By Anjola Olawoye (III)
The girls’ fencing team anticipates a promising season this year. Led by captains Allision Lee (VI) and Jamie Wang (VI), the team is hoping to build upon its past success. Last year, the team ended their season with a 6-7 record and had success in many major tournaments. Despite being a small team, the team believes the small group allows for a closer bond between the fencers. Zala Bhan (III) noted that the preseason workouts can be difficult. “The workouts can be hard sometimes, but they have taught me resilience,” she said. The team has been working hard during preseason to ensure a strong performance at upcoming meets, especially at the District tournament, where their individual, squad, and team performances all count toward their standing in the State tournament. The first meet of the season is on December 20 against Montgomery High School. Go Big Blue fencing!
By Caleb Park (III)
This year, boys fencing is ready for anything. Although the team is still in the middle of preseason, they are confident of success in the upcoming season. Several new fencers have arrived from the middle school, including Charles Jiang (III), Andy Overdeck (III), Vared Schmuler (III), and Max Watzkey (III).
Last year, the team fenced valiantly throughout the season, and this year’s captains, Corbey Ellison (VI) and Derek Huffman (VI), are excited to build on that success this year through strict preseason practices, which they believe will help to organize the team. Watzkey says, “My fellow fencers are extremely friendly, and I think we are ready for the season ahead.” With just a bit of practice, boys fencing is sure to come out on top this year!
By Kyra Li
Led by co-captains Emily Sanchez (VI), Martha Lewand (VI), Madeline Skapper (VI), and Coach Deirdre O’Mara, the girls’ swim team has started off strong with early morning and weight room practices. Coming off of a stunning season last year, the girls are working hard to prepare for the upcoming season. They will attend events like the Skyland Conference and Somerset County Championships, and, of course, the Prep “A” Championship at Lawrenceville. Last year, they were second in the Skyland Conference, the highest they’ve placed in recent years. The team also won the Prep A Championship for the third year in a row. Despite the loss of several seniors, including Darlene Fung ‘19, many freshmen have joined the team this year, constituting almost half of the team. Sanchez sees this year as “a new wave of the swim team.” Her goals for the team this year are to have fun, work on team spirit, and help the freshmen adapt to the community. With all the new blood, the girls’ swim team is aiming for a successful and fun season, as they hope to win the Prep “A” Championship for the fourth year in a row.
By Justin Li (V)
The Pingry boys’ swim team, led by captains Reid McBoyle (VI) and Will Stearns (VI), is looking forward to what they hope will be another dominant season. Following an undefeated 2018-2019 season, training for the upcoming season is in full swing. After the academic day ends, the pool is filled with Pingry swimmers undertaking sets of various pace, distance, and stroke, which usually total about 3000 meters. The intervals Head Coach Steve Droste and Coach Kevin Schroedter set ensure that every swimmer is consistently pushed to their limit.
McBoyle, who says that he’s “really excited for this season,” believes that this year’s squad is “a strong team with a lot of depth and the potential for another very successful season.” Their goals are the same as last year: win the Skyland Conference Championship, Prep Championships, and Meet of Champions against other strong teams, including Delbarton and Pennington. In addition to their success at meets, the swimmers want to continue filling the record board with new names and maintain Big Blue’s status as one of the best teams in the state.
Ashana Makhija (VI)
This year, the varsity girls’ tennis team has maintained a strong performance throughout the season. After losing only one match, they are ranked fifth in the state, up from tenth at the beginning of the season. At the end of September, the team won the county tournament, while third singles, Gabrielle Billington, first doubles, Lily Schiffman and Lynn Robinson, and second doubles, Sabrina Schneider and Olivia Gallucci, went on to individually win their county matches.
Although the team works hard, Lily Schiffman (VI) described the positive atmosphere on the team: “Even though girls tennis can get very competitive, we’ve been able to come together as a team and support each other throughout the season.”
The girls’ team has a few weeks left in their season, as they hope to continue their success in the state tournament.
Burke Pagano (VI)
The boys’ varsity football team has started off their season with a relatively strong record. The team has been working hard since the start of preseason in early August under the leadership of Head Coach Chris Shilts.
Captains James Wang (VI), Lance Perlow (VI), Patrick Birotte (VI), and Sam Williams (VI) have tremendous faith that their team will further its success as the season progresses. Senior Ryan Smith (VI) said, “It’s a close-knit team with a lot of great chemistry and that’s a recipe for success.” Teammate and captain Birotte added that “they have high expectations for the end of the season.”
The team has shown resilience throughout this season which has, unfortunately, been riddled with injuries. Despite these setbacks, the team still has much potential for greatness. The highlight of the season so far was when Williams was awarded the Jersey Sports Belt of the week for pulling off a cheeky hook and ladder play. The boys are looking forward to finishing the season strong.
