February 7, 2024

THE WRIGHT STUFF: Hun School boys’ basketball player Sam Wright heads to the hoop for a layup in a game earlier this season. Last Monday, postgraduate Wright scored 14 points as Hun fell 92-67 to the Perkiomen School (Pa.). The Raiders, now 8-12, will be playing at Pennington on February 8 in a Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) tournament play-in game with the victor advancing to the semis on February 10 at Hun. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Sam Wright has been keeping busy athletically doing his post-graduate year at the Hun School.

“I am doing baseball and basketball all year round,” said Wright, a star pitcher on the diamond and Quinnipiac baseball commit who has emerged as a star guard this winter for the Hun boys’ hoops team. “I am excited for baseball, but I am really focused on basketball right now.” more

ABBY ROAD: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Abby Chirik puts up a shot on recent action. Last Saturday, sophomore guard Chirik scored eight points in a losing cause as Stuart fell 49-25 to Bridgewater-Raritan. The Tartans, now 3-7, host Central Jersey College Prep on February 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

After the Stuart Country Day School basketball team fell 49-25 to Bridgewater-Raritan last Saturday, the squad headed to a classroom near the gym for an extended postgame debriefing.

Stuart head coach Tony Bowman gave his players a clear message as they assembled in the wake of the setback. more

January 31, 2024

MAKING A SPLASH: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Xu displays his breaststroke form in a meet earlier this season. Last Saturday, junior star Xu placed first in both the 200-meter individual medley and 100 backstroke to help PHS finish first in the team standings at the Mercer County Swimming Championships. It marked the third straight county crown for the Tigers. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Knowing that it had a target on its back as it went for a third straight title at the Mercer County Swimming Championships last Saturday at the WW/P-North pool, the Princeton High boys’ swim team made a statement in the first final of the meet.

Competing in the 200-meter medley relay, PHS placed first in a time of 1:49.82 with WW/P-North taking second in 1:51.78.

“Everyone is after us, I think going into finals there was about a half second that separated us,” said PHS head coach Carly (Misiewicz) Fackler. “We knew going into it that it was going to be a close race. The guys were ready and very much up for the challenge. Jerry Liu with the freestyle leg in the event had probably the best 50 free I have ever seen him swim.” more

TOP OF THE PODIUM: Princeton High wrestler Kwabena Afrifah, second from right, enjoys the moment after he took first in the heavyweight division at the Mercer County Tournament last Saturday at Robbinsville High. In addition to senior Afrifah, junior Cole Rose placed first at 126 pounds and junior Blase Mele won at 138. The Tigers finished third in the MCT team standings behind champion Hopewell Valley and runner-up Robbinsville.

By Justin Feil

Kwabena Afrifah won the heavyweight title in his first boys’ wrestling Mercer County Tournament on Saturday, but it wasn’t beginner’s luck.

Afrifah only joined the Princeton High team this year after transferring from J.P. Stevens, where he was a two-time Region 4 qualifier out of District 15. After sitting out because of the 22-day senior transfer rule, Afrifah has taken to the mats with a vengeance, and the county crown was the latest in a string of wins.

“It feels great,” said Afrifah. “It really feels great.” more

SENIOR MOMENT: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Logan Harrison controls the puck in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior captain and star forward Harrison scored a goal and had an assist to help PDS defeat Randolph 4-0 as the program held its annual Senior Night celebration. The Panthers, who lost 4-2 to Immaculate Heart last Monday to move to 8-4, host Morristown-Beard on January 31 before playing the Pingry School on February 1 at the Bridgewater Sports Arena. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team held its annual Senior Night celebration last Friday when it hosted Randolph High, Logan Harrison was deeply touched.

“It is a great experience. I have been playing here for seven years — this last year I have seen all of the seniors of the past graduate, and now it is like my time,” said senior star forward and team co-captain Harrison. “It is really moving honestly. It really was bittersweet, I was so glad to have my family here too.”

