June 12, 2013

Last year, the Princeton University men’s heavyweight crew first varsity 8 just missed out on making the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) regatta.

The Tigers fell to Syracuse by less that a second for a place in the national championship race as they took fourth in the semis.

At the 2013 IRAs, the Tigers found themselves in a similar spot as they battled Stanford in the semis for third place and the last spot in the grand final.

Learning from last year’s disappointment, Princeton roared past the Cardinals in the last 500 meters and secured third by more than four seconds.

Princeton head coach Greg Hughes was proud of how his top boat responded when the chips were down.

“The semis at the IRAs are some of the most exciting racing at any level of rowing; there are nine or 10 boats fast enough to make the finals and only six spots,” said Hughes.

“We knew we were going to have a real race on our hands and we prepared for that kind of race. Both semis were tough; we were going against some of the Pac 12 boats. They knew each other. Our guys had never raced against them and were excited to test themselves. They rose to the occasion of the race. They really had a gutsy race.”

The Tiger second varsity 8 also took care of business in its semifinal, taking second in a tight race that saw the four top boats separated by 3.06 seconds.

“The 2V was in a really tight race and boats were close the whole way,” said Hughes.

“They were able to keep their spot. You learn a lot in those kind of races, going forward is a great experience.”

While Princeton’s top boats didn’t have the greatest races in the grand finals, they gained some valuable experience. The Tiger first varsity placed sixth while the second varsity finished fourth, missing bronze by 0.21 and silver by 0.83.

As for the first varsity, Hughes liked the way it competed. “Each race is different; we had a sense of how we could race against frontrunners,” said Hughes. “It didn’t play out that way. They rowed a tough, hard piece.”

The second varsity, for its part, left it all on the water. “The 2V had their best piece of the year,” said Hughes. “There were faster boats than us in the race. I wish they had been two tenths of a second faster and got a medal but I have no regrets and neither did they. They really executed everything they tried.”

In Hughes’ view, the execution across the board at the IRA regatta demonstrates progress.

“It was great to have two boats make the finals; last year we didn’t make any of the grand finals,” said Hughes.

“We have 13 rowers coming back from the top two boats so that is a good foundation going forward. They need to remember the things they did right and the things that they didn’t do right. They can’t stay the same.”

Hughes will always remember the role the seniors played in getting the program back on the right track.

“It was my most fun season in terms of boats being brave and taking risks,” said Hughes, whose varsity 8 featured seniors Michael Evans, Brian Wettach, and coxswain Keanan Clark.

“The seniors had a good long four years. The program is headed in the right direction. There was a different environment at the boathouse this year, the guys were excited to be there everyday and the credit for that goes to the seniors. The other guys get to come back and you never know what is going to happen. I would like to bring the seniors along with us.”

FAMILY MATTERS: Cammie Linville heads up the field in action this spring for the Lafayette College women’s lacrosse team. The former Princeton Day School standout Linville just wrapped up a superb career with the Leopards, which saw her serve as team captain and earn Academic All-Patriot League honors. Linville is the third generation of her family to star for Lafayette sports teams as her grandfather, Wilbur Oaks, was a soccer standout for the Leopards while her mother, Cindy, played lacrosse and field hockey at Lafayette and her father, Jud, starred for the men’s lax team. (Photo Courtesy of Lafayette’s Office of Athletic Communications)

FAMILY MATTERS: Cammie Linville heads up the field in action this spring for the Lafayette College women’s lacrosse team. The former Princeton Day School standout Linville just wrapped up a superb career with the Leopards, which saw her serve as team captain and earn Academic All-Patriot League honors. Linville is the third generation of her family to star for Lafayette sports teams as her grandfather, Wilbur Oaks, was a soccer standout for the Leopards while her mother, Cindy, played lacrosse and field hockey at Lafayette and her father, Jud, starred for the men’s lax team.
(Photo Courtesy of Lafayette’s Office of Athletic Communications)

For Cammie Linville, being around Lafayette College sports produced some indelible childhood memories.

“Growing up, I was always at Lafayette, going to soccer games and dressed up in Lafayette stuff,” said Princeton native Linville, whose mother, Cindy, played lacrosse and field hockey at Lafayette and father, Jud, starred for the men’s lax team.

“My grandfather was always going to soccer games, he was a big supporter of that program. He was a soccer player and captain when he went to Lafayette.”

When Linville matured into a lacrosse star at Princeton Day School, she was initially hesitant to follow in her family tradition.

“I cancelled out Lafayette as a junior because of the coaching staff,” said Linville. “I actually did consider other schools.”

But a coaching change led Linville to reconsider following her family tradition.

“When the new coach Alison Fisher came, I got interested again,” said Linville.

“She was a Princeton assistant; she sold me on how the program was going to change. She was a Lafayette alum and I thought that was a plus.”

Linville ended up going to Lafayette and emerged as a big plus for the program, serving as a sole team captain this spring as a senior, helping the Leopards enjoy a 9-9 season as they made their first appearance in the Patriot League tournament since 2004.

When Linville started her Lafayette career, she was a long way from any postseason play as the Leopards struggled to a 3-14 season in 2010.

“Lacrosse-wise, the speed of the game was the biggest adjustment,” said Linville, who tallied 12 goals and three assists as a freshman.

“It is so much faster, it is not even comparable. The strength of the other players is a big difference.  The fall scrimmages were a rude awakening.”

Linville’s transition to college lax was aided by going through it along with longtime friend and former Hun School standout Addie Godfrey.

“I committed in July and Addie was still looking at a ton of schools,” recalled Linville.

“When I was going on my official visit in August I told her she should come with me. She did and I kind of convinced her. We were in preschool and we went through elementary school together and then I went to PDS and she went to Hun. Our parents are best friends. It absolutely helped with my adjustment, people can struggle with their freshman roommates. It brought home to school, it was nice to have someone there to support you.”

After going through another three-win season in 2011, Lafayette made some nice strides in Linville’s junior year as the team improved to 9-8.

“It was such a game changer, it put us on the map,” said Linville, who had eight goals and two assists in the campaign.

“The goal was to make the Patriot tournament. It was a huge step for us to beat American. It showed how good we could be. No one thought we could win that game.”

The Leopards fell one win short of making the Patriot League tournament that spring, losing 8-7 to Holy Cross in their finale to finish fifth in the conference standings.

“We lost in the last couple of seconds and just missed the tournament,” recalled Linville. “As much as that hurt, it gave us drive for this season.”

Linville was primed to assume a big role this spring, getting chosen as the sole captain of the Leopards, following in the footsteps of her grandfather and parents, who also served as team captains during their college days.

“It definitely meant a lot; I had always hoped I would be a captain,” said Linville, who was also involved in the school’s 360 Oaks Leadership Academy, which was named after her grandfather, Wilbur Oaks.

“I was on the team’s leadership council since I was a freshman so I was on that path. We had such a good group of seniors, they were all leaders and they supported me.”

With the seniors leading the way, Lafayette produced a 4-0 start and entered its season finale at Colgate needing a win to make the Patriot tourney. This time. Lafayette came through, edging the Raiders 9-7.

“Going up there, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t leave anything on the field,” said Linville.

“We had the confidence that we could win. The coach prepared us really well. The pressure was on them, they needed to win to get into the tournament and they had gone every year since it was started. It was also their Senior Day. We played so well, we held the ball, we finished our shots. It was an amazing feeling when the whistle blew.”

While the Leopards lost 9-8 to nationally-ranked Navy in the Patriot semis, they produced an amazing effort.

“I think we brought confidence; we felt like we played well the first time against Navy even though we lost by seven goals,” said Linville.

“We had nothing to lose and they were definitely overlooking us. We came out and left everything on the field. It was the best game I have ever seen a Lafayette team play in my years with the program. Everyone was committed and everyone worked so hard. We had no substitutes because we were carried by the adrenaline. Even though we lost by one, it showed the classes below us what we can do. It showed how far we had come from freshmen year and what can happen if you work that hard.”

Over her Lafayette career, Linville worked hard on developing her leadership skills.

“I think as a person, I grew a lot as a leader,” said Linville. “I faced adversity and learned how to deal with it. I was a captain in high school and that was easy when we went undefeated in the regular season. This was a lot harder. It is hard to lose that many games. As a D-1 athlete, you show that commitment and you put so much work into it.”

Linville’s commitment extended into the classroom, as she worked hard to become a top student.

“I was a little worried; I wasn’t that great a student at PDS,” said Linville.

“The coach set the tone, she really supported us as student athletes. The class sizes were small and you were able to build relationships with teachers. They were always supportive of my sports, sending us e-mails after wins and going to games.”

Utilizing that support, Linville ended up earning Academic All-Patriot League honors, posting a 3.76 GPA during her Lafayette career.

“I figured out how to handle the academics and the sports,” said Linville, who is starting a job with the JP Morgan sales and trading program this month in New York City.

“It was difficult at first, I learned time management. It was special to recognized by the league, there are so many good schools.”

And there is no doubt that Linville has added to her family’s special Lafayette legacy.

ADDING VALUE: Lafayette College women’s lacrosse star attacker Addie Godfrey heads to goal during a game this season. Former Hun School standout Godfrey helped get the Leopard program on the right track, scoring 218 points on 185 goals and 33 assists over her career as Lafayette went from three wins in 2010 to a 9-9 record this spring and its first appearance in the Patriot League tournament since 2004.(Photo Courtesy of Lafayette’s Office of Athletic Communications)

ADDING VALUE: Lafayette College women’s lacrosse star attacker Addie Godfrey heads to goal during a game this season. Former Hun School standout Godfrey helped get the Leopard program on the right track, scoring 218 points on 185 goals and 33 assists over her career as Lafayette went from three wins in 2010 to a 9-9 record this spring and its first appearance in the Patriot League tournament since 2004. (Photo Courtesy of Lafayette’s Office of Athletic Communications)

As Addie Godfrey joined the Lafayette College women’s lacrosse program in 2009, she had no delusions of grandeur.

“When I committed to Lafayette in the fall of my senior year in high school, I knew I was not going to a top 10 team that was going to be playing for an NCAA championship,” said former Hun School standout Godfrey.

“I was committing to a challenge. I dedicated myself to getting it back to where it was 10 years ago.”

Emerging as a go-to scorer for the Leopards, Godfrey’s dedication helped the program progress to the point where it made the Patriot League tournament this spring in her senior season.

In her first two seasons, it looked like the challenge may be even greater than Godfrey imagined as Lafayette went 6-27, winning just three games each year.

“We were a very young team, playing mainly freshmen and sophomores,” said Godfrey, who was the Patriot League women’s
lacrosse Rookie of the Year in 2010.

“When you are playing six freshmen against teams with a bunch of upperclassmen it is going to be tough. It comes down to experience.”

Going through the tough times in those two seasons helped Lafayette break through with a 9-8 season in 2012.

“Once we got to my junior year, we had more juniors and sophomores out there,” said Godfrey.

“Everyone had at least one year of experience under their belt. I think junior year, we beat Duquesne. We were leaving for spring break the next day and we knew Duquesne was a good team. They were predicted to beat us. We had no idea of what they were like. We ended up winning in OT, it showed that we could play with a good team and win.”

The high scoring attacker showed she could play with the best in the league that spring, scoring a team high 68 points on 59 goals and nine assists to earn first-team All-Patriot honors.

“I think it had to do with the support I had around me on attack,” said Godfrey, reflecting on her accolades.

“We had a lot more versatility and more people taking it to the cage, which made things easier for me. It was a great honor; it meant a lot to the program. It showed that we were getting back on track and the other coaches were noticing it.”

The Leopards, though, didn’t get into the Patriot tourney in 2012 as they fell 8-7 to Holy Cross in their final regular season game to miss out on the postseason.

“It was definitely heartbreaking, the second we lost, our minds went straight to next fall and getting back on the field and getting things right,” said Godfrey, in assessing the setback which saw her tally three goals and an assist. “We knew that we were going not going to let that happen again.”

Coming into the spring, Lafayette wasn’t going to be denied, showing its intentions by winning its first four games.

“We expected ourselves to get to the tournament, there wasn’t that sense of this could be my last game,” said Godfrey.

“We never panicked. We were all about commitment. The 4-0 start was huge. We haven’t started like that in a long time. When you only win three games in each of your first two years that showed we are moving in the right direction.”

Godfrey showed a deep commitment this spring as she played through pain resulting from a nagging knee injury.

“I had stitches in my knee for half the season,” said Godfrey. “I fell directly on my knee and had 10 stitches just below my kneecap. I was able to keep running because they weren’t directly on my knee. I ended up having to leave Senior Day at halftime because the stitches came out. I ended up missing a game; that was tough, I hadn’t missed a game since freshman year. We had a great training staff, they put a kneepad on it and I was fine after that.”

The Leopards enjoyed a great finish as they topped Colgate 9-7 in their regular season finale to clinch a spot on the Patriot tourney for the first time since 2004.

