February 15, 2023

STICKING TOGETHER: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Mia Hartman, right, listens in as PDS head coach Seraphine Hamilton instructs the squad during a timeout in recent action. Last Saturday, junior star Hartman scored 10 points as the Panthers fell 48-32 to Princeton High in the quarterfinals of the Mercer County Invitational. PDS, now 3-18, is next in action when it competes in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A South Jersey sectional tournament, where it is seeded 14th and will play at third-seeded Trinity Hall in a first round contest on February 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Determined to get the most out of her junior season for the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team, Mia Hartman has spent a lot of time honing her game.

“I play nine out of the 12 months, I am definitely playing a lot,” said Hartman, who competes for the AUF Lady Hawks on the AAU circuit. “I am definitely working on my craft and having a lot of confidence in myself. Last year, it was hard figuring out my role but this year I definitely figured it out.”

That work has paid off as Hartman has solidified her role as the squad’s top scorer, tallying more than twice as many points as anyone else on PDS.

“I feel my team gives me the momentum to score, they pass it to me,” said Hartman. “I am close to reaching 500 points. It is definitely a huge part of my role and I feel like it gets us going. My progress has been really good this year. Playing AAU over the summer and my training and a lot of gym work that I put in this summer has definitely helped me around the basket.”

Last Wednesday, Hartman displayed her skills around the hoop, scoring eight points in the first half as the Panthers trailed WW/P-South 19-12 at halftime.

“When we start to score, the bench starts to get into it and we start to get into it,” said Hartman, reflecting on a second quarter which saw PDS outscore the Pirates 8-6. “It definitely helps the momentum. If we started that from the beginning, I think it would have been a different game.”

The Panthers rallied to draw within 28-21 early in the fourth quarter but could get no closer as they fell 34-23. more

DRIVE TIME: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Mason McQueen drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior guard McQueen scored a team-high 10 points as a short-handed PDS squad fell 59-30 to Hillsborough. The Panthers, who lost 71-60 to Doane Academy in the Prep B state semis on Friday and then lost 59-27 to Trenton Central in the Mercer County Tournament quarterfinals a day later to move to 8-14, are next in action when they compete in New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B South Jersey sectional where they are seeded 11th and will play at sixth-seeded Gloucester Catholic in a first round contest on February 22. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Mason McQueen knew he was going to draw a lot of attention as the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team hosted Hillsborough last Wednesday.

With backcourt stars and leading scorers Jaden Hall and Jaden Dublin sidelined by injury for the contest, senior guard McQueen took control of the PDS offense.

“It was different because they are two big parts of our offense and without them, they are able to focus on me and Bram [Silva] more,” said McQueen. “They are able to put the focal points on us.”

Missing Hall and Dublin, the Panthers struggled as they fell behind 32-15 by halftime.

McQueen scored five points in the early moments of the third quarter as PDS tried to rally against the Raiders.

“I don’t like losing and the team doesn’t like losing,” said McQueen. “We had to step up.” more

SUPER SAVER: Hun School boys’ hockey goalie Stephen Chen turns away a shot in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior standout Chen made 37 saves to help Hun edge Malvern Prep (Pa.) 2-1 as it improved to 9-12. In addition to starring for the Raiders, Chen recently competed for the China squad in Division II, Group B of the 2023 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship in Iceland. In upcoming action, Hun plays at Princeton Day School on February 16 and then hosts Academie Saint-Louis (Canada) on February 18. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Emotions were running high as the Hun School boys’ hockey team hosted Malvern Prep (Pa.) last Wednesday at the Ice Land Skating Center.

Hun was holding its annual Senior Day ceremony and was hoping to use the occasion to snap a three-game losing streak.

“It was great because it was senior night. We have a huge crew — we have 11 kids between varsity and JV,” said Hun head coach Ian McNally. “It was, ‘wait a minute, we are on a little skid here, let’s fix it today.’”

Hun went on to fix things, pulling out a hard-earned 2-1 victory as it improved to 9-12.

“It was timely, they played really well,” said McNally, who got goals from Brendan Marino and Charles Guida in the victory with senior goalie Stephen Chen making 37 saves.

Star goalie Chen, who recently starred for the China squad in Division II, Group B of the 2023 Ice Hockey U20 World Championship in Iceland, has been a key performer this winter for the Raiders.

“He has been playing great; he is strong and he is one of the more influential players that we will have on any game that we play this year,” said McNally of Chen. “When he is on, we are pretty darn good.”

The Raiders boast two other influential seniors in high-scoring forward Elian Estulin and standout defenseman Mark Gall.

“If Elian doesn’t have a point every game, I would be surprised,” said McNally of Estulin, who has tallied 32 points this season on 16 goals and 16 assists. “He is a catalyst for our offense for sure. We promoted Mark to defense this season. I think he has scored more goals (7 goals, 6 assists) playing defense than he did at forward.”

