Upper School Athletics Director Tim Williams opened Tuesday's celebration of Princeton Day School Division III-bound athletes with praise for the eight seniors joining three other PDS seniors who committed to Division I college athletics programs and were recognized at signing events earlier this year.
"In the past five years, Princeton Day School has sent 73 athletes into college athletics programs," Director Williams stated. "These eight Division III-bound senior athletes and their three Division I peers have contributed to 18 Prep or Mercer County tournament championships during their high school tenure here, helping to create a PDS athletics legacy that will live on for years to come."
Here are profiles of each of the eight seniors recognized this week for continuing their athletics at the collegiate level:
Gwen is a superlative athlete who captained her field hockey, basketball and lacrosse teams at PDS. A midfielder, she played Varsity Field Hockey for four years at PDS under renowned Head Coach Heather Farlow. A resident of Montgomery, she plans to attend Amherst College to play for their Division III field hockey team. "Gwen is a great athlete and strong leader who we are fortunate to have here at PDS. We will miss her greatly next year," says Director Williams. Gwen finished the 2018 fall field hockey season with 83 career points as her team made it to the Prep B State Championship game and journeyed to the Mercer County Championship game this past fall as well. Gwen also helped lead her team to the Prep B 2016 championship. For three consecutive years through this past fall, she earned NJISAA Prep All State Honors, Trentonian First-Team All Prep and Central Jersey Field Hockey Coaches Association First Team honors. For the past two years, Gwen won the PDS Coaches Award. In 2017, she was also named to the Trentonian All-Region First Team and was named the Trentonian Prep Midfielder of the Year.
Coach Farlow has the greatest respect for Gwen, describing her as an "outstanding example of who a student athlete should be at Princeton Day School. Gwen developed into a fearless competitor while maintaining the perspective that competition should be challenging AND fun, and shared this belief with our school community. She is a compassionate leader and a selfless team player. Over the last four years, Gwen has put the professional needs of the team and the personal needs of her teammates before herself. In each sport Gwen has played, the underclassmen overwhelmingly state, 'I love Gwen.' Replacing Gwen on our field hockey roster will be next to impossible, but as a result of her leadership, we have several young players who aspire to lead the team as humbly and graciously as she has."
Coby played Varsity Boys lacrosse at PDS for four years, three under Head Coach Rich D'Andrea and this year under new Head Coach Joe Moore. Coby, who lives in Pennington, plans to play for Christopher Newport University's DIII men's lacrosse program. "Coby is the real deal and Christopher Newport is extremely lucky to have an athlete such as Coby go to their school," says Director Williams. A versatile athlete, Coby also played ice hockey and soccer for PDS. A strong midfield attacker, Coby racked up 29 goals and 26 assists in his senior season for PDS, contributing to his career total 79 goals and 71 assists. His PDS athletics awards include the Varsity Award for hockey and for lacrosse, and the Coaches Award for soccer.
Coach Moore has high praise for Coby: "This young man has led by example on and off the field all season. As Senior Captain, he always made a point of putting the team first and made sure he supported his teammates in every way possible. Coby contributed to this year's success on both sides of the ball and made key plays in close games to help pull out crucial wins. Thank you, Coby, for never taking a day off and helping PDS lacrosse maintain a winning tradition."
Maddy is a four-year PDS Varsity Girls Lacrosse attacker who plans to play DIII women's lacrosse at Franklin and Marshall College. Maddy, who lives in Skillman, played throughout high school for Hall of Fame Head Coach Jill Thomas. As a senior, Maddy was a Prep B Tournament All Star and won the Kim Bedesem Varsity Team Award for lacrosse, finishing her season with 34 goals and 21 assists. Over her Upper School career, Maddy scored 58 goals and had 45 assists for a total of 103 points.
Coach Jill Thomas says, "Maddy took her game to another level this season. As a senior captain, she was instrumental in the development of this young team into a formidable opponent in Mercer County and Prep B. Her senior season stats put the finishing touches on a fine four-year career." Says Director Williams, "Maddy is a quiet leader and someone every successful team needs to have because she just makes it happen. She has some of the best stick skills I have ever seen on the lacrosse field and she will be very tough to replace."
Princeton resident Zoe Cook was a tremendous force on Varsity Girls Lacrosse this year for PDS, having scored 53 goals this season and earning another 13 assists. She plans to play women's lacrosse for Hobart & William Smith Colleges. In her four years of varsity lacrosse, two for Hun, one for Montgomery High School, and this year at PDS for Coach Jill Thomas, Zoe scored a total of 158 goals and had 41 assists. On April 16 against Princeton High School she scored her 150th career goal. While the team fell in the Prep Tournament semi-finals this year, Zoe's major contributions were recognized this spring as she earned the 2019 Coaches Award. Other awards and achievements include the 2017 First Team All-County, 2017 First Team All-Trentonian, 2017 First Team All-Prep, 2018 All-Conference, 2018 First Team All-Area, and 2018 All-MAPL honors.
