By Josie Alston ’21
Led by captains Michael Sun (VI) and Chris Yu (VI), the boys’ fencing team is off to an excellent start. With preseason conditioning and footwork finally coming to a close, the team is beginning to transition into competition preparation.
As the actual season has just begun, footwork is still a routine practice. Now under the gaze of watchful coaches, including Head Coach Ted Li, the boys are beginning to practice using their weapons, along with other secondary equipment.
Last year, the boys had a very successful season as a team. They qualified to compete in the Sweet Sixteen tournament and placed third in the District Three Championships. In addition, the boys sabre squad and boys foil squad competed in their respective Squad State tournaments.
It is very exciting to see so many new fencers of all grades and experience levels join the team. In the upcoming season, épée fencer Sankar Gollapudi (III), is looking forward to “getting to know fellow épées” and establishing relationships with teammates outside of his grade.
The team is ready for a great season with their first competition against Montgomery High School on December 14th and their first tournament on December 15th.
By Josie Alston ’21
Captains Jamie Wang (V) and Georgia Liu (VI) are leading the girls’ fencing team in a strong direction this year. During preseason, they guided the team through conditioning and footwork; now, at the start of the season, they look forward to putting their bladework to the test.
Although the team is considerably smaller this year, there has been an influx of new freshmen at varying levels of familiarity with the sport. In response to the new lineup, Alison Lee (V) shared, “We have a small team this year but I’m excited to succeed this year like we did last year! Especially the foil team!”
Lee is not kidding when she mentions the success of the girls’ team last year. Not only did the team win Overall District Team Champions, but they also qualified to compete in the Sweet Sixteen Tournament, sending teams to compete at Squad States.
The team is off to a great start and is putting in a lot of effort to make this season even better than the last. On December 14th, the girls will be facing off against Montgomery High School, and, on December 15th, they are looking to compete in their first tournament.
By Noah Bergam ’21
The boys’ basketball team is off to a great start this season, having lost only four seniors to graduation. Under the leadership of Captains Nate Hefner (VI), Kyle Aanstoots (VI), and Ray Fluet (V), the team is excited to kick off the new season.
Last year, the team finished with a record of 4-20 and plans to keep working hard this year for continued improvement and success. Head Coach Jason Murdock said that, “Last season was a year of growth and development, and we are looking forward to bouncing back from our 4-20 record. This season will require a collective effort and I’m looking forward to the guys meeting the challenges ahead of them.”
Coach Murdock looks forward to creating an environment where players feel valued, can have fun with the competitive nature of the game, and, of course, enjoy a few victories.
Murdock has been coaching the team since 2007. When asked what his favorite part of
coaching basketball is, he said, “As a former player, the competition. But as a coach, it’s seeing the relationships formed by the team, and players reaching their potential by creating an
environment that is both challenging and rewarding.”
By Noah Bergam ’21
The co-ed wrestling team is off to a promising start this winter, hoping to improve upon their performance from last year. Led by Captains Jack Lyons (VI), Zach Dobson (VI), and Brandon Spellman (VI), as well as talented senior wrestlers like Kamal Brown (VI), Holden Shikany (VI), Max Brotman (VI), and Thomas Campbell (VI), the team has a deep lineup dedicated to making the most of their abilities.
“Wrestling features both team and individual competitions, and in past years, we have produced a number of successful individual efforts,” said Head Coach George Sullivan, referring to Frankie Dillon’s ‘17 state qualification two years ago and Spellman’s impressive state tournament last season. “We are poised to put forth several impressive individual achievements once more, but we also have the depth of talent required to be competitive as a team.”
Sophomore varsity wrestler Sean Lyons (IV) commented that, “We look to send a couple of kids to States and to get everyone to improve on the matches that they didn’t win last year. Some of the close calls we are set up to overcome.”
All in all, the wrestling team aims to push past the limits of recent individual achievements to beat the team record for wins and pull off an amazing season.
By Alisa Chokshi ’19
The girls’ varsity squash team is looking to advance even further after last year’s huge successes. Last year, the girls’ team took first place overall at the New Jersey High School Squash Championships and placed 11th at the High School Nationals in Philadelphia. This was the second highest finish in the team’s history. Despite graduating three seniors, there are promising new freshmen who look to further improve the team. In order to build off of the team’s 11th-place finish, Head Coach Tina Rix-Stout has created a more challenging schedule for the regular season. Though the team has yet to face their toughest opponents (including Greenwich Academy, Lawrenceville, and Agnes Irwin), they are off to a promising start with a 6-1 victory over Hackley.
With regards to the rest of the season Captain Alisa Chokshi (VI) said, “Our goal this year is to remain undefeated in the regular season, and earn an even higher ranking at High School Nationals.” Coach Rix-Stout said this will come by building, “a good team culture—coming to practice with a good attitude, willing to really work hard, and being consistent.”