The trio of Chen, Estulin, and Gall has provided leadership as well as production. more

February 8, 2023

GETTING IN RHYTHM: Princeton University men’s basketball player Deven Austin dribbles upcourt last Saturday against Columbia. Freshman guard Austin scored 10 points to help Princeton defeat the Lions 88-66. A night earlier, Austin scored 13 points and had eight rebounds as Princeton rallied to edge Cornell 89-82 and give head coach Mitch Henderson his 200th career victory. Princeton, now 16-6 overall and 7-2 Ivy League, plays at Dartmouth on February 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

History was both celebrated and made as the Princeton University men’s basketball team hosted Cornell last Friday night.

Before the contest, which matched teams tied atop the Ivy League standings, Princeton held a ceremony honoring the 25th anniversary of the storied 1996-1998 Tiger teams that posted a 73-13 overall record and a 40-2 league mark.

A large contingent of players and coaches from those squads was on hand and introduced to the cheers of the Jadwin Gym crowd. The last two players recognized were the head coaches facing off in the Ivy showdown, Princeton’s Mitch Henderson ’98 and Cornell’s Brian Earl ’99.

“We were so lucky to be influenced by such great mentors and such great coaches,” said Henderson, noting that former coaches Bill Carmody, John Thomson III, and Howard Levy were all present for the event.

“It is a really rare thing. What you want as a head coach for your team is to experience what we got to experience, which is a really special group of guys with great players and  great people. When you come here, you want to make your mark because there have been so many teams before you that have done so. It was just amazing to see so many people — 25 years is a long time ago.”

That experience has greatly impacted Henderson’s coaching approach.

“There are pieces of Brian, Sydney [Johnson], Steve Goodrich, Bill, Joe [Scott], John and Howie in what I do; almost everything I say is regurgitated from somebody else,” said Henderson, noting that Tiger coach Pete Carril, who passed away this past August, was also a huge influence on his coaching.

“Everything should be cited, and then you have put your own stamp on it. It has never been lost on me, how lucky you get to come here. I felt that today. It was very emotional after those teams walked off the floor. It really hit me hard.”

The clash against Cornell turned into an emotional contest as Princeton found itself trailing 45-35 at halftime before rallying for a hard-earned 89-82 win before a crown of 2,241.  more

HEAVY LIFTING: Princeton University wrestler Travis Stefanik, top, controls a foe in recent action. Last Saturday, senior Stefanik, ranked No. 33 at 285 pounds, earned a 5-3 sudden victory win over No. 18 Cory Day of Binghamton as the Tigers won the dual 28-10 over the Bearcats. Princeton, now 3-9 overall, has a dual at Penn on February 10 and then hosts Lehigh on February 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Chris Ayres went through slumps during his college wrestling career at Lehigh, and he’s expecting that his Princeton University team will come out of its slump soon.

The Tigers as individuals and as a team have shown their potential, it just hasn’t been as consistently displayed as they would like. Last weekend was more of the same as Princeton split its matches, losing 32-7 to No. 5 Cornell before topping Binghamton, 28-10.

“This year we’ve been in a little bit of a slump and I think it’s been reflected among some guys too,” said Princeton head coach Ayres. “For whatever reason, we are not finding the consistency we’ve had in the past.”

The Tigers have been steadily trending upwards as a program over the last 17 years with Ayres. Whether it’s been individuals making breakthroughs at the national level or the team competing better in the Ivy League or the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) tournament, Princeton has found something to build on each year. This year, the highlights may have to come at the end of the season when the tournaments are biggest. more

KILLER B: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Brendan Beatty looks for the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Wednesday, sophomore forward Beatty scored two goals to help PHS rally from a 4-0 deficit to edge Paul VI 6-5. The Tigers, who defeated Central Bucks South (Pa.) 7-5 last Friday to improve to 11-6-1, start play in the Mercer County Tournament this week. The Tigers are seeded sixth in the MCT and will face seventh-seeded WWP Hockey Co-op in a quarterfinal contest on February 8 at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Even though the Princeton High boys’ hockey team trailed Paul VI 4-0 late in the second period last Wednesday, Brendan Beatty and his PHS teammates weren’t fazed.

“We just had to play as one team,” said Tiger sophomore forward Beatty. “We just had to stay positive, nobody had their heads down.”

Beatty produced a positive moment for PHS, scoring a goal with 1:38 left in the second period to get the Tigers on the board.

“I just saw the shot and took the shot and TT Zhao was in front of the net screening the goalie,” said Beatty. “I just took the shot and the goalie didn’t see the puck.”

