December 27, 2017

Mirroring Title Runs That Livened Up Pro Sports, Local Programs Made 2017 a Year to Remember

LIVING LARGE: Princeton University women’s lacrosse player Olivia Hompe, left, looks to unload the ball in game this spring. Senior star Hompe ended her career with a bang, setting the Princeton single-season record for points (with 110) and goals (with 75) as she helped the Tigers reach the NCAA quarterfinals. She graduated as program’s all-time leading scorer and goal-scorer with 285 points on 198 goals and 87 assists. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

A number of memorable and somewhat improbable title runs spiced up the pro sports world in 2017. Sloane Stephens shocked the world of women’s tennis when the unseeded and 83rd ranked American won the U.S. Open to earn her first major title. On the diamond, the Houston Astros outlasted the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers on the way to winning the first World Series title in franchise history, bringing joy to a city ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. In college football, the Clemson Tigers avenged a defeat to powerhouse Alabama in 2016 in the national final to win its first national title since the 1981 season.

On the Princeton sports landscape, a number of special runs made 2017 a year to remember. The Ivy League held its first-ever postseason basketball tournaments and the Princeton University men’s hoops team used that as a platform to make history. After going 14-0 in regular season league play, the Tigers topped Penn and Yale to win the inaugural tournament and become this first team in league history to 16-0.

Led by senior pitching ace Claire Klausner, the Princeton softball team earned its second straight Ivy crown. Olivia Hompe ended her career with the Princeton women’s lacrosse team by setting a slew of records and leading the Tigers to the league crown and the NCAA quarters. Hompe and her classmates won the Ivy title in each of their four seasons. The women’s golf team earned its first Ivy title since 2005 in dominant fashion, winning the championship tournament by 31 strokes.

In the fall, the women’s soccer team catapulted into the national Top 20 after wins at N.C. State and Wake Forest in early September. The Tigers moved as high as No. 11 on the way to winning the Ivy title and advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals, highlighted by an overtime win against perennial power North Carolina in the Round of 16. Led by senior star Ryan McCarthy, the Princeton field hockey team went undefeated in Ivy play and reached the NCAA quarters as well.

On the high school scene, the Princeton High boys hockey team made history, making the program’s first-ever trip to the state Public A semis, stunning top-seeded Morris Knolls along the way. In the fall, the PHS boys’ soccer team, which had moved up to Group 4 from Group 3 in 2015 made an incredible state run of its own. The Little Tigers won the program’s first-ever Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title and then advanced to the state Group 4 final where they fell to undefeated state power Kearny. Solidifying its status as an elite program, the boys’ cross country won the county meet and Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title for the second straight year. Reaching new heights, the PHS girls’ volleyball team posted its first-ever victories in the state tournament, advancing to the state Group 4 quarterfinals and ending the fall with a brilliant 31-2 record.

Looking like a dynasty in the making, the Princeton Day School boys’ lacrosse team accomplished a rare feat, winning both the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep B title for a second straight year. The girls’ soccer team continued a title streak of its own, taking its fifth straight Prep B crown.

With legendary coach Bill McQuade having retired and going out with a Prep A title in 2016, the Hun baseball team didn’t miss a beat under new coach Tom Monfiletto as it earned a second straight state crown. The Hun softball team ended a long title title drought, topping Blair in the Prep A championship game to win its first state title since 2004.

Michelle Kwafo singlehandedly put the Stuart Country Day School track team in contention for a state Prep B title. Junior star Kwafo won the 100 meter dash, the 100 hurdles, and took third in the long jump. She also helped the 4×100 relay to victory as the Tartans placed third in the team standings at the meet.

Winter Wishes

For the first time in history, the Ivy League held postseason basketball tournaments and the Princeton men’s hoops team used that tourney as a platform to culminate a historic run through league play. After going 14-0 in regular season action, coach Mitch Henderson’s team edged Penn in overtime in the Ivy semis and then topped Yale in the final to win the tournament.