By Meghan Durkin ’21
As the winter season begins, the ski racing team, led by captains Annie Leithead (VI), Brian Kaplan (VI), Matt Dispenza (V), and Rosemary Collins (IV), looks to build on last year’s strong performance. Last winter, Leithead, Dispenza, and Collins all qualified individually for the Race of Champions, in which they finished 15th, 13th, and 3rd, respectively. Collins and Dispenza also went on to become the first Pingry skiers to compete at the Eastern High School Alpine Championships.
This year, the team is thrilled to get back on the slopes. The team hopes the “girl’s team will do better at States and the boy’s team will qualify,” according to Collins. She and the other captains believe “that’s a very achievable goal if we work hard.”
Leithead and the rest of the team are “happy the weather finally cooled down and are hopeful for a cold and snowy winter. We are really excited to see how we perform and ready to get on snow and see some new talent.”
By Felicia Ho ’19
The girls’ basketball team is ready to start off its season with a swish. Coach Courtney Tierney’s hope is that the girls will “learn as a team daily, play with a fast-paced style, and be competitive in the Skyland Conference and the Prep Tournament.”
Captains Ally Hosler (VI), Alyson Feeley (V), and Solape Fakorede (VI) are optimistic about the upcoming season. Fakorede said her main goal for the team this season “is for us to just be the best that we can be.” Rather than focusing on winning just one specific game, Fakorede hopes to “put our all in every game, and fight for the W.”
Coach Tierney notes that Aly Feeley (V) and Olivia Volpe (IV) are two key players to watch for in the upcoming games.
In the end, the captains hope to foster a team that is supportive of each other, because “even though we want to win,” as Fakorede says, “it’s also about having fun.”
The team faces their first scrimmage of the season away against Oak Knoll on December 6.
By Josie Jahng ’19
Led by captain Matthew Keller (VI) and assistant captains Daniel Schnack (VI) and Michael Vessa (VI), the boys’ varsity ice hockey team is ready for another great season. Coming off a solid 14-5-1 record last year, the team is “expecting big things to happen during this season,” Head Coach Scott Garrow noted.
19 players are returning from last year’s lineup, including a strong senior class and leading scorers Eric Bush (IV) and Jared Kordonsky (IV). The only factor that remains unknown heading into the season is the goalie situation: after losing the starting goalkeeper, Kevin Parnham (IV) and Jake Friedman (IV) will vie for the starting spot between the pipes. However, Coach Garrow has “no doubt that they will step up in the net and play well.”
The team has already shown strong potential after opening the season with a 4-1 win against Watchung Hills. However, the hardest is yet to come, with the team soon playing against conference rival Ridge. Of the five games that the team lost last season, three were to Ridge, including a tough loss in the conference championship. The team looks to start this season strong, avenge their losses to Ridge, and prepare for the conference and state tournaments that start later in the year.
By Brian Li ’22
Last year’s boys’ squash team had a successful season with a 10-3 record, finishing 15th in the country. With captain Krish Bhavnani ‘18, the team achieved their goals and realized their next steps.
Mr. Ramsay Vehslage has been coaching the boys’ squash team since its inception in 2003. However, since the Bugliari Athletic Center opened in 2017, the team has experienced a surge in squash players. Previously, the team had to travel to Drew University to practice on two courts. However, with the new athletic center, the squash program has grown tremendously in the Middle and Upper School and has also created interest in the Lower School. Coach Vehslage elaborates, “Having a facility here has opened up a whole bunch of new doors for us and the team.” The eight squash courts allow many more students to play, creating a new atmosphere for the squash players. Unlike previous years, full Varsity and Junior Varsity teams will be created, allowing students of any experience to join the team. Ms. Olivia Tandon will be coaching Boys’ JV.
With captains Jeffrey Xiao (VI) and Chris Zachary (VI) leading the team this year, the squash program at Pingry has come a long way from “[Eleven] people, and, of those eleven, five had actually played squash before,” according to Mr. Vehslage. The team is excited to see how they perform throughout the season.
By Justin Li ’21
As they head into their season, the girls’ swim team is working hard to continue the last year’s success. Led by Head Coach Deirdre O’Mara, the team is coming off of a 6-2 season full of school- and state-record breaking. Captains Grace O’Mara (VI) and Darlene Fung (VI) know that living up to the name they’ve made for themselves will be a tough, but hopefully achievable task.
In regards to this year’s team, Grace O’Mara said, “We have a very young team so we are really hoping to have a strong season. We graduated a very high scoring senior class so we are all going to need to push ourselves this year.”
They were the Non-Public “A” and NJSIAA Prep champions last season, but placed second in the Skyland Conference Championship. The team hopes to defend their titles and bring home a third championship this season.
Key swimmer Teodora Kolarov (IV) noted, “We have a promising lineup this year, and with our new leadership, we have great chances of success.”