In the third period, the Tigers buried shots, putting together a furious rally which saw them outscore the Eagles 5-1 over the last 10 minutes of the contest.

“Gabe’s goal to make it 4-2, we got a little energy on the bench,” said Beatty referring to a tally by senior Gabe Silverstein which started the outburst. “We stated making some hits and we started making some plays. That is how we bounced back. We were passing the puck. We did not move the puck in the first and second period.” more

RILED UP: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Riley Devlin looks to pass the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Devlin scored 14 points to help PHS defeat Spotswood 54-26 and improve to 10-9. The Tigers host Medford Tech on February 8 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a tough 36-28 defeat to Trenton Central last Friday, the Princeton High girls’ basketball team was determined to get back on the winning track when it hosted Spotswood a day later.

“We lost yesterday, it was tight,” said PHS junior guard Riley Devlin. “We really knew that this game was important.”

The Tigers had additional motivation when they hit the court as the program was holding its annual Senior Day celebration with the star guard Rachel Luo as the sole honoree for the varsity.

“We were so excited, all we wanted to do was to make sure that it was memorable for Rachel,” added Devlin. “We knew we had to play really tough for Rachel.”

The Tigers played tough from the opening tip-off, jumping out to a 28-12 halftime lead.

“We worked really hard,” said Devlin. “I think we played as a team and we shared the ball.” more

LOW RIDER: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Brady Logue, right, goes after the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, freshman standout Logue scored a goal in a losing cause as PDS fell 8-2 at Lawrenceville. The Panthers, who lost 4-1 to Delbarton last Monday to move to 6-8-3, will be starting action in the Gordon Conference tournament on February 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a new venue but the same excitement as the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team faced local rival Lawrenceville School last Thursday evening.

Playing in Lawrenceville’s gleaming new rink, the stands were packed with some fans overflowing to the balcony and others lining the glass. Both student sections were in full voice, chanting at each other.

Fueled by the electric atmosphere, the foes produced a rollicking first period, filled with end-to-end rushes, bone-crunching hits, scraps, penalties, and goals.

“It is tremendous, this is why so many people come out to this game,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli. “It is an event for both schools, for both communities. The kids get excited to play in the this game. You don’t get this in any other hockey environment at the high school level, you are not replicating that at the club level. For our kids to have that experience, it is so important.”

Lawrenceville jumped out to a 2-0 lead but PDS answered back with a goal by freshman standout Brady Logue. After the Big Red added another goal to go up 3-1, the Panthers responded with a tally by senior star Rosh Nissangaratchie. Lawrenceville tacked on two goals in the last 3:42 of the period to extend its advantage to 5-2. more

TURNING A CORNER: Hun School boys’ basketball player Anthony Loscalzo dribbles past a foe in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Loscalzo scored 21 points to help Hun defeat Solebury School (Pa.) 71-48. The Raiders, who improved to 12-9 with the win, will play the Peddie School on February 10 in the opening round of the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament at Mercersburg Academy (Pa.). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After starting last week by sinking to a low point with a discouraging loss to rival Lawrenceville, the Hun School boys’ basketball team found itself at a crossroads.

Hun head coach Jon Stone was hoping that the 85-65 defeat to Lawrenceville on January 31 would be a wake-up call as Hun finished the week by playing at Academy of New Church (Pa.) last Thursday and Solebury School (Pa.) two days later.

Bouncing back, the Raiders rallied to edge ANC 61-60 and then cruised to a 71-48 triumph over Solebury as they improved to 12-9.

“We had a really gritty, gutty win against ANC,” said Stone. “We trailed the whole game and we were down 15 twice, so for us to come back and win that game on the road was a really good sign.” more

MAKING A STATEMENT: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States heads to the hoops in recent action. Last Saturday, freshman star States scored 18 points in a losing cause as seventh-seeded Stuart fell 61-34 to second-seeded Pennington in the Prep B state quarterfinals. The Tartans, now 3-5, host Peddie on February 8 and Solebury School (Pa.) on February 10 before starting play in the Mercer County Tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Stuart Country Day School basketball team’s 61-34 loss to Pennington in the Prep B state quarterfinals last Saturday was disappointing on one level, the performance actually represented progress for the Tartans.

Having been routed 71-26 by Pennington its season opener on December 5, Stuart displayed reliance and grit in the postseason rematch.

“The light is really shining right now,” said Stuart head coach Tony Bowman, whose team moved to 3-5 with the defeat. “The loss to Pennington was a loss only in the record because it was a win for leadership, for mobility, for our effort, and for our conversation and just being together as a team. It was big for us.”

Seventh-seeded Stuart battled to the final whistle against second-seeded Pennington, getting outscored just 29-27 in the second half.