The Tigers then faced Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Buffalo, N.Y. and battled valiantly before falling 60-58 as a Devin Cannady three-point attempt bounced off the rim in the waning seconds of the contest. The defeat left Princeton with a final record of 23-7. Senior stars Spencer Weisz and Steven Cook led the way for the Tigers as Weisz was named the Ivy Player of the Year and both players were first-team All-League choices. Junior Myles Stephens was also a first-team selection and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year while Cannady earned honorable mention.

The play of freshman standout Bella Alarie was a bright spot as the Tiger women’s hoops ream fought through an up-and-down campaign. Coach Courtney Banghart’s squad posted a 9-5 record in Ivy League play and made it to the league’s postseason tourney. The Tigers topped Harvard in the semis before falling to Penn in the championship game.

Making its eighth-straight appliance in a national postseason tournament, Princeton ended the season by falling to Villanova in the WNIT to end the winter at 16-14 overall. Alarie was named as a first-team All-Ivy choice and the league’s Rookie of the Year. Junior Leslie Robinson was a a second-team All-Ivy selection.

When the Princeton men’s hockey team started the season at 0-6-1, it looked like it could be another long winter for a program that has suffered through a four straight 20-loss seasons. But coach Ron Fogarty’s team caught fire, beating several top-20 teams as it went 13-7-2 over the rest o the regular season to earn home ice for the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

The Tigers then edged Colgate 2-1 in the best-of-three series, averting elimination when a goal by Eric Robinson just before the buzzer in Game 2 kept the season alive. Princeton ended up falling getting swept 2-0 by Union in the ECACH quarters to finish the winter at 15-16-3. Senior goalie Colton Phinney ended his career by setting the program’s all-time saves record while sophomores Josh Teves, Max Veronneau and Ryan Kuffner each earned All-Ivy honors.

A pair of freshman, goalie Steph Neatby and forward Carly Bullock, made an immediate impact as the women’s hockey team enjoyed a superb campaign. Coach Jeff Kampersal’s team posed a 20-10-3 record, advancing the ECACH semis for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

Goalie Neatby was named the ECACH Goalie of the Year and Bullock earned ECACH Rookie of the Year honors. Senior defensemen Kelsey Koelzer and sophomore forward Karlie Lund earned 2nd-team All-ECACH honors. Months after the season, Kampersal stepped down to become the head coach of the Penn State women’s hockey program. Kampersal’s top assistant, Cara Morey, was promoted to succeed him.

Another freshman standout Matthew Kolodzik helped the wrestling team continue its ascension Ivy League title contention. Coach Chris Ayres guide his squad to 4-1 Ivy record, falling to national power Cornell in a title showdown.

Kolodzik, the Ivy Rookie of the Year, went on to win the EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) title at 141 pounds while senior Jordan Laster took the title at 149 as the tigers took third in the team standings at the competition. Kolodzik took seventh at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors, the best finish for a Tiger at that competition since Greg Parker ‘03 reached the 2002 championship match.

Anna van Brummen made history as the fencing program placed fourth at the NCAA championships. Senior van Brummen won the women’s epee, becoming the first-ever Tiger fencer to earn that crown. Coach Zoltan Dudas’ program continued the nation’s longest active streak of bringing home a team trophy from the NCAA championships a seventh year with the fourth place finish

A young women’s swimming team took third in the Ivy League championships in the final competition
in the storied career of legendary coach Susan Teeter, who announced her retirement before the start of the season. In her 33-year tenure, Teeter led the Tigers to 17 titles, which is one more than every other Ivy League team combined. Tennessee Assistant Coach Bret Lundgaard was named as the sixth head coach for the program

Showing its depth, the men’s track pulled away from Cornell to win the Indoor Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. It marked the 20th Indoor Heps crown earned during the tenure of coach Fred Samara, who was inducted in the National Track Coaches Hall of Fame later in the year. Eight Tigers earned first-team All-Ivy League honors with wins, while nine Tigers took home 11 second-team All-Ivy League honors, including double runners-up Charlie Volker and Noah Kauppila.