“That was a wonderful day,” said Godfrey, who had a goal and an assist in the win. “We had played Penn State two days before; they were a top 10 team and had a good first half. We were confident. Every single person who got on that bus was so confident; we knew we were going to win. That was probably the best feeling I have had at Lafayette. When we went to Colgate, there was a good vibe, everybody felt great; it meant the world to me, my teammates, the coaching staff and the parents.”

Although Lafayette fell 9-8 to nationally ranked Navy in the Patriot semis, Godfrey has fond memories of the game.

“We went into that game with pretty much the same feeling we had against Colgate,” said Godfrey, who earned second team All-Patriot honors this spring as she tallied 63 points on 52 goals and 11 assists.

“We knew they were looking past us and thinking about being in the NCAAs. Everyone felt there was no doubt that we could win; we were all on the same page. Every single player had the game of her life. That game is the reason you play sports. Yes I wish we could have won because I think the championship would have been ours. It was just an incredible game.”

For Godfrey, having childhood friend and former Princeton Day School foe Cammie Linville as a teammate the last four years helped her on and off the field.

“Playing with Cammie was the greatest sports experience I have had,” said Godfrey, a four-time All-Patriot selection who ended her Leopard career with 218 points on 185 goals and 33 assists.

“We grew up together; the whole Linville family was there for me. Cammie was our sole captain this season and there was a lot of adversity, I don’t know if we could have gotten through it without her leadership. We roomed together all four years.”

Reflecting on her years at Lafayette, Godfrey gained more than she initially imagined from taking on the challenge of helping the program get headed back in the right direction

“I think as an athlete, I learned commitment,” said Godfrey. “You can’t play a D-1 sport and not be committed. I learned to love lacrosse and being on a team. The team was incredible this year. This was one of those seasons that will stick with me forever. It feels so good to have ended this way, I am so lucky. Even though we didn’t get in the NCAA tournament, I wouldn’t change a thing, I am completely happy with being at Lafayette.”

sports5Setting a program record this spring with 11 victories, the Princeton High softball team was looking to make more history as it played Northern Burlington in the state tournament.

“Even though we were a 14th seed and they were No. 3, we were confident we could stay with them,” said PHS head coach Dave Boehm.

The Little Tigers did stay with the Greyhounds in the early going of the Central Jersey Group III opening round contest as the teams were knotted in a scoreless tie through three innings.

But things got away from PHS as the Little Tigers gave up six runs in the fourth and four in the 10th to suffer a 10-0 defeat.

“We had a throwing error and that led to six runs; the roof fell in,” said Boehm, whose team finished the spring with an 11-12 record.

“I wish we would have hit a little better. They had a lefty and we hadn’t seen that all spring. It is a different look with different movement on the ball. It was a little disappointing. I told the girls afterward that I was very proud of them but that wasn’t the ending I wanted for the seniors.”

The team’s core of seniors led the way in PHS’s record-breaking season as Wisconsin-bound Marisa Gonzalez batted a team-high .492 while senior Hannah Gutierrez hit .402 with a team-high 16 RBIs. Other members of the Class of 2013 ended on a high note as Charlotte Heller posted a .302 average with 13 RBIs, Maddie Cahill-Sanidas hit .253 with 14 RBIs, and Helen Eisenach batted .246 with 13 RBIs.

“The seniors had seven girls who came in as freshmen, five of them made varsity,” said Boehm.

“Hannah and Charlotte were on JV but they improved and became very important players for us. I am very proud that they stuck with us for four years. It is not easy when the team isn’t winning a lot of games.”

Gonzalez leaves PHS as one of the greatest players in program history, setting a record for career hits and batting around .500 her last three seasons.

“Marisa ended up with 143 hits,” said Boehm. “She has not only excelled on the field, in practices we utilized her to work with younger players.”

The Little Tigers do have some excellent young players returning, highlighted by sophomore pitcher Sarah Eisenach, who posted an ERA of 3.77 this spring with 128 strikeouts in 141 innings pitched. Freshman Kelli Swedish started in left field while classmate Stephanie Wu emerged as a solid third baseman.

“We have six holes to fill; it is going to be tough because we have to replace catcher, shortstop, and center field,” said Boehm.

“Having Sarah at pitcher is a good place to start. Emily DiLella can go to first if Liana Bloom doesn’t play a lot there. Katie Kanter can move in at catcher. Julia Tarantino should be able to lock down an outfield spot and hopefully help Sarah with the pitching.”

After what the program accomplished this spring, the returning players will have bigger goals to go after.

“We had really talked about getting to 10 last year,” said Boehm. “We got to nine this spring and we had five tough games left. They really wanted to be the first team to get to 10. They have set the bar higher. Now a team will have to go for 12 and probably need to win a division title.”

DEFENSIVE ACTION: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Louise Hutter heads up the field in action this spring. Senior star Hutter’s stellar work on defense this season helped PDS post a final mark of 6-7.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

DEFENSIVE ACTION: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Louise Hutter heads up the field in action this spring. Senior star Hutter’s stellar work on defense this season helped PDS post a final mark of 6-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team lost three of its last four games this spring, Jill Thomas had no qualms with the effort she got from her players.

“I thought we played some really tough games down the stretch,” said PDS head coach Thomas, who guided her team to a 6-7 mark this season.

“We were down 15-4 at half to Kent Place in the Prep A tournament and came back to make it a close game. We gave Princeton High a run for their money in the county quarters.  We had a good game with Peddie. Hannah Levy got the 150th goal of her career in that game; it was one of 10 goals she had that day.”

The Panthers competed hard throughout the spring, posting impressive wins over Blair Academy, Hun School, and Rutgers Prep along the way.

“Nobody crushed us, Lawrenceville beat us by four, said Thomas, whose team topped Hightstown 12-2 in the opening round of the Mercer County Tournament. “We are back on the right track.”

The team’s group of seniors set the right tone this spring for PDS. “The seniors did so much to bring the team back to the team,” asserted Thomas, whose Class of 2013 included Ellen Bartolino, Zeeza Cole, Lizzie Frieder, Louise Hutter. Carolyn Kussow, Hannah Levy, Cami McNeely, Sarah Trigg, and Connie Urisko.

“Zeeza was a great leader, after not playing the whole season last year, she finished on a high. Corinne was solid and worked hard. Hannah was great and she is going on to play at MIT. She and Corinne made first team All-Prep A this spring. They finished their careers and finished them well. They enjoyed being with the team for all four years; there was a lot of camaraderie.”

In Thomas’ view, there is a lot of reason for hope going forward with a number of good players returning.

“We have a lot of juniors coming back and they are good,” said Thomas, noting that juniors Sarah Brennan and Mary Travers emerged as stars this spring.

“[Morgan] Foster and [Kirsten] Kuzmicz are very good. If the four freshmen stay together, they are going to be good. Tess [Gecha], Rowan [Schomburg], Hope [Anhut] and Kate [Laughlin] know what it takes.

The younger PDS players learned some good lessons this spring that should come in handy down the road.

“If you work hard, then the sky is the limit,” said Thomas. “If you want to be good, you have to work hard. The seniors worked them pretty hard. They know the game is fast.”

HEALTHY PACE: Chris Martin heads to the finish line last Sunday at Princeton’s Weaver Stadium in winning the Princeton Healthcare 10k Run. Lawrenceville resident Martin clocked a time of 35:13 and placed first of 551 finishers.

HEALTHY PACE: Chris Martin heads to the finish line last Sunday at Princeton’s Weaver Stadium in winning the Princeton Healthcare 10k Run. Lawrenceville resident Martin clocked a time of 35:13 and placed first of 551 finishers.

Chris Martin and Susan Kinsella were both making debut efforts last Sunday in the Princeton Healthcare 10k Run.

“This is the first time I have done this race, believe it or not, even though I have been in the area since ’99,” said Martin, 37, a resident of Lawrenceville.

“I used to do triathlons and this is the peak of the triathlon season. I have retired from triathlons for a while. My wife and I started to settle down and have kids. I have known about the race for a long time. I have come here to cheer on friends. I figured it is one of those things I should do someday.”

For Kinsella, 49, a resident of Millington, the Healthcare 10k was her first race at the 6.2 mile distance.

“This is the first 10k I have ever done,” said Kinsella. “I have done 5ks and I did the Boston Marathon this year.”

The pair looked like 10k veterans as Martin won the race in a time of 35:13 while Kinsella placed 14th overall and was the top female finisher in 41:55. The race drew 551 runners who were undeterred by the muggy conditions which saw 75 percent humidity as the event got underway just after 8 a.m.

Martin, who grew up in Arizona, kept his mind off the humidity as he dueled at the front of the pack with friend Chris Sallane.

“He kept me going,” said Martin of Princeton resident Sallane, who finished second with a time of 35:28.

“I am not a runner so I have no sprint whatsoever. At the very start, I felt sluggish going up the hill. I spent the first mile just trying to bridge back up to him. We ran together for about three miles; we were chatting and catching up. After four miles, we were going up a hill and I just started pulling away a little bit. I could hear him behind me the whole way.”

The victory will help keep Martin going through the heat over the next few months.

“It is a good confidence boost; it keeps me motivated to train through the summer,” said Martin, a program manager at SRI International.

“The summer is a long time; there is a lot of training to do. When you get a few good results, it motivates you to get out the door at 5 in the morning before work to put in those miles.”

Kinsella, for her part, was motivated to see how fast she could cover 10k.

“I did a 5k last week,” said Kinsella, noting that she clocked a time of 20:24 in the 3.1 mile event. “Since I had never done a 10k before, I wanted to break 45:00.”

While Kinsella easily hit her time goal, she was surprised to end up as the top female finisher.

“For a while I was in a pack and then I was by myself,” said Kinsella. “There was one guy who finished right behind me. He was in front of me a lot of the time. I didn’t realize I was the first woman.”

Buoyed by her success, Kinsella is planning to push herself through the summer and into the fall.

“I had been doing weekly mileage of low-to-mid 20s since Boston,” said Kinsella, who had finished the Boston Marathon before the bomb explosions and plans to run in that event next year.

“I got a stress fracture training for Boston and I haven’t really been doing any speed work because of the that. I might do another marathon. I didn’t get into New York so I might do Philly.”

Martin has his sights set on another running debut. “I am just doing running,” said Martin.

“Right now I am at about 80-90 miles a week. My goal this fall is to do my first ultramarathon. I haven’t done anything like that. I am going to the JFK, it is in western Maryland and it is 50 miles.”

June 5, 2013
FINAL STATEMENT: The Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 powers to the finish in a race earlier this spring. Last weekend, the senior-laden boat ended the season on a high note, taking second in the grand final at the NCAA championship regatta held at the Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. The boat’s performance helped Princeton take third overall in the team standings, trailing only champion Ohio State and runner-up California. (Photo Courtesy of PU Crew/Tom Nowak)

FINAL STATEMENT: The Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 powers to the finish in a race earlier this spring. Last weekend, the senior-laden boat ended the season on a high note, taking second in the grand final at the NCAA championship regatta held at the Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind. The boat’s performance helped Princeton take third overall in the team standings, trailing only champion Ohio State and runner-up California.
(Photo Courtesy of PU Crew/Tom Nowak)

While Lori Dauphiny was excited to see her Princeton University women’s open crew compete at the NCAA championship regatta last weekend, there was a tinge of sadness as the program’s seniors wrapped up their college careers.

“The senior class brought tremendous leadership, much of it by example, especially senior year,” said Princeton head coach Dauphiny, who is in her 17th year guiding the program and led the varsity 8 to national titles in 2006 and 2011.

“They had ups and downs and put issues aside and were united as a group. They decided they were going to lead and that started in the fall. I am really appreciative of what they did.”

That positive group dynamic paved the way to a superb performance at the NCAAs as Princeton took third in the team standings, trailing only champion Ohio State and runner-up California in the regatta held at the Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.

“I am really proud of the team coming in third; we were the only Ivy team in the top 4,” said Dauphiny of the competition which included two varsity 8s and a varsity 4.

“That is something they had been shooting for. I am pleased with that; it just shows that everyone put something into the team being better, even those who were not there at the national championships. Even though not every boat was in the grand final, everyone performed at their best at the critical times.”

The senior-laden first varsity 8 performed well throughout the regatta. The top boat cruised to a win in its opening heat on Friday, topping runner-up UCLA by more than five seconds. In the semis a day later, Princeton encountered some rough water but finished in a strong second behind Ohio State, easily booking a place in Sunday’s grand final.

In the race for the gold, the Tigers didn’t waste any time showing their intentions as they led at the 500 and 1,000 meter marks. Cal made a move in the third 500 and edged ahead of Princeton. The Golden Bears were able to hold on for the win with a time of 6:21.43 over the 2,000-meter course, edging the Tigers by 1.17 seconds.

“It was awesome, it was courageous, it was bold,” said Dauphiny, reflecting on the grand final.

“I was extremely pleased and proud of them. It was hard to not come out in first but there is no doubt that it was their best race and they poured it out.”

Dauphiny acknowledged that she was taken aback by her top boat’s blazing start. “It was not our plan to be that far out,” said Dauphiny of her top boat which was spearheaded by a quartet of seniors in Gabby Cole, Molly Hamrick, Liz Hartwig, and Heidi Robbins and also included juniors Annie Prasad, Kelsey Reelick, Angie Gould, and Kathryn Irwin together with freshman Erin Reelick.

