January 5, 2022

By Stuart Mitchner

According to Merriam-Webster, the “full definition” of anomaly is “something different, abnormal, peculiar, or not easily classified.” My first column of 2022 brings together Gustave Flaubert’s A Simple Heart, a 72-page novella published in 1877, with Hervé Le Tellier’s The Anomaly, a 389-page novel published last year. By definition, then, Flight 22, Paris to Princeton, will be an anomaly about an anomaly, fueled by the fact that the only thing these two enterprises appear to have in common is that both were translated from the French and are landing on the same page at the same time.

No Comparison

Le Tellier’s novel begins, “It’s not the killing, that’s not the thing.” The speaker is a passenger on Air France Flight 006, a hired assassin “who builds his life on other people’s deaths.”

Flaubert’s novella begins, “Madame Aubain’s servant Félicité was the envy of the ladies of Pont-l’Évêque for half a century.”

When I first read that sentence, I was a college sophomore on the rebound from Madame Bovary. So I put the book aside, figuring that the life of a servant in the provinces could not compare with the story of a star-crossed adulteress. 145 years from takeoff, A Simple Heart has arrived. The question now is how can it compare with a literary mystery timed for the misinformational, confrontational turbulence of the current Omicron moment, on the eve of the first anniversary of the January 6 assault on democracy? more

THE MIRROR BALL IS BACK: “Dancing with the Stars: Dare to be Different” Comes to State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick on January 19.

State Theatre New Jersey presents Dancing with the Stars – Dare to Be Different on Wednesday, January 19, at 8 p.m. Joining the professional dancers for this performance is season 29 Mirror Ball Champion Kaitlyn Bristowe.

This year’s all-new production will feature fan-favorite professional dancers from the ABC show Dancing with the Stars. The show continues its legacy of performing routines from the TV show alongside new numbers choreographed specifically for the live show, ranging from dances like the quickstep and foxtrot to Latin styles like the cha cha, salsa, and tango. 

The tour includes dancers Brandon Armstrong, Alan Bersten, Artem Chigvintsev, Sasha Farber, Koko Iwasaki, Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, Britt Stewart, and Sofia Ghavami.

Choreographers Marty Kudelka and Pam Chu will co-direct the all-new show.

Tickets are $55-$125. For more information or group discounts, call State Theatre Guest Services at (732) 246-SHOW (7469) or visit online at STNJ.org. The theater is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

Fiesta del Día de Los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, is celebrated throughout the world to mark the culmination of the 12 days of Christmas. On January 9, a live dance performance by the Arts Council of Princeton’s flamenco program, led by Lisa Botalico, will feature multiple dance numbers as attendees learn about this cultural holiday and end the holiday season in celebration. There will be a youth flamenco performance at 2:30 p.m., and an adult performance at 4 p.m. Space is limited and registration is required at artscouncilofprinceton.org. (Photo courtesy of Arts Council of Princeton)

CELEBRATING MLK JR. DAY: The Arts Council of Princeton will Commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a Community Bagel Breakfast, art and history activities, and a canned food drive on Monday, January 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) invites the community to join them on Monday, January 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A free Community Bagel Breakfast will begin at 10 a.m. and attendees of all ages are invited for hands-on art and history activities including an Emblem Making and Protest History with the Historical Society of Princeton. In addition, the Arts Council will be leading a poster and lawn sign-painting station
celebrating Dr. King’s teachings. Participants will decorate signs featuring well-known quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to take home to display on their lawns or in their windows, creating a town-wide celebration of his legacy. more

ART AT SMALL WORLD: Works by Martha Bishop, whose fabric collage is shown here, and Sarah Steedman are on view at Small Word Coffee, 14 Witherspoon Street, through February 1. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Small World Coffee at 14 Witherspoon Street is featuring works by Martha Bishop and Sarah Steedman through February 1. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 7 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Bishop of Lansing, Michigan, and Steedman of Chicago, Illinois, met in art school and have been friends making art together for 35 years. They both admire hand worked linens and beautifully patterned fabrics. As artists they have embellished, embroidered, and sewn their own things for years. As fans, they have collected many beautiful pieces from thrift stores and garage sales. They appreciate the countless hours that were devoted to each item.