Senior stalwarts Allison Harris and Julia Ratcliffe led the way as the women’s track team tied for fourth in the Indoor Ivy Heps. Harris won the pole vault while Ratcliffe took the weight throw for coach Michelle Eisenreich’s squad.

Freshman star George Huhmann was a major bright spot for the men’s volleyball team. Coach Sam Shweisky’s team advance to the EIVA semis and ended the year with a 12-14 record. Huhmann became the third Princeton player to earn EIVA Newcomer of the Year honors over the last eight seasons, and he joined fellow middle Junior Oboh on the All-EIVA First Team this season.

Olivia Fiechter starred as the women’s squash team placed fourth in the Howe Cup national team championships. Junior Fiechter earned her third-straight All-Ivy honor, starring at No. 1 for coach Gail Ramsay’s squad.

Placing second in the Hoehn Cup ‘B’ flight of the CSA team championships, the men’s squash team finish 10th overall in the competition. Coach Sean Wilkinson’s team showed promise for the future as freshmen Adhitya Raghavan and Gabriel Morgan along with sophomore Cody Cortes played at the top of the lineup.

Spring Flings

Olivia Hompe ended her brilliant career by leading the women’s lacrosse team to the Ivy League title and the NCAA quarterfinals. Coach Chris Sailer’s team ended the season with a 15-4 record.

Senior attacker Hompe, for her part, set the Princeton single-season record for points with 110 and goals with 75. She graduates as program’s all-time leading scorer and goal-scorer with 285 points on 198 goals and 87 assists. Hompe earned first-team All-American accolades along with her classmate, star goalie Ellie DeGarmo. Over the summer, Hompe helped England earn bronze at the 2017 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup.

The trio of seniors Zach Currier and Gavin McBride along with freshman phenom Michael Sowers helped men’s lacrosse enjoy a solid campaign. Coach Matt Madalon’s squad went 9-6 and advanced to the Ivy League semifinals.

Currier was named a first-team All-America midfielder after a season that saw him lead all Division I middies in assists (34) and points (58). Sowers was named a second-team All-America attackman after a season in which he set a Princeton record with 82 points (41 goals, 41 assists) while becoming the first player in program history and fifth Ivy Leaguer and second Division I freshman ever to have at least 40 goals and 40 assists in a season. McBride led Division I in goals scored (54) and goals scored per game (3.6). His 54 goals also set a program record for goals in a season, breaking the record of 53 set by Jesse Hubbard in 1996.

Led by senior ace pitcher Claire Klausner, the softball team win its second straight Ivy League Championship Series. Coach Lisa Van Ackeren guided the Tigers to a 25-20 record.

Righty hurler Klausner saved her best for last, going 11-7 with a 3.70 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 125 innings and was named the Ivy Pitcher of the Year.

Freshman David Harding proved to be a bright spot as the baseball team suffered through a rough spring. Coach Scott Bradley’s squad went 12-28-1 overall and 7-13 in Ivy play.

Harding enjoyed an impressive debut campaign, leading the team with a .318 batting average, producing 35 hits, 14 runs scored and 19 RBIs as he earned second-team All-Ivy honors.

With All-American goalie Ashleigh Johnson anchoring the defense, the women’s water polo team enjoyed another superb campaign. Coach Luis Nicolao’s team went 24-4 as it advanced to the CWPA finals, where it lost a 5-4 nail-biter to Michigan.

Johnson, who helped the U.S. water polo team win a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, went 22-4, had 300 saves and a .693 save percentage in her final season. She led the team with 54 steals and added 16 assists. She finished her career as the Princeton’s all-time leader in saves (1,362) and earned 100 career victories.

Showing it depth, men’s heavyweight crew team earned two medals at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championship regatta. The second varsity 8 and the varsity 4 each took third for coach Greg Hughes. The varsity 8 just missed medal as it placed fourth.

The varsity 4 without coxswain provided a highlight for the men’s lightweight varsity program as it took second at the IRA championships. Coach Marty Crotty’s varsity 8 came in fifth, missing a medal by just under three seconds.