“We thought we could have a good first 500 and build on our base speed. It is not unusual for that boat to start like that. They notched it up a level.”

The second varsity (2V) had to take things up a notch in the semis as it edged Virginia at the finish line to take third and earn a spot in the grand final.

“The 2V had an amazing race,” said Dauphiny, reflecting on the semi which saw the Tigers clock a time of 6:55.26 with Virginia coming in at 6:55.52.

“It was dead level with an exchange of boats and no one boat really taking the lead. It was a photo finish and we were lucky we took that last stroke and got our bow ahead of Virginia.  That was their best race of the competition.”

In the grand final, the 2V faded to sixth, posting a time of 6:33.46, nearly six seconds behind champion Ohio State.

“They were disappointed but they did their best,” said Dauphiny, assessing the 2V’s final performance.

“It was the product of the dynamics of their race. They were on the edge on lane 1 and it was a challenge to not be in the middle. They did a nice job. They had a very difficult go at the Ivies. Bouncing back from that and turning it around going forward wasn’t easy.”

The varsity 4 had a tough time in its semifinal, missing third by an eyelash as Washington State edged the Tigers by 0.21. Princeton bounced back with a solid effort in the petite final as it took second behind Cal.

“The V4 needed another 10 meters,” said Dauphiny, reflecting on the semi. “They really poured it on in the last 300 meters. It was just not far enough for them. They were disappointed to be in the petite final but they had a good race.”

Dauphiny credits her Class of 2013 for pouring everything it had into their last weekend and hopes that effort will inspire those who follow.

“This senior class is really special,” said Dauphiny, noting that seniors Sarah Wiley and Astrid Wettstein competed in the 4 last weekend while the 2V included their classmate Sara Kushma.

“They are really going to be missed. It was a fantastic end. They gave everything they had. I am not sure what we are going to do without them. We have a good freshman class coming in but they haven’t done anything yet.”

MORSS CODE: Princeton University women’s lightweight rower Alex Morss competes in a race this spring. Last Sunday, senior star and captain Morss ended her Tiger career by helping the varsity 8 take fifth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

MORSS CODE: Princeton University women’s lightweight rower Alex Morss competes in a race this spring. Last Sunday, senior star and captain Morss ended her Tiger career by helping the varsity 8 take fifth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

With her family history, Alex Morss seemed destined to end up at Princeton University.

Both of her parents are Princeton alums along with her grandfather, an aunt, and an uncle.

But as a star soccer player and rower at the Groton School (Mass.), Morss had mixed feelings about following the family tradition. “Initially I didn’t want to look at Princeton because everyone had gone there,” said Morss.

Morss had a chance to attend Williams College where she could compete in both soccer and crew or she could come to Princeton and just do rowing.

“I visited Princeton and I realized that I would really like it,” said Rassam. “I really liked the lightweight crew coach Paul Rassam and the team.”

In the end, Morss added to her family legacy, deciding to attend Princeton and focus on rowing. Morss emerged as a star and captain for the Princeton lightweight program.

Last Sunday, she ended her Tiger career by helping the varsity 8 take fifth in the grand final at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.

In reflecting on her Princeton years, Morss views her rowing experience as a major highlight.

“I think that the boathouse and crew had been one of the fantastic parts of my Princeton years,” said Morss, whose father Stephen, was a lightweight rower for the Tigers.

“I really enjoyed being in the 8. It is one thing to be fast on the erg (ergometer), it is another thing to have eight people working together, getting connected.”

Coming in as a freshman in 2009, Morss worked hard to make an impact. “They had given us summer workouts and I did everything,” recalled Morss.

“I was in pretty good shape when I got to Princeton. I felt like it was a pretty smooth transition.

Things went very smoothly in Morss’ sophomore year as the Tigers won the Eastern Sprints and placed second at the IRAs, narrowly losing to Stanford in the grand final.

“I learned how to scull that summer and having a complete year under my belt gave me a better idea of the college scene,” said Morss.

“We went to the Head of Charles and had a good race. The workouts were harder; the boat had a lot of speed. Winning sprints was so great. The great thing was the a day before the final someone had to leave the boat and we had a new lineup. We had one day to practice with the lineup. The seniors were such great leaders; they made sure that we still raced well.”

Morss’ junior campaign didn’t go so well as the Tigers underwent a rebuilding season, taking fifth in both the Eastern Sprints and the IRA regatta.

“That was really hard; I had an injury and was out most of the fall; another captain had an injury and was out most of the fall,” said Morss.

“We pretty much had to start over in the winter. The attitude and determination was there. It took a little time. We only had eight people but we were still pretty competitive. We kept getting faster, no one gave up. A lot of it was attitude, the season could have been a disaster. We only had three returners and we had a novice cox. We kept fighting.”

Last summer, Morss took her fighting spirit to the international stage as she competed at the U-23 World Championships in Trakai, Lithuania in the U.S. women’s lightweight single sculls.

“That was a lot of fun, I wasn’t even planning on trying out for the team,” said Morss, who placed 15th overall at the regatta.

“I was working in Princeton last summer and my high school coach said I should try out. I borrowed a single and I went to the trials. I was able to get a couple of weeks off from the lab to compete.”

While Morss would have preferred to finish higher at the U-23 competition, the experience proved to be great preparation for her final college campaign.

“It was competing at a whole new level,” said Morss. “You know the other teams in college and the boats aren’t so deep.  You see the top people in the world and you see how good they are and how hard you have to work.  I am so glad I did that and randomly went to the trials. I was motivated to get to a higher level. I saw how important technique is. People are pretty similar physically but good technique can save you seconds.”

As the team captain for Princeton this season, Morss tried to pass on her experience to her younger teammates.

“I thought about other captains and what worked and didn’t work for them,” said Morss.

“I am always someone who works hard. I am not loud, I try to set a good example. I wanted to work hard right from the start in the fall. I know people can get overwhelmed so I try to make sure that everyone is on the same page.”

The Tigers were on the same page this spring, opening the season with a win over perennial power Wisconsin and going on to finish second in the San Diego Crew Classic, third at the Invitational Lightweight Cup, and second at the Eastern Sprints before the fifth place finish in the national championship regatta.

“I could feel something but you never know until you race,” said Morss, reflecting on the boat’s progress this season.

“The improvement came over winter and on spring break. I think we are definitely improving. The starts have gotten better; we are working on all aspects of the race.”

As Morss leaves Prince
ton, she is not ready to stop racing. “I am going to keep rowing; I am going to the U-23 camp and I would like to be on a boat with others,” said Morss. “It got a little lonely last summer.”

No matter where Morss’ rowing takes her, she has certainly added a special chapter to her family’s Princeton tradition.

For Mariel Jenkins, blazing speed was her calling card as she starred for the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse team and then joined the Harvard women’s squad.

After a promising debut season for the Crimson in 2010, defender Jenkins hit a major road bump in the fall of her sophomore year.

“In practice I was going for a ground ball and it felt like someone had shot me in the knee,” said Jenkins, who suffered a cartilage injury that required micro-fracture surgery. “I had to get my kneecap drilled; I was on crutches for eight weeks.”

While Jenkins was frustrated to be sidelined that spring, she took some steps that helped her become a better player in the long run.

“I stood alongside the coaches all spring,” recalled Jenkins. “I learned so much being out there and seeing what the coaches do. When you are in one spot, you see the field from that position. I was able to get a broader perspective. My biggest thing was clearing the ball. I looked at where spaces opened up on the field. I had strategies in my head.”

Upon her return as a junior, Jenkins applied that new perspective and earned All-Ivy League honorable mention honors in 2012 as she piled up 17 ground balls and three caused turnovers. This spring, Jenkins ended her career with a bang, getting named as a second-team All-Ivy performer.

Earning that accolade in her final campaign was the culmination of the process that started with Jenkins’ injury.

“I was really excited, it is always nice to get recognition,” said Jenkins, who scored two goals this spring with 15 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers.

“I had one year where I had no statistics. It was nice to come back and work hard and see that get recognized. It was great to be in a group with so many good players.”

As a grade schooler, Jenkins wasn’t working toward becoming a great athlete. “I actually danced ballet all of my life,” said Jenkins.

“I was a dancer. I started sports late. I didn’t pick up a stick, field hockey or lacrosse, until 6th or 7th grade. I was going down the path of being a dancer. I fell in love with field hockey and lacrosse in gym class.”

By the time she got to PDS, Jenkins had shifted her focus. “In high school, I just played sports,” said Jenkins, who also starred for the Panther field hockey team.

“I didn’t think about playing in college until I started playing with Tri-State all stars. There were lot of good players there and everyone was looking to play D-1. Some coaches started reaching out to me.”

Deciding that Harvard had a similar feeling to hometown Princeton but in a more urban environment, Jenkins headed to Cambridge.

Upon hitting the field in college, Jenkins realized that she was going against some very good players. “It is so much faster and the stick skills are unbelievable,” said Jenkins.

“A lot of people are ambidextrous and shoot equally well with either hand. The chemistry and coordination on offense is so much better because you practice more.”

In keeping pace, Jenkins outran her weaknesses. “One thing that helped me was foot speed,” said the slender 5‘5 Jenkins.

“It was good that I was fast because it made up for my stick skills. I relied on my speed. When I talk to a high school player, I tell them to play more wall ball and work on going left-handed.”

In returning from her knee injury, Jenkins put in extra effort to get the most out of her final two seasons of lacrosse.

“I eased back into it in fall ball, which was good,” said Jenkins. “I had no problems with the knee after that. That fall, we changed the way we practiced. We did more individual work. I was able to cultivate my defensive skills. Being injured, I came out and worked harder. I missed playing. I had in my head that I had two years to play the sport that I love and I worked 20 times harder.”

While Harvard had a hard season in 2013 as it went 3-11 overall and 2-5 in Ivy play, Jenkins still enjoyed the spring.

“We had a six-person senior class; we love to play together,” said Jenkins.

“The freshman group really helped. We had an amazing amount of team chemistry. I never have been on a team that tight. The record didn’t show it. We had some close losses.”

In Jenkins’ view, the Crimson should have a better record going forward.

“I was the only senior on low defense playing with three freshmen,” said Jenkins.

“The freshmen can be good, but having a year under your belt makes a difference. We were playing against teams that were more experienced. We saw that we were so young; there are some good things to come. I think in the last game against Columbia [an 18-11 win] we showed the improvement.”

For Jenkins, playing lacrosse proved to be one of the best things she did at Harvard.

“I could not have imagined my college experience without it,” said Jenkins, whose Harvard experience was also enhanced by the presence on campus of younger sister Sydney, a rising junior and field hockey star for the Crimson.

“It was the No. 1 positive thing that I did. It was one big learning experience and I made some of the closest friends I will ever have. I think managing time was the biggest thing that I learned. You learn to compartmentalize. There was the camaraderie aspect, the seniors are going off to different cities but we will stay in contact, we are really close.”

Jenkins, for her part, is heading off to New York City where she will be applying those lessons in working for Morgan Stanley.

“I became very interested in why people make decisions in their investments,” said Jenkins, a psychology major.

“I will be on the sales and trading desk. My desk will be in the middle of the trading floor. It will be fast-paced and competitive. At the end of the day, there is a score. It is really competitive. I like to see where I compare, that is the athlete in me.”

IN STRIDE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Ciara Celestin heads up the field in PHS’s 12-9 win over Sparta in the North Jersey Group III sectional semifinals. Last Wednesday, second-seeded PHS fell 16-8 to top-seeded Mendham in the sectional title game. The defeat left PHS with a final record of 18-4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

IN STRIDE: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Ciara Celestin heads up the field in PHS’s 12-9 win over Sparta in the North Jersey Group III sectional semifinals. Last Wednesday, second-seeded PHS fell 16-8 to top-seeded Mendham in the sectional title game. The defeat left PHS with a final record of 18-4.
(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Even though the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team trailed Mendham by three goals last Wednesday in the North Jersey Group III sectional final, Ciara Celestin wasn’t concerned.

“In our Sparta game on Thursday; we were down at halftime,” said PHS senior defender Celestin, referring to PHS’s 12-9 win over Sparta in the sectional semis.

“Usually we get frantic when that happens but we came back and won that game so our mentality was like let’s just go out and do the same thing we did last week.”

Unfortunately the second-seeded Little Tigers couldn’t produce the same kind of rally as top-seeded Mendham pulled away to a 16-8 victory.

“I think they started to win the draws and that is when we usually go downhill,” said Celestin.

“When we play our best is when we win the draws. I think it was getting on the ground and we weren’t getting to the ground balls quick enough. I don’t know if we got tired. I commend them, they were great.”

PHS certainly had a commendable season as it ended with a final record of 18-4 in making its trip to the sectional finals for the first time this century.

“It was a great last season for me as a senior; I am so proud of everyone,” said Celestin.

