December 13, 2023

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Xu competes in a butterfly race last season. Junior Xu and the Tigers got their 2023-24 season off a good start as they topped Hamilton West 111-50 last Thursday inter opening meet. In upcoming action, PHS swims at Robbinsville on December 14 and then hosts WW/P-North on December 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Princeton High boys’ swimming team has gone 27-2 over the last two years, that sparkling record has been tinged with some frustration.

Both of those defeats came to fellow powerhouse Chatham, with one coming in the Public B state final in 2022 and the other taking place in the sectional final last season.

As PHS headed into the 2023-24 season, Tiger head coach Carly Misiewicz believes those setbacks could spur her swimmers to new heights this winter. more

FLYING START: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Lauren Girouard displays her butterfly form in a race last season. Senior star Girouard and her teammates are looking for an encore performance this winter after going 14-0 in 2022-23 on the way to winning the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state title. PHS started this season by topping Hamilton West 114-40 last Thursday. The Tigers will look to keep on the winning track as they swim at Robbinsville on December 14 and then host WW/P-North on December 19. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ swimming team coming off an undefeated season in 2022-23 that saw it win the program’s first state title since 1983, the squad isn’t shying away from talk of an encore performance this winter.

“You always feel that there is this target on your back, before it was within the county and now I feel like it is more statewide,” said PHS head coach Carly Misiewicz, whose team went 14-0 on the way to winning the Mercer County championship meet and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group B state title. “I feel like we thrive in those situations. They have said multiple times that they want nothing more than to repeat this year. They got a taste of it last year but they are ready for some more again.” more

OH YES: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jahan Owusu heads to the hoop in a game last year. Senior guard Owusu, the team’s leading scorer last season, figures to be a go-to player again this winter for the Tigers. PHS tips off its 2023-24 campaign by playing at Ewing on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Last winter, the Princeton High boys’ basketball team saved its best for last, going 5-3 in its last eight games with two of the losses coming by one point in hard-fought postseason contests.

With PHS having only lost a couple of senior starters from that squad, Patrick Noone believes that his returners have picked up from where they left off as they have gone through preseason practices.

“The vibe has been really good, they are really connected,” said PHS head coach Noone, who guided the Tigers to a 10-13 record last winter and whose team tips off the 2023-24 season by playing at Ewing High on December 14. “They are really enjoying themselves. We have got a lot of returning guys and some key newcomers so it has been good.” more

ON THE RISE: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Gabby Bannett goes up for a layup in a game last season. Senior star forward and team captain Bannett will be depended on to provide production and leadership for the Tigers this winter. PHS opens its 2023-24 season by hosting Ewing High on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton High girls’ basketball team hasn’t played a regular season game yet this winter, Dave Kosa is already impressed by his squad’s spirit.

“We had our best practice today, it was just having a great vibe,” said PHS head coach Kosa.

“I said to them on December 7, this has been my best team since I have been here as far as how hard we are practicing and we are getting after it. It doesn’t matter who I put on the blue team or the white team, they are going at it versus one another. It is great to see those types of practices where we are competing. Having competition just gets everyone better.” more

GETTING HIS SHOT: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Adam Stewart puts up a shot in a game last winter. Junior guard Stewart figures to be a key performer for the Panthers this season as he moves into the starting lineup. PDS tips off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Delran High on December 14. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Losing six seniors to graduation, including its three leading scorers, the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team is undergoing a youth movement by necessity this winter.

With three freshmen, five sophomores, and two juniors figuring to get a lot of minutes this season, PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs is looking forward to seeing his team develop over the course of the winter.

“With a young group, there are going to be some ups and downs, they are going to have some good days and bad days,” said Burroughs, whose team tips off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Delran High on December 14. “They don’t know what they don’t know. We have some good pieces and some good skill level. I think the athleticism piece is there and the ability to score a little bit is there. It is going to be fun to see them mature as a group.” more

December 6, 2023

ON THE STICK: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Brendan Beatty brings the puck up the ice in action last winter. Junior forward Beatty is the leading returning scorer for PHS, having tallied 33 points on 10 goals and 23 assists last season. The Tigers open their 2023-24 campaign by facing Notre Dame High on December 11 at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In taking the helm of the Princeton High boys’ hockey team last winter, Rik Johnson benefited from a stellar senior group that provided leadership and production.