For the women’s open crew, the highlight of the season came when the varsity 8 won the Ivy League championship regatta. Coach Lori Dauphiny’s top boat ended up taking ninth at the NCAA Championships. The Tiger varsity 4 took sixth at the NCAA event.

Returning to the medal stand at the IRA regatta for the first time since 2011, the women’s lightweight varsity 8 paced third. Coach Paul Rassam’s varsity 4 also did well at the IRAs, placing sixth.

Rallying to overtake Cornell in the final event, the men’s track won its 18th Outdoor Heps title. Coach Fred Samara’s squad trailed by one point heading into the final event, the decathlon, and came through with the title as Harry Lord placed third and Justice Dixon took fifth.

The Tigers had four winners in the two-day competition as Christopher Cook won the shot-put, August Kiles prevailed in the pole vault, Greg Leeper placed first in the 400 hurdles and Joey Daniels was the winner in the 110 hurdles.

Distance star Lizzie Bird set the pace as the women’s track team placed third at the Outdoor Ivy Heps. Bird won the steeplechase and helped the 4×800 relay to victory. Coach Micelle Eisenreich also got wins at the meet from Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer throw and Allison Harris in the pole vault.

Alex Dombrowski saved his best for last, starring at the Ivy League Championships for men’s golf. Senior Dombrowski fired a final round 67 to tied for second individually as coach Will Green’s team jumped to third in the final standings.

Producing a dominant performance, the women’s golf team rolled to the title at the Ivy League Championships. With Amber Wang placing first individually, coach Erika DeSanty’s squad placed 31 strokes ahead of runner-up Harvard, the third largest margin of victory in the history of the event.

Alex Day was a standout for the men’s tennis team, earning second-team All-Ivy honors at both singles and doubles. Coach Billy Pate’s team went 14-12 overall and 4-3 Ivy.

Led by the doubles team of Caroline Joyce and Nicole Kalhorn, women’s tennis placed fourth in the Ivy League. Coach Laura Granville’s squad went 13-9 overall and 4-3 Ivy as the doubles pair of Joyce and Kalhorn earned first-team All-Ivy honors.

Fall Fun

Featuring a high-powered attack and stingy defense, the women’s soccer team produced one of the best seasons in program history. The Tigers went 6-1 in Ivy League play to win the league crown and then advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals, knocking off Monmouth, N.C. State, and perennial champion North Carolina along the way. Coach Sean Driscoll’s team fell 3-1 at UCLA in the national quarters to end the season at 16-3-1.

A program record nine players were named to All-Ivy League teams with senior midfielder Vanessa Gregoire getting named the Ivy League Co-Offensive Player of the Year and Driscoll earning the Ivy League Coach of the Year honor for the second time in his three seasons. Sophomore Abby Givens, junior Mimi Asom, and sophomore Courtney O’Brien each had at least 10 goals and were chosen as All-Ivy selections. Senior defenders, Natalie Larkin, Mikaela Symanovich, and Katie Pratt-Thompson, were named second-team honorees, while sophomore keeper Natalie Grossi and freshman Lucy Rickerson received honorable mention.

Ryan McCarthy triggered the offense and Maddie Bacskai spearheaded the defense as the field hockey enjoyed a big season. The Tigers went undefeated in Ivy league play and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals where they fell 3-2 to North Carolina. Coach Carla Tagliente’s squad ended the season with a 12-7 record.

Senior McCarthy scored 17 goals and earned second-team All-American honors while sophomore Bacskai sparked a back line that ranked 18th nationally in shutouts per game (0.26) and 18th in goals-against-average (1.50).

Maddie O’Connell led the way as the women’s volleyball battled Yale in a topsy-turvy Ivy title race. The rivals tied for first at the end of the regular season and Princeton prevailed 3-0 over the Bulldogs in a playoff game for the league’s berth in the NCAA tournament. Coach Sabrina King’s team fell 3-0 to Iowa State in the NCAA to end the fall at 18-8.

Sophomore O’Connell was named the Ivy Player of the Year after being the only player to rank in the Top 5 in the league in both kills and points, as well as in the Top 10 in attack percentage.