“I was really happy with how everyone played. We had an early loss to North [WW/P-N] and we knew they were going to be a tough team; we have always had a rivalry with them. We picked it back up. We had a defeat to Allentown, that was two losses early on. I think sometimes that can get to a team but we just kept trucking through the season. We had our second North game in counties [an 18-14 loss in the semis] and that was a little bit worse than the first one I think. After that, it was just game time. We are in states now; we have to work hard. We played our best at the end.”

Celestin and her classmates Olivia Kelly and Madison Luther worked hard to provide leadership to the end.

“None of us are the standout players, we are not Emilia [Lopez-Ona] or Liz Jacobs and we know that so we went into the season looking to be positive and being the moms of the team,” said Celestin.

“We knew we didn’t have to be the stars on the field but we needed to keep things positive and just get everyone on the same page and keep it going. I think that is more the role that we had.”

PHS first-year head coach Kelsey O’Gorman believes that her seniors served as good role models.

“Olivia was really a great asset for feeding on our attack; Maddie and Ciara were the glue of our defense,” said O’Gorman.

“They really were puzzle pieces that we will miss next year. They were a great presence on the field for us and we will miss them.”

In assessing the loss to Mendham, O’Gorman acknowledged that her team didn’t show its customary presence of mind.

“I felt like we were giving away the ball and making silly errors,” said O’Gorman, whose team found itself trailing 7-1 with 4:30 left in the first half. “I think we just didn’t handle the pressure as well as we expected.”

PHS produced a 4-1 run coming into halftime to put some pressure on the Minutemen but couldn’t build on that as the game unfolded.

“I think we ran out of steam; we did get tired,” said O’Gorman, who got three goals apiece in the loss from junior star Lopez-Ona and sophomore standout Gabby Gibbons with Jacobs and Kelly chipping in one each.

“They are just a great program; their kids are really smart. Not to take anything away from our girls but we were just making some errors that we haven’t done in the past and that is why you can’t come up with a ‘W’ against a team like that.”

In O’Gorman’s view, the Little Tigers will come away with some important lessons from the defeat.

“Playing at this level is a learning experience for everyone,” said O’Gorman. “Everyone needs to be ready for the ball and the pressure they are going to face in a final game like this. Since we haven’t reached this point, it is just another building block, another step we can take to advance.”

PHS certainly took some major steps in the right direction this spring. “I am so proud of the girls; I really think they did believe in each other,” said O’Gorman.

“They did have faith in one another and that is what got them this far. Just because we didn’t come out with a win today, it doesn’t take away from the competition we have put forth this far. We really gave teams battles, even Mendham.”

Going forward, the Little Tigers appear to have the foundation in place to keep winning a lot of games.

“We are in for another solid season next year,” said O’Gorman, who returns a trio of junior stars in Lopez-Ona, Jacobs, and Dana Smith in addition to sophomore standouts Gibbons and Mira Shane.

“They have learned a lot from this season. We are becoming more composed, we are becoming more mature and that’s just going to help us advance even more next year.”

Celestin, for her part, believes PHS is maturing into something special.

“We were 18-4, you can’t get much better than,” said Celestin, who is headed to Northeastern University.

“Hopefully they will go out and be even better next year. I am so proud of them. I can’t wait to come back and watch.”

HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT: Stuart Country Day lacrosse player Isabel Soto, right, battles an opponent for the ball in action this spring. Senior defender Soto provided leadership for a young Stuart squad which showed growth as it posted a record of 4-10.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT: Stuart Country Day lacrosse player Isabel Soto, right, battles an opponent for the ball in action this spring. Senior defender Soto provided leadership for a young Stuart squad which showed growth as it posted a record of 4-10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Showing its potential, the Stuart Country Day lacrosse team blanked the Solebury School (Pa.) 11-0 in the last week of the season.

“We came together defensively, the goalie [Harlyn Bell] had a shutout,” said Stuart head coach Caitlin Grant, reflecting on the May 14 triumph.

“Offensively we spread it all around. Sam Servis had two goals, Tori Hannah had two, Julia Maser had three, and Amy Hallowell had two. Seven of the goals were from freshmen.”

While the Tartans fell 15-8 at Blair Academy in their finale to end the spring with a 4-10 record, Grant had no qualms with her team’s effort.

“The last game was tough, it is really far and the girls were worn out when they got there,” said Grant.

“One of the seniors, Isabel [Soto], called the girls together and said she was proud of the effort and proud to be on a team like that.”

Grant is proud of what her seniors contributed this spring. “Isabel and Alaina [Ungarini] have been with the team all four years and Nikki [Starke] was new to the sport,” said Grant.

“Isabel stepped up as a leader, she brought the girls’ spirits up when they needed it. She made sure that they kept intense in practice. Alaina is a great asset for a team; she is always smiling and positive.”

In Grant’s view, the Tartans had a positive spring notwithstanding the record. “We grew a lot since the beginning of the season,” said Grant.

“We moved some of the girls from low attack to low defense and that helped. We had three seniors, three juniors, and the rest were freshmen and sophomores. It is a young team. We have some girls from the 8th grade coming up and I am excited to see how they play with the girls that we already have.”

Stuart featured an exciting group of freshmen this spring, highlighted by Maser (a team-high 45 points on 36 goals and 9 assists), Hannah (20 goals, 14 assists, and Servis (24 goals, 7 assists) together with Harley Guzman and Rose Tetnowski.

“I was really happy with the freshmen, they have talent and they were not afraid to step up,” asserted Grant.

“They were confident which isn’t easy when you are a freshman. They were able to step up as leaders. Maser, Servis, and Hannah were the top scorers. Harley Guzman really came on, she was totally new to the game and she came out and played hard. Rose on defense was a leader in interceptions and ground balls.”

Junior star Hallowell emerged as a key leader for the Tartans. “I think she played great,” said Grant of Hallowell, who tallied 24 goals and 7 assists.

“Last year she relied on her sister [Ani]. She will play whatever position we need her to. We could put her at center or wing. She always gave 100 percent; she would sacrifice her body. She always plays hard, no matter what. I wish I had 15 players like her. She never questions and she never complains. She is a true leader.”

Grant likes the prospects for the program going forward. “The girls passed the ball around more this year, everyone got a chance,” said Grant.

“I love the girls. They are positive; everyone looks out for each other. They are only going to get better. I am really excited about the future.”

WINNING WAYS: Chris Hatchell of Winberie’s dribbles the ball in playoff action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Hatchell was the playoff MVP in 2012 as he helped Winberie’s earn its first summer league crown. The league will tip off its 25th season on June 10 with a tripleheader at the Community Park courts slated to start at 7:15 p.m.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

WINNING WAYS: Chris Hatchell of Winberie’s dribbles the ball in playoff action last year in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Hatchell was the playoff MVP in 2012 as he helped Winberie’s earn its first summer league crown. The league will tip off its 25th season on June 10 with a tripleheader at the Community Park courts slated to start at 7:15 p.m. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

The Community Park basketball courts will be getting a facelift this week with cracks being repaired and the surface getting a paint job.

On June 10, the courts will get christened when the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League tips off its 25th season, featuring some new faces along with popular stalwarts.

“It is interesting; we have four teams that are more or less new,” said league commissioner Evan Moorhead, referring to first-year entries, Northeast Realty, Sneakers Plus, WTG, and Ballerz.

Two of those teams, though, will include some players who have spent a lot of time on Princeton courts.

“The Northeast Realty has some familiar faces with former Princeton High players with Ben Harrison, Matt Hoffman, and Davon Black; they will have a strong PHS flavor,” said Moorhead, the department’s assistant director of recreation.

“Sneakers Plus is being run by Skye Ettin [a former PHS standout]. It is the current TCNJ team. I expect them to be competitive. I was walking through the park today and saw them out there playing pick-up with Jason Carter. They should have chemistry, they have some pieces and they have young legs.”

The WTG and Ballerz squads boast some young talent. “WTG has some college age guys from the same area as the Clinton Kings,” added Moorhead.

“Ballerz is a group of Montgomery and Hillsborough guys. They are guys who have played AAU, they are 18-19. They are playing D-3 or will be this winter. They could be similar to the PA Blue Devils.”

In Moorhead’s view, the Blue Devils, a Pennsylvania-based team with several D-3 players, could be line for a breakthrough campaign.

“It could be the Blue Devils year, they have a solid nucleus,” said Moorhead of the squad which posted a 6-3 record in regular season action last summer. “They always seem to be one big body short.”

After coming up short in recent seasons, Winberie’s won the 2012 championship series and will be shooting for a repeat.

“Winberie’s is back; the word on the street is that Evan Johnson won’t be able to play for them this year,” said Moorhead.

“He was their big guy and they will miss him, Mark [team manager Mark Rosenthal] is always working the waiver wire so I am sure he will bring some good guys in. Chris Hatchell will be back and he has hit more big shots than just about anyone out there.”

Last year’s runner-up, Ivy Inn, will be looking to take another title shot as they will be led again by former PHS and TCNJ standout Bobby Davison.

“Ivy will be a similar group,” said Moorhead. “They could make another run.”

Another perennial contender, Dr. Palmer, has added to its group. “DeQuan [former PHS star DeQuan Holman] is playing for Dr. Palmer, that is a big addition for them,” said Moorhead of the squad which went 7-2 in 2013 and entered the playoffs as the top seed.

The PHS boys’ hoops entry, Princeton Youth Sports, is back with Mark Shelley at the helm for the first time after completing his debut season at the helm of the program this winter. The team known as Clinton Kings last summer is returning under the Clear View Window Cleaning name.

While the league has produced some dynasties in its first 24 seasons, Moorhead believes that parity will be a theme this summer.

“I think it is wide open,” said Moorhead, noting that the league will mark its 25th anniversary and induct a new Hall of Fame class on June 28 with a doubleheader and a cookout.

“The four top returning teams, Winberie’s, Ivy Inn, Dr. Palmer, and PA Blue Devils have proven that they can stay competitive.”

May 29, 2013
SWINGING SUCCESS: Princeton University women’s golfer Kelly Shon displays her form as she follows through on a shot. Last week, junior star Shon became the first Princeton player to compete at the NCAA women’s golf championship since Mary Moan did so in 1997. Shon fired a 10-over 298 to tie for 37th in the 126-player field, the best finish ever for an Ivy League player in event history.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

SWINGING SUCCESS: Princeton University women’s golfer Kelly Shon displays her form as she follows through on a shot. Last week, junior star Shon became the first Princeton player to compete at the NCAA women’s golf championship since Mary Moan did so in 1997. Shon fired a 10-over 298 to tie for 37th in the 126-player field, the best finish ever for an Ivy League player in event history. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Kelly Shon has become used to carrying the torch on the golf course this spring.

In late April, the Princeton University junior star won the Ivy League women’s individual crown after shooting a 2-over 218 through 54 holes at Trump National in Bedminster and then beating Harvard’s Christine Lin on the first playoff hole.

“I had gotten emotional from the team finish,” said Shon, noting that she become upset upon learning that the Tigers had lost the team title by one shot to Harvard.

“I decided I had to gather myself and play for the team. I wanted to come through for the team. It meant a lot to have teammates and friends out there and players from the other teams.”

Two weeks later, Shon placed second at the NCAA East Regional, firing a 7-under 219 at the Auburn University Club to become the first Ivy League player to clinch a berth in the NCAA women’s golf championship since Princeton’s Mary Moan did so in 1997.

Last week at the NCAA Championships at University of Georgia Golf Course, Shon represented Princeton and the league with class, tying for 37th, the best finish ever for an Ivy League player in event history.

But showing her competitive nature, Shon was disappointed with her 10-over performance.

“The whole tournament was frustrating,” said Shon, a native of Port Washington, N.Y. whose score of 76-72-76-74 — 298 put her in the top third of the 126-player field

“Even on the second day, I should have been under par, I made doubles on the two par 5s, that is not what I was looking for. I actually liked the course. The greens were undulating and tricky but there were putts to be made. Even up to the end, I couldn’t get the speed of the greens.”

In the end, though, Shon was thrilled to have had the chance to compete in the national tournament.

“I am so grateful and so humbled to have had the experience,” said Shon, who became the second Tiger to win Ivy Player of the Year honors, an award that came about in 2009 when Susannah Aboff ’09 won the award as the last Tiger to win the Ivy individual title.

“Not all that many Ivy League players have made it. I wanted to represent my school and the league; I put more pressure on myself. I wanted to show on national stage that the Ivy League has some great players.

Shon displayed greatness in qualifying for the NCAAs, catching fire on the back nine of the final round of the regional with birdies the 10th, 13th, 14th, and 16th holes as she booked her ticket to Georgia.

“All I could think of was playing for my teammates and coming through,” said Shon, who was playing in her third straight NCAA regional.

“The last round was weird. I wanted to play well and not let myself get in the way. On the front nine my head did get in the way. I made a stupid mistake on No. 9 when I came up short on an approach shot. I thought I have a lot of people rooting for me and this was not the time to get mad at myself. It really means something when you are able to make birdies and good shots in that situation.”

While playing golf at Princeton means dealing with a heavy academic commitment and less time on the course, Shon believes she has become a tougher competitor
through the experience.