The team’s Class of ’24, which includes 10 players, was honored with numbers posted on one side of the rink and posters with messages from their teammates at the other end. That group has developed a family feeling over the years. more

January 24, 2024

STREAKING AHEAD: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Anna Winters dribbles upcourt in recent action. Last Wednesday, sophomore standout Winters tallied 14 points with six rebounds, three assists, and four steals to help PHS defeat Princeton Day School 56-32. The Tigers, who topped Barnegat 54-43 last Saturday to post its sixth straight win and improve to 9-4, host Lawrence on January 26 and Medford Tech on January 27 before playing at Steinert on January 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Anna Winters has diversified her game in her sophomore season for the Princeton High girls’ basketball team.

“I feel I have gotten better in some ways, I have learned more moves,” said Winters. “Last year, I just drove to the right, now I have some moves.”

Last Wednesday, forward Winters displayed her versatility, tallying 14 points with six rebounds, three assists, and four steals to help PHS defeat the Princeton Day School 56-32. more

WILL TO WIN: Princeton High boys’ track throwing star Sean Wilton gathers his thoughts during the shot put competition in the Mercer County Indoor Championships at The Bubble – Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River last Sunday. Junior Wilton went on to win the event, launching a personal record heave of 53’5.50 in placing first. Wilton’s heroics helped PHS place fourth in the team standings of the event won by WW/P-North.

By Justin Feil

Sean Wilton came into the indoor track and field season this winter looking to work on technique and improving his strength. He wanted to throw as far as possible, but personal records were not a focus.

“I wasn’t really worried about PRs,” said Princeton High junior Wilton. “And then I started throwing PRing.”

Wilton launched a personal record 53’5.50 to win the boys’ shot put at the Mercer County Indoor Championships at The Bubble – Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River on Sunday. more

January 17, 2024

DOING HIS BESS: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Michael Bess Jr. controls the ball in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Bess scored a team-high 12 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 53-46 to visiting Nottingham. The Tigers, who lost 66-49 at the Pingry School last Saturday to move to 5-5, host Allentown on January 19 and Florence on January 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The first quarter was painful for Michael Bess Jr. and the Princeton High boys’ basketball team as the Tigers hosted Nottingham last Friday.

PHS ended the quarter trailing 8-4, mustering just two buckets on nearly 20 shots while sophomore guard Bess took a knock.

“We just started off slow, that is how we have been in a couple of games,” said Bess. “I cut my hand in the first.” more

TAKING HER SHOT: Princeton High girls’ hockey Maya Hagt, right, fires a shot in a game last winter. Last Friday, junior forward/defender and team captain Hagt scored a goal PHS fell 8-3 to Cranford. The Tigers, now 1-6, play the Lawrenceville JV on January 18 at Hobey Baker Rink. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Maya Hagt and the Princeton High girls’ hockey team started 2024 with a bang.

With junior forward/defender and team captain Hagt chipping in a goal, PHS defeated Newark East Side 4-1 last Wednesday in its initial action of the new year as the program posted its first win since 2022. more

STATING HER CASE: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States heads to the hoop in recent action. Last Thursday, forward States posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-41 loss to Morristown-Beard. The Tartans, who moved to 2-3 with the defeat, play at the College Achieve Central Charter on January 17 before hosting the Pennington School on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Taylor States has set the bar high for herself this winter in her sophomore season for the Stuart Country Day School basketball team.

Last Thursday, forward States posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-41 loss to Morristown-Beard, but she was not satisfied by her performance. more

GIFT OF GAB: Hun School girls’ basketball player Gabby D’Agostino goes in for a layup in recent action. Last Wednesday, sophomore guard D’Agostino scored 28 points to help Hun defeat Pennington 58-53 in double overtime. The Raiders, who moved to 7-10 with a 46-34 loss to Christian Academy Blue (Md.) last Saturday in the Rose Classic Super Jam in Brooklyn, N.Y., play at the Peddie School on January 17 and at the Blair Academy on January 23. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Gabby D’Agostino was looking to be a crowd-pleaser for the Hun School girls’ basketball team as it hosted the Pennington School last Wednesday.

“We only have five home games,” said sophomore guard D’Agostino, who transferred to Hun this year from New Hope-Solebury (Pa.). “So being able to have them show out, we really just want to win for them because we don’t get a lot of these.” more

January 10, 2024

STROKES OF BRILLIANCE: Princeton High boys’ swimmer David Brophy heads to a win in a freestyle race earlier this season. Last Friday, junior standout Brophy placed first in the 100-yard butterfly and the 500 freestyle as PHS topped WW/P-South 124-46. The Tigers, who defeated Nottingham 121-49 last Monday to improve to 9-0, host Trenton on January 11. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For David Brophy and the Princeton High boys’ swimming team, facing formidable rivals Notre Dame and WW/P-South last week figured to be key midseason litmus tests.

“They are two very competitive teams, we were really excited for the meets and the competition in there,” said PHS junior standout Brophy. “I know a couple of kids from the other teams, it is always good to race against them.”

Brophy competed hard through the week, taking first in the 100-yard butterfly and second in the 500 freestyle as PHS defeated Notre Dame 117-53 last Wednesday. more

CHARLES IN CHARGE: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Charles Ross controls the puck in recent action. Senior forward and co-captainRoss has tallied seven points on three goals and four assists so far this season to rank second on the team in scoring behind Brendan Beatty (10 points on 7 goals, 3 assists). PHS, which moved to 1-4 with a 9-1 loss to Middletown North last Wednesday, faces Hopewell Valley on January 10 and Robbinsville on January 12 with both games to be played at the Mercer County Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Showing rust after not having played a game in 15 days, the Princeton High boys’ hockey team dug an early hole as it faced Middletown North last Wednesday night in its first action of 2024.

PHS fell behind 4-0 seven minutes into the contest. While the Tigers did get on the board with a goal by Liam Campbell midway through the second period to make it a 5-1 game, PHS couldn’t find a rhythm as it fell 9-1.

“It was a tough team to come out against; we never got it going, we were chasing the whole game,” said Tiger head coach Rik Johnson, whose team dropped to 1-4 with the setback. “There were flashes but at no point did it feel like they were poised to come back.” more

AIR JORDAN: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jordan Owens flies to the hoop in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, sophomore guard Owens scored 16 points to help PDS edge Hamilton West 39-36. The Panthers, who improved to 3-5 with the victory, host Steinert on January 12 before playing at Princeton High on January 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Starting 2024 with a bang, the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team pulled out a 50-46 win at Notre Dame High in overtime on January 2.

“It was a great win for our program, playing against a really good team that has a great tradition,” said PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs. “I was excited for our kids to go in there and battle and compete and really just find a way to win.”

A day later, the Panthers battled hard against the Solebury School (Pa.), trailing 31-22 at halftime before fading in the second half on the way to a  69-41 setback. more

FIGHTER JETTE: Hun School boys’ hockey player Charles-Etienne Jette, right, goes after the puck in a game last season. Last Thursday, senior defenseman Jette contributed an assist as Hun fell 4-2 to Don Bosco Prep. The Raiders, now 2-5, face the Portledge School (N.Y.) at the Beaver Dam Winter Sports Club in Locust Valley, N.Y., on January 11 before hosting St. Augustine Prep on January 16 at the Ice Land Skating Center. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Julien Arseneault was primed to step up for the Hun School boys’ hockey team as it hosted powerhouse Don Bosco Prep last Thursday.

“I was ready, it is a big team,” said Hun senior goalie Arsenault of the clash with the Ironmen, who came into the game ranked as the No. 1 team in the state by NJ.com. “It is a challenge for me so I love it.”

Arseneault proved to be  up for the challenge, looking sharp from the start, making 10 saves in the first period as the foes battled to a 1-1 tie. In the second period, Arseneault took things to a higher level, holding Don Bosco scoreless as he made 15 stops. more

January 3, 2024

UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE: Princeton High wrestling star Blasé Mele lifts a foe off his feet in a bout during his freshman campaign. Last Thursday, junior Mele earned pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents at the Sam Cali Invitational to earn the 138-pound title on the FDU-Florham campus. Fellow PHS junior Cole Rose also excelled at the invite-only competition, taking third at 126. The Tigers will return to the mats on January 6 at Moorestown for a quad meet before hosting Nottingham in a dual meet January 10. (Photo provided by PHS Wrestling)

By Justin Feil

Blasé Mele has been talking the talk and now the Princeton High School junior is walking the walk.

Mele earned a pair of wins over nationally ranked opponents at the Sam Cali Invitational to earn the 138-pound title last Thursday on the FDU-Florham campus. The title itself wasn’t the big achievement; it was the caliber of opponents that Mele knocked off to win it.