Chad Kanoff produced a season for the ages in his final campaign for the football team. Senior quarterback Kanoff broke the Princeton career record for passing yards (7,510) and set the Ivy record for single-season passing yards (3,474) in earning Asa S. Bushnell Cup as the 2017 Ivy League Football Offensive Player of the Year. But with a rash of injuries decimating the Tiger defense, coach Bob Surace’s squad went 5-5 overall and 2-5 Ivy with Princeton having a chance to win in its final possession in each of its league losses.

Jeremy Colvin showed a finishing touch in a frustrating season for men’s soccer as he tallied five goals and three assists to earn second-team All-Ivy honors. Suffering three one-goal losses in league play, coach Jim Barlow’s team went 6-7-4 overall and 2-3-2 Ivy.

Jordan Colina and Sean Duncan led the offense while Vojislav Mitrovic starred in goal as the men’s water polo spent most of the season ranked in top 15 in the nation. Coach Luis Nicolao’s squad fell to Harvard on double overtime in the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) Championship Game to fall just short of making the NCAAs.

The Tigers posted a final record of 22-6 as the trio of Colina, Duncan, and Mitrovic each earned honorable mention All-American honors.

Noah Kauppila, Conor Lundy, and Garrett O’Toole led the way as men’s cross country cruised to the program’s 19th Ivy League Heps Title. The trip of Kauppila, Lundy, and O’Toole produced a 2-3-4 finish for a score of 28 with runner-up Columbia coming in with 43. Coach Jason Vigilante’s squad went on to win the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional with sophomore Lundy taking fourth to lead the way. The Tigers culminated the fall by taking 28th at the NCAA Championships.

Gabi Forrest won the individual title at the Ivy League Heptagonal Champion to provide a major highlight for the women’s cross country team. Coach Brad Hunt’s squad took fourth overall at the Heps. Junior star Forrest went to take third at the third at the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional and compote in the NCAA Championships where she placed 37th to earn All-America honors.


Blake Brown and Tanner Preston went out on a high note as the Hun School boys’ hockey team won its fourth straight Mercer county Tournament crown. Senior forward Brown and senior defenseman Preston were the stalwarts as the Raiders overcame a slow start but then went on a roll in the MCT with a title run that culminated with a 4-3 win over Princeton High. Coach Ian McNally’s team ended the winter at 8-16.

Senior stars Austin Hutcherson and Desmond Cambridge were bright spots as the boys’ basketball team endured a frustrating campaign. Coach Jon Stone guided his squad to a 11-15 record as it advanced to both the MAPL and state Prep A semis.

Bouncing back from 1-22 season in 2015-16, the girls’ basketball team went 10-14. The addition of sophomore transfer Jada Jones and post-grad Anna Maguire provided some punch in the backcourt for coach Bill Holup’s improved squad.

Replacing legendary head coach Bill McQuade, Tom Monfiletto picked up where McQuade had left off when he retired in 2016, guiding the Hun baseball team to its second straight state Prep A title. The Raiders routed Lawrenceville 15-3 in the title clincher as seniors Matt Moore, Mike Pedota, Ryan Strype, Chris Summers and Joaquin Hernandez-Burt all starred in the finale.

Longtime Hun softball Kathy Quirk added another title to her resume as the Raiders topped Blair 7-0 in the state Prep A championship game. Senior star catcher Julie Fassl, sophomore third baseman Meghan Donahue, freshman shortstop Gigi Venizelos and junior pitcher Alanna Pearson all played key roles as Hun won its first Prep A title since 2004.

Freshman Trevor Deubner and senior defender and Yale-bound Chris Fake starred as the boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed another solid season. Coach MV Whitlow led his squad to the state Prep A title game and an 8-7 record,

Seniors Delia Lawver, Shannon Dudeck, and Kate Davis provided production and leadership as girls’ lacrosse made a big step forward in its rebuilding process. Coach Liz Cook’s team advanced to the state Prep A semis and had a final record of 12-4.

