For only the sixth time in the Kelley-Potter Cup’s 35-year history, today’s Peddie Day competitions ended in a tie. With several all-star performances and a thunderous crowd of alums, students, families, faculty and staff cheering them on, the Buccaneers tied the Falcons with a 5-5-1 score on the 120th Peddie Day. The Kelley-Potter Cup will be shared throughout the next year, residing in Blairstown—this year’s home team—for the first six months and Hightstown for the remainder.
It was a beautiful fall day filled with excitement for everyone who ventured to the hilltop to participate in Peddie Day. At the Blair hospitality tent, parents connected with one another as alums reunited with classmates and faculty-turned-friends over hot cocoa and firepits as the day commenced. The morning competitions began with a tough loss for the JV girls’ tennis team, rescheduled from Monday afternoon. The Bubble was crowded with fans to cheer on the Bucs who gave it their all on the court. From there, varsity field hockey and varsity boys’ soccer clinched two shutout victories, but JV girls’ soccer suffered a loss, bringing the Cup total to 2-2.
Despite Isaac Greene ’24 clinching first overall for cross country, both the girls’ and boys’ teams fell to Peddie. In the Bowl, JV field hockey dominated with a 6-0 victory with goals from multiple Bucs and ended their season on a high note. A loss from varsity girls’ tennis, a tie from JV boys’ soccer and a win from varsity girls’ soccer brought the Cup total to 4-5-1. It all came down to the football game. Only a win would tie it; anything else would be a loss.
It was a scoreless game with less than six minutes remaining when captain Yaneik Gallego ’24 ran for a touchdown, and, with the extra point, the Bucs were up 7-0. Luke Dale ’24 recorded an interception for a touchdown with less than two minutes remaining in the game, securing a win for the varsity football game and an overall tie for the Cup.
“Wins and losses aside, all of us at Blair couldn’t be prouder of our students for their enthusiasm, sportsmanship, perseverance and work ethic,” Head of School Peter G. Curran P’27 ’27 said. “Peddie Day is truly one of my favorite Blair traditions, and it was terrific seeing our community in action on a beautiful fall day. Go Bucs!”
The Lasting Legacy of the Kelley-Potter Cup
Much has changed in the 120 years of the Blair-Peddie Rivalry, a quintessential part of the boarding school experience and highlight of the fall season for all of us. While the entire school, as well as many parents and alumni, have come out in force to cheer the Buccaneers to victory over the Falcons for decades, traditions surrounding the competition have come in and out of popularity through generations. What initially began in 1903 as New Jersey’s oldest prep school football rivalry has evolved over time to encompass a wide range of sports, culminating in a full day of athletic competitions alternating between Blair’s and Peddie’s campuses in Blairstown and Hightstown. One change that has revolutionized the tradition of Peddie Day was introduced 35 years ago by the Class of 1989—the Kelley-Potter Cup.
“The Kelley-Potter Cup is a great example of the power of compounding,” Stirling Levy ’89 explained. “From the stories I hear, over the past 35 years, the Kelley-Potter Cup has become more meaningful to both the Blair and Peddie communities as time goes on.”
A gift from the Class of 1989, the Cup was Stirling’s brainchild after he competed for something similar at his former school, Rumsey Hall, in Washington, Connecticut. “We wanted something meaningful, that people would remember,” Stirling said. With that, the Kelley-Potter Cup was born.
When it came to naming the cup, Stirling shared that the class wanted to honor Blair’s 14th Head of School, the Rev. James R. Kelley, Hon. ’51 ’89—who was retiring at the end of that school year—and Peddie’s 13th Head of School, F. Edward Potter Jr., who passed away suddenly that year. The two campus leaders arrived at their respective schools within a year of each other and cultivated a friendship before assuming their roles. The cup’s namesake also held significance for Peddie’s Class of 1989, who counted Mr. Potter’s daughter, Tappen, in their ranks. Stirling remembers sharing the idea with Mr. Potter’s wife, Hillary, who embraced the loving tribute.
During the inaugural competition featuring the Kelley-Potter Cup, Stirling is proud that Blair emerged victorious that fall and secured the trophy’s residence on the hilltop after his class led a series of capers aimed at boosting school spirit. “Early in the week, my roommate Nat Taylor ’89 and I staged a false flag campaign,” Stirling recalled. “Nat, who is a great artist, created a banner making fun of Blair, and in the middle of the night, we hung it outside the gymnasium building for the entire school to see, making it seem like Peddie students had snuck onto campus under the cover of night. The next morning at School meeting, I did my best to feign outrage at Peddie and get my classmates fired up.”
Hijinx aside, Stirling is appreciative of the cup’s lasting legacy and the evolution of Peddie Day through the years. “I am proud that we decided to make each sporting contest worth one point to distribute school spirit equally among the games. I always enjoy meeting people in the Blair or Peddie communities and asking them about the Kelley-Potter Cup, and I am pleased that the Class of ’89 was able to leave the Blair-Peddie rivalry a little better than we found it.