The team’s Class of 2023, headlined by high-scoring forwards Cooper Zullo and Ethan Garlock, led the way as PHS won the Mercer County Tournament for the first time since 2020 and advanced the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Public A quarterfinals on the way to a 15-7-1 record.

As PHS head coach Johnson looks ahead to the 2023-24 campaign, he acknowledges that his squad may have to rely on its battle-tested blue line unit to maintain the program’s winning ways. more

SHIN GUARD: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Han Shin controls the puck in a game last winter. Senior defenseman Shin is primed for a big final campaign for the Panthers. PDS opens its 2023-24 season by hosting the Delbarton School on December 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Showing flashes of brilliance, the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team has proven that it can compete with the elite programs in New Jersey as a member of the Gordon Conference.

But PDS has fallen short of breaking into the upper echelon, struggling in the Gordon Cup and New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public postseason competition.

“I felt like our first two years in that conference, we hung with teams, we were around in third periods,” said PDS head coach Scott Bertoli, whose team went 7-11-3 last season. “We didn’t have the difference makers that the other teams had, being Delbarton, CBA (Christian Brothers Academy), and Don Bosco. We haven’t gotten over that hurdle since we have been in that conference. We have had tremendous games, we have tied some of those teams, but we haven’t beaten any of those three teams. Ultimately to get where we want to be we have got to figure that out. more

OPENING SALVO: Hun School boys’ hockey player Ryan Levesque tracks the puck in a game last winter. On Friday, senior forward Levesque tallied three goals and two assists to help Hun defeat the Haverford School (Pa.) 14-3 in its season opener. In upcoming action, the Raiders face LaSalle College High (Pa.) on December 6 at Hatfield Ice Arena and Notre Dame High on December 8 at Grundy Ice Arena before hosting St. Joseph’s Prep (Pa.) on December 12 at Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Eric Szeker, playing for the Hun School boys’ hockey team a decade ago left him with the memories of a lifetime.

“I have played on a lot of great teams, I have played in a lot of awesome places across the country and in the Northeast; honestly looking back, it was some of the best times I ever had in hockey,” said Szeker, a 2013 Hun alum who served as the captain of the Raiders in his senior season. “You get to spend eight hours a day with some of your best friends. You get to wear your school logo. We had that locker room over at Ice Land. It is no NHL locker room, but it is still your place where you get to hang out with friends, have lunch, and do homework.”

After playing juniors for the Cape Cod Islanders, Szeker went on to play four years at Western New England University, a Division III program based in Springfield, Mass. more

TAYLOR-MADE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States heads to the basket in action last winter. Sophomore forward States, who led Stuart in scoring last season with 177 points, figures to be the top offensive threat for the Tartans again this winter. Stuart tips off its 2023-24 campaign by playing at the Peddie School on December 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Stuart Country Day School basketball team featuring a mix of four returners and five newcomers, Tony Bowman has been providing his players with plenty of teachable moments.

“It is a growing process, it is a learning process,” said Stuart head coach Bowman, who guided the Tartans to a 5-6 record last winter as he returned for his second stint with the program after coaching Stuart from 2003-11. “We don’t have a JV so they are going from middle school straight to varsity. It is a big transition, that is where we’re at.” more

November 29, 2023

TITLE RUN: Princeton High Boys’ soccer player Pasquale Carusone races past a defender in action this fall. Senior striker Carusone tallied a team-high 28 goals to help PHS win the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 state title and post a 22-2 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Pasquale Carusone made a decision that changed the course of history for the Princeton High boys’ soccer program.

After focusing on club soccer during his first three years at PHS, he opted to join the Tiger squad this fall.

“It is my senior year, I definitely have to play for my high school,” said Carusone, who played for the Players Development Academy (PDA) and has committed to play at the college level for the University of Rochester. “A lot of kids were giving me stuff for it and saying we could go super far with you this year.”