Rolling to a 7-0 start, the football team extended its winning streak to 29. Running into a buzz-saw, the streak ended with a thud as Hun fell 61-7 to Peddie. Bouncing back from that defeat, the Raiders defeated Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) in their finale to earn a tie for the MAPL title. Coach Todd Smith’s team was led by quarterback Patrick Holly and running back Josh Henderson as ended with an 8-1 record.

Junior goalie M.C. Shea held the fort as field hockey endured a tough season. Coach Kathy Quirk’s team went 5-13-1.

The addition of post-grad Alex Peeters gives the attack a boost while junior goal Chris Pontrella spearheaded the defense for boys’ soccer. Coach Pat Quirk’s team lost a number of close games on the way to 3-13 record.

Overcoming a mid-season slump, girls’ soccer saved its best for last, earning the MAPL title and advancing to the state Prep A title game. Breezy Worthy, Nicole Angelini, and Nicole Apuzzi provided offensive production while goalie Leah Suphen stood tall in goal for coach Joanna Hallac as the Raiders ended the fall at 10-7.


Tyler Coffey and Coby Auslander sparked the offense while senior goalie Logan Kramsky was brilliant between the pipes as the boys’ hockey team won the state Prep title. The Panthers edged nemesis Morristown-Beard 2-1 in the championship game to earn their first Prep title since 2014. Coach Scott Bertoli guided his team to a 13-11-2 record.

A trio of senior standouts, forward Kiely French, defenseman Kristi Serafin, and goalie Annika Asplundh, saved their best for last as the girls’ hockey team produced a superb season. The Panthers reached the state prep championship game and finished third in the WILHMA (Women’s Interscholastic Hockey League of the Mid-Atlantic) playoffs. Coach Lorna Cook’s squad ended the winter at 15-11-1.

Led by senior stars Chase Lewis and John McArthur, who both passed the 1,000-point mark in their careers, the boys’ basketball team enjoyed another winning campaign. Coach Tim Williams guided the Panthers to an 18-9 record and an appearance in the state Prep B semis.

Shayla Stevenson, Ryan Robinson, Brooke Smukler, and Bridget Kane starred as the girls’ basketball team persevered through an up-and-down campaign. Coach Kamau Bailey’s squad posted an 8-17 record.

With Elon Tuckman and Will Brossman piling up the points and goalie Connor Green leading a stingy defense, the boys’ lacrosse team produced another championship double, winning both the Mercer County Tournament and the state Prep B title for a second straight year. Coach Rich D’Andrea’s squad posted a 14-2 record.

Morgan Mills and Madison Mundenar formed a potent one-two punch as the girls’ lacrosse program kept a title streak of its own alive, winning a third straight state Prep B title. Coach Jill Thomas guided her high-scoring team to a 10-4 mark.

Lex Decker starred at first singles as the boys’ tennis squad enjoyed another successful campaign. Coach Will Asch guided the Panthers to second in the Prep B tournament and fourth in the MCT.

With senior stalwarts Paul Franzoni, Chase Fleming, Russeel Kirczow, and Ryan Sparks providing production and leadership and junior Luke Franzoni emerging as a power hitter, the baseball team had some big moments. The Panthers posted some wins over Prep A foes and advanced to the MCT quarterfinals. Coach Brian Dudeck’s squad finished the spring at 10-10.

Led by a trio of seniors, Annika Asplundh, Kiely French and Amanda Ostendorf, the softball program made progress. Coach Paul Lano guided the Panthers to a 3-9 record.

Buoyed by senior defenders Maddie Coyne and Becca Kuszmicz along with some precocious freshman performers in Kelly Beal, Jules Romano, and Sophie Miranda, the girls’ soccer team continued its championship streak. The Panthers tied Montclair Kimberley 0-0 in the state Prep B final to share the crown. It marked the fifth straight Prep B title for the program. Coach Pat Trombetta’s squad ended the fall at 12-6-1.

C.J. Uche and Donovan Davis starred as the boys’ soccer had another solid campaign. The Panthers advanced to the MCT quarterfinals and the prep B semis. Coach Ollie Hilliker’s squad posted a final record of 10-7.