“We really did well in the third and fourth quarter, it was much closer,” said Bowman. “The girls said, ‘We want more.’ In the beginning of the season, we were kind of distraught. We weren’t wanting to play more games against talented teams. Now they are wanting to play anybody. They want to get on the floor and test their wits. I appreciate that.” more

February 1, 2023

DAN THE MAN: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin flies through the breaststroke leg of the 200-meter medley last Saturday at the Mercer County Swimming Championships. Senior star Baytin placed first in both the 50-meter freestyle and the 100 breaststroke races to help PHS earn its second straight team title at the competition. Baytin, who was named the boys’ Most Valuable Swimmer, set a meet record in the breaststroke with his time of 1:03.84 in the preliminary round. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Carly Misiewicz sensed that her Princeton High boys’ swimming team was primed for a big performance at the Mercer County Swimming Championships when it met on Friday before the preliminary round of the competition.

“They were really fired up and focused for the prelims; we had our team lunch and our meeting beforehand and I feel like the energy was exactly where it needed to be,” said PHS head coach Misiewicz, whose boys’ squad was going for its second straight county title. “I see that as a fine line of cocky and confidence. Going off the regular season record (12-0), there are a lot of expectations and a lot of hopes but you never know. Anything could happen at the county meet. It is a very different situation.”

After a superb performance in the prelims Friday evening, the Tigers wasted no time dominating on Saturday at the WW/P-North pool, winning three of the first four events.

PHS went on to roll to its second straight county crown, scoring 312 points to take first with Notre Dame scoring 171 in taking second.

Saving his best for last, senior standout Daniel Baytin was named the boys’ Most Valuable Swimmer at the meet, placing first in both the 50-meter freestyle and 100 breaststroke. He set a meet record in the breaststroke with his time of 1:03.84 in the preliminary round.

“I was just really excited for Dan, it is something he really worked for; I think he felt a little disappointed that he didn’t get it last year,” said Misiewicz, referring to the MVS honor. “He annihilated the old county record in the breaststroke by almost two seconds in prelims. His time in finals (1:05.28) would have actually broken the record as well. He also had a great 50 free.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Annie Zhao heads to a first-place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Mercer County Swimming Championships last Saturday at WW/P-North. Senior Zhao, who also took second in the 100 freestyle, helped PHS win its second straight team title at the competition. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It would have been easy for the Princeton High girls’ swimming team to have gotten a little flustered as they dealt with some chaos in the preliminary round of the Mercer County Swimming Championships last Thursday evening.

With the computer at the WW/P-North pool crashing, the competition got started an hour and a half late and didn’t end until 11 p.m.

Yet the PHS swimmers stayed locked in as they started their pursuit of a second straight county crown.

“It was tough; you warm up, you get changed, you get ready, you are mentally ready to get started and then they had no idea when they were going to start,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz. “Seeing how quickly we were able to turn around and get our focus and start up with a bang in the 200 medley relay speaks volumes to what the girls are capable of. I was so impressed with what happened on Thursday.”

In the finals on Saturday, PHS started with a bang, taking first in the 200 medley relay, edging runner-up Robbinsville by 0.58 seconds.

“We knew we were going to be pushed by Robbinsville, they have a very talented group of girls as well,” said Misiewicz.  “It was going to be a great race. We were going to push them, they were going to push us. That is what it is all about, being able to have that competitiveness and ultimately to be the ones that come out on top.” more

NO QUIT: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Remmick Granozio looks to pass the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior guard Granozio scored five points to help PHS defeat WW/P-South 51-38. The Tigers, who improved to 6-10 with the win, host Trenton Central on February 3 before playing at Dickinson on February 4 and at Florence on February 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After scrambling to get up to speed last winter as he made his debut for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team, Remmick Granozio was primed to make more of an impact for the Tigers in his second varsity campaign.

“In my sophomore year on varsity, the pace was just completely different than anything I have ever played,” said Granozio. “I knew in the offseason I had to get stronger and faster if I wanted to be on the court.”

This winter, junior guard Granozio has emerged as a key performer for PHS, providing production from the perimeter for the squad.

Last week against visiting Lawrence High, Granozio tallied a team-high 14 points as PHS rallied from a 32-25 halftime deficit only to fall 51-49.

“I was just doing anything I can to help this team score. My teammates trust me with the ball, which is great,” said Granozio. “I have missed a lot of shots this year, but I came out thinking in my head that I am going to just keep shooting. It is a mental game. You can’t get down on yourself after one shot, you just have to keep pushing through.”

PHS pushed back against Lawrence, outscoring the Cardinals 16-11 in the third quarter in the January 24 contest.  more

CAN DO: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Emily McCann, right, controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward McCann, who also stars at cross county, has helped spark the PDS offense this winter. The Panthers, who fell 3-1 to Morristown-Beard last Monday to move to 4-3-3, plays at Trinity Hall on February 3 and then hosts Oak Knoll on February 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team posted a solid 4-3-3 record in its first 10 games, it has been a frustrating season in some respects.

