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

COLE POWER: Princeton High wrestler Cole Rose, bottom, battles a foe in a match last season. Last Saturday, sophomore Rose placed first at 120 pounds at the Mercer County Tournament at Robbinsville High. Rose’s heroics helped PHS finish second in the team standings at the MCT behind champion Hopewell Valley. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Cole Rose would like to become the second Princeton High wrestler to win four Mercer County Tournament titles.

The sophomore took a step in that direction when he captured his second county crown in as many years. Rose followed up his 106 title from a year ago with a 5-0 win over Luke Caldwell of Hopewell Valley in the 120-pound final Saturday at the championships hosted by Robbinsville.

“I think it’s really great because in middle school when I wrestled I lost to a lot of kids that I wrestle now and I beat,” said Rose, who also beat Caldwell last year at 106 for his first title. “It’s just been a change. I really like it. My goal is to win four in a row. I think Alec Bobchin did it before. I’m trying to compete with him and tie his record.”

Rose was one of two individual champions for PHS. Blasé Mele, who missed last year’s county meet due to injury, earned his first MCT title when the PHS sophomore pinned Steinert’s Devin Liriano in 1:09 for the 132-pound championship. Mele reached the state championships as a freshman last year.

“To come back this year and be healthy and to get that title means a little bit to him,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo, whose team placed second in the MCT team standings with 164.5 points behind champion Hopewell Valley (216 points) and just ahead of third place Robbinsville (163), giving the Tigers their highest-ever finish in the competition. 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

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

OFF AND RUNNING: Princeton High boys’ track star Ben Gitai, center, takes off in the Mercer County Championships last Sunday at The Bubble in Toms River. Gitai took fourth in the race, helping the PHS boys place seventh in the team standings at the meet. (Photo by Nick Niforatos, provided courtesy of Ben Samara)

By Justin Feil

Izzy Ospina Posada always considered discus her best throwing event, but significant improvement in the shot put this winter had her dreaming big.

The Princeton High junior threw a personal record 33’10½ to win the girls’ shot put by just over three inches at the Mercer County Indoor Championships at The Bubble in Toms River on Sunday.

“It just doesn’t feel real,” said Ospina Posada. “I thought I got second place. Finding out I got first place was amazing. It’s an amazing feeling to win. I’m really proud of myself. It’s amazing.”

Ospina Posada was 10th in the same event at last year’s county meet and never threw over 30 feet in that season. This year, she’s thrown at least 31’7½ in each of four meets and twice thrown over 33 feet now, something she credits to throws coach Brandon Williams.

“Coach Williams became in charge of the winter throws this year and it just completely turned me around because he taught me how to put on good form,” said Ospina Posada. “I was always told, ‘great form,’ but coach Williams corrected it and that’s what got me throwing higher numbers. And we always are in the gym dead lifting and working out really hard. He posts workouts that have shown a lot of progression for all of my teammates.”

Ospina Posada was the lone girl champion for PHS as the squad placed sixth in the team standings at the meet. On the boys’ side, Charlie Howes won the 800 meters in 2:04.40. The senior ran more than two seconds faster than his closest competitor to uphold distance coach Jim Smirk’s prediction. 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

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

X-FACTOR: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Emily Ix, right, dribbles the ball in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior guard Ix scored eight points in a losing cause as Stuart fell 48-24 to Robbinsville. The Tartans, who moved to 1-3 with the loss, play at Noor-Ul-Iman School on January 20 and at Solebury School (Pa.) on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Stuart Country Day School basketball team experiencing major roster turnover from last season and going with freshmen and sophomores by necessity, Emily Ix has been a constant for the program.

“I am the only senior, it is definitely different that anything I have done before,” said Ix, who also plays on the Stuart field hockey and lacrosse teams. “It has been a learning experience for me, really learning how to bring different people together. I really love all of the girls on the team. It is really fun, we are playing really scrappy basketball.”

Last Wednesday against visiting Robbinsville, Stuart showed its scrappiness jumping out to an 8-6 lead in the first quarter.

“I was really pleased with how we started, we came out as a team with a lot of aggressiveness,” said Ix. “We have been working on defense a lot in practice. I feel like that really showed.”

But it was Robbinsville’s defense, though, that made the difference as the Ravens applied a full-court press in the second quarter and turned the tide of the contest, outscoring the Tartans 24-5 to build a 30-13 halftime lead on the way to a 48-24 win.