Bishop and Steedman would like to honor the hands, hearts, and minds of those women. Although they do not know who they are, they are forever linked through their collaborations.  more

“ARTIST’S LIFE”: “Art needs to be out in the world, interacting with people. When you bring a work of art into your home, you are allowing a new spirit to become part of your life,” says artist Jessie Krause, a member of Princeton Makes Artist Cooperative. Shown is one of her acrylic paintings, a cyclist in front of East Pyne Hall on the Princeton University campus.

By Jean Stratton

We are a community of artists from all over the world, all of whom have an artistic vision, and work in varying styles. There is a group dynamic here that enhances the creative process.

“You hear the sound of creativity, the sound of community, the sound of making things together. You’ll hear a sewing machine, a potter’s wheel, and all in a workshop environment. We’re like an art market. We are very accessible with a whole range of art and a wide range of prices. Art is affordable here. And the public can come in and see real people making real things in their studio. We’re part of the real world.”

Artist Jessie Krause is very proud of Princeton Makes, the Artist Cooperative in the Princeton Shopping Center. An organization of 30 artists, the cooperative offers them the opportunity both to showcase and sell their artwork and also to have studio space for their creative endeavors.

Opened in September, it was founded by stained glass artist Jim Levine, former interim director of the Arts Council of Princeton. more

RISING STAR: Princeton University women’s basketball player Kaitlyn Chen heads to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Sunday, sophomore guard Chen made a superb Ivy League debut, tallying a career-high 15 points as Princeton defeated Harvard 68-50 in the league opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 8-4 overall and 1-0 Ivy, play at Columbia on January 7 and at Cornell on January 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When the Princeton University women’s basketball team hosted Harvard last Sunday afternoon, it marked its first Ivy League game in 667 days.

The game also marked the Ivy debut for Princeton sophomore guard Kaitlyn Chen and she was pumped.

“It was a lot of fun, just coming out and playing with my team,” said Chen, a 5’9 native of San Marino, Calif., who didn’t get the chance to play last winter as the Ivy League canceled the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We have missed these games, this season has been so much fun. We have been waiting for this.”

Chen had a lot of fun in her first taste of Ivy action, making an immediate impact, scoring a career-high 15 points to help Princeton win 68-50 as it improved to 8-4 overall and 1-0 Ivy.

“I was just looking to be more aggressive and getting into gaps and finding my teammates,” said Chen, who chipped in three assists, three steals, and two rebounds in the win over the Crimson.

Making her third career start after recently having been inserted into the starting five, Chen is developing a comfort level with her new role.  more

STATE OF GRACE: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Grace Rebak controls the puck in a game last season. Senior captain and star defender Rebak is providing athleticism and leadership for PHS. The Tigers, now 0-2-1, return to action after the holiday break by playing the Lawrenceville JV on January 12 at their Loucks Ice Center and then hosting Princeton Day School on January 14 at Ice Land Rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It hasn’t taken long for a pair of freshmen, Cece Gibb and Cassie Speir, to form a potent one-two punch this winter for the Princeton High girls’ hockey team.

In a 10-6 loss to Randolph on December 14 in its final action before the holiday break, PHS got three goals apiece from Gibb and Speir.

Tiger head coach Christian Herzog knows he is lucky to have Gibb and Speir join the program.

“Cece is a Tier 1 Colonials player, it is a great pickup for us,” said Herzog, whose team started 0-2-1 before going on holiday break.

“She has the speed, she can shoot. We put her on defense and she has the green light any time she feels like it to make a play. She is a smaller player but she has speed like no other, she has amazing skating. Cassie is big for a freshman, she plays travel too with the Tiger Lilies. She is strong on the puck, she is aggressive and is not afraid. She has a great shot. Those two players are pretty much leaned on all the way.”

A third newcomer, Maya Hagt, is also making an impact in the early going.

“Maya is another freshman who plays for the Tiger Lilies,” added Herzog. “She moves well with the puck.” more

SPEED SKATING: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Ryan Vandal races up the ice in a recent game. Last Monday, junior forward Vandal scored a goal to help PDS defeat Pope John 4-1. The Panthers, now 4-2-1, host Bergen Catholic on January 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team has made its debut this season in the highly-competitive Gordon Conference, it has been a bit of bumpy ride.

PDS has posted a 3-2-1 record in Gordon play in going 4-2-1 overall.

“The nice thing about being part of this conference is that every one of our games is a meaningful game,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, whose team topped Pope John 4-1 last Monday in a conference game to avenge a 3-2 defeat to the Lions in the season opener.