Mele defeated FloWrestling’s 17th-ranked Joseph Joyce of Ponaganset (R.I.) in sudden victory overtime in the quarterfinals for his first huge win. After pinning Jake Zaltsman of state power St. John Vianney in the semifinals, Mele battled back to force overtime before taking a 3-1 win over seventh-ranked Billy Dekraker of Blair Academy, one of the best high school programs in the country. more

COMING THROUGH: Princeton High boys’ basketball player Jahan Owusu dribbles past a foe in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, senior guard Owusu scored a game-high 18 points to help PHS defeat North Hunterdon 55-49 in the Cougar Classic at Montgomery High. The Tigers, who moved to 3-2 with the win, play at Trenton Central on January 5 at and at Hamilton West on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Jahan Owusu returned from the holiday break on a roll as the Princeton High boys’ basketball team faced Bridgewater-Raritan last Wednesday in the Cougar Classic at Montgomery High.

Senior guard Owusu tallied six points as PHS built a 21-16 lead over the Panthers in the first quarter.

“I feel like we were playing really well in the first half,” said Owusu. “We were hitting shots. Everybody was moving and cutting; everyone was getting involved today.” more

SHARK ATTACK: Princeton High girls’ basketball player Katie Sharkey dribbles upcourt in a game last winter. Last Thursday, Sharkey tallied a game-high 18 points in a losing cause as PHS fell 50-39 to Somerville in the semifinals of the WW/P-North Holiday Tournament. The Tigers, who defeated WW/P-South 41-20 last Saturday in the third place game at the tourney to move to 3-3, host Trenton Central on January 5 and Hamilton West on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton High girls’ basketball team trailing Somerville 43-27 last Thursday in the semifinals of the WW/P-North Holiday Tournament, Katie Sharkey caught fire from the perimeter.

PHS sophomore forward Sharkey drained three 3-pointers in a three-minute span in the fourth quarter as the Tigers tried to put together a rally.

“I think I am always feeling it,” said Sharkey, who ended up with a game-high 18 points but it wasn’t enough as Somerville prevailed 50-39. “It is mostly confidence, especially with shooting.” more

JACKED UP: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Liam Jackson controls the puck in recent action. Senior star forward Jackson tallied a goal and an assist to help PDS edge Seton Hall Prep 3-2 in overtime on December 21 in its last action before the holiday break. The Panthers, now 4-2, start the 2024 portion of their schedule by facing LaSalle College High (Pa.) on January 3 at the Hatfield Ice Arena and the Pingry School at the Bridgewater Sports Arena on January 4 before hosting St. Joseph Montvale High on January 8. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hosted Seton Hall Prep in its last action before the holiday break, Liam Jackson got smashed into the ice late in the second period.

Looking shaky after taking the hit which drew a penalty, PDS senior star forward Jackson skated gingerly over to the bench, seemingly finished for the game.

While Jackson was in pain, he did return to the December 21 contest. more

BIG MAC: Hun School boys’ basketball player Mac Kelly heads to the hoop in a game last winter. Senior guard Kelly starred as Hun posted two wins over Malvern Prep (Pa.) and Germantown Academy (Pa.) before the holiday break to improve to 5-5. Getting the 2024 portion of their schedule underway, the Raiders host the Pennington School on January 4, the Solebury School (Pa.) on January 6, and West Nottingham Academy (Md.) on January 9. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

In his second season with the Hun School boys’ basketball team, Mac Kelly has been taking command of the squad’s backcourt.

With standout guards Dan Vessey and Anthony Loscalzo having graduated after starring last winter, senior standout Kelly is shouldering more responsibility this winter.

“Last year was my first year here, I was trying to transition and be a point guard,” said Kelly. “We have got a lot of new guys and I am just trying to do my best with finding a balance between being a scorer and being a point guard. As your time goes on here, naturally your role on a team is going to get bigger and bigger. I am just trying to do my best to handle that.” more

December 27, 2023

SWEET SUCCESS: Princeton University men’s basketball player Tosan Evbuomwan heads to the basket in the Ivy League tournament. Senior star Evbuomwan helped the Tigers win the Ivy tournament and then go on to a magical run to the NCAA Sweet 16, the first time the program advanced that far since the tourney was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The 15th-seeded Tigers upset second-seeded Arizona and seventh-seeded Missouri before falling to sixth-seeded Creighton. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

For local sports programs, 2023 turned out to be a year that will be remembered for some of most stirring postseason runs in recent years.