Ix acknowledged that Stuart struggled with the press. “Since we have only seven girls, it is hard to practice pressing,” said Ix, reflecting on the setback which dropped the Tartans to 1-3. “It is definitely different in games.”

While things got away in the second quarter, Stuart kept scrapping, battling the Ravens to an 11-11 standstill in the fourth quarter as Ix tallied seven points down the stretch. more

January 11, 2023

FOR THE RECORD: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Daniel Baytin competes in a breaststroke race earlier this season. Last Thursday, Baytin placed first in the 100-yard breaststroke to help PHS defeat WW/P-S 126-44. Baytin produced a school record of 57.22 in his win, breaking his previous mark of 58.48. The Tigers, now 7-0, have meets at WW/P-North on January 11, at Trenton Central on January 12, and at Nottingham on January 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Daniel Baytin was primed to do something special when the Princeton High boys’ swim team hosted WW/P-South last Thursday.

“We changed up the lineup so I had the opportunity to sprint the 100 breaststroke,” said Baytin. “I haven’t been able to really try it because I have been swimming back to back events. We organized the lineup spot so I would have a good shot at it.”

Making the most of his shot, Baytin sprinted to a school record of 57.22, breaking his previous mark of 58.48.

“It is my main event, I have been swimming it for four years,” said Baytin, who also took first in the 50 freestyle as PHS defeated previously undefeated WW/P-S 126-44 and improved to 7-0. “It is good to drop time definitely. It is still going to get knocked down. It means a lot to me, it is a legacy. I hope my brother (Stephen) one day will beat it.”

In Baytin’s view, the team’s current corps of sophomores has the chance to leave quite a legacy.

“All of the freshmen from last year have gotten faster,” said Baytin. “They were great last year, but now they are really putting in the work. It is awesome. I think the team is going to be in good hands.” more

NO BACKING DOWN: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Jesse Wang displays her backstroke form in recent action. Last Thursday, junior star Wang placed first in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke as PHS defeated WW/P-South 122-48. The Tigers, who improved to 6-0 with the win, have meets at WW/P-North on January 11, at Trenton Central on January 12, and at Nottingham on January 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having increased her workload in the pool over the last year, Jesse Wang is putting together a superb junior season for the Princeton High girls’ swim team.

“I have improved a lot because last year we could have limited training,” said Wang, who also competes for X-Cel swim club. “This year we have definitely amped it up to a different level.”

Last Thursday as PHS defeated WW/P-South 122-48 in improving to 6-0, Wang displayed the fruits of that labor, winning both the 200-yard freestyle and 100 backstroke against the Pirates.

“I have to admit, the 200 free is not my favorite event,” said Wang with a laugh as she reflected on her swims. “I did enjoy my swim this time. It was very, very fun to race my friend Sarah [Yan] from South. It was a good race, it was very exhilarating. That 100 back was very good. Me and Sabine [Ristad] have a little rivalry with backstroke.”

Wang enjoys the good rivalry that PHS has with WW/P-S.

“They are very fast, several of our club swimmers have friends and teammates on South,” said Wang of the Pirates who brought a 5-0 record into the meet. “They are very tough competitors. We always have a lot of fun with these competitions.” more

SHIN GUARD: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Han Shin looks to clear the puck in a 2022 game. Last Wednesday, junior defensemen Shin contributed a goal and an assist as PDS defeated Bergen Catholic 8-1. The Panthers, who defeated Worcester Academy (Mass.) 5-3 last Saturday in a consolation game at their HRM tournament to move to 4-3-2, host the Pingry School on January 12 before playing at Gloucester Catholic on January 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team having gone a pedestrian 2-2-2 in December action, Han Shin and his teammates were looking to start 2023 with a bang when they hosted Bergen Catholic last week.

“It was a new year, we knew we could be better so we decided to step it up,” said PDS junior defenseman Shin. “We talked about it before the game, tightening up the d-zone, just working harder on the forecheck and just burying it when we have the chances.”

Shin stepped up against the Crusaders, tallying a goal as PDS jumped out to a 3-1 first period lead and never looked back on the way to an 8-1 win in the January 3 contest.

“I thought we had a really good start and we just kept building on it and didn’t really stop which was good,” said Shin.

Getting the goal that put PDS up 2-1, Shin gave the Panthers the lead for good.

“I saw Rosh [Nissangaratchie] on the left side, so I kicked it out and their defense was staying up on him and I decided to keep driving,” recalled Shin. “Rosh made a good play, gave it back, and I just tried to tip it on net and it went in.”

In the second period, PDS outscored Bergen Catholic 3-0 to  turn the game into a rout.

“I just think we were dialed in and we just wanted to get the job done,” said Shin, who picked up an assist on the fifth Panther goal. “All year we have had trouble finishing games. Today was definitely a huge step up. We could step it up little more, we could definitely pick it up in the d-zone.”

In doing a good job this winter, Shin has benefited from getting a lot of ice time and bonding with his teammates. more

By Bill Alden

After being part of the supporting cast last winter in his junior season for the Hun School boys’ hockey team, Scott Richmond was determined to assume a bigger role in his final campaign with the program.

“Last year I played like two shifts a game,” said Richmond. “In the offseason, I got to work and lost some weight and worked on my skating and stuff.”

That work has paid dividends as Richmond moved to defenseman from forward to shore up the team’s blue line and has also carved out a key role on the power play.

Last Wednesday as Hun defeated the Pingry School 3-2, Richmond contributed at both ends of the ice, tallying a power play goal in the third period and helping to spearhead a solid defensive effort by the Raiders.

While Richmond and his teammates were happy to get the win to start 2023, snapping a three-game losing streak in the process, he acknowledged they had to shake off some rust.

“We had two practices off of break, we didn’t really have a chance to get our systems going and chemistry back,” said Richmond. “The win feels good, we were a little sloppy today but we came out on top. We kept trying, we knew we had the chances. We were able to find the back of the net at some point.”  more

January 4, 2023

GAINING CONTROL: Princeton High wrestler Christian Paul, right, controls a foe in a bout last season. Last Friday, junior standout Paul earned three wins at 157 pounds as PHS went 2-1 in a quad meet with wins over Montgomery (39-33) and Monroe (35-33) and a loss (51-16) to Hillsborough. In upcoming action, the Tigers, now 3-1, host Franklin on January 4 and then have a quad at Hightstown on January 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Christian Paul got a taste of the action last season for the Princeton High School wrestling team.

After going 8-6 in limited time in the regular lineup, Paul resolved to be a bigger part of the team this year.

“The main thing is not necessarily from starting but that feeling that I never want to be on the bench again,” said Paul. “I always want to be there and the idea that I don’t want to let anybody else outwork me.”

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INNER DRIVE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Rachel Luo drives to the hoop in recent action. Last Wednesday, senior guard and captain Luo scored 18 points to help PHS defeat Princeton Day School 57-36 in a consolation game at the Over the River Classic at South Hunterdon High. The Tigers, now 2-4, play at WW/P-North on January 6, at Highland Park on January 7, and at Hamilton West on January 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Dropping a 39-36 nail-biter to Springfield in the opener of the Over the River Classic at South Hunterdon High last week proved to be a wake-up call for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team.

“After the loss yesterday we decided that we were going to turn it on and play with a lot of energy, both on the court and on the bench,” said PHS senior guard and captain Rachel Luo, referring to the December 27 contest.

Facing Princeton Day School in a consolation game a day later, PHS jumped out to a 22-9 first quarter as Luo tallied eight points, taking the ball to the hoop several times as she dribbled past the PDS defense.

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PLAYING WITH HEART: Princeton Day School girls’ basketball player Mia Hartman goes up for a shot in recent action. Last Wednesday, junior standout Hartman tallied 19 points as PDS fell 57-36 to Princeton High in a consolation game at the Over the River Classic at South Hunterdon High. The Panthers, now 1-4, are scheduled to play at Stuart Country Day on January 4 and then host the Pennington School on January 6 and Steinert High on January 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off the holiday break, the Princeton Day School girls’ basketball team struggled to find a rhythm as it competed in the Over the River Classic last week at South Hunterdon High.

PDS opened the event by falling to 49-32 to host South Hunterdon on December 27 and then lost 57-36 to Princeton High a day later in a consolation contest.

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THINK PINK: Hun School girls’ basketball player Amira Pinkett puts up a shot in a game earlier this season. Sophomore guard/forward Pinkett has been a bright spot for Hun this winter as it has gotten off to a 4-7 start. In upcoming action, the Raiders play at Mercersburg Academy (Pa.) on January 7 and host Princeton Day School on January 10. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School girls’ basketball team has gotten off to an uneven 4-7 start, Sean Costello likes his squad’s prospects as it heads into 2023.

“We would prefer to be closer to .500 but our schedule is pretty difficult,” said Hun head coach Costello, who is in his first season at the helm of the program. “We have long-term goals not short-term goals. Our long-term goal is to be peaking by the end of the season, which means we have to progress slowly and improve each game a little bit. We have to learn from the games that we play, wins or losses. I think we have achieved that.”

The Raiders showed progress in their final game before the holiday break as they topped Freire Charter 52-31 in the Germantown Academy (Pa.) Make-a-Wish Tournament on December 17.

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December 28, 2022

ABBY ROAD: Princeton University women’s basketball star Abby Meyers puts up a shot in action last winter. Meyers enjoyed a superb final campaign for the Tigers, averaging 17.9 points a game, getting named as the Ivy League Player of the Year and selected as an honorable mention All-American. Meyers’ heroics helped Princeton go undefeated in league play and win the league postseason tournament. The Tigers went on to upset Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament and ended up with a 25-5 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With COVID-19 concerns abating and the Ivy League resuming winter and spring competition and high schools playing a full regular season and tournament slate, there was an air of normalcy around the local sports scene in 2022.

Thrilled to be back in action, Princeton winter athletes produced some memorable performances. Abby Meyers enjoyed a superb final campaign for women’s basketball, getting named as the Ivy League Player of the Year and selected as an honorable mention All-American. Meyers’ heroics helped Princeton go undefeated in league play and win the league postseason tournament. The Tigers went on to upset Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA tournament, their second NCAA tournament win ever, and ended up with a 25-5 record.

On the wrestling mat, Patrick Glory and Quincy Monday made history. Glory advanced to the NCAA final at 125 pounds while Monday made the final at 157, becoming the first Princeton wrestlers to make the NCAA final since Greg Parker in 2002. Freshman Maia Weintraub made a memorable debut for the fencing team, winning the NCAA women’s foil title to become Princeton’s first champion in the event since 2000. Sondre Guttormsen produced a historic performance for men’s track as he placed first in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In so doing, he became the first individual NCAA indoor champion for the Tigers since 2002 when Tora Harris won the high jump. more

ZACH IS BACK: Princeton University men’s basketball player Zach Martini pulls down a rebound in a game last season. Last Friday, junior forward Martini had season-highs of eight points and four rebounds in 13 minutes off the bench as Princeton defeated Division III Kean 88-70 and improved to 9-4. Martini, who was sidelined earlier this season for nearly two months due to a collapsed lung, is emerging a key frontcourt reserve for the squad. The Tigers begin their Ivy League campaign when they host Harvard on December 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Zach Martini was primed to make a big impact this winter in his junior season for the Princeton University men’s basketball team, but he got hit with an injury in the preseason that nearly derailed him.

At a practice in early October, the 6’7, 235-pound forward collided with a teammate and he knew something was seriously wrong.

“My lung collapsed taking a charge, I was hospitalized for about five nights,” recalled Martini, a native of Warren. “It was really scary. It definitely changed my perspective on basketball and life. I didn’t think I would be able to play.”

After being sidelined for nearly two months while he recovered, Martini returned to action against Cairn on November 30.

“I am just really, really fortunate to play and be back on the court again with my team, the guys I love and support,” said Martini. more

PUSHING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Chris Rinaldi dribbles upcourt in a game earlier this season. Last Thursday, senior guard Rinaldi scored eight points in a losing cause as PHS fell 48-33 to Hightstown. The Tigers, now 0-3, will be competing in the Montgomery High tournament on December 27 and 29 and then playing at Nottingham on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Chris Rinaldi got things off to a good start for the Princeton High boys’ basketball team as it hosted Hightstown last Thursday, draining a three-pointer a minute into the contest to put the Tigers up 3-0.

Senior guard and co-captain Rinaldi added another three pointer in the second quarter to help PHS jump out to a 16-11 halftime lead.

“I was feeling my shot from the start,” said Rinaldi, reflecting on his perimeter play. “I felt we were playing really good defense, we just had to score. That is what it was going to come down to in the end.”

In the second half, Hightstown got it going on the offensive end, outscoring the Tigers 22-8 in the fourth quarter to pull away to a 48-33 win.

In reflecting on the defeat, which dropped PHS to 0-3, Rinaldi acknowledged that cold shooting doomed the Tigers to defeat.

“We turned it over, we weren’t converting on offense and they went on a run,” said Rinaldi. “Holding Hightstown to 11 points in the first half was pretty good. Our defense is really good, but we have to find a way to put the ball in the basket.” more