“I am excited to come off the break, hopefully the kids are refreshed. I think club hockey has slowed down a little bit.”

Bertoli acknowledges that the season could be slowed by postponements due to the COVID surge resulting from the Omicron variant.

“That is going to be everyone’s reality over the course of the next few weeks; we talked about it today at practice,” said Bertoli.

“I just said we have to plan to play. We will prepare and have ourselves ready until someone tells us otherwise. That is the focus.”

In their last action before the holiday break, the Panthers lacked their usual focus as they fell 7-1 to the Christian Brothers Academy. more

COMING THROUGH: Hun School girls’ basketball player Erin Maguire drives between two foes in recent action. Post-graduate Maguire, a native of Ireland, is leading Hun in points (133), assists (27), rebounds (52), and steals (32) as the Raiders have gotten off to a 3-5 start. In upcoming action, Hun is slated to host Friere Charter School (Pa.) on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School girls’ basketball team suffered defeats in its last two contests before going on holiday break, Bill Holup wasn’t discouraged.

“I thought our defense in both games before the break was good,” said Hun head coach Holup, whose team fell 43-31 to Friends Central (Pa.) on December 16 and 32-23 to Germantown Friends (Pa.) on December 14 and is bringing a 3-5 record into 2022.

“They were very low scoring games. We had couple of girls who were out and that hurt a bit. Offensively we have been struggling a bit in the last couple of games. We just haven’t been able to find the bottom of the net. Our defense has actually kept us competitive.”

In Holup’s view, facing competitive foes will steel his squad for the challenges ahead.  

“My emphasis to the girls after our last game against Friends Central is that this is going to prepare us for the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) games when we see Lawrenceville, Peddie, Hill, Mercersburg, and Blair,” said Holup. “It is good to play tough competition and hopefully we will be ready for our league games. You never like to have a losing record but the schedule that we have played with the Peddie tournament and playing these Friends schools will certainly prepare us.” more

GIFT OF GAB: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Gaby Velazquez brings the ball up the court in a recent game. Senior guard Velazquez has helped Stuart get off to a 2-2 start. In upcoming action, the Tartans Lawrenceville on January 6, St. Benedict’s on January 7, and Life Center Academy on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The “next man up” mentality, whereby a starting player can be replaced smoothly by a substitute, has become prevalent throughout the sporting world.

This winter, Justin Leith is employing a next girl up philosophy for his Stuart Country Day School basketball team in the wake of losing six seniors to graduation.

Getting off to a 2-2 start before the holiday break, the new-look Tartans are growing into their roles.

“We are relying a whole new group of people to be contributors,” said Stuart head coach Leith.

“They are forced to because there is nobody else and they have so it is cool.”

Sticking to the staples of the program has helped the revamped lineup come together.

“I am really happy that the culture has been consistent with essentially a new team,” said Leith.

“All of the small things that, when you start a new program, you forget. It takes time for your expectations to be met. It is small things, like making sure that the bench is alive during games at all times, that they are sprinting to the locker room at halftime and after the game and when they are substituting, making sure they are high-fiving the replacement. There were a few reminders early on but the girls embraced it. I think that is the reason we have won the two games that we have. It is the attention to detail and those small things go a long way.” more

December 29, 2021

THE WRATH OF IDA: The remnants of Hurricane Ida caused major flooding and destruction throughout the area in early September, with the cleanup lasting months. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin and Anne Levin

Princeton rode a COVID-19 roller coaster in 2021, the second year of the pandemic, starting and ending the year with peak case numbers. Masks, social distancing, Zoom meetings, sporadic quarantines, and a “hybrid” sort of lifestyle will be the most vivid memories of the year for many.

But Princeton residents did not let the pandemic, isolation, or lockdowns dictate the experience of 2021. Under the leadership of the Princeton Health Department, they adapted with determination, took precautions, got vaccinated, and got on with their lives.

There were fervid conflicts, many that will continue into 2022, over parking, plans for Witherspoon Street, Westminster Choir College, leaf blowers, the Prospect Avenue streetscape, the name of the middle school, and the future of cannabis in Princeton.

Businesses battled the economic impact of the pandemic with stringent safety measures, temporary closures, limited staff, reduced hours, restaurants ramping up takeout and outdoor dining options, a number of permanent closings, and a few new openings too.

