July 6, 2022

RAISING THE BAR: Gefen Bar-Cohen heads to the hoop for Market on Main against Planet Fitness in action last Wednesday in the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League. Former Princeton High standout and current Kenyon College player Bar-Cohen tallied 22 points in a losing cause as Market on Main fell 69-44 to Planet Fitness. Two days later, Bar-Cohen scored 14 points to help Market on Main defeat Jefferson Plumbing 55-49 as it improved to 3-1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

When a downpour drove the Princeton Recreation Department Men’s Summer Basketball League from Community Park into the Princeton High gym last Wednesday evening, Gefen Bar-Cohen felt a comfort level.

“It definitely brings back a lot of memories,” said former PHS standout Bar-Cohen, who is playing this summer for the Market on Main squad that is comprised of his high school teammates. “I like to think that I play a little better on this court than anywhere else.”

Bar-Cohen, a 2020 PHS grad, played very well for Market on Main as it battled Planet Fitness, tallying a team-high 22 points. 

But Bar-Cohen’s heroics weren’t enough as Planet Fitness pulled away to 69-44 win over Market on Main with Myles Mitchell-White pouring in 22 to lead the way for the victors.

Reflecting on the setback, Bar-Cohen acknowledged that Market on Main wasn’t at its sharpest despite its home-court advantage.

“I thought we were going to come here and we were going to be able to put up a good fight,” said Bar-Cohen. “We were a little tired, we were a step behind.” more

June 29, 2022

Swimmers sought respite from the heat last weekend at Community Park Pool on Witherspoon Street. The pool is open daily through Labor Day. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn) 

By Donald Gilpin

There was anger, outrage, concern, fear, and in some quarters joy, but little surprise in Princeton in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last Friday, June 24, to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

There were a number of rallies over the weekend in the northern part of the state, demonstrators protesting the elimination of women’s right to choose and warning of dangerous results for women’s health. Anti-abortion advocates, though much less visible in the area than their opponents, applauded the decision, and in Trenton on Saturday a gathering on the steps of the Statehouse Annex celebrated the overturning of Roe with a “Rally for Life and Justice.”

With individual states now determining whether they allow abortion, it will remain legal in New Jersey and in 23 other states. Gov. Phil Murphy — who signed a law, the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, in January, ensuring that abortion remains legal in New Jersey — denounced the U.S. Supreme Court decision and urged New Jersey lawmakers to further expand abortion access in the state.

“While New Jersey planned for this eventuality by codifying a woman’s right to an abortion under state law, it is incumbent that we do more to fully secure reproductive rights and ensure access to reproductive health care without delay,” Murphy said. “Until we do, my administration will take the necessary steps to fully protect both New Jersey’s women and those who come to our state to access the freedom which may no longer exist in their home state.”

About six weeks ago, a draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito of the decision to overturn Roe was leaked, prompting demonstrations across the country, including a gathering of more than 500 at Princeton’s Hinds Plaza on May 14. Organized by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey (PPAFNJ), the demonstration drew abortion rights supporters from across the state and beyond.

Princeton University issued a statement on the afternoon of June 24, following the announcement of the Supreme Court decision, asserting that “Princeton University health care and benefits for employees and students located in New Jersey are not affected by the ruling given current New Jersey law.”

The statement went on to note that the University is still assessing how the ruling will affect Princeton University community members outside of New Jersey.  more

By Donald Gilpin

The renovations continue at Princeton’s former post office building on Palmer Square, and the Triumph Brewing Company is looking forward to moving into its elegant new home by the first quarter of 2023, according to Triumph owner and CEO Adam Rechnitz.

Delays over the past six years, since Triumph first announced its plans to move from its 138 Nassau Street location, have been caused by easements that encroached on municipal property, protected state park land, the need for state permits, and, more recently, pandemic complications and supply chain problems in getting construction materials. But all systems seem to be go for an opening early next year.

“They’ve gotten a lot done. It’s going to be a beautiful place — I’ll tell you that,” said Princeton Building Inspector Dan Tagliere. “The framing and mechanicals have been done. A lot of the systems are in place.”

Rechnitz was upbeat about Triumph’s new Palmer Square setting — “obviously a better location” than 138 Nassau, he said. “I like the idea of being on the village green. We’ve learned a lot in the intervening 28 years since Triumph opened on Nassau Street about how to design and build, and we’ll be pleased to show the public what we’ve learned.”

