Monday, June 11, 2018

And A First-Team All-America To End The Year

Well, the Princeton Athletics year has ended.

The final event, of the more than 600 that made up the 2017-18 academic year, was the NCAA track and field championships, which ended Saturday night in Oregon. Princeton sent four athletes to compete, and four came back as All-Americas.

The fourth of them was Obiageri Amaechi, the freshman women's discus thrower. She had an interesting night in Oregon Saturday, though it ended well.

After one throw and one foul, Amaechi needed to improve by seven meters to advance to the next round, which she promptly did. That throw earned her three more, and she'd end up in seventh place, earning first-team All-America honors. 

It was a pretty good end for the academic year.

So now what?

Camps. And of course, the World Cup.

TigerBlog was taken aback by the sound of basketballs bouncing and coaches coaching in Jadwin Gym Friday afternoon. There it was, though, the first session of the first girls' basketball camp.

It's the start of a long run of summer camps here, one that will stretch for the next eight weeks or longer and touch pretty much every sport here.

Something else that will run into July is the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

The World Cup begins Thursday and runs until July 15. It's TigerBlog's second-favorite sporting event - behind the NCAA lacrosse championships, of course.

TigerBlog loves the World Cup. Of course, it's the first time in 32 years - a span of seven straight events - that the U.S. men's national team will not be in the field of 32.

Of course, TigerBlog could point out that the U.S. men's national team has been on a downward trajectory since it fired Bob Bradley, the former Princeton player and coach who led the Americans to a group title at the 2010 World Cup. Since then, it's been second place in the group in 2014 and not qualifying this time around. 

TB will still be watching. He's been to nine of the 32 countries represented, including three (Costa Rica, Spain, Portugal) that he's been to on international trips with Princeton lacrosse. He'll start out with those three.

And Iceland. Who could root against Iceland?

If you hadn't already locked onto the idea of what is by far the smallest country in the tournament, you'll like the Icelandic team even more after you read the Time magazine piece by Sean Gregory.

You can read it HERE.

The short version is that Iceland has built a lot of nice soccer fields in the country and then basically tossed a bunch of balls to kids and told them to go play. And when there are structured club teams, they're not coached by parents.

In other words, it's something of a contrast to the American model, which is very, very structured. 

As for Sean he has written about sports all over the world. Next time TB sees him, he'll have to ask him how many different countries he's been to covering various events, like the World Cup and Olympics.

TigerBlog saw him recently in Jadwin Gym as the most recent men's basketball Reunions pickup game. Gregory is a member of the Class of 1998, the same one as current head men's coach Mitch Henderson.

Their senior year was the one in which Princeton went 27-2 and nearly knocked off Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA tournament. That game still bothers TigerBlog.

If you clicked on the link to see the story Gregory wrote about Iceland, you also may have seen the video embedded called "Exploring Planet Futbol." And who is the host and narrator?

That would be Grant Wahl, another Princeton grad. Grant is a member of the Class of 1996.

Grant is one of the top soccer writers in the world. He's also a former Princeton Office of Athletic Communications student worker.

Grant will certainly be busy for the next month-plus in Russia with the World Cup.

TB doesn't think Sean will be there. If he is going, then he took time away from soccer to cover the Belmont Stakes Saturday. You can read what he wrote about Justify HERE.

And you can come back tomorrow and read what TigerBlog has to say about it.

Hey, TB has to come up with something to write every day. And there are no more Princeton Athletic events for awhile, not after the track and field championships.

A 4-for-4 run in All-Americas was a pretty good way to end 2017-18.

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