Friday, June 30, 2017

Who Do You Love

Who do you love?

TigerBlog had his car radio on the other day, and that was the first song that came on.

As TB listened, he wondered if when Bo Diddley wrote the song way back in 1956, he knew/cared/considered that he was using the wrong case. It should be "whom do you love?"

Maybe there was a conversation that went like this:

"Hey, you know that it should be 'whom' in your new song?"
"Yeah. Of course. It should be objective case. It's the direct object. But nominative case sounds better, don't you think?"

Ah, the things that go through one's mind on long drives. TB was on Interstate 91, on his way back from New Hampshire, and he heard the song on a station in Springfield, Mass. It called itself "Springfield's Oldies."

The version that TigerBlog heard was not Bo's original one. It was a remake by George Thorogood, which he released in 1979.

How in the world can that version be an "oldie?" That's classic rock, Springfield. It's from 1979.

Then TB heard a bunch of other songs on that station that all would be considered classic rock. They couldn't be oldies, because they were from when TB was already in middle school or high school, and if they're oldies, well, then that would make TigerBlog, uh, hmmm.

Anyway, who do you love? Or, whom do you love?

If you're a Princeton fan, odds are good you love Chris Young.

TigerBlog has said this before. The most universally beloved Princeton athlete of the last 20 or so years is Chris Young.

There have certainly been others. There are a lot of athletes around here who are easy to like.

Young had it all, though. He played basketball and baseball. He was a superstar in both from Day 1. He was tall. He was approachable. He was great around little kids (including a certain then-little kid named TigerBlog Jr., whom Young once lifted up on so he could dunk on the side court of Jadwin).

Not one person who ever came in contact with him ever had anything bad to say about him.

And of course, there was the element of "what-if" for Young. As in, what if he had been born a week or two later and not been eligible for the baseball draft after his sophomore year at Princeton. As in, what if he had played three or four years of basketball. As in, what if he had gone to the NBA instead of Major League Baseball.

Sticking with the four-years of basketball theme, TB thinks Young would have finished his career first or second at Princeton in scoring, rebounds, assists and blocks. He would have joined Bill Bradley as the only players in school history to reach 2,000 points.

Instead, Young was drafted by the Pirates in the 2000 baseball draft, after his sophomore year. He was eligible only because he'd turned 21 by June 1 of that year.

Now, as he is 38, he can look back on a long, lucrative, highly successful career as a Major League pitcher. His resume includes five teams and 13 years in the big leagues. He was an All-Star and the Comeback Player of the Year.

More than anything else, he was a World Series champion, with the Kansas City Royals in 2015. In fact, he was a major reason why the Royals won that World Series, with an incredible hitless, four-strikeout performance over the final three innings as the Royals won Game 1 in 14 innings.

Young was released by the Royals this past week. It's possible his baseball career is over. If it is, he can look back on it knowing that there wasn't much else that he could have done on the field.

The day after the Royals won the World Series, TigerBlog texted Young that he was hoping to get a chance to speak with him for an entry here at some point in the near future. He called back in less than an hour. That's just how he is.

What would be next for him?

TigerBlog thinks he would great at pretty much anything he wanted to try. Here's a guy who finished his senior thesis while riding on buses on minor league trips to graduate with his class.

TigerBlog was the men's basketball contact during Young's two seasons with the Tigers. It was obvious from the first day TB met him that there was something really special about him, and not just his size and athletic ability.

In an athletic program that regularly churns out impressive young people, Chris Young is right at the top of the list of anyone TB has seen come through here. And he's not the only one who thinks that way.

He's seen it for a long time, anytime anyone has dealt with him.

When you meet Chris Young, you can't help but be amazed.

Thursday, June 29, 2017


TigerBlog got an email the other day out of the blue from his old friend Randy Neeff.

Do you remember when TB first wrote about her? It was back in 2014, after Princeton hosted Harvard in men's basketball.

You can read it HERE.

If you don't want to read it, TigerBlog will sum it up for you. Randy Neeff, back when she was 19 or so, had it all. Beauty. Brains (though she was going to Harvard, so maybe not). Zest for life. Everything.

These days, she sees the world from her wheelchair, the result first of a car accident and then later a fall while mountain climbing. Her body has betrayed her; that spirit will remain unbroken forever.

She's a marvel, Randy. When TB saw her for the first time in years, decades really, she had the same smile she did back when she was 19. She struggles to speak, but she's still sharp, funny, at times biting. She can't walk, and yet she is constantly looking for the next fun thing to do.

That was the context of her email. Get together. Find something interesting to do this summer.

Her vitality is inspirational. It also serves as a reminder of life's inherent unfairness.

Princeton Athletics is filled with wonderful stories of current athletes and alums who do incredible things, on fields and off of them. They win championships. They build enduring relationships. They serve the community. They achieve insane things in classrooms, writing thesis topics whose titles alone often confuse TigerBlog. They sing in shows. They dance in theater groups.

When they leave Princeton, they stay close, no matter where on this planet they are. They give back. They stay loyal. Wherever they are, they make Princeton Athletics proud, and they leave the people they meet awed that Princeton Athletics produces these kinds of alums.

TigerBlog has spent his career chronicling these achievements. He's followed many of them after they leave, and it's always great to hear their stories of how everything is going, with their careers and kids and all.