The PHS players welcomed Carusone with open arms. “They were happy to see me, they have been wanting me to come out for three years,” said Carusone. “I have known the Smith brothers (junior midfielder Archie and freshman midfielder Harvey) for a while — I have played club with them forever. We jelled quick, it wasn’t like it took a few games.” more

BREAKING THROUGH: Princeton High football player Remmick Granozio fights for extra yardage in a game this fall. Senior tight end Granozio’s intensity helped the Tigers go 5-4 this year as the program produced its first winning campaign since 2014. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In recent years, Charlie Gallagher needed to be creative to put a positive spin on things when he spoke at the year-end banquet for his Princeton High football team.

But this Thursday when the team gathers for the annual event, PHS head coach Gallagher will have plenty of positives to cover as he recaps a 2023 season that saw the Tigers go 5-4, producing their first winning campaign since 2014. more

SHOOTING STAR: Hun School boys’ basketball player Mac Kelly puts up a shot in a game last season. Senior guard Kelly figures to be a key offensive threat this winter for Hun. The Raiders were slated to tip off their 2023-24 campaign by hosting Compass Basketball Academy on November 28 and then playing at the Haverford School (Pa.) on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It is early but Jon Stone is sensing that his Hun School boys’ basketball team could grow into something special.

“The vibe has been really good, we clearly have a lot of things to work on but we have been getting there,” said Hun head coach Stone, whose team went 14-13 last winter and was slated to tip off its 2023-24 campaign by hosting Compass Basketball Academy on November 28 and then playing at the Haverford School (Pa.) on November 30. “The guys have been working hard, the energy has been good.” more

PASSING IT ON: Hun School girls’ basketball girls’ basketball player Anna Schweer looks to make a pass in a game last season. Hun is depending on senior guard Schweer to provide production and leadership this winter. The Raiders, who opened the season by falling 83-78 to George School (Pa.) on November 21, will be playing in the Hill School (Pa.) Girls’ Basketball Tournament from December 1-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Hun School girls’ basketball team lost 83-78 to George School (Pa.) last week in its season opener, Sean Costello saw plenty of positives.

“I think that was as good a result as we could have gotten outside of getting the win in terms of the product we produced,” said Hun head coach Costello, noting that he was missing some key players due to injury for the November 21 contest. “We jumped on them. We brought a lot of energy, which was really good. We knocked down some shots, the kids got hot. I said before the game you want to win all of the games, but the first game is more about to see where you are at. It was about competing and setting the tempo, and we came out shining in those categories.” more

November 22, 2023

COMING THROUGH: Princeton Day School boys’ soccer player Penn von Zelowitz, right, goes after the ball in game this fall. Junior von Zelowitz starred as 10th-seeded PDS made an improbable run to the semis of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament. Von Zelowitz scored the winning goal as the Panthers upset second-seeded Doane Academy 1-0 in overtime in the quarterfinal round. PDS went on to fall 4-0 at third-seeded St. Rose in a semifinal contest to finish the season at 3-16-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Having gone winless as it headed into mid-October and not getting invited to the Mercer County Tournament due to its poor record, the Princeton Day School boys’ soccer team underwent some soul-searching as it looked ahead to the homestretch of the season.

“We had a pretty big meeting around the time when we found out we didn’t make MCTs for the second year in a row,” said PDS head coach Brian Thomsen. “We talked to the boys a lot, about what we can do moving forward to make sure it is a meaningful experience the last three or four weeks.”

The Panthers responded by topping Nottingham 2-1 on October 18 to get their only regular season win and then produced an unlikely run to the semis of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) South Jersey Non-Public B Tournament.

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SPECIAL FORCE: Members of the Wilberforce School boys’ cross country team show off the medals they earned at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B championship meet earlier this month. The Wolverines took third in the team standings at the meet, led by senior Caleb Brox who placed first individually. Freshman Micah Brox placed seventh, while freshman Elias Edwards came in eighth. Pictured, from left, are Philip Schidlovsky, Henry Jepson, Elias Edwards, John David, Caleb Brox, Micah Brox, and Andy Pratt. (Photo provided courtesy of Lois Szeliga)

By Bill Alden

As the Wilberforce School cross country runners competed in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public B championship meet earlier this month, Caleb Brox achieved a historic double for the Wolverine boys while the girls’ squad fell agonizingly short of making history of their own.

Senior Brox pulled away from the pack to place first individually in the Non-Public B boys’ race, making it two titles this fall as he had previously placed first in the Mercer County championship meet in mid-October.