“I think it may come as a shock to other golfers but my time at Princeton has helped me become a better golfer,” said Shon.

“I have learned more about the game and how to handle things that people at other schools don’t have to deal with. There are different pressures and we have limited time to practice. It has helped me to be on my own. I saw at the nationals that the other teams had a big entourage with assistant coaches, trainers, and others.”

Shon learned a lot about herself last October when she fired a three-over 147 to win the two-round Lehigh Invitational at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.

“I think the victory at Lehigh in the fall showed a lot; that was an example of my process of maturing,” said Shon, whose heroics helped Princeton win the team title at the event.

“Coming down the stretch, I knew I needed to birdie that last hole. I had three really good shots to get a 3 on a four. I am not sure I could have done that earlier in my career. It showed mental tenacity.”

As Shon looks forward to her final season at Princeton, she is contemplating a pro golf career.

“I am not exactly positive; it would be cool to be play professionally,” said Shon, who will be looking to play in the U.S. Women’s Open, the U.S. Women’s Amateur, and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links tournaments this summer as she has in the last two years. “I would need to be playing well and be comfortable putting in all that time on my game.

While Shon has thrived as she has flied solo this spring, she knows she can’t do it alone.

“I am so grateful for all the support from teammates, alums, and Tiger families,” said Shon.

“It was a meaningful experience to bring Princeton to the national stage and show what Princeton women’s golf can do.”

HAMMING IT UP: Princeton University women’s open crew star Molly Hamrick pulls hard in a race this season. Senior tri-captain and stroke Hamrick will be looking to end her Princeton career on a high note as the Tigers compete in the 2013 NCAA championship regatta in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 30-June 1. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

HAMMING IT UP: Princeton University women’s open crew star Molly Hamrick pulls hard in a race this season. Senior tri-captain and stroke Hamrick will be looking to end her Princeton career on a high note as the Tigers compete in the 2013 NCAA championship regatta in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 30-June 1.
(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Competing at the 2012 NCAA championships at nearby Mercer Lake, Molly Hamrick and her teammates on the Princeton University women’s varsity open 8 were hoping for some home cooking.

Instead, Princeton ended the regatta burning with frustration as it placed fourth in the grand finals, finishing 7.18 seconds behind champion Virginia.

“It was disappointing, it was lackluster,” said Hamrick, reflecting on the 2012 NCAA competition.

“It gave us motivation for this season. It fired us up to work. We had to start working hard in the summer; we all kept in contact even though we were all over the country.

That hard work paid dividends earlier this month as the Tiger varsity 8 won the grand final at the Ivy Championships. Princeton clocked a time of 6:29.961 over the 2,000-meter course on Cooper River in Camden, N.J. with Yale second in 6:36.859 and Radcliffe taking third in 6:41.108.

“All seven other Ivies were absolute contenders; we had no expectations,” said senior stroke Hamrick.

“If we rowed our race and put together our best piece of the year, we could win and that is what we did.”

This weekend, Hamrick and the Tigers will be looking to put together some more good racing as they compete in the 2013 NCAA championship regatta in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 30-June 1.

Hamrick brings some championship experience to her final college regatta as she helped Princeton win the NCAA grand final in her sophomore season.

“I remember there were a lot of nerves and lot of excited energy,” said Hamrick, recalling the 2011 NCAAs.

“We knew that we needed to keep our cool and row our race. Cal made a move on us but we were able to hold them off. We were very excited for the seniors, they had worked so hard and seen such improvement.”

For Hamrick, a native of Tampa, Fla., an important step in her improvement as a rower came when she first competed for the U.S. junior national program.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Hamrick, who helped her Plant High crew win 2009 Florida state title and the Southeast Regional championship.

“I went to China after my sophomore year in high school. It was awesome to be surrounded by people who loved the sport as much as I did. It takes a lot, you spend your entire summer rowing and you are practicing three times a day.”

Hamrick also learned a lot about perseverance from the national experience.

“We came in third in China,” said Hamrick. “We were disappointed, we thought we could do better. We stayed in touch with each other over the year. We got the gold in Austria the next year. It showed when you set your mind to something and absolutely work as hard as you can, you can accomplish it.”

Applying that work ethic upon her arrival at Princeton in 2009, Hamrick moved up to the varsity 8 by the spring of her freshman year.

“Making the varsity boat was something I hoped to do as a freshman,” said Hamrick.

“I rowed in the 2V in the fall. Our captains Sarah Hendershot and Ariel Frost were great leaders, they took the freshmen under their wing and taught us about working hard, mental toughness, and perseverance.”

Now that Hamrick is a team captain along with classmates Heidi Robbins and Liz Hartwig, she is looking to emulate Hendershot and Frost.

It has caused me to always think about my actions and be a role model for the team,” said Hamrick, reflecting on being a captain. “It has great being captains with Liz and Heidi, we have helped each other.”

In Hamrick’s view, the senior class has helped the program collectively. “I think all eight seniors have a sense of urgency,” said Hamrick, whose classmates include Nicole Bielawski, Gabby Cole, Sarah Kushma, Astrid Wettstein, and Sarah Wiley in addition to Hartwig and Robbins.

“We want to make every stroke and every practice matter. There are eight different personalities but we all click. The team would not be where we are without the seniors.”

Now the team is hoping to build on its Ivy success as it competes in Indianapolis. “I think that win was definitely a confidence builder,” said Hamrick.

“We know that Indianapolis will be a new ballgame. We need to refine things, and never be taking off a stroke. We have to keep the positive mentality. We have to keep our cool, stay confident, and row our race. We are excited to get out there on the course and see where we stand.”

Hamrick, for her part, is excited to continue rowing after she graduates from Princeton.

“I have been doing this for eight years,” said Hamrick, who was recently chosen to take part in the USRowing Under 23 national team selection camp.

“I don’t see myself quitting any time soon. I want to see where this will play out. I see myself as a person who when challenged will happily accept that.”

THE TY THAT BINDS: Princeton University men’s lightweight rower Tyler Nase in action this spring. Senior star and captain Nase will be in his final competition for Princeton this weekend as the Tigers compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

THE TY THAT BINDS: Princeton University men’s lightweight rower Tyler Nase in action this spring. Senior star and captain Nase will be in his final competition for Princeton this weekend as the Tigers compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.
(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

During the early days of his rowing career, Tyler Nase watched the movie Gladiator to get pumped up for competition.

“I used to do that a lot in high school,” said Nase, referring to viewing the Academy Award-winning epic as part of his pre-race routine. “We watched it as freshman 8 and we won our first race so it became a superstition.”

Utilizing a Gladiator-like mentality, Nase, a Phoenixville, Pa. native and star for the LaSalle College High School crew program, earned a spot in the U.S. junior national program.

“At the beginning of my junior year of high school, I did well in the indoor world championships, an ERG competition,” said Nase.

“I got invited to the national identification camp and then I made the training camp. We got a bronze medal; it was my first taste of international competition. I decided that I wanted to make the Olympics. It showed me how to train.”

This weekend, Nase, now a senior captain and star for the Princeton University men’s lightweight crew, will be going after another medal as the Tigers compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.

Nase is looking to pass on his training mentality as he helps guide an inexperienced Princeton varsity eight.

“Being such a young team, I want to be really approachable and have them comfortable talking to me,” said Nase. “I like to talk less and do more. It is a sport where you get better on what you put out. I want to give them a glimpse of that.”

In his first two years with the Tiger lightweight program, Nase got a first-hand glimpse of what it takes to reach a higher level.

“I loved being in the freshman boat,” said Nase. “We had a good coach Glenn Ochal, he was training and competing internationally at the time and that was a great inspiration for us. It was the next step of training. In high school, I was aggressive and rough. I learned that you needed harmony with the stroke. It was great rowing with the seniors the next year. They showed what kind of framework you need to be really successful.”

Nase has continued to enjoy success on the national level, helping the U.S. lightweight 4 place seventh in the U-23 World Championships last July.

“I was on the team the previous summer so I had more experience under my belt for last year,” said Nase.

“We didn’t make the grand final but we won the petit final in a time that would have been second in the grand final so that was bittersweet. There were 20 boats that could win. I think I have become a smarter rower every time I have competed with the national team. I always take a lot from that.”

While Princeton lightweight varsity 8 was disappointed to place fifth at the Eastern Sprints earlier this month, Nase believes the top boat took a lot from that experience.

“The Sprints were pretty tough,” said Nase. “It was amazing to see Dartmouth take third after having lost to Cornell in the regular season. It just shows how tough our league is. I thought we raced really, really hard, we were definitely in it. We have six guys on the boat who never raced varsity before this year. It was a little different than the dual meets.”

The Tigers are hoping for a different result this weekend in Sacramento. “I think we will be better in the IRAs,” maintained Nase.

“I think we need to step back and not get caught up in things. We need to be a little more relaxed and just race better. We need to do a little better in the second half of the race. We were right there at 1,000 meters. I want to leave everything on the water, I don’t want to have any regrets.”

Nase isn’t ready to leave the water any time soon. “The whole Princeton rowing experience has made me the person I am; the coaching, the friendships, and the work,” said Nase.

“I have matured as a rower. I want to continue in the sport. I am going for the senior national team. I am going to Oklahoma City on June 6 to train there. I want to go to the 2016 Olympics and then in 2020.”

TITLE SHOT: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Liz Jacobs looks for an opening last Thursday as second-seeded PHS hosted No. 3 Sparta in the North Jersey Group III sectional semifinals. Junior star and Dartmouth-bound Jacobs scored a game-high four goals to help PHS rally for a 12-9 win. The Little Tigers, now 18-3, will play at top-seeded Mendham on May 29 in the sectional final.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

TITLE SHOT: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Liz Jacobs looks for an opening last Thursday as second-seeded PHS hosted No. 3 Sparta in the North Jersey Group III sectional semifinals. Junior star and Dartmouth-bound Jacobs scored a game-high four goals to help PHS rally for a 12-9 win. The Little Tigers, now 18-3, will play at top-seeded Mendham on May 29 in the sectional final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Liz Jacobs wasn’t about to let rain slow her down as she took the field last Thursday for the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse team as it hosted Sparta in the North Jersey Group III sectional semifinals.

With a downpour hitting Harris Field, junior star Jacobs was sizzling, scoring three goals in the early going to keep second-seeded PHS in the game as it trailed No. 3 Sparta 7-5 at halftime.

“I was feeling it,” said Jacobs, reflecting on her hot start. “I was just so excited. I was looking forward to this game all week. Everyone was super excited. We had a dance party in the locker room before. We had a team lunch before.”

The Little Tigers were still excited even thought they trailed at halftime. “Our coach [Kelsey O’Gorman] was saying that two goals isn’t that much, we can totally come back,” recalled the Dartmouth-bound Jacobs.

“I don’t think we looked at it in a negative light like we were behind. I think we were just really encouraging each other and trying to go out strong the second half.”

PHS showed its strength in the second half, going on a 5-1 run through a deluge to seize control of the game on the way to a 12-9 win, earning a date with top-seeded Mendham in the sectional finals on May 29.

“That was amazing; we got the wind under our sails literally with the rain,” said Jacobs, in assessing PHS’s second half surge that lifted it to a record of 18-3.

“I am just really proud of all the girls for playing through it because there were times when we really couldn’t see.”

Jacobs is proud of what PHS has accomplished in advancing to the sectional finals.

“I just want to win,” said Jacobs, who ended up with a game-high four goals in the victory over Sparta.

“We have a really close-knit team. I think the seniors are the glue and the fact that we are so close. It really makes such a difference on the field. “

PHS head coach O’Gorman views Jacobs as a difference-maker for the Little Tigers.

“Liz is a very powerful girl; she uses her height to her advantage,” said O’Gorman. “She drew it to herself to keep it out of the ring of everyone getting too involved. She knows when to drive and when not to now. She used to get called on charging, she is controlling her body and using it to her advantage.”

O’Gorman was heartened by how PHS seized control of the contest down the stretch.

“I told them that they need to show that they are the better team today,” said O’Gorman, reflecting on her halftime message.

“I know that they definitely had more to offer. We didn’t come out as hungry in the first half. I am just so proud of them that they could turn it on coming back from being behind to really show themselves. They capitalized on the other team’s errors; they kept themselves performing clean. As a whole, they were using everyone on the field; everyone was stepping up. They literally turned themselves around from the first half.”

In O’Gorman’s view, that turnaround was sparked by simply going after the ball harder.

“We changed up the draw a little bit,” explained O’Gorman, who got three goals and two assists from junior star and Penn-bound Emilia Lopez-Ona in the win with sophomore Gabrielle Gibbons chipping in three goals and an assist.

“We set up more defensively at the end too. When they were controlling the ball in the center, it wasn’t clean. It would get on our stick and go down. It was those 50/50 balls that we turned around. We were boxing out for each other, we were being more selfless. Everyone off ball was working a lot harder.”

PHS is turning things on at the right time, playing its best lacrosse of the season when it matters the most.

“I can’t stop smiling; I just feel like the team is bonding a lot better,” said O’Gorman, who is in her first year guiding the program.

