Thursday, March 28, 2019

An Eight All-American Weekend

Okay, so it's Thursday and TigerBlog still hasn't talked about last weekend's Princeton All-Americans.

Hey, it's been busy, what with women's basketball in the NCAA tournament and then Bill Tierney's return to Princeton. One last thing about Princeton's 14-13 win over Denver - Ryan Boyle has become a fantastic lacrosse color commentator.

Much like Michael Sowers and George Baughan on the field, Boyle was at his best in the game Tuesday night in the booth. TigerBlog could hear what he and play-by-play man Anish Shroff said because they were sitting close to him in the Sherrerd Field press box, though he couldn't hear a thing Quint Kessenich said from the field.

Boyle is a lacrosse genius, and he mixed that high game IQ with a lot of ability and great vision to become the No. 2 leader in assists and points at Princeton (at least, barring something unforeseen, for a few more games). He had a long and wildly successful professional and international career, and now he's gotten into broadcasting, among other things.

By the way, he'd be a great coach.

What Boyle does so well is analyze the game from the perspective of a fan and a player who knows every nuance of the game at the same time. He doesn't overwhelm you with his knowledge as if it's a lacrosse webinar, and he doesn't just cheer for everyone and everything. He takes the best of those two and combines them in a calm way that makes him very effective.

It's like he's sitting there with you just casually watching the game and having a conversation about it. 

Okay, one very, very last thing about that game - if you watched that game and think that Sowers and Baughan had extraordinary nights, TB will let you know that they do that basically every game.

Here, watch this clip and listen to what Boyle says:

So now back to the All-Americans.

Princeton had eight athletes earn All-American honors at their NCAA championship events last weekend. That's not a bad weekend.

All eight of them did so based on their individual finishes in their NCAA events. Five of them were fencers who competed at the NCAAs in Cleveland, led by sophomore Daniel Kwak, who was the runner-up in the men's saber, and Tatijana Stewart, who was a women's epee semifinalist.

The other three All-Americans were senior Wesley Johnson, a two-time All-American in the epee, and freshman Mohamed Hamza (foil) and junior Wesley Yuan (epee).

Princeton as a team finished ninth, marking the 27th straight year that the Tigers have finished in the top 10 nationally. In fencing, there is one co-ed team champion, not a separate one for men and a separate one for women.

The other three All-Americans came from the wrestling team, and that's just another sign of the amazing job that has been done with the program by Chris Ayres and his staff.

From the start of the program in 1905 through 2015, Princeton had produced eight All-Americans, who combined to earn the honor a total of 13 All-American honors. Princeton had never had All-Americans in more than two straight years and only once, in 1985, had two Princeton wrestlers become All-Americans in the same year (those two were John Orr and Dave Crisanti).

Then Brett Harner became an All-American in 2016. And then Matthew Kolodzik did it in 2017 and then again in 2018.

This year?

Princeton had three All-Americans - Kolodzik for the third time and Patrick Brucki and Patrick Glory for the first time each. So that's a program-best three All-Americans, and a program-record four straight years with at least one.

Will there be another one next year? All three of this year's are returning.

Those three led Princeton to a 15th-place finish nationally, the third time Princeton has been in the top 15, along with 1951 and 1978. Kolodzik and Brucki were semifinalists this year, and Glory had the best finish any Princeton freshman has ever had (sixth).

And so even a few days later, TigerBlog congratulates the latest Princeton All-Americans. It's not easy to earn that honor obviously.

Ryan Boyle, by the way, knows all about being an All-American.

He did it four times.

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