Princeton University brought almost all students and staff back to campus early in 2021, and continued its rapid growth and success — with ongoing massive construction projects, a large increase in its endowment, and five 2021 Nobel Prize winners among its many honored professors, students, and alumni.

Princeton area schools employed an array of different strategies in the spring term of 2021 — some schools were able to bring most students back in person; others implemented staggered schedules and a hybrid mix of Zoom and in-person classes that shifted according to required quarantines and rising case rates. But almost all schools were able to welcome students back in person in September and, with careful health precautions, keep them in school all the way to the December holidays.

In addition to the plague of COVID-19, there was also the infestation of the 17-year cicadas in May and June and the devastation of flooding caused by remnants of Hurricane Ida in early September.

Also seemingly undaunted by the pandemic, Town Topics in March celebrated its 75th anniversary — 3,900 weeks, 3,900 issues, delivered to the residents of Princeton and the surrounding area since its inception in 1946.

As case numbers of both Delta and Omicron variants of COVID keep rising in the final days of the year, the pandemic roller coaster ride promises to continue well into 2022. more

Forty live trees donated by the Shade Tree Commission have lined Witherspoon and Nassau streets this holiday season, all “festively fostered” and decorated by local businesses and groups. The tree adorned by Princeton Charter School, shown here, received the most votes, for the second year in a row, in the Best Decorated Tree Contest. The runners-up are the Arts Council of Princeton and Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County. After the holidays, the trees will be planted in area parks. (Photo by Charles R. Plohn)

By Stuart Mitchner

Flaubert

The news isn’t just breaking, it’s running wild.” So began my June 3, 2020 column on Allen Ginsberg’s birthday. That was then. The belief that literature, inspired acting, poetry, and music is always timely, always worthy of interest, has been the motive force driving these pieces week after week, year after year. When terrorists attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, I brought in Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, and Daumier; when they shot up the Bataclan that November, I connected by way of Henry Miller, Rimbaud, and the Velvet Underground. Four years later when Notre Dame was burning, I brought Balzac, Swinburne, Hugo, and the Mueller Report on board.

Three Giants at 200

I’m setting the last column of 2021 in Paris because three bicentenary literary giants — Feodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881), Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867), and Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) — were there at roughly the same time, in summer-fall 1862. Since there’s no evidence I can find that the author of Crime and Punishment got together with the author of The Flowers of Evil, or with the author of Madame Bovary, I’m bringing them together with the help of quotations, observations, and occasional imaginary conversations, thanks in part to The Arcades Project (Harvard 2002), the compendium Walter Benjamin mined from the printed depths of 19th-century Paris. The 1,070-page volume is described in the translators’ foreword as the “blue-print for an unimaginably massive and labyrinthine architecture, a dream city, in effect.” more

ROARSOME: “Dinosaur World Live” comes to the State Theatre New Jersey on Saturday, January 8 at 1 p.m. Expert puppetry brings the creatures to life.

State Theatre New Jersey presents “Dinosaur World Live” on Saturday, January 8 at 1 p.m. This interactive show for the whole family follows an intrepid explorer across uncharted territories to discover a pre-historic world of dinosaurs.

Using puppetry to bring these life-like dinosaurs to the stage, the show presents a host of impressive pre-historic creatures including a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex, along with a Giraffa titan, Microraptor, Stegosaurus, and Triceratops. A special meet-and-greet will follow the show.

State Theatre has partnered with Replenish to host a drive for canned and packaged goods at this show. Accepted items for donation include canned meats, macaroni and cheese, rice, cereal, pasta, granola bars, diapers, paper products, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste.

Tickets are $15-$35. All patrons must follow safety guidelines (stnj.org/about/policies). Visit STNJ.org for ticket information. The theater is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick.

“TALLEY’S FOLLY”: Kyla Donnelly of Princeton Junction and John Bathke of Robbinsville star in Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, at Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College January 7-16. (Photo by Robert Terrano)

Talley’s Folly, the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by American playwright Lanford Wilson, will kick off the new year at Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road in West Windsor. Presented by PinnWorth Productions, performances begin Friday, January 7 and run weekends through Sunday, January 16.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students, seniors, and children.

