B tournament, the Panthers ended the season on a high note by taking third at the competition held last week at Wardlaw Hartridge.

“We were just happy to get there with the full roster,” said PDS head coach Jen Johnson, reflecting on the tourney which was won by Pennington (12 points) with Rutgers Prep (eight points) taking second and the Panthers getting seven points in coming in third. more

PARTING SHOT: Hun School girls’ lacrosse player Lauren Johns heads to goal in a game this spring. Senior midfielder Johns went out with a bang, scoring four goals in the season finale as Hun defeated WW/P-North 14-7. The win in the May 10 contest gave the Raiders a final record of 5-9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Hun School girls’ lacrosse team fell to WW/P-North in the second round of the Mercer County Tournament, it didn’t have to wait long for a rematch against the Northern Knights.

A week after the 14-10 defeat in the MCT, Hun traveled to WW/P-North for its season finale and turned the tables on their foe, posting a 14-7 win.

As the Raiders prepared for round two with the Northern Knights, Hun head coach Rachel Hickey sensed that her squad was primed for redemption in the May 10 contest. more

May 22, 2019

OPEN MINDED: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew celebrate last Sunday at Cooper River in Pennsauken, N.J., after the program won the Ivy League championship regatta and earned the the league’s automatic spot in the upcoming NCAA Championships. The Tigers earned five first-place finishes at the event and will finish the season by competing in the NCAA regatta from May 31-June 2 in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo by the Ivy League, provided courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton University women’s open crew program had produced a superb regular season, highlighted by its varsity eight going undefeated, Lori Dauphiny was uneasy heading into the Ivy League Championships last weekend.

“I was more nervous than I have ever been in my life,” said Princeton head coach Dauphiny.

“I want the senior class to succeed because this class has brought so much to this team. I really want the best for this senior class so we can’t, as a group, fall short for them.”

The Princeton group rose to the occasion last Sunday, dominating the regatta as it placed first in the varsity four, the varsity four B, the third varsity eight, the second varsity eight, and the varsity eight. more