Thursday, March 12, 2015

To The Victors

The victors - in all 30 of their games - were enjoying the spoils yesterday, with more and more media waiting to hear them tell their story.

Among those yesterday were ESPN "College Gameday" and National Public Radio.

As the NCAA women's basketball selection show draws closer - the announcement will be Monday at 7 on ESPN - the excitement for the Princeton women's basketball team will continue to grow. And of course there is one huge, unanswerable question right now:

Will Princeton play at home?

Will Princeton be rewarded for its 30-0 season, the one that makes Princeton the only undefeated team in Division I women's basketball, with a chance to bring the NCAA tournament to Jadwin Gym?

Princeton was all over the women's basketball page on, including a big celebration picture that spent most of yesterday afternoon front and center.

Then there was the bracketology. This was about the only thing that wasn't going Princeton's way of late.

According to the current edition of bracketology, Princeton won't be playing at home. Or anywhere near home.

Nope, according to this, Princeton will be about as far from home as it could possibly be, all the way on the other side of the country. The destination is Stanford, at least as far as was concerned yesterday.

It had Princeton as a fifth seed playing 12th seeded Miami (the one in Florida, not the one in Ohio). For what it's worth, no Ivy team has ever been higher than a nine, which Princeton was two years ago.

And, if TigerBlog is right about the location of the 1998 Harvard win over Stanford, then Stanford is the site of the only win ever by an Ivy League team in the NCAA tournament.

Still, TB can't help but think there will be a little benefit of the doubt given to Princeton when the committee makes its ultimate decision. An undefeated Ivy League team? One that has generated a ton of publicity?

Maybe TB is way off the mark here. But send that team 3,000 miles from home?

It seems 1) not right and 2) unlikely.

So the women's basketball team is the biggest winner right now at Princeton. It's not the only winner.

While Princeton waits for some good news in the women's basketball selections, yesterday was a pretty good day for the wrestling team.

Princeton had three automatic qualifiers to the NCAA wrestling championships after last weekend's EIWA championships. Those three were joined yesterday by two at-large selections.

From the release on
Juniors Abram Ayala (197) and Chris Perez (149) joined sophomore Jorfdan Laster (141) as automatic qualifiers during last weekend's EIWA Championships, when Princeton finished seventh as a team despite having only nine wrestlers in competition. Sophomore Brett Harner (184), who defaulted from the tournament due to injury, and freshman Jonathan Schleifer (165) earned at-large bids because of the quality of their regular season.

The five wrestlers who advanced to the NCAAs - to be held in St. Louis next weekend - tied the program record for the most ever to advance to the championships.

Also from the release:
The group is just the third five-man Princeton squad to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the same year. In 1975, Dennis Underkoffler '76, Kevin Roesch '78, Randy Schutte '75, Bill Miron '78, and Mike Murburg '77 qualified. In 1978, when Princeton won its most recent EIWA Championship, the quintet of Roesch, Steve Grubman '78, John Sefter '78, Keith Ely '79 and Bill Hawley '80 qualified.

Again, it's hard to overstate how much Chris Ayres and his staff have done to rebuild Princeton wrestling. Sending five wrestlers to the NCAA championships? A few years back that didn't seem possible.

Meanwhile, there are some other victors as well.

Harrison Wagner and Corey Okubo earned spots in the NCAA men's swimming and diving championships, which will be held in Iowa City. Wagner, a senior, has the 16th-best time in the 50 free in the country. Okubo, a freshman, has the 23rd-best 400 IM time - as well as the Ivy League record.

Princeton will also compete in the relay events, and it is up to the Princeton staff to decide which four will swim.

On the women's side, diver Caitlin Chambers will also be in the NCAA championships, these to be held in Greensboro. Chambers will compete on the 1-meter and 3-meter and the platform.

And in women's track and field, Megan Curham earned herself a trip to the NCAA championships this weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. She will run in the 5,000 meters tomorrow night at 8:25.

It's March. NCAA championship time.

For some, their travel is already set.

For the women's basketball team, the hope is that there will be no travel at all.

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