“We have a lot going on. They went through their APs and their testing. They had a spurt where they looked really tired. Now they are revved up and ready to go and they are not going to slow down, that is what I see. I didn’t really sub much at all today; they are in shape.”

The Little Tigers are ready to give powerful Mendham a run for its money in the sectional final.

“They are definitely a solid team,” said O’Gorman of 14-5 Mendham which topped No. 4 Indian Hills 17-5 in its sectional semifinals.

“If we play our game, it is going to be a great matchup. They worked and earned their spot to be there for sure. I am excited to see them in this particular year because I think they are a little weaker than in the past.”

Jacobs, for her part, is excited about PHS’s prospects in the title game.

“I think we are on such a high we just have to keep going,” said Jacobs. “We have to just get pumped for the next game because we are going to go out there swinging.”

GOOD RUN: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Matt DiTosto carries the ball up the field in recent action. Star defender DiTosto helped PHS win its first-ever county title and then advance to the South Jersey Group III sectional semifinals where it fell to powerful Shawnee 5-4 in overtime last Thursday. The loss left the Little Tigers with a final record of 16-4. (Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

GOOD RUN: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Matt DiTosto carries the ball up the field in recent action. Star defender DiTosto helped PHS win its first-ever county title and then advance to the South Jersey Group III sectional semifinals where it fell to powerful Shawnee 5-4 in overtime last Thursday. The loss left the Little Tigers with a final record of 16-4.
(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

This past winter, Matt DiTosto was primed for a big senior season for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

But high-scoring forward DiTosto broke his hand in December, missing several weeks and taking a while to get back up to speed upon his return.

With things not turning out as he had hoped on the ice, DiTosto brought a special sense of urgency this spring into his final campaign on the PHS boys’ lacrosse team.

“It was frustrating,” said DiTosto, referring to his hockey season. “I didn’t play varsity until last year for lacrosse. It means a lot to me and it means a lot to these other boys I have been playing with. We just want to see how far it takes us.”

DiTosto, a star defender for the Little Tigers’ lax team, helped PHS go far this season, as it won the program’s first-ever county title and then advanced to the South Jersey Group III sectional semifinals where it fell to powerful Shawnee 5-4 in overtime last Thursday.

“Our offense controls the ball a lot and the defense is finally sticking,” said DiTosto, after third-seeded PHS rolled to a 13-4 win over No. 6 Clearview in the sectional quarters on May 21.

“I think we are starting to play more defense which is important when we start going against these tougher teams. I love everyone on defense. I think we have been picking up each other’s slack and helping each other out. I think we are clicking on all cylinders.”

As a senior, DiTosto has gone out of his way to pick up his game. “I listen to my coaches; this year it was all about my footwork and staying in front of the offensive player,” said DiTosto.

“I feel like I have been doing that. I feel like I take a big leadership role on defense. I am a captain, huddling all the guys together, making sure we get our heads in the game and not get too out of it.

In the MCT title game victory over Allentown, DiTosto played a huge role, marking Redbird star Stefan Pappas and limiting him to one goal as the Little Tigers prevailed 10-4.

“It was a big moment for me,” said DiTosto, reflecting on his MCT title game effort.

“Pappas is a great player and I had the support of the defense behind me. That helps, that takes off some of the pressure. When you have got Colin Buckley sliding to a kid, I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be on the other end of that.”

PHS head coach Peter Stanton is proud of the way his squad played hard to the end.

“If you want to make a deep run, it is really a test of stamina and a test of will,” said Stanton, whose team posted a final record of 16-4.

“It is really challenging, coming down to the end of the school year, prom, and all these kinds of things and I am just so pleased that our boys really want to play lacrosse.”

Stanton was pleased with the way his offense clicked in the win over Clearview. “I know that they prepared for us; I know that some of the times when they see us play, we are just throwing the ball around,” said Stanton, noting that the Little Tigers had lost to Clearview in a preseason scrimmage.

“Today we dodged right at them, we got by them early and that was something that they didn’t expect.”

The PHS defensive unit ended up exceeding Stanton’s expectations.

“It is just really satisfying to see the level of improvement,” said Stanton.

“At the beginning of the year, we were giving up so many goals. It is just one of those things, I don’t know what comes first. Are the individuals improving or is their teamwork improving? It just seems to be one of those things where one doesn’t happen without the other.”

In Stanton’s view, winning the county crown helped spark PHS’s state tournament run.

“Sometimes you get a taste of success and you want a little bit more,” said Stanton.

“The risk of that is you might be like, well that was good enough and these guys are more of the former, they really want more.”

DiTosto, for his part, concurred, seeing the MCT triumph as prompting a hunger for more success.

“I definitely think it is a boost; winning the first one in school history,” said DiTosto, who is headed to St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia in the fall and is thinking about trying to walk on to the Hawks men’s lax team.

“We are able to share it together and I am sure everyone had that same mentality of we don’t want to quit.”

NET GAIN: Princeton High boys’ tennis doubles player Zach Hojelbane covers the net in action this spring. Last week, Hojelbane and PHS fell 3-2 to defending champions and top-seeded Hopewell Valley in Central Jersey Group III finals. The defeat left the Little Tigers with a final record of 16-2.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

NET GAIN: Princeton High boys’ tennis doubles player Zach Hojelbane covers the net in action this spring. Last week, Hojelbane and PHS fell 3-2 to defending champions and top-seeded Hopewell Valley in Central Jersey Group III finals. The defeat left the Little Tigers with a final record of 16-2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In the beginning of the spring, the Princeton High boys’ tennis team didn’t seem destined to end up in the sectional finals.

Losing four key players to graduation and dealing with a series of injuries, PHS had to scramble all season long.

Yet last week, the third-seeded Little Tigers advanced to the Central Jersey Group III finals against defending champions and top-seeded Hopewell Valley and came one win away from making it to the state Group III Final 4 as they dropped a 3-2 nailbiter to the Bulldogs.

PHS head coach Sarah Hibbert was proud of what her team accomplished in its topsy-turvy campaign.

“We pushed HoVal as far as we could, I think they thought they were just going to walk over us,” said
Hibbert, whose team posted a final record of 16-2.

“We definitely made the most out of things. We weren’t considered as much of a threat in the beginning of the season.”

Fighting off unseasonably warm conditions with the temperature in the 80s, PHS battled to the end in its defeat to HoVal.

“They definitely worked hard,” said Hibbert. “The conditions were tough; it was really hot and humid. It had been cool for much of the spring. You can’t train for the heat.”

Junior Brock DeHaven brought the heat at second singles as he posted a 6-4,7-5 win over Trevor Johnson.

“He played a great match without feeling particularly well,” said Hibbert. “He was down 1-4 in the second set and fought back to win.  He was doing well with being patient. He has big shots and if he rushes to use them, he makes unforced errors. He was constructing points and staying away from unforced errors.”

The second doubles duo of Tyler Hack and Zach Kleiman produced a big comeback as they posted a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 win over Roger Toussaint and Andreas Vermeulen.

“They had a great season,” asserted Hibbert of her second doubles pair who won their flight at the Mercer County Tournament.

“They were disappointed after the semifinal with Wall where they didn’t finish in the third set. Luckily we didn’t need their point that day. They came back with a vengeance; they wanted to go out big. They started out slow; they were able to withstand the loss of the first set and came back with a vengeance in the second set with a 6-0 win. They were ahead 5-2 in the third set and let up a little bit with the finish line in sight. They came through.”

Although Rishab Tanga at third singles and the first doubles pair of Zach Hojelbane and Eddy Zheng didn’t come through against the Bulldogs, Hibbert had no qualms about the efforts she got in those matches.

“Rishab is the kind of kid who doesn’t make excuses but he was sick the week before and he was struggling more with the heat more than he would have been,” said Hibbert, whose first singles player Michael Feeney retired early in the first set of his match against HoVal due to an ankle injury.

“I could see that. I think he was hoping he had more energy and played better. The first doubles had a tough match. They weren’t quite ready at the start. They made it competitive, we were right there with them in the first set. We made some unforced errors at the wrong time. We were right there in the second set and we had some unforced errors and Hopewell found a final gear.”

In the final analysis, Hibbert believes her team achieved as much as it could under the circumstances.

“It was one of the most successful seasons result-wise with the most chaos,” said Hibbert.

“We had people at different positions at different times. We had a great win over Wall in the semis. They were a very tough team and challenged us at every flight. We won a third set and closed out two tiebreakers.”

In Hibbert’s view, her
players’ upbeat attitudes helped them deal with the challenges they faced this spring.

“We had a very easygoing group of guys and they rolled with the punches,” said Hibbert.

“They came out everyday and figured out who was playing where and made the best of it. Everyone who got a chance, stepped up, and played as well as they could.”

SHARED OWNERSHIP: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis star Neeraj Devulapalli prepares to hit a forehand in a match earlier this season. Last week, junior Devulapalli was the runner-up at second singles in the state Prep B championships as the Panthers earned a share of the team title along with Pennington and Montclair Kimberley.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

SHARED OWNERSHIP: Princeton Day School boys’ tennis star Neeraj Devulapalli prepares to hit a forehand in a match earlier this season. Last week, junior Devulapalli was the runner-up at second singles in the state Prep B championships as the Panthers earned a share of the team title along with Pennington and Montclair Kimberley. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Coming into the state Prep B tournament last week, the Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team faced an uphill battle.

PDS has been juggling its lineup over the last few weeks and was not at full strength coming into the competition.

“We had a lot of injuries and illness this year,” said PDS head coach Will Asch, noting that first singles player David Zhang was recovering from pneumonia and that his first doubles team couldn’t play in the tourney due to scheduling conflicts.

Undeterred, PDS ended up earning a share of the title along with Pennington and Montclair Kimberley.

While the Panthers would have like to have had the championship to themselves, Asch saw the crown as a positive step for the program which was coming off of a 5-9 season in 2012.

“It was good to win a share of the title after being under .500 last year,” said Asch.

“It is all about the boys playing and having fun. They played a lot of matches and it was a good learning experience. It was good that three teams got to share the title, the two other teams were very good.”

Freshman Scott Altmeyer showed quite a learning curve as he prevailed at singles after playing doubles much of the spring. “Scott was our best player,” said Asch. “He won at third singles.”

While Zhang fell short at first singles, losing to eventual champion Jerry Jiang of Pennington in the semis, the freshman showed a lot of grit. “We didn’t know what to expect of David at the Prep B,” said Asch

“David came out and played well in his first match. He had to play Jerry in the semis; they were the two best players in the tournament. He was up 2-1 in the third set and then Jerry got cramps and took a 20-minute break and got some medical attention. When Jerry got back, he played really well. He was really hurting and so was David. It was tough on both of them.”

The Panthers suffered a tough defeat at second singles as junior Neeraj Devulapalli was edged by Pennington’s Nick Gorab 6-7, 7-6, 6-2.

“Neeraj was up 5-4 in the second set; it was one of those things, he just couldn’t finish it,” said Asch.

“It was a close match; they were evenly matched players. In the match they played in the regular season, Neeraj lost the first set and then dominated. In the Prep B, he lost a tiebreaker in second and couldn’t come up with the goods. These things happen.”

The Panthers made some good things happen at second doubles as the pair of junior D.J. Modzelewski and senior Alec Gershen advanced to the championship round where they were defeated 6-2, 6-0 by Joel Battsek and Karan Juvekar of Montclair Kimberley.

“We brought in substitutes for second doubles, D.J. Modzelewski and Alec Gershen,” said Asch.

“D.J. had hurt his shoulder and had to serve underhanded. They wound up getting two wins but were outclassed in the finals.”

In Asch’s views, his players showed a lot of class this spring as they persevered through the ups and downs.

“It was a rocky year but it was a wonderful group of kids and they dealt with things very well,” asserted Asch, who guided the Panthers to a second place finish in the Mercer County Tournament earlier this spring.

“We went 10-3, that is quite a record. We lost to Haddonfield and South (WW/P-S), who we usually wouldn’t play. In head-to-head matches against Prep B teams, we were
undefeated.”

May 22, 2013
OPEN SEASON: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 celebrate with head coach Lori Dauphiny, second from right, after winning their Grand Final at the Ivy League Championships regatta last Sunday on Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The varsity 8’s win earned the Tigers the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA championship regatta and helped Princeton win the Ivy team points title, which it took with an 81-74 edge over second-place Radcliffe. Princeton is next in action when it competes in the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 31-June 2.(Photo by Craig Sachson, Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

OPEN SEASON: Members of the Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 celebrate with head coach Lori Dauphiny, second from right, after winning their Grand Final at the Ivy League Championships regatta last Sunday on Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The varsity 8’s win earned the Tigers the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA championship regatta and helped Princeton win the Ivy team points title, which it took with an 81-74 edge over second-place Radcliffe. Princeton is next in action when it competes in the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 31-June 2. (Photo by Craig Sachson, Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

Coming into the Ivy League Championships regatta last Sunday, Lori Dauphiny was certain that her Princeton University women’s open crew varsity 8 faced a dogfight.

“It was wide open, we talked about it as a team,” said Princeton head coach Dauphiny.

