Wednesday, May 24, 2017

2017 - The Greatest Class Of Top Women Athletes Ever

There is the kind of rain that falls softly and gently as you lie in bed listening to it or sit on a covered porch watching it.

Then there's the kind of rain that just pelts you when you're standing outside, leaving you soaked and miserable.

The first is beautiful. The second is annoying.

TigerBlog had to deal with the second kind during the Ivy League men's lacrosse tournament a few weeks ago in New Haven, when the rain fell pretty much all day, in pretty substantial amounts. Fortunately, TigerBlog had his trusty "Education Through Athletics" umbrella.

Unfortunately, the rain stopped when the game ended - and TB left it in the press box at Reese Stadium. He'd had it for, what, five or six years, and just like that it was gone.

It was a great umbrella too. It was big and sturdy, and in all that time the wind never got the better of it. And just like that, it was a gone - a Princeton umbrella in a Connecticut press box, a Tiger lost among the Bulldogs.

Speaking of bulldogs, TigerBlog saw a story that Yale's newest Handsome Dan is a different kind of Bulldog than his 17 predecessors. From the New Haven Register story:

The dog, also known as Walter, is not a member of the traditional bulldog breed at all. He’s an Olde English Bulldogge, a recently developed version of the lovable, friendly dog that has won the hearts of Elis since Yale introduced the first college mascot in 1889, according to Chris Getman, who was the handler for four Handsome Dans over 33 years.

Anyway, to the rescue came Kim Meszaros, who was able to dig up another umbrella for TigerBlog. This one doesn't say "Education Through Athletics" but instead has the big striped P. Either way, it's the same umbrella, only brand new.

So thanks, Kimmie. TigerBlog is grateful.

TigerBlog thought he would need the new umbrella yesterday, when he found himself at Springdale Golf Club. It was the seventh hole. Or maybe the 12th. He's not sure actually. He does know it never rained, which is good.

Was he playing? No, TigerBlog hasn't played golf in about 15 years or so. No, he was part of the  crew for a series of videos that featured Spencer Weisz of the men's basketball team.

TB will have more on that another time.

For now, TB would rather focus on the announcements of the top senior male and female athletes at Princeton. Weisz was one of six finalists for the Roper Trophy, along with his teammate Steven Cook, lacrosse player Zach Currier, fencer Alex House, football player Dorian Williams and hockey goalie Colton Phinney.

There are 10 finalists for the von Kienbusch Award, given to the outstanding senior female athlete. Ten? Is that a lot?

Yes, it is. Then again, it's fine with TigerBlog, since the Class of 2017 is the greatest class of top female athletes that Princeton has ever seen. And Princeton has seen some great ones.

The 10 finalists are, alphabetically: field hockey player Cat Caro, lacrosse goalie Ellie DeGarmo, fencer Kat Holmes, lacrosse player Olivia Hompe, water polo player Ashleigh Johnson, hockey player Kelsey Koelzer, soccer player Tyler Lussi, volleyball player Cara Mattaliano, fencer Anna Van Brummen and hammer thrower Julia Ratcliffe.

So what do these 10 bring to the table?

There are two Olympians, including a gold-medal winner. There are two individual national NCAA champions. There are eight first-team All-Americas and one second-team All-America. There are seven Ivy Players of the Year, including five who did it more than once.

They are NCAA leaders, school-record holders, league champs, NCAA championship participants. The list of their accomplishments is extraordinary.

TigerBlog and his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues knew this group would be getting to the finish line at the same time when it was clear that Johnson, Holmes and Ratcliffe would all be returning to Princeton this academic year after taking off to train for the Olympics.

These 10 are among the best players Princeton has ever seen in their sport. For TigerBlog's money, probably half are the absolute best who ever have played their sport here.

It's been an extraordinary four (actually four-plus, with the three who took a year off for the Olympics) years with this group.

TigerBlog has said this many times before, but it's not just the quality of the female athletes. It's the way that the average male Princeton fan has embraced them.

TB hears it all the time. Each time, he thinks back to when he first started, when nearly every male fan referred to female athletes as "girls" without ever remotely considering referring to male athletes as "boys." It's not a Title IX thing. It's not an equity thing. It's not a sexist thing.

It's a respect thing.

It's an understanding of just how great these athletes are. The 10 women who are finalists for the award are amazing athletes.

When you're amazing, people notice. And that's what has happened here.

And there you have it. The 10 finalists for the von Kienbusch Award for 2017 - the greatest class of top female athletes Princeton has ever known.

No comments: