Friday, May 31, 2013

An Award-Winning Night

The Princeton Varsity Club awards banquet had just ended, and TigerBlog was making his way to the front of the tent when he ran into Sue Walters, wife of Director of Athletics Gary Walters.

Sue introduced TB to Terry and Scott Maurer, parents of Lorin Maurer, the former Princeton friends' group fundraiser who was killed in a plane crash more than four years ago shortly after her 30th birthday.

Terry and Scott were on hand for the presentation of the Lorin Maurer Award, which is given at the banquet each year to someone form the Department of Athletics who "best reflects the passion, dedication and infectious enthusiasm that defined Lorin Maurer's character and her inspiring impact on colleagues and friends."

Last night there were two winners, former men's squash coach Bob Callahan and Adlay Bugg, who is also retiring after spending 14 years in the department, most recently in scheduling/programming/events.

TB spoke to the Maurer's for a few minutes and was struck by their spirit and appreciation for everything Princeton has done to keep Lorin's memory alive, especially to those who didn't know her. Earlier, Scott Maurer had spoken to the entire audience about how grateful he and Terry were that Lorin had had the opportunity to work at Princeton in the first place.

That's the kind of night it was, and always is, for that matter.

It's a night of celebration, with some genuine emotions mixed in. How could it be any different, with more than 200 athletes a few days away from graduation and with people like Callahan, Bugg and the Maurers on hand to share their own stories.

The average temperature for a PVC banquet appears to be 70, since it's usually either 90 or 50, as in sweltering or freezing. Last night was a sweltering one.

Still, the weather is almost never the big story, unless, like a few years ago, a massive thunderstorm comes along and wipes out the program.

Last night was clear, though very hot, but the show went on without a hitch.

There was the informal cocktail hour (actually 90 minutes), and then there was a celebration of Princeton Athletics and specifically the Class of 2013.

Princeton's Class of 2013 combined to win 49 Ivy League championships, which was 21 more than the next-best total in the league during the last four years. Princeton also won eight national championships, including four NCAA championships, in the 2012-13 academic year as well.

The highlights of the night are the presentation of the awards to the senior athletes and then the video, which recognizes each member of the class.

The von Kienbusch Award and Roper Trophy are given to the top senior female and male athletes.

As you might have noticed from, this year there were quite a few of both.

Seven of each, in fact.

For the women, there was runner Greta Feldman, soccer player Jen Hoy, basketball player Niveen Rasheed, field hockey players Katie Reinprect and Kathleen Sharkey, rower Heidi Robbins and fencer Eliza Stone.

For the men, there was runner Peter Callahan, football player Mike Catapano, squash player Todd Harrity, basketball player Ian Hummer, soccer player Mark Linnville,  tennis player Matija Pecotic and fencer Jonathan Yergler.

TigerBlog heard more than one person last night ask this question: If you had to pick one winner for each, who would it be?

It's an interesting question.

The answer is, why only pick one?

Some of those 14 - actually most of them - are among the greatest players in their sport that Princeton has ever seen. It's not their fault that they all happened to graduate in the same year.

Besides, that's the kind of class the Class of 2013 was.

And the kind of night it was as well.

Definitely one for celebration. With some emotion mixed in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One way that any perennial conference leader can assess the success of any academic year or any graduating class is to focus on its performance against the next strongest program.

For example, in Princeton's case this year (and most years), the most stringent standard of evaluation is the Tigers' record against second-place Harvard.

Princeton competes against Harvard in 37 sports, 33 official Ivy plus four non-Ivy sports.

In 2012-13, Princeton beat or (in the case of a season series) swept Harvard in 23 sports, lost or was swept in 11 (men's fencing, hw rowing, lw rowing, tennis, volleyball and wrestling; women's golf, hockey, low rowing, indoor and outdoor track) and tied the season series in 3 (men's baseball and basketball; women's softball).

A record of 23-11-3 against the next strongest program in the conference, the toughest Ivy competitor, is a good one.