“It is one of the most difficult years to poll the varsity 8s, everyone has beaten everyone else. We knew going into that it was going to be very close, that is a testament to the speed in our league.”

But in the end, Princeton’s top boat had the speed to pull away to a convincing win in the Grand Final as it clocked a time of 6:29.961 over the 2,000-meter course on Cooper River in Camden, N.J. with Yale second in 6:36.859 and Radcliffe taking third in 6:41.108.

The varsity 8’s victory gave the Tigers the league’s automatic bid to the upcoming NCAA championship regatta and helped Princeton win the Ivy team points title, which it earned with an 81-74 edge over second-place Radcliffe.

Dauphiny was pleasantly surprised by her 1V’s margin of victory. “We had a good heat, we felt pretty good about the final race,” said Dauphiny, whose top boat clocked a time of 6:39.257 in winning its heat with Brown next in 6:48.499

“We felt good and we knew it was going to be close although it didn’t turn out to be that close. The conditions were a factor. We had a nice, solid start and that put us in a good place and we went from there.”

In Dauphiny’s view, her varsity boat was in a good place as it prepared for the Ivy regatta.

“We were improving, we had a good race against Michigan to end the regular season,” said Dauphiny, whose 1V posted a 12.5 second win over the Wolverines on May 4 and has now won two of the last three Ivy titles and 13 overall.

“We had some time between that race and the sprints and they kept working hard and getting better.”

Dauphiny credits her senior class with helping the Tigers get better and better.

“We knew going in that the senior class was going to be a big key and a critical component to our results,” asserted Dauphiny,  whose top boat included senior stalwarts Heidi Robbins, Molly Hamrick, Liz Hartwig, and Gabby Cole in addition to juniors Annie Prasad, Kelsey Reelick, Angie Gould, and Kathryn Irwin together with freshman Erin Reelick. “It is a strong class with a wealth of experience.”

The Tiger second varsity had a strong finish as it placed third but had hoped for more as it hadn’t lost all spring.

“It was actually heart-wrenching,” said Dauphiny, whose 2V came in at 6:47.010 with Brown first in 6:41.366 and Radcliffe second in 6:43.507.

“They were undefeated going in so they were torn up about getting third. They did their best and executed their plan. A factor was that the racing was going on in lanes five and six and they were a little far away in lane three.”

Princeton’s other victory in the Ivy regatta came from the third varsity 8 which topped runner-up Penn by nearly 13 seconds.

“They were also undefeated coming in and it was awesome to see them win their race,” said Dauphiny of the boat which posted a time of 7:09.964 with Penn second in 7:22.321.

“It was a mix of youth and experience. They had some adversity with injury and lineup changes and fought through.”

The varsity 4 earned a medal, taking third as it prepares for the NCAA regatta which includes the 1V, 2V, and V4 boats.

“The varsity 4 did a great job of getting a medal, dealing with some injuries and lineup changes,” added Dauphiny, whose top 4 covered the course in 7:48.427 with Brown first in 7:39.511 and Yale second in 7:43.215.

In Dauphiny’s view, her rowers did a great job across the board last weekend.

“The whole team really played a role in our win, every boat and every rower stepped up,” said Dauphiny, crediting new assistant coaches Kate Maxim and Steve Coppola with fostering a positive and competitive team atmosphere.

“They are really excited and super proud of what they accomplished. It took a lot of hard work and it was well fought.”

Princeton is excited about competing in the NCAA regatta in Indianapolis, Ind. from May 31-June 2. In 2012, the Tigers took fourth in the team standings and qualified each of its three boats to their respective grand finals.

“They need to continue to improve and work on their weaknesses,” said Dauphiny, who has guided the Tigers to every NCAA regatta since the inaugural meet in 1997 and whose varsity 8 won national titles in 2006 and 2011.

“They have to finish exams. We only have a few days after exams before we have to fly out to Indianapolis. The nationals is a whole new ballgame. There are many schools that look strong.”

HEAVY DUTY: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight first varsity 8 displays its form in a race earlier this spring. Last weekend, the first varsity took fourth in the Grand Final at the Eastern Sprints at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. The Tigers will wrap up their season by competing in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Crew/Tom Nowak)

HEAVY DUTY: The Princeton University men’s heavyweight first varsity 8 displays its form in a race earlier this spring. Last weekend, the first varsity took fourth in the Grand Final at the Eastern Sprints at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. The Tigers will wrap up their season by competing in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton Crew/Tom Nowak)

Greg Hughes has been fine-tuning the training approach for his Princeton University men’s heavyweight rowers this spring.

“I would say there is a change in intensity, not volume,” said fourth-year head coach Hughes.

“There is more hard work, it has had a positive effect on confidence. They have seen how much they can gain from that.”

As the Tigers prepared to compete in the Eastern Sprints last weekend, they showed some good intensity.

“We had some really great work,” said Hughes. “We made a couple of changes to combination which were beneficial. We changed the race plan which also helped.”

The Princeton first varsity 8 raced well in its opening heat at the Sprints, clocking a time of 6:05.776 on the 2,000-meter course at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. to take second to Brown and qualify for the Grand Final.

“You always go to sprints looking to do well in the heats because it is one-off,” said Hughes.

“The sprint heats have provided some of the greatest races in rowing.

There is a lot of parity in the boats this year. There are 10 boats with the speed to make the finals and there are only six spots. We handled things well in the heat. We showed great intensity and focus. When you make changes, they don’t always stick on race day as the competitive juices take over.”

In the final, Princeton was competitive but ended up falling off the pace to take fourth in a race won by Harvard.

“We were in lane six and we were separated from lanes one-two-three where the racing was taking place,” said Hughes, whose team posted a time of 6:08.917, more than 12 seconds behind the Crimson.

“The train took off and we missed it. It was hard to pick up from there. We had good speed. We raced better.”

With the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta slated for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif., Hughes believes his top boat is primed to race even better.

“We are looking forward to the IRAs,” said Hughes. “I like the attitude of the guys; they are all excited. We could have done better in the final but they have another chance.”

The Tiger second varsity 8 will be looking for a second chance at Brown after Princeton placed second to the Bears at the Sprints, suffering its first loss of the season.

“That was an awesome race,” asserted Hughes, whose 2V clocked a time of 6:09.690 to take second, nearly three seconds behind Brown.

“We had a race like that with Brown two weeks ago and we came out on top. This time, Brown came out on top. Princeton and Brown are two really fast boats and we are excited to get another chance to race against them. From my standpoint, I am bummed for them, I wanted to see them get the finish they wanted. They have had a really great season, I am really proud of them. They have a great attitude and they have been a great addition to the boathouse, they have fun with what they are doing.”

Princeton did earn gold in the fourth varsity race, beating runner-up Harvard by more than three seconds.

“The 4V had couple of seniors mixed in with some youngsters; it great to see those seniors end their rowing careers with a win,” said Hughes.

“One of our few walk-on novices [Doug Guyett] was on that boat, it was great to see how he progressed.”

In Hughes’ view, the progress he has seen from his rowers has resulted, in part, from a coaching group effort.

“A big part of this is the staff and the coaches that we have,” asserted Hughes.

“With the new freshman rule [which allows freshmen to compete on varsity boats], we have changed the way we split things up. Spencer Washburn was really a co-head coach. He gets a lion’s share of credit for the 2V. Our interns, Ian Silveira and Rob Munn, worked with 3V and 4V. What it shows is that it is great to have a staff. You need to bounce ideas off of each other.”

As Princeton gets ready for the IRAs, it won’t be changing its focus on hard work.

“We don’t have a lot of time; we’ll be flying out on Friday,” said Hughes.

“We will be doing a lot of the work that we have been doing. We are not doing anything fancy but we are on the right track. We just need slightly better execution.”

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Princeton University men’s golfer Greg Jarmas follows through on a drive. Last weekend, junior star Jarmas tied for 30th in the NCAA regional in Pullman, Wash., shooting a one-under 215 for the three-round event as Princeton placed 13th in the team standings. Earlier this season, Jarmas won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships, helping Princeton take the team title. (Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

JUNIOR ACHIEVEMENT: Princeton University men’s golfer Greg Jarmas follows through on a drive. Last weekend, junior star Jarmas tied for 30th in the NCAA regional in Pullman, Wash., shooting a one-under 215 for the three-round event as Princeton placed 13th in the team standings. Earlier this season, Jarmas won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships, helping Princeton take the team title.
(Photo Courtesy of Princeton’s Office of Athletic Communications)

For Greg Jarmas, making the most of his summer vacation last year laid the foundation for a big junior campaign with the Princeton University men’s golf team.

The Wynnewood, Pa. native was the runner-up in the Philadelphia Amateur, made the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania Match Play championships, and placed 12th in the Pennsylvania Amateur.

“I had a good summer,” said Jarmas. “I had some good results, that helped me coming into my junior year.”

Once he arrived on campus this past fall, Jarmas kept rolling. He took second in the Philly Big 5 Classic in mid-October and then helped Princeton win the Ivy Match Play Tournament title later that month at TPC at Jasna Polana.

Last month, Jarmas hit new heights as he won the individual title at the Ivy League Championships and helped Princeton take the team title.

“It was definitely a step forward in terms of being composed and trusting the work I had put in and not dwelling on the bad things that could happen,” said Jarmas, who had placed placed 10th at the Ivy tournament as a sophomore.

While Jarmas didn’t place first at the NCAA regional last weekend in Pullman, Wash., he took another step forward in his development as a player.

Jarmas was Princeton’s top performer, shooting a one-under 215 for the three-round event as Princeton placed 13th in the team standings.

“I was very comfortable with the course” said Jarmas,  who put together rounds of 75-68-72 at the Palouse Ridge Golf Club as he tied for 30th overall in the individual standings.

“I was trying to do too much the first day. I was proud of the way I bounced back; I had two good rounds. It was a little bit of everything, putting is a strength of mine. I didn’t get off to a good start and I tried to have a smile on my face for each hole.”

In Jarmas’ view, he will benefit from last weekend’s experience. “It can only help,” added Jarmas. “It is invaluable, there is no substitute for playing against strong competition like that and testing yourself against those players. It was exciting to be playing against teams like that and being on a big stage.”

Coming into the Ivy tourney last month at Caves Valley in Owings Mill, Md., Jarmas felt he had a strong chance to win.

“I have been playing well, I have been playing well in practice,” said Jarmas, who put in extra time with Tiger head coach Will Green the week before the tournament.

“I had to trust my game and the work I have put in. Once the first round started, I knew what I could do. Coach walked with me and helped keep me in the right place mentally. I putted a little better each day. The greens were fast so I had to putt defensively. I made almost all of my putts from 3 to 6 feet, which is why I didn’t three-putt. I don’t look at the leaderboard. I was focusing on playing as well as I could.”

Once he found out that he had won and that Princeton was the team champion, Jarmas was filled with emotion.

“It was a lot of relief and a lot of happiness,” said Jarmas, carded a +3 total of 213 (71-72-70) in winning the title. “It was probably my best afternoon ever on a golf course.”

Coach Green, for his part, was more than happy with Jarmas’ effort at the Ivy tourney.

“Greg took an awesome step forward that weekend,” said Green. “It is not that he hadn’t been good enough. It is is the mentality of saying this is what I need to do and I am going to do it. You have to learn to take the good with the bad and you have to learn how to win. You have to be able to stay in the present and focus only on what you have to do on the next shot and not worry about bad shots. He grew a lot as a competitor. He didn’t have one 3-putt in the whole tournament, that doesn’t happen very often.”

As Jarmas goes back to the grindstone this summer, he is looking to continue that growth process.

“I need to be more consistent off the tee,” said Jarmas, who plans to again play the Pennsylvania amateur circuit.

“I am hitting it farther than I ever have and striking the ball well. When I get the ball in the fairway, I am getting good numbers. I want to get more consistent and confident off the tee.”

POLE POSITION: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Jack Persico carries the ball up the field last Thursday past an Allentown foe in the Mercer County Tournament championship game. Senior defender Persico contributed an assist and helped the PHS defense stifle the Redbirds as the Little Tigers won 10-4, earning the program’s first-ever MCT crown. PHS is competing in the state tournament where the Little Tigers have been seeded third in the Group III South sectional. PHS got off to a hot start in that tourney, topping 14th-seeded Mainland 12-1 last Saturday in an opening round contest and improving to 15-3.(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

POLE POSITION: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player Jack Persico carries the ball up the field last Thursday past an Allentown foe in the Mercer County Tournament championship game. Senior defender Persico contributed an assist and helped the PHS defense stifle the Redbirds as the Little Tigers won 10-4, earning the program’s first-ever MCT crown. PHS is competing in the state tournament where the Little Tigers have been seeded third in the Group III South sectional. PHS got off to a hot start in that tourney, topping 14th-seeded Mainland 12-1 last Saturday in an opening round contest and improving to 15-3. (Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

After suffering its first-ever loss to Allentown in early April, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team was fired up for a rematch with the Redbirds in the Mercer County Tournament championship game last Thursday.

“It was a long time ago but we still remember that loss,” said PHS senior defender Jack Persico, referring to the 13-8 setback on April 9.