Triumph closed its restaurant and brewery at 138 Nassau Street in February of this year. Rechnitz noted that it had been in operation for 28 years, ever since he moved to New Jersey in 1994 and founded the Triumph Brewing Company, one of the first brewpubs in the state, in what for a long time had been a bowling alley. more

By Anne Levin

Responding to a request from the Princeton Coalition for Responsible Development (PCRD) to rescind the designation of the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Tennent-Roberts-Whiteley campus as an Area in Need of Redevelopment (ANR), Princeton Council has opted not to take that action.

The underlying zoning is in place until a redevelopment plan is proposed, reviewed, and accepted, said Mayor Mark Freda. “Removing that designation would likely, not for sure but likely, end us up in court, because removing that designation could remove value from the property,” he said. “The town could be sued by the developer. So at this point, we have decided not to take action on the request.”

Neighbors whose homes border the campus and other members of the community have been opposed to the Seminary’s plans to tear down the three buildings in question, which form a kind of gateway into town along Stockton Street. Even though representatives of the Historic Preservation Commission and the Mercer Hill Historic District Association have urged that the buildings be saved, they do not have any historic designation that would protect them.

Among those speaking after Freda’s reading of the decision was former Councilwoman Jo Butler, who lives near the campus on Hibben Road. “Are we really going to sacrifice the town’s historic properties, the right to zone, the responsibility to residents, due to a fear of litigation?” she asked. “Apparently we are.”

Tom Chapman of the Mercer Hill Historic District Association said, “We urge the town to withhold any demolition permits and engage an independent historic preservation consultant to evaluate these buildings.”

The letter written in response to PCRD representatives Butler and Brad Middlekauff, from attorney Francis Regan, is included in the agenda packet from the meeting and can be viewed on princetonnj.gov. more

HOW TIMES CHANGE: This view of the Washington Road bridge over the Delaware & Raritan Canal, looking east from Princeton into West Windsor from about 1910-1920, is from the recently released book “West Windsor Then and Now: A New Perspective.”

By Anne Levin

Back when West Windsor turned 200 in 2007, Henry Innes MacAdam wrote West Windsor Then and Now, a comprehensive analysis of the area’s history. In the 25 years since, the township’s population has exploded and housing developments have replaced many area farms, some of which were centuries old.

As the 225th anniversary approached, it was time for an update. Paul Ligeti, who grew up in West Windsor and made its history a focus of his Eagle Scout project in 2009, has taken on the task. West Windsor Then and Now: A New Perspective has just been released and is published by the Historical Society of West Windsor.

“West Windsor’s history is really interesting, but it has not been so well publicized,” said Ligeti, who is the vice president of the Historical Society, chairs its 225th anniversary planning committee, leads tours of local historic sites, and writes a monthly history column in the West Windsor and Plainsboro News. In his day job, Ligeti works for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Resilience Engineering and Construction.

West Windsor is packed with historic sites. But the lack of a real downtown presents a challenge in bringing that legacy to the forefront. “It’s all spread out, and that’s a problem,” Ligeti said. “That’s the topographical challenge. The other thing is that there are so many new residents here who are not part of families who have lived here for 200 years, so they don’t know the history they are living with. This book is an attempt to bring the history to them. I hope it will be a long-lasting investment.”

At the back of the book there is a list of West Windsor’s “100 Club,” properties that the Historical Society believes may be at least 100 years old. Most are private properties. “We call upon their owners and the township to ensure they remained preserved for future generations to appreciate,” reads the introduction to the list.

For Ligeti, learning little details of West Windsor history was as interesting as the facts involving famous people and events. “I learned about a man who lived in West Windsor’s Community Park from the 1930s to 1963, who made the Raggedy Ann and Andy books popular, though they were not written by him,” he said. “The famous people — William Jennings Bryan spoke at Princeton Junction train station as part of his presidential campaign in 1900. The funeral procession of Robert Kennedy stopped at the station in 1968. And then there is ‘War of the Worlds’ [the 1938 radio hoax led by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater on the Air], which put Grovers Mill on the map.” more

RED CARPET MOMENT: Former Princeton dancer Diana Byer, left, with dancer Steven Melendez, at the opening of the documentary “LIFT: A Journey from Homelessness to the Ballet Stage” last month.