Sasha Sindhwani and Val Radvany triggered the offense as the field hockey team enjoyed a solid campaign. The Panthers advanced to the state Prep B title game where they lost an overtime heartbreaker to Montclair Kimberley, Coach Heather Farlow’s squad posted a final record of 12-6.

Sparked by its doubles pairs, the girls’ tennis proved to be formidable. The first doubles team of Arya Jha and Tarika Kumar along with the second doubles duo of Emma Dries and Guilia Gerschel each won their flights at the MCT as the Panthers took second in the team standings. Coach Ed Tseng’s squad ended the season by placing third in the Prep B tourney.

The cross country program made strides, led by freshman Gunnar Clingman and sophomore Kevin Dougherty. Coach John Woodside’s team placed fifth at the state Prep B championship meet.


Led by senior stalwarts Brendon McCormick, Eamonn McDonald, Tooker Callaway and Sawyer Peck, the Princeton High boys’ hockey made a historic run in the state tournament. Knocking off top-seeded Morris Knolls along the way, the Little Tigers advanced to their first-ever Public semifinal where they fell 6-3 to Watchung Hills. Coach Terence Miller’s ream finished the winter with a sparkling 19-4-4 record.

Alex Petruso set the pace in the sprint events for the boys’ swimming squad, helping it place fourth in the Mercer County Championships. Coach Carly Misiewicz’s squad finished the winter with a 10-4 mark in dual meets.

Melinda Tang and Maddie Whaley produced solid final campaigns for the girls’ swimming team as it took fifth at the county meet. Coach Carly Misiewicz guided the Little Tigers to a 9-3-1 record in dual meet competition.

Maggie Herring and Alexa Zammit sparked the offense as the girls’ hockey fought to be competitive. Coach Christian Herzog led the Little Tigers to a 3-10 final record.

Zahrion Blue was a one-man show for the boys’ basketball team. The senior star averaged 22.3 points a game and eclipsed the 1,000-point mark in his career in the process. Coach Pat Noone enjoyed a solid debut season at the helm of the program as PHS went 12-14.

Sophomore forward Cat Dyevich and Erin Devine showed promise for girls’ basketball as the team took its lumps. Coach Stephen Hennessy’s squad posted a final record of 6-20.

Distance stars Alex Roth and Will Hare set the pace as the boys’ indoor track team made some history of its own. Coach Ben Samara’s squad win the team title at the Central Jersey Group 4 indoor sectional, the program’s first ever sectional indoor crown at the Group 4 level.

James Verbeyst and Alec Bobchin stood out for the wrestling team. Verbeyst won the county title at 160 pounds while Bobchin prevailed at 126 to help coach Rashone Johnson’s squad finish sixth in the team standings at the competition.

Led by senior stars Johnny Lopez-Ona, Eamonn McDonald and Justin Marciano, the boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed a late surge. Coach Chip Casto’s team advanced to the semifinals of the Northern Jersey Group 3 tournament and finished with a 10-9 record.

Mariana Lopez-Ona and Shaylah Marciano provided scoring punch for the girls’ lacrosse team as it made a fine tournament run. Coach Sara Doran guided the squad to a 14-8 record and a spot in the semis of the Central Jersey Group 4 tournament in her debut campaign at the helm of the program.

Kevin Yang and Simon Hwang starred at singles as boys’ tennis maintained its winning tradition. Coach Saran Hibbert led the team to a 14-5 record as it took sixth at the county tournament and advanced to the sectional quarterfinals.

Paul Cooke enjoyed a stellar season for the baseball team, hitting .438 with 18 RBIs. Cooke’s heroics provided a highlight in a tough spring as coach Dave Roberts’ squad posted a 6-17-1 record.

Senior pitcher Kayla Volante battled valiantly as the softball team went through an up-and-down campaign. Coach Marissa Soprano guide the Little Tigers to a 6-16 record in her first season at the helm of the program.

Showing depth with Alex Roth and Will Hare starring at the distance events, Simon Schenk emerging as a force at the pole vault, Paul Brennan becoming a star thrower, and jumpers Nils Wildberg and Varun Narayan making progress, the boys’ track team had a big spring. The Little Tigers finished second at the county meet and third at Central Jersey Group 4 meet for coach Rashone Johnson.