Coach Thomas notes, "We told the newspapers in our pre-season previews that Zoe Cook was a "bonus" for the team this year. Little did we know the full impact she would have on the team and the whole program. An outstanding player who came to play every day, a leader on and off the field, Zoe's senior season was absolutely fantastic!"
Connor played in goal for PDS Varsity Boys Lacrosse for four seasons, this year under Head Coach Joe Moore. Connor, who lives in Princeton, plans to play Division III men's lacrosse at Stevens Institute of Technology. Connor notched 13 wins and 3 losses in goal with 122 saves and 91 goals against, a 57.2% save percentage. He allowed a modest 5.68 goals per game, on average. His career totals include 51 wins, 12 losses and 485 saves vs. 277 goals against for a 63.6% career save percentage and only 4.39 goals allowed per game, on average. His honors and awards include twice being named the NJISAA non-public All-State Team goalie selection and First Team All-Prep B in 2017. In his four seasons at PDS, Connor contributed to two Prep B championship wins and four consecutive Mercer County Tournament wins.
Coach Moore says, "Connor has been a gift to this program for the last four years. Easily the top goalie in the county and one of the best in the state, Greeny's often put the team on his back and helped us find a way to win game after game. Also, he often went out of his way to offer support in my transition to Head Coach this year, and I've really appreciated that. Best of luck next year at Stevens!"
Matt Nyce of Pennington played four years of Varsity Baseball for PDS Coach Brian Dudeck, as a shortstop and pitcher. Matt plans to play junior college baseball for Lackawanna College. Athletic Director Tim Williams says, "Matt's enthusiasm for the game is incredible. His mentorship of our younger players has given them the same enthusiasm." This year, the team returned to tournament competition for the first time in a few years, battling and ultimately falling in the Prep B championship game against a formidable Rutgers Prep team. Matt notched a career-high .411 batting average his junior year and a .353 average this year as a senior. Last year, he was named to the 2018 First Team All-Prep B Team and the non-public All-Area Team. Matt was also named to the Carpenter Cup team in 2018.
Coach Dudeck says, "For the last four seasons Matt Nyce has been an integral part of the Princeton Day School baseball program. This season Matt continued his impressive numbers, batting .353 with 13 runs scored, 22 hits, 13 RBI's, with 6 doubles and 2 triples in that total. He also had a record of 4 wins and 2 losses on the mound this season. Matt was a captain this season and always took time out to mentor younger players. I want to thank Matt for an outstanding four years at Princeton Day School and wish him the best as he continues his education and baseball career at Lackawanna. I would also like to thank his parents, Aimée and Tom, for their commitment to the baseball program."
Jimmy is a four-year Varsity Boys Lacrosse midfielder who has played on four consecutive Mercer County Championship teams with PDS under Coach Rich D'Andrea and this year under Head Coach Joe Moore. Jimmy, who lives in Pennington, plans to play Division III men's lacrosse at Trinity College. In his PDS career, Jimmy has earned 92 points (55 this year) and contributed strongly to the team's two Prep B championships and four consecutive Mercer County Tournament championships.
"Jimmy is someone who works hard in everything," says Coach Moore. "On the field, in the classroom, everywhere." Says Athletic Director Tim Williams, "He's the epitome of a student athlete at PDS."
Heading to Wilkes University to play Division III women's ice hockey, Julie is incredible on the ice and a star softball player as well, with four Varsity letters in each sport. Under Varsity Girls Ice Hockey Head Coach Lorna Cook, Julie, who lives in Trenton, was one of the most accomplished girls ice hockey players in PDS history and the all-time leading scorer for girls. The first girl to break 100 points in her PDS career, she finished with a career total of 102 points: 25 goals, 12 assists as a senior; 15 goals, 11 assists as a junior, 13 goals, 10 assists as a sophomore, and 10 goals, 6 assists as a freshman. Her senior stats earned her 37 total points, the fifth most goals and points in New Jersey. Among her awards and accomplishments: the Varsity Award as a senior this year, named to the NJISAA All-Tournament Team, the All-State First Team, the WIHLMA Miran Division First Team, and twice elected an All-Star Team Selection.
Coach Cook says, "Watching Julie mature on and off the ice has been great. She has pushed to get the most of her experience here. She is a natural goal scorer; that is what she brings to the team and always brought."
Photos: Top, standing, left to right, Julie Patterson, Connor Green, Jimmy O'Connor, Coby Auslander, Matt Nyce; sitting, left to right: Maddy Birch, Gwen Allen, Zoe Cook, all Class of 2019. Below, photos of each student-athlete with their families and Princeton Day School administrative, athletics and college counseling leadership.