By Anne Levin

Since her days as a charter member of the Princeton Regional Ballet Company (now American Repertory Ballet) in 1963, Diana Byer has been busy.

The Trenton native danced with several ballet troupes before founding the New York Theatre Ballet (NYTB) company and school in 1978. Just over a decade later, she started a scholarship program for underserved children. A documentary film about the program, LIFT: A Journey from Homelessness to the Ballet Stage, debuted last month at the Tribeca Film Festival.

While she recently stepped down as artistic director of NYTB, Byer is far from retired. She still runs the school. And she is working on putting together a small company of dancers over the age of 60, including Robert LaFosse, Monica Bill Barnes, and Meg Harper as well as herself.

“We all want to dance and we still can,” Byer said last week. “We’ll experiment first, find some choreographers, maybe do some in-house performances at the studio and see where it goes. We can still move. We still have something to say. It’s worth looking into.” more

By Donald Gilpin

“Swinging back to the 1960s” in celebrating its current Bell Labs exhibit, Morven Museum & Garden has an array of entertainment, foods, and educational activities on tap for its annual Independence Day Jubilee on Monday, July 4 from 12 to 3 p.m.

Among the highlights of the afternoon at the former home of Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, will be a Jasper Johns American flag activity led by the Arts Council of Princeton, a “1960s Princeton adventure” organized by the Historical Society of Princeton, dancing in the gardens with Luminarium Dance Company, music from the 1960s and beyond played by the Green Planet Band, and food trucks on the premises from KonaIce and Potato Patoto, which specializes in tater tots with a variety of toppings.

In person for the first time since 2019, the Morven Fourth of July Jubilee is sponsored by Honda of Princeton and the Bank of Princeton.

“As a home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Fourth of July is cornerstone to our existence,” said Morven Executive Director Jill M. Barry. “This year we are celebrating’60s style, in homage to our Bell Labs exhibition, but also in reference to the civic engagement that was particularly evident in the sixties.”

The current exhibit at Morven, “Ma Bell: The Mother of Invention in New Jersey,” features the TelStar 1 satellite flight model, which was made by AT&T and Bell Telephone Laboratories, and many other technological innovations that were created in New Jersey and went on to influence the entire world.

Bell Telephone Laboratories, named for its founder Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, had facilities in New Jersey beginning in the 1930s, creating new technology that helped to bring forth cell phones, solar panels, radar, satellites, and the discovery of the Big Bang.  more

By Stuart Mitchner

The ‘watering down,’ if any, did not come from my aspergillum.

—Vladimir Nabokov, in the Playboy interview

Who else but a high priest of language could anoint the tired old term “watered down” with an implement for sprinkling holy water? Would the average Playboy reader of January 1964 reach for the nearest dictionary or keep reading? In the easy access world of June 2022, I unmasked the elusive aspergillum with a click of an iMac mouse.

This was Nabokov’s way of elaborately denying responsibility for “watering down” the central relationship in Stanley Kubrick’s film of Lolita (1962), the novel’s 12-year-old nymphet having been transformed into a 15-year-old blonde who looked 17. Asked if he was satisfied with the final product, Nabokov deemed the movie “absolutely first-rate,” adding that the “four main actors deserve the very highest praise,” and pointing out that he’d had “nothing to do with the actual production.” more

“BROADWAY POPS!”: Princeton Festival has presented “Broadway POPS!” Above: Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess, left, joined the PSO in a program of highlights from musical theater. The concert was conducted by Rossen Milanov, right. (Photo by Carolo Pascale.)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Festival has presented Broadway POPS! Broadway and West End star Sierra Boggess joined the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a program of highlights from musical theater. The June 24 concert was conducted by the orchestra’s Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov.

Boggess made her Broadway debut in the 2007 stage version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She has portrayed Christine Daaé in multiple productions of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera (including the 25th anniversary concert at Royal Albert Hall), as well as the West End premiere of its sequel, Love Never Dies. With Julian Ovenden she has released an album of duets, Together at a Distance.

Broadway POPS! marks Boggess’ third collaboration with the PSO, following appearances in 2017 and 2018. The Olivier Award nominee also starred in The Age of Innocence (2018) at McCarter Theatre.

Boggess and Milanov created a selection that alternated between orchestral and vocal pieces, letting most of the featured composers be represented by at least one of each. The resulting program delighted the audience that packed the Festival’s performance tent on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden. Boggess remarked that she chose pieces that she wanted to hear the orchestra perform.

