Thursday, May 14, 2015

Race To The Finish

The Princeton men's track and field team won the outdoor Heps championship this past weekend, as you probably know by now.

Fred Samara, the men's track and field coach, led his team to the "triple crown" of championships in cross country and then indoor and outdoor Heps for the seventh time. No other men's program has ever done it, not even once.

Princeton's women have done it, twice actually. No other women's program has ever done it.

For Princeton, the men's outdoor title was the 11th Ivy League championship of the academic year. Harvard won the women's Heps, giving the Crimson 10 Ivy titles.

For Princeton, it's the 22nd time reaching double figures in Ivy titles in an academic year. For Harvard, it's the eighth time.

No other school has ever done so. Princeton, by the way, holds the record, with 15 in 2010-11.

This would be the fourth time Princeton and Harvard have both reached double figures in the same year. The other three were 1982-83, 1988-89 and 2011-12.

Princeton won six Ivy titles in 2013-14. The last time Princeton went consecutive academic years without reaching double figures? That would be 1991-92 and 1992-93.

Princeton has now reached double figures eight of the last nine years.

The Ivy League crowns a champion in 33 sports, and 30 of those champions - plus co-champions, in some cases - have already been won.

There are three remaining, and all three will be contested this weekend, all on the water, for that matter.

It's Sprints week for men's rowing and Ivy League championship week for women's rowing.

There is one prohibitive favorite in the three races, and that is the same team as last year - Brown's open women. Of course, a year ago, Brown didn't win as the prohibitive favorite.

No, a year ago, Princeton's women won and won fairly handily for that matter. Don't think that's escaped Brown's attention, by the way.

The top-seeded Bears already own an eight-second win over Princeton, the second-seed. The regular-season margin last year was three seconds, and Princeton then won at the Ivy championships by more than four seconds, so that was more than a seven-second turnaround.

On the men's side, the lightweight favorites are Cornell and Columbia, followed by Princeton.

The men's heavyweights? That field is the most wide-open, with Yale as the top seed, followed by Princeton and Harvard, with a Brown team that is lurking.

TigerBlog doesn't really know much about rowing. His colleague Craig Sachson does. Here are his previews:

Click here for women's open
Click here for men's heavyweight
Click here for men's lightweight

The end of the Ivy League sports season will also see the end of the chase for the Ivy League's unofficial all-sports points championship. This championship is not recognized officially by the league, and it awards points depend on finish in either the Ivy standings or championship competition, depending on how the league crowns its champ, depending on the sport.

There are eight points for first, seven for second and so on. In the case of ties, points are split, so two teams that tie for second both get 6.5.

Depending on whether you're Princeton or Harvard, you can word the history of the all-sports championship differently.

For Princeton, you can say your school has won 27 of the last 28. For Harvard, you can say your school won last year and is the defending champion.

Relax, Princeton fans. The Tigers have essentially locked up the 2014-15 championship.

Essentially, but not mathematically.

Princeton has a 12.5-point lead over Harvard entering the rowing championships. That means that Harvard can win all three boats and have Princeton finish fifth in all three and the Tigers would still win the overall points title.

How? Because Harvard would get eight points for first and Princeton would get four points for fifth. Multiple it by three, and Harvard would get 24 points to 12 for Princeton, a 12-point swing that would leave the Tigers still up by a half-point.

Of course, TigerBlog doesn't want to jinx anything.

On the other hand, it's not a real thing anyway.

Meanwhile, TB will go back to dealing with the idea that the 2014-15 Ivy League sports year is about to end, about 10 minutes after it seems like it began. 

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