Over at Princeton University, the men’s basketball team captivated hoops fans across the country last March as it advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since the tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Tiger women’s hoops team produced a special run of its own as it made the second round of the NCAA tourney for a second straight year. Senior Patrick Glory made history for Tiger wrestling, winning the NCAA title at 125 pounds, earning the second-ever national title for the program and the first since Bradley Glass won the heavyweight crown in 1951. Princeton track and field star Sondre Guttormsen won the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Championships, making it two straight titles for him at the meet. more

OH HENRY: Princeton High boys’ swimmer Henry Xu displays his breaststroke form in a recent meet. Last Thursday, senior star Xu swam the breaststroke leg in the victorious 200-yard medley relay, placed fourth in the 200 individual medley, and then won the 100 breast as PHS topped Hopewell Valley 120-50 and Ewing 140-28 in a tri-meet. The Tigers are next in action when they face Notre Dame at The College of New Jersey on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Henry Xu focused on the butterfly when he started competitive swimming but eventually found he was better suited for another stroke.

“I used to be a flyer a long time ago, then I became a breaststroker,” said Xu, a senior standout for the Princeton High boys’ swim team. “It has been my go-to stroke for four or five years. What is interesting about me is my physique isn’t a like a normal breaststroke physique like bulky, huge. I work on the technique; my stroke rate is fast and it is pretty precise.” more

BREAKING FREE: Princeton High girls’ swimmer Annie Flanagan competes in a freestyle race in a meet earlier this season. Last Thursday, sophomore Flanagan placed first in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 back to help PHS defeat Hopewell Valley 132-38. The Tigers, now 5-0, will look to keep on the winning track when they face Notre Dame at The College of New Jersey on January 3. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Joining the Princeton High girls’ swim team last winter, Annie Flanagan was a bit apprehensive about how things would go.

“I was definitely really nervous coming in, being a freshman,” said Flanagan.

Overcoming her nerves, Flanagan ended up thriving in the team environment, emerging as a key performer for a PHS squad that 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. more

December 20, 2023

COLE POWER: Princeton High wrestler Cole Rose, top, controls a foe in a 2022 bout. Last Saturday, junior star Rose took second at 126 pounds in the Wendy Pandy-Leh Wrestling Invitational at Delaware Valley. Fellow junior Blase Mele placed first at 138 as the Tigers took sixth in the team standings of the event won by host Del Val. PHS hosts WW/P-South on December 20 in its first dual of the season. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

The Princeton High wrestling team is testing its strength early with several difficult challenges.

The Tigers wrestled in the Wendy Pandy-Leh Wrestling Invitational at Delaware Valley on Saturday. PHS placed sixth among a strong contingent of statewide teams, and the opportunity was just what the Tigers were looking for in the first month of a season in which there are big expectations for PHS.

“There were some very good quality teams from across the state of New Jersey,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo. “There were teams from up north in Bergen County, teams from down south like Williamstown and Woodstown, Del Val is terrific, and some schools from the shore. You saw a little bit of everything, each kind of New Jersey’s style, which was great. You can’t get that a lot and it’s good to expose your kids to it early and then correct what they might have done wrong or got beat up with before we see that later on in the season.” more

GOING TO GOAL: Princeton High girls’ hockey player Maya Hagt heads up the ice in a game last season. On Friday, junior forward Hagt tallied a goal and an assist as PHS fell 9-7 to Newark East Side at Hobey Baker Rink. The Tigers, who moved to 0-4 with an 8-7 loss to Cranford last Monday, host Madison High on December 20 at Baker Rink in their last action before the holiday break. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Taylor Davidson has been skating since she was three years old, she didn’t start taking ice hockey seriously until middle school.

“I have known how to skate forever — my dad grew up playing hockey,” said Davidson. “But I played house league because we always went skiing. I started playing club about three years ago. I have definitely been working on it a lot more recently.” more