The concert opened with an orchestral selection: “The Music Man: Symphonic Impressions,” crafted by Richard Hayman from Meredith Willson’s score. The woodwinds, especially the flutes, shone with the strings in the lush ballad “’Till There Was You.”  The piece closes with the rousing “76 Trombones.” A Broadway revival of the show opened this past February.

Boggess entered, sporting a bright red dress. Despite her long association with Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, she chose as her first selection “Home,” a song from a different stage adaptation of the Gaston Leroux novel. Phantom (1991) has a book by Arthur Kopit; the music and lyrics are by Maury Yeston. “Home” is a number that opens delicately and ends operatically — a progression often favored by Boggess — waiting until the end to let the singer reveal her high soprano.  more

By Nancy Plum

It is difficult to get audiences indoors on a summer afternoon, but Princeton University Summer Chamber Concerts was able to entice a good crowd into Richardson Auditorium this past weekend. For the second performance of the 2022 season, the Chamber Concerts series presented the Diderot String Quartet, a 10-year-old ensemble with a well-established commitment to historical performance. Violinists Johanna Novom and Adriane Post, violist Kyle Miller, and cellist Paul Dwyer came to Richardson Sunday afternoon to present eight of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most complex fugal compositions and an elegant string quartet by Felix Mendelssohn on period instruments.

J.S. Bach’s The Art of the Fugue was comprised of 14 canons based on a single short theme. Bach subjected this melodic fragment to a combination of contrapuntal treatments, including setting the theme backwards, upside-down, and in varying speeds. The Diderot String Quartet performed eight of these settings, each showing a different side of Bach’s compositional genius.

Although likely conceived for harpsichord, The Art of the Fugue has been adapted well to various combinations of instruments. “Contrapunctus I” opened with second violinist Adriane Post presenting the theme, followed by all instruments in fugal fashion. The Quartet’s period instruments provided a more understated and refined sound than modern instruments might have, requiring the audience to listen harder to the intimate ensemble sound. Throughout the Bach work, the Diderot Quartet paid a great deal of attention to dynamics, swelling and decreasing the sound together. 

Each “Contrapunctus” treated the theme in an altered way, often opening with a different instrument and pairing the strings in varied combinations of color. Violist Miller and cellist Dwyer were particularly well matched in sound, and violinists Post and Novom often provided extended passages of well-tuned intervals. The eight short movements became more complex as the work went on, with faster-moving lines for the players and dotted rhythms with varying degrees of Baroque “swing.” Dwyer played melodic sequences in “Contrapunctus III” sensitively, with the closing movement requiring expert technical facility from all the instrumentalists.  more

A NOSTALGIC LINEUP: Peter Noone and Herman’s Hermits, the 1960s British band, are among the performers at a festival in Bristol, Pa., this summer.

Bristol Riverside Theatre’s William Penn Bank Summer Music Fest is returning to the Bristol Township Amphitheater with a lineup that will take audiences on a musical journey through the decades.

The second annual summer concert series will feature performances from The Commodores (July 15), Russell Thompkins, Jr. and The New Stylistics with special guest Eddie Holman (July 16), Indigo Girls (August 25), ’70s Flashback (August 26), and culminating with Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (September 9 and 10).  more

SOUNDS OF SUMMER: Daniel Spalding conducts the Capital Philharmonic at the first concert of the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series on July 9 in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park.

The Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series is returning to Trenton this summer, with 10 concerts planned in the 110-acre Cadwalader Park and one in Mill Hill Park. The first performance, on Saturday, July 9, will feature the Capital Philharmonic of New Jersey led by music director Daniel Spalding conducting music by John Williams, John Philip Sousa, and Irving Berlin on the program.

The free 10-concert series, presented by Trenton Downtown Association and the African American Cultural Collaborative of Mercer County, will include local, regional, and national artists representing a wide range of musical styles.

The series runs through September 17. Unlike years in the past, all shows will be on Saturday evening, with the exception of the Will Power Funk Band which will perform at Mill Hill Park on Sunday, July 31. Families are encouraged to come out early and enjoy food trucks, food vendors, and more.

Since 2015, Trenton Downtown Association has presented the Levitt AMP Trenton Music Series, 10 free concerts, each summer in downtown Trenton. Trenton is one of 20 current cities across the country that received a grant from the Levitt Foundation to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to enjoy live-free music in their communities. Visit trenton-downtown.com for more information.

The Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice will present Wesley Stace, also known as John Wesley Harding, in a benefit concert on Friday, July 1 at 7 p.m. The event will take place at 12 Stockton Street, and will go toward building a new space.

Since 1988, Stace has released many albums under the name John Wesley Harding. He has recorded duets with Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Rosanne Cash, and others. Stace has published four novels, including Misfortune, and co-wrote choreographer Mark Morris’ memoir Out Loud.

He also created Cabinet of Wonders, a monthly show that plays at New York City’s City Winery. He has taught at Princeton University, Swarthmore College, and Fairleigh-Dickinson University. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and the Wall Street Journal.

All proceeds go toward helping the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice best serve Princeton at its new community activist center and safe-space for LGBTQIA youth and seniors, intersectional families, and others.

Tickets are $25. Visit jwh.eventbrite.com. Anyone who cannot afford a ticket should contact the organization at RustinCenter.org, as financial difficulties will never bar access for any members of the community.

Judith Hamera
(Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

Princeton University has named Professor of Dance Judith Hamera, an award-winning dance and performance studies scholar, as the next chair of the University’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Hamera takes over from Michael Cadden, who served as interim chair for the 2021-22 academic year. Hamera will begin her new duties on July 1.

“I am so happy that Judith Hamera has agreed to serve as the next chair of the Lewis Center!” said Cadden. “Her work testifies to a lifelong interest in seeing connections among the arts and making connections among people living embodied lives in the worlds of academia and artistic practice — and the many other worlds we each inhabit. The Lewis Center dances on the bridges between those worlds and, as a scholar and teacher, Professor Hamera has surveyed many of them with ingenious results. Her eloquence, vision, and work ethic will serve us well — as will her commitment to an engagement with the entirety of our University, local, national, and international communities.” more

“FINDING OUR WAY”: This acrylic painting by Mary Budkoski was presented with Best of Show, the Sally Bush Memorial Award in the annual “Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition and Sale” at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster.

The Center for Contemporary Art (“The Center”) in Bedminster has announced its annual “Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition and Sale,” a yearly opportunity for members to showcase their artwork in any and all media. The variety and range of entries is a testament to the diversity and creativity of The Center’s community of artists. This year, there are 91 works of art by participating members in painting, pastel, charcoal, ink, graphite, photography, mixed media, ceramics, and more.

The judge for this year’s exhibition was M’kina Tapscott, executive director of Artworks, Trenton’s Visual Arts Center. Tapscotts 15-year career in education, access, curation, and advocacy resonates with Artworks’ mission “to connect community, culture, and creativity through the arts.” She began her work as director of education and programs at Project Row Houses, an art and social service development in Houston, Texas, and continued through education and outreach positions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. A practicing artist, she holds an MFA from the University of Houston and a BFA from Texas State University. more

“EAGLE RAYS”: This mixed media work by Minako Ota is featured in “Our Inner Oceans: Paintings by Minako Ota,” on view through August 30 at the Princeton Public Library.

Paintings of marine creatures by award-winning Japanese painter Minako Ota are featured in in the exhibit “Our Inner Oceans: Paintings by Minako Ota,” on view at the Princeton Public Library through August 30.

Born in Osaka, Japan, Ota studied traditional Japanese painting at Tama Art University in Tokyo. Upon graduation, she attended Cambridge University in England where she focused on Western painting conservation. Since she left her native country some 30 years ago, she has submerged herself in Western cultures in the U.S. and Europe. Her artwork is a cultural hybrid between Japan and the West, as she combines western painting techniques that she learned through her 20-plus years as a professional painting conservator and the traditional Japanese aesthetics that she grew up with. more

Works by Larry Mitnick are featured in “Spatial Imaginings,” on view at Bell’s Tavern, 183 North Union Street in Lambertville,  through the end of August. Mitnick’s work has been exhibited internationally, and he is currently a member artist at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street in Lambertville. Bell’s Tavern is open daily from 5 to 9 p.m.

 

The Trenton Free Public Library and the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) will present the exhibition “Art by Area Cartoonists” at the Trenton Free Public Library, 120 Academy Street, from July 1 to July 27.