“We would like to be in a better position than we are; we were hoping to win some of those ties,” said PDS head coach Julie DeSimone. “The way we see it at this point is that the rest of the games are must-wins.”

The Panthers were hoping for a better result when they fell 2-1 at Morristown-Beard on January 23 in a rematch of last year’s NJSIAA state championship game.

“We would have liked to come away with a win,” said DeSimone. “I thought we started well; I still just want us to continue work hard through three full periods.”

Junior star Emily McCann came through with a third period goal on a power play.

“That was great,” said DeSimone. “It is always nice to put a play in place and it actually works out. I think we just ran out of time.” more

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENT: Princeton FC Executive Director Stoyan Pumpalov, left, FC Bayern Munich’s North America Development Manager Robert Peltram, center, and Princeton FC Director of Coaching Yordan Hristov are all smiles as they attended the 2023 United Soccer Coaches Annual Convention earlier this year in Philadelphia. Princeton FC and German soccer powerhouse FC Bayern Munich recently reached an agreement for an official collaboration and partnership effective from January 1, 2023. (Photo provided by Yordan Hristov)

By Bill Alden

Over the years, Yordan Hristov has developed a deep affinity for the German soccer powerhouse FC Bayern Munich.

“My wife’s parents live in Bavaria near Munich and we are familiar with the surroundings and the area,” said Hristov, the director of coaching for the Princeton FC soccer organization. “Every time we go there, we are in love with the place. We have been following FC Bayern for years. We always dreamed of establishing a professional relationship and connect our players with Bayern Munich.”

The founder of Princeton FC and its executive director, Stoyan Pumpalov, has long had aspirations of linking up with an international soccer power.

“Since I built the club, I always wanted to get connected with a big team in Europe,” said Pumpalov. “We tried with some British clubs. We tried with PSG (Paris Saint-Germain Football Club) and we were very close.”

The dreams of both men have come true as Princeton FC and FC Bayern Munich recently reached an agreement for an official collaboration and partnership effective from January 1, 2023.

The agreement provides the Princeton FC players exclusive exposure to FC Bayern Munich’s player development model and curriculums, FC Bayern summer camps in Princeton, annual visits to Munich and being trained by FC Bayern coaches, and attending a first-team game, among other things.

In addition, the Princeton FC coaches will gain access to FC Bayern’s existing and developing player development plans and curriculums, participate in monthly conference calls with FC Bayern Academy coaching staff, visit Munich as guests of the Academy, see their methodology in action, and get certified by FC Bayern. more

January 25, 2023

PIERCE COMPETITOR: Princeton University men’s basketball player Caden Pierce, right, looks to get around Dartmouth’s Dusan Nescovic last Saturday afternoon at Jadwin Gym. Freshman forward Pierce posted a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds in the contest to help Princeton rally for a 93-90 overtime win against the Big Green. The Tigers, now 14-5 overall and 5-1 Ivy League, moved into first place in the league standings with the victory and will look to stay ahead of the pack as they play at Yale on January 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting Dartmouth last Saturday afternoon, the Princeton University men’s basketball team found itself in a desperate situation, trailing the Big Green 76-72 with 1:10 left in regulation.

But with Jadwin Gym in an uproar, Princeton freshman forward Caden Pierce’s thoughts turned to a message hammered home by Tiger head coach Mitch Henderson.

“Coach always says, no matter what the score is, we are always winning the game so I felt like that is what we needed to do,” said Pierce.

Taking those words to heart, Pierce made a steal, flung the ball to Tosan Evbuomwan who set up a three-pointer by Matt Allocco.

“I needed to step up and make a play down the stretch to help the team win,” said Pierce.

Pierce’s clutch play set the tone as Princeton knotted the game at 76-76 to force overtime and then pulled out a 93-90 win as it improved to 14-5 overall and 5-1 Ivy League. more

RAU TALENT: Princeton University men’s swimmer Raunak Khosla displays his breaststroke form. Senior star Khosla has produced a historic career at Princeton as a two-time Ivy League Championships High Point Swimmer of the Meet (2020, 2022); an Honorable Mention All-American in the 200 butterfly, 200 individual medley, and 400 IM in 2022, holding the school record in those three events; and the seventh-place finisher in the 200 IM at the Phillips 66 National Championships last summer. In upcoming action, Khosla and the Tigers will be wrapping up regular season action by facing Harvard and Yale on January 27-28 at Blodgett Pool in Cambridge, Mass. (Photo provided by Princeton Athletics)

By Bill Alden

For Raunak Khosla, getting injured as a grade schooler resulted in him taking the plunge into swimming.