The romantic comedy, directed, and produced by LouJ Stalsworth along with producer Kate Pinner — both from Allentown, New Jersey — is set in a dilapidated yet dignified Victorian Boathouse in Lebanon, Missouri. It is a timeless tale that takes place on one enchanted moonlit night when middle-aged Matt Friedman has only one chance to win the heart of Sally Talley, a 31-year-old “old maid” from a bigoted Protestant family. After a lifetime of believing they will never truly belong to the world around them, Matt and Sally reawaken one another to love — ultimately finding that they do belong together.  more

“STEPHANIE”: The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Traces of Time,” an exhibition by Princeton-based photographer Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick, January 8 through February 5.

The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Traces of Time,” an exhibition by Princeton-based photographer Eileen Hohmuth Lemonick, January 8 through February 5, 2022.

“Traces of Time” addresses a lifetime of memories, love, sexuality, family, beauty, decay, fragility, longevity, vulnerability, sickness, health, and death. It has to do with moments and people that are gone. The project started when Hohmuth-Lemonick fractured her pelvis, was immobile, and could only get around with a walker. Friends sent bouquets, and with severely limited motion, she began to photograph them on her kitchen table, finding beauty in their decay. From that initial work, she has continued in many directions: among them portraits, flowers frozen in melting ice, images created with a scanner, combining live and dead flowers, painting on vegetation, and observing the passage of time in nature.

For many years, Hohmuth-Lemonick specialized in documentary and portrait photography, focusing on people who live in developing countries and who face challenges many in the developed world can’t easily imagine. In the fall of 2006, she traveled to Uganda to photograph one group of children orphaned by AIDS and another undergoing rehabilitation after having served as child soldiers in the revolutionary army trying to overthrow the government.  more

“CONNECTED”: An exhibit of works by Elaina R. Phillips, whose watercolor painting of the Princeton High School tower hangs at the school, will be on display at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury January 15 through January 26.

The Cranbury Arts Council invites the public to visit the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury January 15 through January 26 to see “Connected,” an exhibit by Elaina R. Phillips. 

Phillips is a 2021 recipient of the Cranbury Arts Council Scholarship and is currently a student at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. Her work has been on display in three exhibitions at the Arts Council of Princeton and juried art shows in Monroe.  more

RECOVERED ARTIFACTS: Mercer Museum Executive Director Kyle McKoy, third from right, and Vice President of Collections and Interpretation Cory Amsler, center, gather with members of the FBI and local law enforcement at a recent repatriation ceremony for stolen artifacts. (Photo courtesy of Museum of the American Revolution)

The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., operated by the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS), attended a repatriation ceremony for stolen artifacts at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia on Friday, December 17, alongside six museums from the region.

Artifacts stolen nearly half a century ago and recovered as part of a 50-year-old cold case cracked by the FBI in 2019 were returned to the Mercer Museum, American Swedish Historical Museum, Hershey Story Museum, Landis Valley Museum, Museum of the American Revolution, and York County History Center. The items being repatriated include historic firearms from the 18th and 19th centuries, including rifles and pistols, and a Native American silver concho belt.

The recovery of the artifacts was made possible through the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team – Philadelphia Division, the United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Upper Merion Township Police Department.

The Mercer Museum received a late-18th century English flintlock boarding pistol, stolen from their collection nearly 50 years ago. At the time of its disappearance, the pistol was on display in an exhibit case on the third floor of the Mercer Museum in downtown Doylestown, Pa. In the 1990s, when reviewing a comprehensive inventory of the Mercer Museum’s collection, the pistol could not be located and was officially recorded as “missing.”  more

By Jean Stratton

If you are moving, you want to seal the deal as soon as possible, and under the most auspicious and least stressful circumstances.

No mistake about it, buying or selling a house requires fortitude!

Why not have the very best help available as you navigate this daunting procedure?

Help is at hand!

The Mercer County Association of Top Producers is an organization consisting of high level real estate agents and brokers from many area firms.

To qualify, an agent must have received the prestigious New Jersey Association of Realtors (NJAR) Circle of Excellence Award, Bronze level; and have produced $2.5 million in sales for the year, or 17 units (sales or rentals). There are currently 66 members, and only 5 percent of all members of the Mercer County Board of Realtors have achieved membership.

Elite Group

Since the organization’s establishment more than 30 years ago, it has completed over 1,754 transactions totaling $726 million.