An opening reception is set for Friday, July 1, 5 to 7 p.m. as part of the Trenton Downtown Association’s First Fridays and recognition of the museum’s presence in the city’s Creek2Canal Trenton Arts District. An artist’s talk is scheduled for Thursday, July 7 at 6 p.m.

“Art by Area Cartoonists” features work by regional artists who portray everyday events through cartoons and Illustrations. Participating artists include Bill Hogan and Ken Wilkie. more

TOP FIVE: This poster by Littlebrook School fourth-grader Maya Rogart was among the winners of the 2022 “County Government Month” poster contest. More than 70 submissions were received by the Mercer County Office of Economic Development, the contest host.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has announced the winners of the 2022 “County Government Month” poster contest. The contest, inspired by the National Association of Counties County Government Month designation, promotes awareness of Mercer County’s history, progress, culture, and diversity, and was open to local fourth-grade students.  more

UNIFIED APPROACH: Thomas Harrington, left, greets members of the New Jersey team in the unified competition at the Special Olympics USA Games held in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. Former Princeton University women’s track assistant coach Harrington served as a technical delegate at the Games, running and coordinating the unified track competition. (Photo provided by Thomas Harrington)

By Bill Alden

Starting in the late 1980s, Thomas Harrington has experienced success coaching track at several levels.

Guiding Lawrence High and then moving on to Stuart Country Day School, Harrington’s teams amassed over 200 wins, 31 championships, and three All-America awards.

Stepping up to the college level, Harrington served as an assistant coach for the Princeton University women’s track program from 2005-2016, helping the Tigers win a number of indoor and outdoor Ivy League titles.

Over the last four years, he has been an assistant coach at Princeton High, focusing on developing the program’s sprinters and hurdlers.

But for Harrington, the highlight of his stellar coaching career has been his 30-plus years of involvement with the Special Olympics.

“I have coached at every level, from little people to collegiate to Olympian but what I have found as I dealt with the athletes at this level is that there is such a genuine appreciation that goes well beyond the coaching part,” said Harrington, who starting working with Special Olympics in 1989 when he ran coaches clinic for the organization at Lawrence High.

“There is a different energy level. Once a (Special Olympics) games is over, I am toast, I am completely tired and I am not going back. I end up in a ShopRite or Wegmans and I hear somebody say ‘hey coach,’ and one of the athletes comes running over and hugs my knees. They hooked me in. This is my passion.”

Earlier this month, Harrington ran and coordinated the unified track competition at the Special Olympics USA Games held in Orlando, Fla., from June 5-12 as it was held for the first time in the event.

Unified track involves athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing alongside each other in a team competition in seven events, the 100 dash, 200, 400, 4×100 relay, 4×400, shot put, and long jump. more

STRONG CONNECTION: Hun School softball player Lexi Kobryn belts the ball in action this spring. Sophomore Kobryn starred with the bat and with her pitching as Hun went 18-1 and won the state Prep A title. Kobryn threw two perfect games and four other no-hitters with 190 strikeouts in 87 innings this season. At the plate, Kobryn hit a team-best .500 with team highs in homers (7), RBIs (28), and runs (30). (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While Jonathan Gu was disappointed when the Princeton High boys’ tennis team fell 4-1 to Millburn in the NJSIAA Group 3 state final in early June, he was proud of how the squad competed.

“Millburn is a big test, they are a top team in the state and we are not that far off,” said PHS junior star Gu, who won his match at first singles to give PHS its only point in the defeat.

With another big test, the NJSIAA boys state singles competition, on the horizon, Gu was primed to show that he was a top player in the state.

“It is just one match at a time, no match is a given match,” said Gu, looking ahead to the singles tourney. “Every match, you have to focus.”

Displaying his focus, Gu rolled through the competition, posting a series of straight-set wins on the way to the final against East Brunswick’s Jack Wong.

Surviving a marathon match, Gu prevailed 7-6 (9-7), 4-6, 6-2 to earn the singles state crown in a match played on June 16 at the Mercer County Park tennis complex. more

RIGHT DIRECTION: Rohan Sheth fires a pitch in recent action for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team. Last Thursday, Hun School rising senior Sheth had two hits and two RBIs to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Princeton, which improved to 3-3 with a 10-0 win over Bordentown Post 26 last Sunday, plays at Broad St. Park Post 313 on July 1 and at Trenton Post 93/182 on July 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Rohan Sheth was a member of the supporting cast this spring for a powerhouse Hun School baseball team that won its first-ever Mercer County Tournament title and advanced to the state Prep A final.

