MERCER COUNTY TOURNAMENT ASSOCIATION YEAR IN REVIEW / 2017-2018

BOYS' BASKETBALL

Top-seeded Nottingham rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to stun second-seeded Trenton Catholic Academy 60-59 on February 22 at CURE Insurance Arena. The Iron Mikes led 59-56 lead with 39 seconds left, but Tournament MVP Darell Johnson, who had a game-high 22 points, powered his way into the paint and scored to make it a one-point game. Richie Jones then stole TCA's inbounds pass near the baseline, and Cliff Joseph took a beautiful pass from Johnson and scored with 5.4 seconds to go giving the Northstars their first MCT crown in the 35-year history of the program.

Pictured: The Northstars take time for a photo after winning their first MCT title.


GIRLS' BASKETBALL

TCA's full-court press proved more than troublesome for third-seeded Pennington on February 22 at CURE Insurance Arena in the Mercer County Tournament final. And, even though the Red Raiders came storming back and had a chance to tie the top-seeded Iron Mikes in the final seconds, there was the swarming defense, picking off an inbounds pass to seal the Lady Mikes' 59-55 victory. TCA's Jada Queen was named the Most Valuable Player, and finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and eight steals for the winners.

Pictured: The Lady Iron Mikes hoist their MCT Championship Trophy.


ICE HOCKEY

Hun captured its fifth straight MCT crown behind Kyle Mandleur's hat trick and four assists. Top-seeded Hun beat second-seeded Princeton 9-4 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor on February 16th. Matthew Argentina added two scores in the win, while Nick Aubry had a goal and two assists. Brian Nelson, James McCall and Joey Hoffman all found the back of the net for Hun as well. Hun goalie Jackson Cole made 24 saves to preserve the victory.

Pictured: Hun's Jackson Cole and Chris Brake celebrate the Raiders' MCT title.


WRESTLING

Hopewell Valley won its eighth Mercer County team title in a row, 245-214.5, over second place Robbinsville. The Bulldogs survived a semifinal round onslaught by the host team, which saw the Ravens place five wrestlers in the finals and win three weights. But as always, it was the depth of the Bulldogs that carried the day, as wrestlers placed to help them win their 10th title in 11 years. Hopewell Valley Coach Mario Harpel drew even with legendary Peddie coach Keith Holcombe with his 10th Mercer County team title as a head coach.

Pictured: Hopewell Valley's Jacob Venezia celebrates his 106 lb championship.


BOYS' WINTER TRACK

The Little Tigers had gone 36 years without a title in track and field – indoors or outdoors. William Hare won the 3,200-meter run in 9:24.30. Paul Brennan took gold in the shot put (52-feet-8-inches), and Simon Schenk (14-6) won the pole vault while teammate Kevin Linko (11-0) took third to help Princeton end the championship slide with the team title at Lavino Field House. Princeton had 69 points to WW-P South's 64. Nottingham (41), Lawrenceville (38) and Hopewell Valley (34) rounded out the top five. Performer.

Pictured: Princeton High's Paul Brennan takes gold in the shot put.


GIRLS' WINTER TRACK

The title came down to the final event as senior Kassidy Mulryne won the high jump (5-4) to give Allentown a narrow 66˝-66 victory over Lawrenceville for the Redbirds' second straight title. Mulryne's teammate Devon Hoernlein was named tournament MVP after winning the 1,600 (5:17.48) and the 3,200 (11:41.74). Rounding out the top five teams were Notre Dame (43), WW-P South (38) and WW-P North (34).

Pictured: Allentown's Devon Hoernlein on her way to the win in the 3200.


BOYS' SWIMMING

Runner-up a year ago, Notre Dame's boys swimming team climbed back into the top spot with which the Irish have become so familiar over the past decade. Putting up 237 points on January 27th to finish 56 in front of runner-up Pennington, the Irish won their sixth Mercer County title in the last 11 meets and third in the last four. On the way, Notre Dame swimmers won five of the 11 event titles and set a pair of meet records. Rounding out the top five were WW-P North 172, Lawrence 165, and Princeton 141.

Pictured: Notre Dame's Evan Eckels on his way to winning the 200 meter IM.