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November 15, 2023

RALLY TIME: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Pasquale Carusone, right, controls the ball as PHS battled Kearny High in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 championship game last Saturday at Franklin High. Senior Carusone scored a second half goal as the Tigers rallied to a 3-2 win over the Kardinals to win their first state title since 2012. It was the fourth state crown for the program. PHS finished the fall with a 22-2 record. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Six years ago, the Princeton High boys’ soccer team fell to Kearny High 3-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 championship game.

Last Saturday when the two powerhouses clashed in a rematch at this year’s Group 4 final at Franklin High, PHS didn’t waste any time, showing that things could be different in round two. more

GRAND SLAM: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Felipe Matar Grandi goes after the ball in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 final last Saturday at Franklin High. Senior midfielder and co-captain Matar Grandi helped PHS top Kearny 3-2 as the Tigers won their first state title since 2012 and fourth overall. Matar Grandi tallied a goal as PHS topped Washington Township 4-0 in the state semis on last Wednesday to punch its ticket to the final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Felipe Matar Grandi, some practice made perfect for him as the Princeton High boys’ soccer team hosted Washington Township in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 4 state semis last Wednesday afternoon.

With PHS leading Washington 1-0 in the second half, senior midfielder and co-captain Matar Grandi got position near the goal and with a ball flying towards him, he leaped up and headed the ball into the back of the net. more

PEARL JAM: Princeton High girls’ volleyball libero Pearl Agel lofts a pass in state tournament action. Last Sunday, junior Agel contributed 11 digs, six service points, and one assist to help PHS defeat Millburn 2-0 (25-21, 25-12) in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Group 3 final at Franklin High. The Tigers went 30-1 as they earned the first state crown in program history. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the libero for the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team, Pearl Agel stands out among her teammates as she wears a different color jersey and can only play on the back row under the rules of the sport.

While some may see the position as somewhat thankless with no chance to get the glory of blasting kills at the net, junior Agel relishes doing the dirty work of diving for digs and setting up her teammates. more

RISING TO THE OCCASION: Princeton Day School girls’ soccer player Ella McLaren, left, heads the ball as PDS battled St. John Vianney in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A South tournament. The Panthers went on to win the South tournament and last Friday and earned the Non-Public A title as they defeated Mount St. Dominic 2-0 in the state final at Franklin High. It was the first-ever Non-Public state title for the program. The Panthers finished the fall at 17-2-3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Mackenzie Brodel, it was a prayer answered and a dream come true, while Ella McLaren was rendered speechless.

Sophomores Brodel and McLaren played key roles last Friday night as the Princeton Day School girls’ soccer team defeated Mount St. Dominic 2-0 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A state final at Franklin High. Brodel scored a goal early in the second half to put PDS up 1-0 and McLaren helped anchor a stingy PDS defense that stifled the high-powered Lion attack.

With the foes locked in a scoreless tie headed into the second half, PDS was determined to break through.

“We were just doing the same thing that we always do,” said Brodel. “We were just looking to get the ball in the back of the net.” more

November 8, 2023

GETTING HIS KICKS: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Archie Smith boots the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, junior midfielder Smith had two assists to help top-seeded PHS defeat second-seeded Howell 5-1 in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final. The Tigers, now 20-2, host South Jersey champion Washington Township (18-1-2) on November 8 in the Group 4 state semis with victor advancing to the final on November 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High boys’ soccer team locked in a scoreless draw with Howell in the first half of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional final last Saturday, Archie Smith won the ball and sprinted down the sideline.

Racing past the Howell defense, junior midfielder Smith slotted a pass to Pasquale Carusone, who buried the feed into the back of the net to put the Tigers up 1-0 in the eighth minute of the contest. more

BIRTHDAY GIFT: Princeton High boys’ soccer player Harvey Smith, left, goes after the ball last Wednesday as top-seededPHS battled fourth-seeded Monroe in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals. Freshman midfielder Smith, who was celebrating his 15th birthday that day, scored on a second half free kick to give PHS the margin of victory in a 2-1 triumph. Last Saturday, Smith contributed an assist as PHS defeated second-seeded Howell 5-1 in the sectional final. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Harvey Smith turned 15 last Wednesday and it ended up being a birthday he will never forget.

With the top-seeded Princeton High boys’ soccer team knotted in a 1-1 tie with fourth-seeded Monroe midway through the second half of a NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinal clash, freshman midfielder Smith blasted a free kick that caromed off the crossbar and went into the back of the net to put the Tigers up 2-1. more

500 CLUB: Princeton High girls’ volleyball player Naomi Lygas hits a serve in recent action. Last Thursday, sophomore star Lygas totaled a match-high 12 kills, including the 500th kill of her career, to help top-seeded PHS defeat fifth-seeded Brick Memorial 2-0 (25-14, 25-7) in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 semis. The Tigers, who improved to 27-1 with the win, were slated to host third-seeded Moorestown in the sectional final on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For Naomi Lygas and the Princeton High girls’ volleyball team, it proved to be an historic afternoon last Thursday as the Tigers hosted Brick Memorial in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Central Jersey Group 3 semis.

Sophomore outside hitter Lygas starred as top-seeded PHS rolled to a 2-0 (25-14, 25-7) win over the fifth-seeded Mustangs, contributing a match-high 12 kills along with five digs as the Tigers advanced to their second straight sectional final and second in program history. Lygas made some personal history, recording the 500th kill of her career late in the second set.

With PHS having lost 2-1 to Colts Neck in the sectional final last year, the Tiger players were fired up to make a return trip to the title game.

“We always remember what happened last year and how we don’t want a repeat of that again,” said Lygas. “So I think one of our big motives is just continuing to push forward, everybody else wants the same thing and we did. We just have a mindset that we want it more. We want to get as far as we can because we know that we can. It is just important that we get there.” more

CLUTCH HIT: Princeton High field hockey player Delaney Keegan dribbles the ball last Saturday as PHS battled Phillipsburg in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 4 sectional semis. Senior star Keegan scored the winning goal in overtime as the second-seeded Tigers prevailed 2-1. PHS, who improved to 17-2 with the win, were slated to host fifth-seeded Ridge in the sectional final on November 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Delaney Keegan wasn’t about to do anything fancy when she got the ball on her stick early in overtime as the second-seeded Princeton High field hockey team battled third-seeded Phillipsburg in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) North Jersey Group 4 sectional semis last Saturday.

“It just came down to not thinking about it and just taking the shot,” said PHS senior star Keegan. “I was crossing my fingers and for a second I held my breath — Mia [Ramirez] gave me a great pass. I didn’t want to keep dribbling in, I just wanted to take a shot. I was just ripping at that point, just get it on cage, trust that Erin [Liggio] was going to be there. I knew she was down low so that really helped me out, it gave me comfort.”
There was no need for Liggio to tip in a rebound as Keegan’s blast flew past the Phillipsburg goal one minute into the extra session to give PHS a 2-1 win and punch its ticket to the sectional final.

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MULTITASKING: Allen Bryant competing in soccer and lacrosse during his Princeton High career. Bryant ’10, who starred in both sports as well as indoor track, is being inducted into the 15th class of the Princeton High School Athletic Hall of Fame at a banquet being held this Saturday at the Mercer Oaks Country Club in West Windsor.

By Bill Alden

When Allen Bryant entered Princeton High in 2006, he wasn’t focused on what he could achieve in his athletic career.

“I looked up to the seniors when I was a freshman,” said Bryant, noting that he was particularly inspired by one of those seniors, Tyler Moni, who went on to play for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse program. “The reality is that I didn’t have any specific goals, just to do the best I possibly could.” more

FINAL RUN: Princeton Day School girls’ cross country runner Emily McCann shows her form in a race last fall. Last Saturday, senior star and Northeastern commit McCann placed sixth in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public A girls’ meet at Holmdel Park to earn a spot in the upcoming NJSIAA Meet of Champions. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Emily McCann will compete in the Meet of Champions (MOC) girls’ cross country race for the third straight year this Saturday at Holmdel Park.

The Princeton Day School senior qualified the last two years as a wild card entrant out of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public Group A division, meaning she had to wait a day after the group races to find out she was officially in. This year, McCann made things official on race day by finishing sixth in New Non-Public A girls’ meet to earn one of the 10 automatic entries to the MOC. more