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We Are The Champions
Sara Courtney

Few phrases have a sweeter ring to it than State Champions, and, just before the Spring Break, Pingry celebrated not one but two teams that could proudly declare themselves just that: the reigning state champs. For the Girls' Ice Hockey Team and the Boys Varsity Skiing Team, this season consisted of hard-fought wins, gritty competition, and, whether they were being perennially underestimated (Girls Ice Hockey) or were the hands-down favorite (Boys' Ski Team), their efforts led to an outcome these athletes will remember forever.

For goalie Katie Niccolai '24, the road back to Pru was filled with challenges—especially the "pressure of playing on such a large stage." As she points out, "Although it’s standard size, that rink felt so much bigger and can begin to mess with you. Not only that, but the building was huge, and filled with thousands of seats staring down at you, almost making you feel like an ant on the ice." When it comes to memorable moments, she cites Charlotte Diemar '24 scoring her first goal in the game. "Last year when we came to Pru we only scored with 35 seconds left, which felt pretty defeating. However, we were able to get two on the board this year. Finally getting to relish in that feeling that ‘we got this, we have a chance’, felt great, I think for the whole team. Especially, as I was feeling confident with my playing, it just set such a strong wave of momentum for the rest of the game."

When it came to the final moments on the ice, Katie recalls the ending as surreal. "It was almost magical as I watched those final seconds tick down, and heard the buzzer go off and 'We Are the Champions' play over the speaker. All the students, family, and friends cheered. Skating over to my teammates, I threw my stick and gloves into the air." Noting how much was riding on the game, she rattles off the way the team defied expectations. "For starters, we finally beat Mobeard, which at the beginning of the season was one of our goals, especially for the seniors. How could you do that and then not go to the States? But we did just that and won the State Championship for the first time. Putting those hats on our heads, and being able to bring that trophy back home with us was all we could’ve wanted. No one, and I mean no one, thought we would win. Many of the articles leading up to playoffs excluded our team completely from their rankings and predictions, and I think we responded in the best way possible. Leading up to these games, I had been having a rough time this season, not getting the results I was looking for. However, in those last two weeks, something switched and I was so focused and found the puck. Only one team can end their season with a win, and we were that team. Best way to end my high school hockey career!"

And from the ice rink to the snowy mountains, Boys' Ski Team claimed the 2024 NJSRA Championship by defeating Delbarton by over 7 seconds to claim both the Slalom title and the overall title as the top team in the state. For William Brisson '26, the most memorable moment to him was just after he finished his last run. "The race had been really tough and close with one of our guys falling and us being behind in terms of time, but through collective teamwork and perseverance, we were able to pull through with the win."

And how did it all feel? "It felt great to win. The culmination of all our hard work and teamwork finally paid off when it counted. I'm just super happy for the team and can't wait to win more state titles in the future."






Contact: Sara Courtney, Communications Writer