“I ended up breaking my arm when I was in third grade and the only sport I could do was swimming,” said Khosla, a native of Roswell, Ga., noting that he was fitted with a waterproof cast which allowed him to swim with the injury. “I got into that for a while and eventually I chose to swim year-round, and the rest is history.”

Coming north to attend Princeton University in 2018 and joining its men’s swimming and diving team, Khosla has made a lot of history for the Tigers.

Among his many achievements, Khosla is a two-time Ivy League Championships High Point Swimmer of the Meet (2020, 2022); an Honorable Mention All-American in the 200 butterfly, 200 individual medley, and 400 IM in 2022, holding the school record in those three events; and the seventh-place finisher in the 200 IM at the Phillips 66 National Championships last summer.

While Khosla had other athletic interests, the idea that being dedicated to swimming would yield success drew him to the sport. 

“I wouldn’t say I was as successful in swimming as I was in different sports,” said Khosla, who also played football and lacrosse. “I really liked the aspect that you get what you put into it in terms of as hard as you work, you are going to see some results. Especially at a young age, it was easy to see that if I worked really hard I would get good results, and that was something that got me into it.” more

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Princeton University men’s hockey player Pito Walton heads up the ice in recent action. Last Saturday, senior star defenseman and captain Walton scored a goal in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 at No. 16 Cornell. The Tigers, now 10-11 overall and 6-9 ECAC Hockey, host LIU on January 28 in their last non-conference game of the regular season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It was a roller coaster week for the Princeton University men’s hockey team as it faced a trio of formidable foes.

Starting the week on a high note, Princeton edged No. 12 Providence 3-2 in overtime on January 17. Three days later, the Tigers stumbled in a 5-0 loss at Colgate. Displaying resilience, Princeton showed some fire a night later at No. 16 Cornell, battling back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits before falling 3-2.

Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty, whose team is now 10-11 overall and 6-9 ECAC Hockey, is proud of the progress his team had made after struggling into early stages of the campaign.

“We started 2-6 and we are just a game below .500 now,” said Fogarty. “Our goal is to have a winning season and that is attainable. Now we have faced every team on our schedule once and we know what to expect. We just have to play at our standard.”

The Tigers have raised their standard through daily diligence. “It is just the individual development, there is a lot of repetition at practice with our drills,” said Fogarty, reflecting on his team’s improvement. “Staying with the same core of drills at practice, you see that skillset and they are bringing it to the game.” more

CRUNCH TIME: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Anna Winters, center, battles two Princeton Day School players for the ball in a game earlier this season. Last week, freshman star Winters scored 19 points to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 60-38 as Tiger head coach Dave Kosa earned his 300th career victory. PHS, who fell 37-26 to Robbinsville last Friday to move to 7-7, hosts WW/P-South on January 27 and Allentown on January 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Anna Winters and her teammates on the Princeton High girls’ basketball team had some extra inspiration to come through with a win as they hosted Hopewell Valley last week.

“We were really aggressive today,” said PHS freshman forward Winters. “I think we all had the mentality that we wanted coach (Dave Kosa) to get his 300th win.”

Displaying that aggressive mindset, the Tigers jumped out to a 31-21 halftime lead over the Bulldogs in the January 17 contest.

“We worked as a team and we played really good today,” said Winters. “We knew they were going to be tall and we don’t have a lot of height on our team. It was fun to play them.”

The Tigers had a lot of fun in the second half, pulling away to a 60-38 triumph, giving Kosa his 300th win and triggering a touching postgame celebration with cake, balloons, and posing for team pictures with their beaming coach.

“Coach is one of my favorite coaches that I have had,” said Winters. “I know it meant a lot to him to get the 300th win.”

The win meant a lot to the players as they are trying to improve their postseason seeding.

“We all felt like we have got to win this; we have got to get the power points,” said Winters.

In the win over HoVal, Winters was a powerful force, scoring 19 points, repeatedly driving to the hoop.

“I was feeling good today, I took it to the rim a lot,” said Winters, who also had six rebounds and three assists against the Bulldogs. “This was definitely one of my good games. I didn’t take as many outside shots, a lot of my points were from layups.”

That relentless play has been a staple of Winters’s game for years. more

SCOOP AND HOOP: Hun School girls’ basketball player Amira Pinkett heads past two defenders for a layup in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore star Pinkett had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocked shots to help Hun defeat Lawrenceville 58-35. The Raiders, who improved to 8-8 with the win, host Blair Academy on January 25 and the Hill School (Pa.) on January 28 before playing at St. Benedict’s on January 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Amira Pinkett is making up for lost time this winter in her sophomore season for the Hun School girls’ basketball team.