While Sheth didn’t see a lot of action this season as the Hun roster was packed with Division I talent, he soaked up some valuable lessons.

“They are the hardest workers I know and I try to learn everything from them,” said Sheth. “You see the work they put in everyday and what they they get out of it. You have to trust the process. They lead by example and I am trying to follow in their footsteps.”

This summer, rising senior Sheth has been taking a leading role for the Princeton Post 218 American Legion baseball team, emerging as a solid pitcher and getting some key hits.

Last Thursday, Sheth came up big to help Post 218 rally from a 4-1 deficit to defeat Hopewell Post 339 7-4. Sheth slapped an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to put Princeton up 5-4 and then drove home an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth

“We fell behind early but we knew Jaxon [Petrone] could go long, we knew he had in him,” said Sheth. “We just had to keep faith in him and keep putting runs across.
After the second, I think we won pretty much every inning. We just chipped away one run at a time and we got the job done today.” more

GOING TO THE MATT: Princeton Little League (PLL) pitcher Matthew Brophy fires a pitch last Friday in the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament. Brophy pitched 5 2/3 scoreless inning for PLL as it defeated Millstone-Roosevelt 13-4 to win the tournament held at the Farmview Fields. PLL will now compete in the Section 3 Intermediate 50/70 tournament next week which will also take place at the Farmview Fields. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

“Finish the journey” became the theme for the Princeton Little League (PLL) team as it competed in the District 12 Intermediate 50/70 tournament last week.

Hosting Millstone-Roosevelt at the Farmview Fields in the two-team, best-of-three competition in the division which utilizes a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths and is open to players ages 11-13, PLL manager Matt Bellace almost didn’t make it to game one on Thursday, getting stranded in Chicago on Wednesday when his flight home got canceled.

Driving through the night, he made it back to Princeton and described his harrowing travel tale and how he finished his journey to his players in his pregame message.

“I met the team in the beginning for a few minutes before we went out and I told them the story,” said Bellace. “They are looking at me with these wide eyes and I said that showed how much I want to be here and how much I want to win. I said, ‘do you want to win that much, would you drive from Chicago?’ and they were saying, ‘we would, we would.’”

PLL’s  journey got off to a rocky start last Thursday as it fell behind 9-2 against Millstone-Roosevelt by the fourth inning.

“It was just crushing to start that way, it looked kind of hopeless there,” said Bellace.

Undaunted, PLL rallied to pull out a dramatic 10-9 win, scoring the winning run when Asa Collins stole home in the bottom of the last inning.

“We had some big hits from Victor Espitia, Asa Collins, and Brady Lee,” said Bellace, noting that the players were chanting “finish the journey” as the comeback was unfolding. more

EASTERN EXPRESS: Members of Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team celebrate after they won the US Youth Soccer (USYS) Eastern Presidents Cup Regional in Barboursville, W. Va., last week. PFC defeated the Beadling SC 2006 Boys South Elite 2-0 in the final on June 21. The squad will now compete in the US Youth Soccer (USYS) National Presidents Cup tournament in Greensboro, N.C., from July 7-10. The team includes Jacob Battoglia, Azariah Breitman, Zach Brunell, Brian Donis, Paras Goswami, Connor Hewitt, Izayah Huynh, Kyle Ingersoll, Zeb Jerdonek, Matthew Kim, Chris Lee, Ashwin Lobo, Felipe Matar Grandi, Nick Matese, Francis Savard, Archie Smith, Brandon Urias, Calvin Hopkins, and Liam Kennedy. (Photo provided courtesy of PFC)

By Bill Alden

Heading into the US Youth Soccer (USYS) Eastern Presidents Cup Regional in Barboursville, W. Va., last week, Milen Nikolov believed that his Princeton FC’s Barcelona 2006 team could outlast the competition.

“The No. 1 thing for me is for them to stay healthy, to have no injuries, and keep them fresh,” said PFC Barcelona head coach Nikolov looking ahead to the competition. “If we want to go all the way, this is five consecutive days.”

Staying strong and showing skill at both ends of the pitch, PFC Barcelona went all the way, going 4-0 on the way to the title, topping Beadling SC 2006 Boys South Elite (Pa.) 2-0 in the final. more