Monday, April 19, 2010

That's 10

It's been two weeks already, and TigerBlog keeps having the same thought: Why couldn't Gordon Hayward's shot have gone in?

TB still feels that the entire sporting world was cheated out of the only thing that could have ever rivaled the U.S. Miracle on Ice from 1980. Everyone TB has talked to about the game has muttered the same thing: Why couldn't it have gone in?

Two weeks have gone by already. Two weeks since the end of the college basketball season. That means it's also one week since the end of the college hockey season.

So if winter just ended, why is it that the spring athletic season is already starting to crown Ivy champions and reach its stretch drive?

The same people who wanted Hayward's shot to go down also can't believe, for instance, that the Ivy men's lacrosse regular season has but two weekends left. Or that the Ivy women's season has one left.

And yet, even though it wasn't that long ago that the college sporting focus was on the NCAA Final Four and Frozen Four, here are your first Ivy League spring champs:
men's tennis - Columbia
women's tennis - Princeton

The Tigers completed a 7-0 run through the league by defeating Columbia and Cornell over the weekend. In somewhat women's basketball-esque fashion, the Tigers won two matches 5-2, three matches 6-1, and two others 7-0. Princeton now has a four-week wait for the NCAA tournament.

Princeton women's tennis features one senior and is led by rookie head coach Megan Bradley, who at this time last year was in her first season in coaching, as an assistant at Miami. Bradley came in and led the Tigers to a second straight title, this time the team's first outright league championship since 2000.

The next Ivy champion will be in women's lacrosse, where the Penn women would win at least a share (and clinch hosting the league tournament) Wednesday with a win on Powers Field at Princeton Stadium. The men's champion could be crowned as early as this weekend or could have to wait until next weekend.

Regardless of what happens for the rest of the spring, the women's tennis championship was the 10th of the 2009-10 academic year. The first nine:
field hockey, women's cross country, men's fencing, women's fencing, men's indoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, women's swimming and diving and men's swimming and diving, women's basketball.

TigerBlog can hear the scoffing now. Yes, Princeton has won 10 Ivy titles, but look at how great Cornell's year has been.

No offense to the Big Red, but Princeton (ranked 27th) has a 114-point lead in the Leerfield Directors' Cup standings, though that gap will close a bit when Cornell's points for men's hockey are added in.

Yes, the Big Red have had the Ivy League's signature athletic moment of this year (and maybe of the last 10 years) with the Sweet 16 appearance in men's basketball.

But Princeton has 10 Ivy titles, while Harvard and Cornell are next with three each. In a league that prides itself on broad-based athletic participation and sponsors 33 sports, those numbers are huge. And the Directors' Cup standings show that Princeton has excelled this year in national championship competition as well.

This is the 19th time that Princeton has reached double figures in Ivy League championships in an academic year. It's the third straight time and 15th time in the last 18 year as well.

Of the rest of the league, only Harvard has done it even once (the Crimson have done it five times). In other words, no other school besides Princeton and Harvard has ever reached double figures in Ivy titles in an academic year.

Princeton and Harvard share the record of 14, done by Princeton twice (1999-2000, 2000-01) and Harvard once (2004-05).

As TigerBlog always says when he writes about this subject, the fact that it's happened before doesn't mean that it'll happen again next year. And the fact that it's never happened on six campuses doesn't mean they're going to stop trying either.

But at the same time, reaching double figures is a huge accomplishment. Congratulations to the 10 who've already done so this year.

Are there more on the way? We'll see. After all, the spring is winding down - even if the winter just ended.

1 comment:

CZ said...

Being the father of a soon to be Cornellian all I have to say is "no one likes a hater". TB, let Big Red enjoy its moment in the sun without throwing around wet blankets. You know in my heart I'm a huge Tiger lover but for obvious reasons I now have to share my love with Cornell and must defend their honor.

So, any thoughts on who the next RU head basketball coach might be?