“I dislocated my shoulder last year so I missed half the season; I missed the playoffs and everything,” said guard/forward Pinkett. “This year I wanted to come out and do what I couldn’t do last year. I improved over the summer.”

Last Thursday as Hun hosted Lawrenceville, Pinkett showed what she could do, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, helping the Raiders rout the Big Red 58-35.

Employing a stifling pressure defense, Hun jumped out to a 15-2 lead by the end of the first quarter and led 32-8 at halftime on the way to a 58-35 win as it improved to 8-8.

“I think the biggest part of it was our energy coming into this game,” said Pinkett. “We played Peddie on Wednesday — that was a solid win (61-25), and now with Lawrenceville we had to focus. We knew we had to come out and bury the team in the beginning so we wanted to come out with intensity, hands up and contesting shots.”

Pinkett hit plenty of shots, scoring eight points in the last four minutes of the second quarter, hitting jumpers and going end to end with a steal and finishing with a left-handed scoop layup.

“I try to be a big guard because I am 6’1; I try to have ballhandling skills, shoot the basketball and also be able to do post moves,” said Pinkett. “I try to do a little bit of everything. I can be a guard when the team needs me to be but a center when they need me to be.” more

January 18, 2023

COMING UP ROSES: Princeton University women’s basketball player Madison St. Rose puts up a shot in recent action. Last Monday, freshman guard St. Rose scored a team-high 15 points to help Princeton defeat Penn 55-40. She was later named the Ivy League Rookie of the Week. The Tigers, now 12-5 overall and 3-2 Ivy, play at Dartmouth on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Madison St. Rose struggled to find a rhythm this winter in her freshman campaign for the Princeton University women’s basketball team, shooting just 26.5 percent from the floor (27-of-102) in the first 13 games of her career.

But while St. Rose could have gotten discouraged as she misfired, her teammates wouldn’t let her.

“They are always telling me to keep shooting because they know all of the potential I have as a player,” said St. Rose, a 5’10 native of Old Bridge who starred for St. John Vianney and was a three-time NJ.com Player of the Year.

St. Rose started to display that potential as she scored 15 points in a 70-48 win over Cornell on January 7 and then tallied 19 points as Princeton topped Hartford 84-37. Utilizing a short-term memory has helped St. Rose get into groove.

“I always try to forget about the first shot that I miss and just keep playing,” said St. Rose. “I know I am capable of making many shots if I am just locked into the game instead of my missed shot.”

Last Monday, St. Rose was locked in as Princeton hosted Penn at Jadwin Gym in an Ivy League showdown.

“As I saw by the fans and the crowd and the energy, it was a really, really intense feeling just being on the court,” said St. Rose, who was making the ninth start of her career. “Penn was undefeated in the Ivy League. We were the underdogs (with a 2-2 Ivy mark) and it was really fun to play with my teammates and try to take them down.” more

SILVER STAR: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Gabe Silverstein controls the puck last Friday against the WWP Ice Hockey Coop. Senior star and assistant captain Silverstein scored two goals to help PHS defeat WWP 6-1. The Tigers, who improved to 7-4 with a 6-1 win over Notre Dame last Monday, face Lawrence on January 22 and Middletown South on January 24 with both games to be played at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As an assistant captain for the Princeton High boys’ hockey team, Gabe Silverstein looks to lead by deeds rather than words.

“The leadership is a group thing, everyone steps up for different reasons,” said senior standout Silverstein. “Some guys are locker room guys, some guys lead on the ice. I take more of a physical approach on the ice, sticking up for the other guys. We have got to look out for the younger guys.”

Utilizing that approach, Silverstein stepped up last Friday as PHS faced the WWP Ice Hockey Coop at the Mercer County Skating Center. With the Tigers trailing 1-0 early in the first period, Silverstein banged in a goal to knot the game at 1-1. Later in the period, he swooped in on an odd-man rush and found the back of the net again as PHS built its lead to 3-1.

“You get one and you start rolling,” said Silverstein. “We are better than that team and once we put one in the net, we knew were going to start rolling.”

The Tigers kept rolling, tallying three more goals on the way to a 6-1 win.

“We get a lot more time and space against a team like this,” said Silverstein. “We moved the puck around and got more shots and crash the net and get more goals.”

With PHS having started the week by falling 8-2 to Robbinsville on January 10 and then topping Hopewell Valley 5-2 a day later, the Tigers were determined to keep on the winning track. more

SIX SHOOTER: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Cassie Speir, right, goes after the puck in recent action. Last Thursday, sophomore star Speir scored a career-high six goals as PHS fell 12-6 to Madison in a game played at Hobey Baker Rink. The Tigers, who moved to 0-8 with the loss, host Immaculate Heart on January 18 at Hobey Baker Rink, play at Madison on January 19, and then host Chatham on January 24 at Hobey Baker Rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Cassie Speir has a lot on her plate this winter in her sophomore season for the Princeton High girls’ hockey team.