“It is an honor to be part of the Association,” says vice president of the Association Board Lisa LeRay. A broker sales agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, Realtors, headquartered in Pennington, she has been a member of Top Producers for 12 years.

“We meet once a month, and it is very beneficial for the agents to network with the other top producers. We discuss and share information about the market, new listings, and we can learn from each other. For example, one agent’s client may be looking for a specific kind of house, with certain details, and another agent may know of one and can make suggestions. I have become a better agent by being a member of this organization.

“Knowing that you are in an elite group with people who you can learn from, but also that motivate you to be an excellent real estate agent, is invaluable.” more

GRACE UNDER PRESSURE: Princeton University women’s soccer goalie Grace Barbara whips the ball upfield in a game this fall. Senior star and former Princeton Day School standout Barbara helped Princeton go 15-3-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy League as the Tigers advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Ivy League canceled competition for the 2020 fall season and the 2020-21 winter campaign due to COVID-19 concerns, Princeton University athletes got some limited opportunities to get back in action this spring.

Princeton rowers were thrilled to get the chance to row in a regatta against boats from Temple and Drexel in Philadelphia on April 25, their first racing since spring of 2019 and the first competition for Tiger athletics in 407 days. The women’s lightweight varsity 8 went on to make history, winning the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) grand final, its first national title since 2003. On the track, star thrower Obi Amaechi punctuated her stellar career by finishing 13th in the discus in the NCAA championships, earning second-team All-American honors.

It was full speed ahead in the fall for Princeton athletes and several teams produced memorable campaigns. Tiger football went 9-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy to share the league crown with Dartmouth. Overcoming a shaky start, men’s soccer caught fire down the stretch, going 7-0 in Ivy play to win the league crown. Led by Australian Olympian steeplechaser Ed Trippas, men’s cross country won the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships and went on to place first at the NCCA Mid-Atlantic regional. Men’s water polo won the Northeast Water Polo Conference (NWPC) tournament and topped Fordham 17-8 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Although women’s soccer didn’t win the Ivy title, it went 15-3-1 overall and 6-1 Ivy, earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Princeton posted a 2-0 win over visiting Vermont in the first round of the NCAAs before falling 3-2 in overtime to TCU in the round of 32.

While local high school teams did have a winter season, it was abbreviated and split into segments by sport. That limited campaign, though, didn’t prevent some highlight moments. Princeton High senior Chloe Ayres made history, earning her third straight state title, prevailing at 114 pounds at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) girls’ state wrestling championships.

Both the PHS boys’ and girls’ swimming teams went 12-0, competing in a virtual meet format. The Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team also went undefeated, going 5-0-1 while the Panther boys’ hockey team nearly matched that feat, posting a 4-1-1 record. The Hun School boys’ basketball team made the most out of its shortened season, going 8-2.

There was an increased sense of normalcy when the spring rolled around as postseason play resumed. The Hun baseball team rolled to a 19-2 record, winning its fifth straight state Prep A title in the process. The PHS boys’ tennis team also produced a dominant campaign, going 17-1 and winning both the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional and the CVC conference titles. Making coach Sheryl Severance’s 28th and final season coaching the boys’ golf program one to remember, Princeton High had a 15-0 record in dual match play, winning the first-ever CVC Match Play Tournament and taking second in the Central/South Jersey sectional. The Princeton Day School boys’ tennis team placed third in the state Prep B tournament, earning two individual titles as Aaron Phogat and Oliver Silverio won the first doubles flight while the pair of Will Sedgley and Mark Santamaria prevailed at second doubles.

In the fall season, a number of programs made history. Bouncing back from a 0-4-1 season in 2020, the Hun School girls’ soccer team posted a 12-5-2 record, edging Pennington 4-3 in overtime in a thrilling state Prep A final and also winning the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) title. The Hun football team was a juggernaut, going 9-0 and outscoring foes 374-63 this fall. With Princeton Day School joining the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), two Panther teams earned the initial sectional titles in school history as the girls’ tennis team won the South Jersey Non-Public A championship and boys’ soccer prevailed in the South Jersey Non-Public B sectional.