GIRLS' SWIMMING

WW-P North finished in front of second-place Hightstown 199-153 on January 27th to claim the program's first Mercer County title since the WW-P schools began competing separately in the 2000-01 season. The Knights' previous top finish was third, in 2009, and the team took seventh just last season. Rounding out the top five were Princeton 148, Robbinsville 136, and Pennington 130.

Pictured: Gwen Yuen of WWPN wins the 1st heat of the girls 200 meter IM.


BOYS' SOCCER

On October 26th under the lights, Ibrahima Diop, the two time All-American showed why he might be the top player in the country, and the best player to ever grace the pitches of Mercer County. For the second time in three years, second-seeded Pennington and fourth-seeded West Windsor-Plainsboro South met to determine Mercer County Tournament supremacy. Just like two years ago, it was the Red Raiders that came away with the win, 2-0 over the Pirates. The victory is Pennington's third straight MCT crown, and its fourth overall. The Red Raiders are the first team to three-peat since the 2007-2009 Princeton teams.

Pictured: The Red Raiders celebrate their three-peat.


GIRLS' SOCCER

Third-seeded Steinert won its first Mercer County title since 2006 with a 3-0 victory over the top-seeded Allentown Redbirds on October 26th at The College of New Jersey. Emily Gulsby and Gabby DeLisa each found the back of the net in the championship win for the Spartans, which earned a bit of revenge after falling to Allentown during the regular season. Steinert's offense was fierce all night and put up three goals on a defense that had previously surrendered just five scores all season and had not given up a goal in over three weeks.The Spartans put the final touch on its title run two days after advancing in penalty kicks against Pennington in the county semifinals on October 24th.

Pictured: The celebration of the MCT title is on for the Spartans.


FIELD HOCKEY

Lawrenceville made it look easy on October 21st in the championship game of the Mercer County Tournament, as the top-seeded Big Red cruised to a 5-0 victory over sixth-seeded Princeton at Mercer County Community College. The Big Red got three goals from Tess Maloney and a pair of scores from Annie Morgan to power the win, which earned the victors their sixth MCT title in seven seasons.

Pictured: The Lawrenceville School Big Red celebrate another MCT title.


GIRLS' CROSS COUNTRY

For the first time since the Mercer County Championship team title was initially awarded in 1978, a team has won six straight, with WW-P South passing Steinert's 1978-82 teams as the only one to accomplish the feat. The Pirates' 59-point margin at Thompson Park on October 20, 34-93 over runner-up Allentown, was WW-P South's second-biggest margin of victory during the run. WW-P South put all five of its scoring runners in the top 12. Kelsey Kobus was third overall in 19:46.69 to lead the team behind Allentown's Devon Hoernlein in 18:54.86 and Princeton's Chloe Taylor in 19:41.22.

Pictured: West Windsor-Plainsboro South's Kelsey Kobus.

BOYS' CROSS COUNTRY

When it counted, Princeton's boys cross-country team's boys cross-country team was there. A week and a half after a dual-meet loss to West Windsor-Plainsboro South, Princeton made sure it wouldn’t finish behind any team in a successful Mercer County title defense on October 20 at Thompson Park, holding off runner-up Hopewell Valley, 50-58. Will Hare and Acasio Pinheiro finished at the top for Princeton to give a hint that it would be the Tigers' day. Hare clocked 15:46.22 to finish eight seconds in front of Pinheiro with Hopewell Valley's Teddy Meredith in third in 16:00.21.

Pictured: Princeton's Will Hare.

GIRLS' TENNIS

Defending the Mercer County Tournament title this year was a different feeling for the Hightstown High School's girls' tennis team, but the Rams did it by rolling up 27.5 points to finish atop the 18-team field by eight and a half points over runner-up Princeton Day School on September 27th at the Mercer County Tennis Center. Hightstown had the top seeds in all three of the singles brackets and defended them, with Avnika Naraparaju at first, Anusha Rangu at second and Ritika Yadav at third. On the doubles side, both Hightstown teams at least made their semifinals.

Pictured: The Hightstown Rams celebrate their second straight MCT title.

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