Speir plays defenseman, scores nearly all of the team’s goals, and serves as an assistant captain.

While shouldering such responsibility could be a bit overwhelming for a second-year player, Speir is enjoying herself.

“I just love the team, we are all so supportive of each other,” said Speir. “Everybody is here to have fun. We don’t win that much, but we have fun at practice, we have fun at games, we have fun in the bus, and in the locker room.”

Last Thursday, Speir had a lot of fun, tallying a career-high six goals as PHS fell 12-6 to Madison in a game played at Hobey Baker Rink.

Coming into the matchup against the Dodgers, Speir and her teammates were confident that they could hold their own.

“We were all on the bus researching them and this could be a game where we could actually stay in it and have a good chance,” said Speir. “It was competitive.”

After scoring one goal in the first period as PHS fell behind 3-1, Speir cashed in on her chances in the second, scoring four goals. more

COMING THROUGH: Hun School boys’ basketball player Anthony Aririguzoh heads to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last week, senior forward Aririguzoh tallied 10 points with four rebounds, two steals, and one assist to help Hun defeat Trenton Catholic 89-64. The Raiders, who defeated Springside Chestnut Hill (Pa.) 78-58 last Saturday as they moved to 8-6, play at the Peddie School on January 18 and Germantown Academy (Pa.) on January 21. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Anthony Aririguzoh prides himself on being a catalyst for the Hun School boys’ basketball team.

“I am more of an energetic leader,” said Hun senior forward Aririguzoh. “I am really more of a get-guys-together leader. I get guys to where they have to be, talk on the court. I just contribute any way I can. That is my job around here, I am happy to do it.”

Last week as Hun hosted Trenton Catholic Prep, Aririguzoh did his job from the opening tip-off. Driving hard to the hoop, Aririguzoh scored the first bucket of the game to spark an early 11-3 run for Hun as it built a 41-23 halftime lead in the January 10 contest.

In the opening moments of the second half, the 6’6 Aririguzoh made a couple of steals and two hoops, including a thunderous dunk, as Hun reeled off nine unanswered points and never looked back on the way to an 89-64 triumph.

“It always feels good to contribute,” said Aririguzoh, who tallied 10 points with four rebounds, two steals and one assist in the win. “I think the dunk was really an exclamation point for our team, it really got us going. I am always happy to make plays like that. I am happy to be the energy guy because our team is really good when we are focused and energetic.”

With Hun coming into the evening having lost its first two games of 2023, falling 68-58 to Friends Select (Pa.) on January 5 and losing 67-63 to Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) two days later, the Raiders were intent on getting back on the winning track. more

HALL PASS: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jaden Hall, right, looks to pass the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior guard Hall tallied 13 points to help PDS defeat Hopewell Valley 50-42. The Panthers, now 5-5, play at Hightstown on January 18, host Hunterdon Central on January 20, play at Princeton High on January 21, and then host Franklin High on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jaden Hall got off to a slow start for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team as it hosted Hopewell Valley High last Saturday afternoon.

Senior guard Hall tallied just two points as PDS found itself trailing the Bulldogs 22-16 at halftime.

“We wanted to focus on playing together; it was keep our heads up, play through adversity, and stick together,” said Hall, recalling the halftime message. “We are known to not have good third quarters — our coach (Eugene Burroughs) emphasized coming out strong. We just wanted to focus on our energy; we wanted to have a good third quarter.”

With Hall scoring five points in the third quarter, PDS seized momentum, outscoring HoVal 20-12. The Bulldogs fought back in the fourth quarter, knotting the contest at 40-40, but PDS ended the game on a 10-2 run to prevail 50-42 as Hall hit some key free throws down the stretch.

Hall, who ended the game with 13 points, spread the credit around for his second half surge.

“My teammates were helping me out with shots, I wasn’t getting that many shots in the first or second quarter,” said Hall. “In the third quarter, my teammates found me. Credit to Jaden Dublin, he started getting me some good shots.”

In the waning moments of the contest, Hall helped PDS close the deal with some clutch free throw shooting as it moved to 5-5.

“I wasn’t making as many jump shots, so I just wanted to equal it out at the foul line,” said Hall. “I just want to do anything to help the team win. I know for all of the other seniors, that is their goal too. Definitely having an all-around game helps a lot.”

Over the last year, Hall has developed some deep bonds with fellow senior backcourt star Dublin.

“We were in the gym all fall and all summer, so it is building that connection,” said Hall.

“He came here as a junior last year — I just wanted to get to know him as a player and a person. We talk a lot when it comes to basketball and outside of basketball; the connection obviously shows on the court.” more