“A lot of the team changed because we have got a lot of guys back and positions changed.”

Persico and his teammates didn’t waste time showing that those changes were going to lead to a different result in round two between the teams as the Little Tigers jumped out to a 7-0 lead midway through the second quarter of the contest at WW/P-N.

“I didn’t expect that,” said Persico, reflecting on PHS’ blazing start. “It was a tough game but we just managed to get the goals and they didn’t. We got the shots.”

PHS kept getting the goals as it went on to a 10-4 victory and the program’s first-ever MCT title.

As his teammates hugged each other and whooped it up in a raucous post-game celebration that started when PHS head coach Peter Stanton was doused with a bucket of water, Persico beamed as he reflected on the championship.

“In my athletics career, I haven’t brought home any titles or anything like that,” said Persico, also a star lineman for the PHS football team.

“I was really hoping this year to take it home. We finally got one and I am so stoked and so happy about it.”

Persico was particularly happy about picking up an assist on PHS’s seventh goal when he scooped up a ground ball and launched a long pass to Adam Ainslie, who buried the ball in the back of the net.

“That was literally all I have ever wanted for my entire lacrosse career,” said Persico, referring to his assist. “That was special.”

In Persico’s view, PHS’s success stems from a special unity. “It is chemistry,” asserted Persico. “I look out there at the starting lineup; I hang out with all of these guys. These guys are all my friends. That chemistry shows on the field, we all know what’s going on.”

That chemistry helped PHS stifle Allentown’s high-powered attack. “That is an offense we talked a lot about; they have some good players,” said Persico.

“That guy 15 [Stefan Pappas] is probably the best lacrosse player I have ever seen. It’s scary. You have to give it to Matt DiTosto; he shut that kid down. We wanted to play them straight up. We figured our defense was good enough to hold them to three or four goals and we did that. I feel proud of all the guys, and that we managed to pull that off.”

PHS head coach Peter Stanton is proud of the way his players have carried themselves in their title run.

“If you look at our team you might not be wow those guys are so nasty,” said Stanton, who hit the 200-win mark in his PHS career with the Little Tigers’ 7-6 overtime victory against Princeton Day School in the county semis.

“The sum is greater than the parts; the behavior, the attitude, the work ethic and our guys just always doing the right things. That’s the difference. That is a team of guys that did the right things for a long time.”

In the win over Allentown, the Little Tigers did everything right at both ends of the field.

“We felt all along that we had the ability to put that kind of effort out but every game we have had so far it is like we are pulling dandelions,” said Stanton, who got three goals from senior star Ainslie in the victory with Matt Corrado and Kevin Halliday adding two apiece.

“It is we got this fixed over here but there is something else over there. We felt like all along that we were growing and today we finally got it all together.”

Stanton saw Persico’s assist as exemplifying the team’s growth. “To me, that was the play that was like whoa, that ground ball that he picked up, running the ball up the field through that pressure and then making that pass was just amazing,” said Stanton.

After having come so close to the county title with overtime losses in the championship game and the semis in recent years, Stanton was thrilled to see PHS get the breakthrough win.

“It is a fantastic experience for this group of boys,” asserted Stanton. “In high school sports, it’s all about the now. It’s all about where these kids are now. Just look at the faces on these kids, they are ecstatic. It just means a whole bunch of happiness.”

PHS will be looking to experience more happiness as they take part in the state tournament where the Little Tigers have been seeded third in the Group III South sectional. PHS got off to a hot start in that tourney, topping 14th-seeded Mainland 12-1 last Saturday in an opening round contest in improving to 15-3.

In Stanton’s view, winning the county crown gives his team momentum going into states.

“We know the emotional drain of not winning that county title game; that’s a painful game to lose,” said Stanton, whose team was slated to host sixth-seeded Clearview on May 21 with the winner advancing to the sectional semis on May 23 against the winner of the quarterfinal matchup between second-seeded Shawnee and No. 7 Colts Neck. “To win it makes it real easy to take tomorrow off. It gives us a little shot going into the states.”

Persico, for his part, thinks the Little Tigers have a shot at another crown. “There are some tough teams there toward the end but I think we can make a run if we play the way we played today,” said Persico.

“I think from start to finish, this was our best game. From the first quarter to the fourth quarter, we played hard. We played consistently well. To hold a team like that to four goals, that’s good. That’s one of our better goal totals of the year. We played with more heart than we have played with all year.”

PAIN MANAGEMENT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse star Zach Halliday, left, looks to get past Princeton Day School defender Brenden Shannon last week in the Mercer County Tournament boys’ lacrosse semifinals. Undeterred by a fourth quarter ankle injury, Halliday assisted on the winning goal as second-seeded PHS edged third-seeded PDS 7-6 in overtime in the May 14 contest. The Little Tigers went on to defeat top-seeded Allentown 10-4 in the MCT championship game last Thursday, earning the program’s first county crown.(Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

PAIN MANAGEMENT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse star Zach Halliday, left, looks to get past Princeton Day School defender Brenden Shannon last week in the Mercer County Tournament boys’ lacrosse semifinals. Undeterred by a fourth quarter ankle injury, Halliday assisted on the winning goal as second-seeded PHS edged third-seeded PDS 7-6 in overtime in the May 14 contest. The Little Tigers went on to defeat top-seeded Allentown 10-4 in the MCT championship game last Thursday, earning the program’s first county crown. (Photo by Stephen Goldsmith)

With 6:25 left in the fourth quarter of the Mercer County Tournament boys’ lacrosse semifinals, it looked like Princeton High midfielder Zach Halliday was finished for the day,

Chasing a loose ball in a tense battle against Princeton Day School last week, the PHS senior star took a tumble out of bounds and crumpled to the ground in pain after a PDS player landed on him.

“I thought the ball was going out and I was going to be the first one there because it was a shot,” recalled Halliday.

“I didn’t think the guy was going to keep coming and he landed awkwardly on the back of my knee and I rolled the front of my ankle going over on the turf. I was a bit concerned and scared when it happened that it would be worse than I initially thought.”

The crowd at Ewing High was hushed as Halliday writhed on the ground for minutes before getting helped to his feet and gingerly making his way to the bench with assistance and barely putting any weight on his foot.

As third-seeded PDS knotted the May 14 contest against second-seeded PHS at 6-6 late in regulation, Halliday wasn’t about to let the pain keep him out of the fray.

“There was no way I was going to sit and watch this team score on us,” said Halliday. “It hurt when I got back on but once you start running, things like that go away. The monumental game that we had in front of us and everything that we had going for us, I didn’t feel it once I got back on the field.”

Halliday reentered the game and nearly put PHS in front as he scored an apparent goal with 2:14 left in regulation. The tally was waved off and the teams headed to overtime knotted at 6-6.

Seconds into overtime, Halliday came through with a monumental play, whipping a pass to Adam Ainslie, who buried the ball in the top corner of the net for the game winner.

“I saw Adam open, he is the best shooter on our team so I thought I had to find him and he stung it into the top shelf,” said Halliday, who had a goal and two assists in the victory.

“A couple of other looks were open on that play but my faith was in Adam and I knew the big guy would come through.”

It was a big win for PHS which had lost to crosstown rival PDS 8-7 in overtime in the semis of the 2012 MCT.

“There were so many different alumni calling me, Elliott Wilson, Kirby Peck, Coleman Preziosi, and others,” said Halliday, who helped PHS beat top-seeded Allentown 10-4 last Thursday in the MCT championship game, as the program earned its first county crown.

“They were all telling me that you have got to beat this team. You can’t let them do it to us again. It would have been nice to do it on our home turf but beating them in the same fashion they beat us is nice. It is a good thing we are going back and forth and I hope it stays competitive between the two of us for a long time.”

In Halliday’s view, this year’s PHS squad has a really good thing going. “This team is the most unselfish team I have ever played on in lacrosse,” said Halliday, who is headed to Tufts University this fall and will be looking to play for the men’s soccer team.

“It is a great group of guys. We have so many different characters. Everybody understands their role and everybody works to do what they can do. You don’t have people trying to be the all star or trying to score nine goals. We work for a team; we work within a system. We don’t try to go for the individual accolades.”

LATE BLOOMERS: Princeton High baseball player Ellis Bloom takes a cut in recent action. Senior star third baseman Bloom has helped PHS enjoy a late surge that saw the Little Tigers win eight of 11 games after a 1-10 start. Last Friday, Bloom and his classmates enjoyed a special Senior Day as PHS topped Nottingham 6-2. Senior Rohit Chawla pitched six innings in the win, earning his fifth victory of the spring.(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

LATE BLOOMERS: Princeton High baseball player Ellis Bloom takes a cut in recent action. Senior star third baseman Bloom has helped PHS enjoy a late surge that saw the Little Tigers win eight of 11 games after a 1-10 start. Last Friday, Bloom and his classmates enjoyed a special Senior Day as PHS topped Nottingham 6-2. Senior Rohit Chawla pitched six innings in the win, earning his fifth victory of the spring. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

Princeton High pitcher Rohit Chawla was pumped up to pitch against Nottingham long before he took the mound last Friday with PHS hosting the Northstars for Senior Day.

“I was thinking about this for weeks; it got rained out originally and I knew I was getting the ball then,” said senior star Chawla.

“Coach [Dave Roberts] asked me what I wanted to do this week, we had five straight games. I told him I wanted to go four innings against Voorhees on Tuesday and then come back for Senior Day. All day I was thinking about the game, starting when I woke up. It is one of my last high school games; it is going to be a special time for the seniors with all my buddies out there. It was definitely a really emotional game; I had a lot of fire.”

With blue and white balloons hanging from the fence at the Valley Road field for the Senior Day festivities, Chawla fired the ball hard, shutting out the Northstars over the first three innings.

In the fourth, Chawla ran into some trouble giving up two runs and loading the bases. He worked out of the jam, though, without giving up any more runs.

“My arm wasn’t feeling too good yesterday so I was a little bit scared that I wasn’t going to feel 100 percent but I came out here and said whatever,” said Chawla.

“With three days rest and 60 pitches, it was pretty tough. I just wasn’t pitching [in 4th inning jam]. I was throwing fastball after fastball but I settled down and focused and collected myself and started pitching.”

Chawla ended up pitching six innings, not giving up another run, as PHS went on to a 6-2 triumph.

The win was Chawla’s fifth of the season and it was the eighth victory in the last 11 games for the Little Tigers after a 1-10 start.

“It feels good, it is one of the first years I have been able to string together a good season,” said Chawla, reflecting on his solid spring.

It feels good for the Little Tigers to get rolling collectively as the program is coming off a 4-18 season in 2012.

“I think we are really focusing, we are getting everything together,” said Chawla.

“Early in the season, we would hit but we wouldn’t pitch or we would pitch well and we wouldn’t hit. We had a couple of games where we were hitting balls right at people. We are finding holes now.”

PHS head coach Roberts enjoyed seeing his team roll on Senior Day. “This is fantastic,” asserted Roberts.

“We have had two 3-game winning streaks. We have won eight out of 11, all great things for us. Nine wins are the most since 2005. We have two chances for 10. That team in 2005 was 11-14. This is a quality baseball team we have put together here.”

In Roberts’ view, the team’s recent success has come down to basics. “I think pitching and defense [has made the difference],” said Roberts.

“Rohit, Ben Gross, and Andrew Frain have been running out there, start after start after start. The defense has been there most of the days behind them.”

Chawla has produced a special run, according to Roberts. “Rohit, from what we know, just set the modern day school record for five wins in a single year,” said Roberts.

“There were two kids from the 2001 that had five wins and Jake Horan had five wins for the 2005 team. That’s a pretty big achievement, five wins in a single year. It is pretty good for this team and this high school.”

In getting out of the fourth inning jam, Chawla displayed some good maturity.

“The one thing he started to do and I tried to relay that to him without going out there was to remember to pitch,” said Roberts.

“He is in trouble, the bases are loaded, and I said don’t forget the breaking ball, don’t forget the offspeed stuff because those guys are excited and you can get them out on the front foot and that is what he did.”

Roberts is excited about the balanced offense that PHS has shown down the stretch.

“It has been different guys, different days,” said Roberts, whose team lost 7-1 to Hamilton last Saturday to move to 9-14 and was slated to end the season by hosting Notre Dame on May 21.

“But the addition of Hayden Reyes as a freshman has been amazing. He had a seven-game hitting streak snapped yesterday; he is up over .300 as a freshman. Gross and Ellis [Bloom] are up over .300.”

PHS has been sparked by good leadership from senior captains, Matt Farinick, Chawla, and Bloom.

“I think the three captains who have been here a long time have kept them up mentally,” said Roberts, whose other seniors include Frain, Christian Giles, Zach DiGregorio, and James Itkoff.

“They have kept their heads in it. We were 1-10 at one point and now it’s 9-13. You can’t ask for much more right now.”

Chawla, for his part, believes the seniors have brought a special sense of urgency this spring. “We are all taking charge, coming out as seniors,” said Chawla.

“We know we have the talent. Everything is coming together now, it feels good.”