By Eva Schiller ’21
The girls’ ice hockey team, led by captains Clare Hall (VI) and Sophia Smith (VI), has powered through the season to finish with six wins and eleven losses. Despite having only thirteen members and facing large, competitive teams, the team has stayed resilient, and in the end, made it all the way to the MSU league semifinals. Although they unfortunately lost to Chatham-Madison, the team is new to the league, which makes their success in the tournament impressive nonetheless.
Perhaps more important than their record is their energy and how close they are as a team, both of which can be attributed to their relatively small size. “We’re always really supportive,” team member Anushka Agrawal states (IV). They are also very excited for success in the future. As Co-captain Clare Hall says, “Although the team was small this year and will be losing two seniors, we hope that many girls join next year and that the team has a successful season!”
By Brian Li ’20
The girls’ squash team had a successful season with a final record of 6-6 and finished 16th at the U.S. Squash High School National Championships. Many of the team’s members also competed in the NJ High School Squash Championship on January 6th. Renee Chan (V) secured a victory for Pingry, Alisa Chokshi (VI) took second, and Olivia Hung (III) finished third.
Coaching a young team with lots of potential, Head Coach Tina Rix-Stout is excited to see how the team’s players develop and progress in the future. Although captains Chokshi and Aashiya Jaggi (VI) are graduating this year, the addition of four new freshmen on the team makes its future very promising.
Despite performing well over the season, the team recognized a few areas they need to improve in. In order to prepare for next season, Coach Rix said, “[As] a team, we need to work on our fitness and endurance. By doing this, the players will be more confident in their skills and able to withstand matches that are longer in duration and intensity.”
The team is excited to continue building a supportive culture and strong connections with each other. Coach Rix explained that “Everybody should put all their effort into the team to ensure we put our best foot forward at the start of the new season.”
By Justin Li ’21
Pingry boys’ swimming has had yet another dominant season. Like last year, they’ve maintained an undefeated record, and, as senior captain Kevin Ma (VI) states, “Although we graduated an extremely strong senior class last year, we still managed to prove to everyone that we are the best team in the state.” The team’s commanding 109-61 win over Bridgewater, the next best team in the state, serves as evidence of their strength this year.
Their performance earned them a first place finish at the Skyland Conference Championship, where they claimed 17 top-six swims and placed first in every relay. They also won the Prep Championships against other strong teams, including Delbarton and Pennington. In addition to their success at meets, the team’s season was filled with record-breaking swims. Individually, Matt Fallon (IV) set both new school and pool records in the 200 meter IM, 200 yard IM, 400 meter freestyle, and 100 yard breastroke. Kevin Ma (VI) also broke the Skyland Conference record for the 50 yard free. As they head into the state tournament, they hope to continue their success and add yet another title to an already impressive season.
By Brian Li ’22
This year, the boys’ squash team had an excellent season and finished with a very strong record. The team also placed 17th at Nationals, becoming Division II National Champions in the process. Under the captainship of Jeffrey Xiao (VI) and Chris Zachary (VI), they went into every match with the determination to overcome all barriers and win.
Coached by Mr. Ramsay Vehslage, the team beat Lawrenceville 6-1, claiming the unofficial title of State Champions yet again. The team also performed exceptionally well at the High School National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut. Despite not qualifying for Division I this season, they put all their effort into the tournament and won Division II, beating some of the top schools in the country, including Choate Rosemary Hall and Phillips Andover. Mr. Vehslage commented, “The boys played with incredible heart all weekend … We’ve been working hard all season long, and it’s great to see the consistent effort paying off when it mattered the most.”
On January 6, the boys’ squash team competed in the New Jersey High School Squash Championship. The players had an impressive showing, with Chris Zachary placing second and Alex Chiang (V) finishing in third place.
Although seniors Xiao and Zachary are leaving this year, the team is looking forward to the arrival of new freshmen and hopes to continue competing at the highest level in the future.
By Alison Lee ’20
The girls’ fencing team has performed strongly throughout the entire season. At the beginning of the season, they fenced in the Somerset County tournament; Captain Georgia Liu (VI) placed third and Alison Lee (V) placed second in their individual competitions.
Throughout the season, the team has improved with intense practice and private lessons. “I think that this season the team is very close, which is super nice. Even though the majority of the team is underclassmen, they do their best every practice/meet,” Liu says. One proud moment for the team was when they beat Watchung Hills 14-13.
The team also finished well at Districts, securing second as a team and qualifying for Sweet Sixteens. Though the Pingry team was seeded 10th, they fought 7th seed Bernards and lost with a close score of 12-15.
In addition, the épee squad placed first and the foil squad placed second. Both squads will fence in State Squads.
Four people qualified for district individuals, including Josie Alston (IV) and Ameera Ebrahim (IV). Two fencers, Jessica Lin (IV) and Alison Lee (V), also performed well enough to compete in state individuals.
Ashna Kumar (V) comments, “Considering some of the freshman girls are new to high school fencing or their weapon, what the team accomplished was extraordinary. I’m so proud of every single one of them, even the freshmen.”
