Princeton, Montgomery high schools move forward with winter sports competitions

Princeton High School's Ethan Guy (center #23) drives to the basket against a Manalapan High School defender on March 3 in Manalapan. Princeton fell that evening to Manalapan, 60-54 in overtime, during the opening round of the Central Jersey, Group 4 state sectional tournament.

With the first week of high school hockey competition completed, both Princeton High School (PHS) and Montgomery High School (MHS) athletic departments are on schedule to start the rest of each school’s winter sports seasons.

High school basketball and fencing were able to begin official practices on Jan. 11 with competitions able to start this week on or after Jan. 26; swimming and winter track and field are slated for official practice starting Feb. 1; and competitions would begin on Feb. 16.

Gymnastics, girls volleyball and wrestling practices start on March 1 with competition play scheduled to kick off on March 16.

Even though some schools across the state decided to cancel their winter seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic that would not be the case for PHS and MHS. Both athletic departments confirmed to The Princeton Packet that competition play is still on track to continue for the rest of Season 2, Season 2A and Season 3 sports.

“We are on track to start all of our Season 2, 2A and 3 programs,” Montgomery High Athletics director Chris Penna said. “We followed the advice of the NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force, New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and other local professionals in making the decision to go ahead with our winter programs with our student-athletes’ safety and social-emotional needs as our top priority.”

He added that Montgomery High had consistently planned on offering all of our winter programs for their students this season.

When asked if there had been any serious discussions about the potential cancellation of winter sports heading into 2021, PHS Director of Athletics Brian Dzbenski said no serious discussions had taken place for that particular scenario.

Dzbenski added that outside of an issued executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy having canceled winter sports, PHS had always been planning to to play the winter sports seasons whether they be in a limited or shortened capacity.

“We have created a comprehensive COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan and created a specific area on our athletic website to communicate our protocols and procedures to our parents, players, coaches and community,” he said.