Justin Li (V)
The day preseason began, Head Coach Aleksandar Breznikar stepped down from his position. The team received this news only one year after losing its previous Head Coach, Misha Klochkov, to the Lawrenceville School.
In spite of these obstacles, the water polo team, now co-coached by Jeffrey Jenkins, Steve Droste, and Kevin Schroedter, has maintained a 5-2 record and, more importantly, has shown tremendous resilience. The captains, goalies Mason Stahl (VI) and Dilan Bhat (VI), have stepped up to play key roles in leading practices and facilitating gameplay. Returning players have cultivated their skills to fill the gaps that have formed with the departure of last year’s seniors. The team has also gained a group of promising freshmen.
The Big Blue team competed in the Beast of the East tournament in late September, where it faced more established water polo tournaments in the region. Though the players did not meet their goal of winning their division, sharpshooter Noah Bergam (V) saw a net positive from the team’s participation: “Playing against teams we’d never competed against forced us to adapt our strategy to unfamiliar game styles. We were able to learn a lot from the more experienced teams at the tournament.” So far, the water polo season has forced the team to adapt in the face of unforeseeable difficulties. Regardless, they hope to challenge their rival, The Lawrenceville School, for the state championship and secure a place in the Easterns Prep tournament at the end of the season.
Brian Li (VI)
The boys’ cross country team is hoping to repeat their successes from last year. Despite losing four seniors, two of whom were exceptional runners, captains Roger Matthews (VI) and Henry Wood (V), along with Coaches Matt Horesta and Tim Lear are leading a team ready to embrace new responsibilities.
With eight new freshmen joining the team this year, Coach Horesta remarked that the team has “a younger feel” to it. “They’ve been a great addition to the team,” Horesta said, in regards to its future.
When asked about the season so far, Coach Horesta said that the team has already improved but is “only halfway to where we need to be to compete at our best in late October through the middle of November. We’ve just been getting ready more than anything else so far.”
After the season’s first meet against Bernards on September 12th, which Coach Horesta described as a “starting point which gave us a sense of where we were at and how much we need to do to keep going,” the team ran its second meet in Morristown with “important improvement.”
The team, aiming to win the Prep “A” Championship for the fourth consecutive time, will have its work cut out against Lawrenceville and Oratory Prep. The team also hopes to match last year’s achievements, including placing third in Somerset County and reaching the top five teams of the Skyland Conference.
Brooke Pan (V)
The girls’ cross country team is looking forward to a promising season. Led by captains Nicole Vanasse (VI) and Alina Irvine (V), the team is off to a great start with the varsity team placing third overall in the Ocean State Invitational.
The team’s main goal for this season is to qualify for the Meet of Champions—a highly competitive meet which admits only the top two teams from each division.
To achieve this goal, Coach Grant’s priority is for the team to stay healthy.
“If everybody’s healthy at the end of the season, I think we’ve got a very good opportunity to win,” he said.
Reflecting on last year’s season, Coach Grant is thrilled by the addition of five new freshmen, a refreshing increase from last year. With a bigger team, Coach Grant is excited for the possibilities that new freshmen will present for the team.
Irvine (V) expanded on this idea, emphasizing the role of individual and team improvement: “It is the most rewarding thing for a runner to see that all of their hardwork and dedication paid off when they run a personal record.”
Irvine hopes that “consistent, hard-effort training,” while still “giving each girl a chance to recover,” will enable each runner to achieve her goals.
Matthew Lee (VI)
The boys’ soccer team started the first month of their season strong. Ranked as the third-best team in the state, their expectations are sky-high. With goals to win Somerset County and Non-Public “A” state titles, the team’s mentality this year has been “championship or bust” since the first day of preseason.
“The Pingry soccer program has the goal of winning County’s and State’s every year,” captain John Robertson (VI) said.
Although these are high standards, he knows that “if we can go five or six games in a row without conceding a goal, and the offense can do its job, the wins will come.”
Pingry currently has a 9-2 record and looks to build upon the success they’ve had so far. Unlike last year, the team has been finding ways to win close games. Two weeks ago, they won a two-overtime thriller against a top-twenty Hunterdon Central team. During Homecoming, they defeated Princeton Day School 6-0. Robertson attributes their success to “the depth we have at many different positions.”
Heading into the home stretch of the season, the team will lean on its senior leadership.
“The soccer team has a huge group of seniors with a lot of talent who lead by their play on the field,” Robertson said. “Four captains are super helpful because we can pick each other up, and there are also multiple seniors on the bench who have amazing energy and who support the team in any circumstances.”
The boys look to continue their great season against Gill St. Bernard next week and into the county tournament.