By Matt Lee ’20
The boys’ ice hockey team entered this season hungry for victory. After losing to Ridge in last year’s Skyland Conference Tournament finals, the team vowed to return this year and win. With that goal in mind, they had an extremely strong showing throughout the season, with an impressive winning record. Under the leadership of captain Matthew Keller (VI) and assistant captains Daniel Schnack (VI) and Michael Vessa (VI), the team is poised for success in the Conference and State Tournaments.
Their starting goalie, Kevin Parnham (IV), has led the team’s strong defense all season. With 5 shutouts and many crucial saves, he has clearly had a very successful season. Matt Keller has also been a driving force on defense. Daniel Schnack (VI), Joe Faccone (V), Eric Bush (IV), and Jared Kordonsky (IV) have been leading the attack, with each player scoring over thirty points, a rarity in high school hockey. In addition to these star players, the depth of the team has truly helped propel them to victories. Head Coach Scott Garrow said that the key to success this year was “depth up front and on defense,” which allowed the coaches to “put a lot of players on the ice and wear other teams down over the course of the game.”
Since the regular season is over, the playoffs are now the team’s focus. With all of the hard work and preparation that they have put in, Coach Garrow says the only thing left to do is “win a Championship.”
By Dean Koenig ’21
As the Pingry wrestling season approaches its end, the team prepares for some upcoming tournament play. Last year, Brandon Spellman (VI) was the only wrestler to make the State Tournament, and Coach George Sullivan says that he wishes “to expand on that this year.” Spellman has put together a fantastic final season, attaining a 27-4 record. In addition, he was the champion of the Pandy Leh tournament, the Hunterdon Central Invitational, and County Championships. He was even named the Outstanding Wrestler of the County Championships.
Zach Dobson (VI) was also a champion of the Pandy Leh tournament for his weight class and finished second at the Hunterdon Invitational and county championships. He finished the season with a 27-2 record.
The team experienced a series of injuries, but younger wrestlers were able to step up and fill in the gaps. Coach Sullivan said that “the team has battled and maintained a competitive spirit all season.” If this spirit is kept throughout the district tournament, the team could send more wrestlers to the regional and state tournaments. Heavyweight wrestler Ore Shote (IV) commended this year’s senior class: “they paved the way for what is to come.”
By Dean Koenig ’21
It took some time for the girls’ basketball team to find its momentum this season, but the girls became much more comfortable on the court by January. Starting guard Olivia Volpe (IV) explained that the team’s goal midway through the season was “to beat teams we lost to the first time we played them”; such teams included Bernards, Delaware Valley, and Voorhees, all of which Big Blue later beat. The second time Pingry played these teams, they beat Bernards by three points, Delaware Valley by one point, and Voorhees by one point. Evidently, the key difference between the first and second half of the season was Pingry’s ability to successfully finish tight games.
Volpe expressed the team’s excitement for the County and Prep Championships, saying, “We are looking forward to going as far as we can in the upcoming tournaments.” She also sees how far the team has come since its start: “We are playing our best basketball right now. I’m excited for our potential next year.”
By Walker Johnson ’21
The varsity ski team, led by captains Annie Leithead (VI), Brian Kaplan (VI), Matt Dispenza (V), and Rosemary Collins (IV), is off to an impressive start. Overall, the team is looking great on the slopes and has continued to improve throughout the season. Leithead has noticed “a lot more aggressive skiing out of many individuals on the team. They showed up this season with more confidence and poise, and you can see it in the execution of the runs very clearly.”
Assistant Coach Susan Kinney commends the high level of commitment shown by the team members, who travel over an hour each way to the mountain for practice and races and often do not return until after 8:30 PM. She is deeply impressed by their enthusiasm for skiing as well as their support for one other.The girls’ team is looking to repeat last year’s Non-Public State Championship title, while the boys’ team aims to qualify for states. The captains also hope to compete in the Race of Champions in March.
By Josie Jahng ’19
The girls’ winter track team is off to a fantastic start to their season. Led by captains Cathleen Parker (VI) and Ally Lima (VI), the team has been working hard both in the weight room and on the track to prepare for their meets. Despite losing some seniors to graduation, the addition of newcomers has created great depth to a strong veteran squad. Parker notes that “we have a much more diverse team this year, including a number of pole vaulters and throwers which is something we’ve never had in the past.” Key contributors include: Nikki Vanasse (V), who has set and broke her own records in the 1600m and won the 3200m at Groups; Ryan Davi (IV), who has come back from injury to lead the team in the 400m; Caroline Dannenbaum (V), who is the second-best in the pole vault in New Jersey and a consistent scorer; and Lauren Taylor (V), who has placed at multiple championship meets and set new school records in the 200m. Going forward, Vanasse, Dannenbaum, and the 4×4 team of Davi, Kierstyn Brown (V), Parker, and Dylan Anidjar (V) will be competing at the Meet of Champions. In addition, the 4×8 team and the pole vaulters will be competing at Easterns. Their goal is to continue their success on the track and qualify for the New Balance Nationals in March.