Led by high-scoring striker Sophia Lis, the Princeton High girls’ soccer team produced a season for the ages, going 21-3, winning the CVC title, the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional championship, and making the program’s first-ever trip to the state Group 3 final along the way. The PHS girls’ tennis team added to its championship tradition, winning the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional crown. The Tiger cross country teams also excelled as the girls’ squad placed first at the Mercer County championship meet while the boys’ team prevailed at the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional meet. more

MAX EFFORT: Princeton University men’s basketball player Max Johns guards a foe in a game earlier this season. Last week, senior guard Johns scored a career-high 13 points in 13 minutes off the bench to help Princeton defeat Kean University 100-59. The Tigers, who improved to 10-3 with the win in the December 21 contest, are slated to play at Harvard on January 2 to start Ivy League action. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After finishing fall semester exams last week, the Princeton University men’s basketball team passed its final test before starting Ivy League play with flying colors.

Hosting Division III foe Kean University on December 21, Princeton rolled to a 100-59 win at Jadwin Gym as it improved to 10-3.

“It is an important game for us to play coming out of exams,” said Princeton head coach Mitch Henderson, whose team hit the 100-point mark for the first time in a game that ended in regulation since its 108-46 victory over Rowan College on November 25, 2016.

“I think Kean is a really well coached team. I am pleased that we are 10-3 wrapping it up. We know exactly where we need to focus. We have got a really tough test coming out of break when we play at Harvard.”

With Princeton slated to play at Harvard on January 2 to start Ivy action, Henderson is expecting some tough challenges in league play.

“The league is good,” said Henderson. “We are watching everyone very closely. I think it is going to be a rock fight.”

Senior guard Max Johns, who scored a career-high 13 points in 13 minutes off the bench against Kean, saw the game as good tune up for the Ivy opener.

“It was good to play someone else and show off what we are good at,” said Johns, a 6’4, 205-pound native of Hugh Point, N.C., who is averaging 3.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in 13 appearances this season off the bench.

“I think it is also good to identify what we need to work on and that game was good for that. Defensively, me personally but the team in general probably needs to do a better job of being in position early and not fouling.”

In the view of sophomore guard Matt Allocco, the Tigers are making progress. more

TEXAS TWO STEP: Princeton University women’s basketball player Abby Meyers heads to the hoop last Wednesday against Texas. Senior star Meyers scored a game-high 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 70-53 to the Longhorns. The Tigers, now 7-4, are slated to host Harvard on January 2 in the Ivy League opener for both teams. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Hosting 12th-ranked Texas last Wednesday afternoon, the Princeton University women’s basketball team needed some early heroics by Abby Meyers to stay in the game.

With the Longhorns applying its trademark swarming defense, Meyers was the only player on Princeton who scored in the first quarter as Texas built a 15-8 lead. 

“That is an NCAA tournament type game for us, we know we need to make our shots,” said 6’0 senior guard Meyers.

“We have to be ready on our home court to knock them down, but then again, it was their defense. They got up into us and maybe that contributed to the poor shots or misses.”

While Meyers kept hitting shots, drawing Princeton to within 35-31 midway through the third quarter on a layup, the Longhorns wore down the Tigers as they pulled away to a 70-53 victory.

“The game is about runs, it depends on who has the hot hand and give it to them,” said Meyers, who ended up with a game-high 21 points in the defeat and is now averaging a team-high 17.7 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. more

December 22, 2021

Reenactors took part in the annual Wreaths Across America Patriot Graves Commemoration Ceremony at the Colonnade at Princeton Battlefield State Park on Saturday. Attendees share why the ceremony is important to them in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

The Princeton Health Department on Monday announced the highest number of new COVID-19 infections in Princeton since the start of the pandemic almost two years ago.

There were 42 new cases in the previous seven days and 75 new cases in the previous 75 days, surpassing the highest previous totals of 39 for seven days and 66 for 14 days, registered a year ago in December 2020.

Princeton University reported a continuing “campus risk status: moderate to high” for the week of December 11-17, with 98 positive COVID cases out of 16,942 tests for a positivity rate of 0.58 percent.

Due to rising case numbers, the University on December 15 canceled or postponed all indoor gatherings with food and those where face coverings can’t be worn, then on December 16 announced that all undergraduate exams would be shifted to a remote format so that students could leave campus as soon as possible.

The University has also required all students, faculty, and staff who are eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster by January 31.

“The most recent increase in cases is likely a combination of Delta and Omicron,” said Jeff Grosser, Princeton deputy administrator for health and community services. “There is really no other way to explain why we would be experiencing such a quick take-off in cases.” more