Jackie Patterson starred for the girls’ track team. Patterson placed second in the 400 and helped the 4×400 relay take first at the county meet as coach Jim Smirk’s squad paced ninth overall at the competition.

Drew Beamer emerged as one of the top scorers in the area and goalie Patrick Jacobs spearheaded a stingy defense as the boys’ soccer team enjoyed a memorable campaign. After losing in the Mercer County Tournament semis, the Little Tigers knocked off a pair of state top-20 foes on the way to the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title and advanced to the state Group 4 championship game, where they fell 3-1 to undefeated powerhouse Kearny. With PHS having moved top to Group 4 from Group 3 in 2015, the title marked a first at that level for the proud program. Coach Wayne Sutcliffe’s team finished the fall at 17-6-1.

A pair of senior stars, Colette Marciano and Devon Lis, led the way from the midfield for girls’ soccer. Coach Val Rodriguez’s led the Little Tigers to a 10-6-2 record and appearance in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.

With senior Will Hare ending his career with a bang, the boys’ cross country team maintained its status as one of the elite programs in the state. Penn-bound Hare placed first in the county meet, the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet and the state group 4 meet. Coach Jim Smirk’s team won the county and sectional meet and then placed second in the state Group 4 meet and took fourth at the Meet of Champions.

Senior star Chloe Taylor set the pace as the girls’ cross country team enjoyed a solid season. Coach Jim Smirk’s squad placed second at the county meet and fourth at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet.

Hit with a rash of injuries, the football team struggled. Seniors Mose Mahiri, Adam Musa, Finn Kaiser, Takahi Carter, Marqui McBride, and Will Smith hung in there as the Little Tigers went 0-10. With a solid core of juniors returning, coach Charlie Gallagher sees a better things ahead for the program.

Defender Lily Leonard and goalie Kate Rogers spearheaded a stingy defense and Mariana Lopez-Ona sparked the attack as the field hockey team produced a superb season. The Little Tigers knocked off two higher seeds on the way to the MCT final where they fell to Lawrenceville. Coach Heather Serverson’s team ended with fall with a loss in the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional quarters to post a final record of 10-7-2.

The play of Spencer Watts at first singles and Sora Sato and Adriana Todorova at second doubles helped lead girls’ tennis to a solid season. Coach Sarah Hibbert’s team posted a 15-3 record in dual match action and placed fifth at the county tournament and advanced to the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.

A trio of senior stalwarts, Anna Cao, Rachel Cheng, and Sara Vigiano along with precocious sophomore Gillian Hauschild helped the girls’ volleyball program reach unprecedented heights. The Little Tigers posted their first-ever wins in the state tournament, advancing to the state Group 4 quarterfinals. Coach Patty Manhart’s also won its second straight WJIVL title to highlight a brilliant campaign that saw it go 31-2.


The one-two punch of Jalynn Spaulding and Bey-Shana Clark helped the basketball team enjoy another winning campaign. Coach Justin Leith’s squad advanced to the state Prep B semis and posted a final record of 18-10.

Michelle Kwafo emerged as a star performer for the track program. Junior star Kwafo won the 100 meter dash, the 100 hurdles, and took third in the long jump at the state Prep B meet. She also helped the 4×100 relay to victory as coach Len Klepack’s team placed third overall at the competition.

Junior star Aki Hannah triggered the attack and senior captains Izy Engel, Claire Landers, and Caitlyn Delaney provided leadership as the lacrosse team battled through a tough schedule. Coach Missy Bruvik’s squad ended the spring at 6-10.

Senior goalie Sam Johnson enjoyed a big final campaign for the field hockey team, keeping Stuart in almost every game. Coach Missy Bruvik’s club made it to the state Prep B semis and finished the fall with a 9-10-1 record.

Allie Rounds set the pace for the cross country team, taking eighth individually at the state Prep B meet as coach Len Klepack’s squad placed fourth overall at the competition.