But as TB also knows, and as he sees in his friend Randy, there's an inherent unfairness to the world. All of the stories aren't always happy.

He's seen it in a lot of ways. From his mother. From Ann Bates. Bob Callahan. From friends who have similar stories to tell.

From his friend Digger, whose son Derek has battled a hideous life-threatening disease for most of his nearly 20 years that he's been alive. Every day becomes a battle.

And so it is now for two more Princeton athletic alums, women's soccer player Taylor Numann (Class of 2009) and her husband, former men's hockey player Sam Sabky (Class of 2011).

Taylor babysat for Miss TigerBlog once, a long time ago. MTB asked for about a year when Taylor would come and play with her again.

On the field, Taylor Numann was a first-team All-Ivy player. She also scored both goals - including one four minutes away from the end of the second overtime - in her last regular season game, a 2-1 win over Penn that gave Princeton the 2008 Ivy League championship.

Had the game ended in a tie, Princeton would not have won the league or advanced to the NCAA tournament. As the minutes wore down, it seemed like it would be a day of utter frustration - until she headed in Sarah Peteraf's corner kick.

These days, the Sabky's have a different opponent to worry about than the time on the clock in a soccer game. This time, it's another extremely rare disease, another one that TB has never before heard of like the one that attacked Derek, this one called Niemann-Pick Type A.

It has gone after the Sabky's baby son Purnell, with the diagnosis just before Mothers' Day. It's a horrific disease with an even more horrible deadline - life expectancy is no more than three years.

HERE is the Facebook page with more information. 

Not surprisingly, both the soccer and hockey alumni groups are rallying to help. It's what Princeton teammates do for each other.

HERE is the link to the gofundme page. You can see that there's already been a lot of people who have stepped up.

As TB understands it, there is a cure on the horizon. It's a race for Purnell and the Sabky's. They don't have a lot of time to wait for it.

Again, as TB said before, here is another example of life's unfairness. You never know where it's going to come from and where it's going to go next.

Or why. You can drive yourself nuts trying to figure that out.

Or you can do everything you can to try to help. That's the lesson that Digger and his family learned a long time ago.

The other lesson that they learned is that they could count completely on the Princeton Athletics family, who has been there with them the whole time. And now they're there with Purnell as well.

Every day is a battle.

Inside the unfairness, though, there can be some victories.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Opening Kickoff

Story on the 150th anniversary of college football celebration committee, including Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

As far as sports and MotherBlog went, she had two favorites.

One was St. John's men's basketball. She could actually care less about the Johnnies, other than the fact that she was once on a flight with the team and then-head coach Lou Carnesecca chastised one of his players for not helping her with her bag in the overhead bin before he got his own down.

From that day on, she was a fan of St. John's, and its legendary coach.

MB's favorite team by far, though, was the Washington Redskins. Her favorite player, by even further, was John Riggins.

As an aside, she would be proud that her son has come to root for her 'Skins. For starters, the Giants have become really, really hard to root for. Plus, TB likes Kirk Cousins. 

A favorite team in another league? She'd watch games, but she'd never really go out of her way to do so. Maybe the Atlanta Braves, once she moved to Atlanta, but baseball wasn't her game.

Politics. That was her favorite sport.

And football.

TigerBlog can't remember when his mother ever cared about any other teams. She didn't like the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys - the reasons are somewhat murky - but she definitely hated all three.

She moved to Chevy Chase, one block away from the D.C. line, in the early 1980s. It wasn't long after that when she adopted the Redskins, and she was a loyal fan until she passed away more than a decade later.

What was it about the Redskins that made her latch on so strongly? The team was good, and the team is huge in the D.C. area.

Maybe the answer is a bit more simplistic. Maybe it's just the fact that football is, and has long been, so woven into the national fabric more than any other team sport.

Baseball has been called the "National Pastime," and maybe it was at one point. There were baseball heroes earlier than football ones, with players like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson, with a major head start over the professional football league.

At some point, football zoomed ahead. It's probably tied in to the rise of television in the 1960s, but there's no questioning what football has become in this country.

And guess where it all started? Actually, you don't have to guess. You already know.

It started with Princeton and Rutgers, back on Nov. 6, 1869.

Princeton Athletics began five years earlier, during the Civil War, with a baseball game against Williams. Princeton celebrated the 150th anniversary of that game three years ago, in conjunction with the first TAGD day.

The 150th anniversary of the first football game is two football seasons away. There will be no shortage of celebrating.

The formation of a committee to celebrate the occasion was announced yesterday. The committee features representatives from various FCS conferences, from the College Football Playoff and from the two original schools to play the sport, including Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan.

The purpose of the committee is to simply celebrate the sport of college football, on all levels and for all Divisions.

Princeton's place in the history of college football is secure. It obviously goes back to that first game, back in 1869.

From everything that TigerBlog has read, it was more full contact soccer than it was football as it is known today. It also was played 25 against 25. According to the Rutgers Targum recap, these were the first points in Princeton football history:
"Princeton's first goal was by a well directed kick, from a gentleman whose name we don't know, but who did the best kicking on the Princeton side."

According to the Princeton Companion, which is the encyclopedia of all things Princeton, says that football on campus informally dated to the 1840s. There were games featuring students against students or students against townspeople, and interest developed to the point where the Princeton team and Rutgers team challenged each other. They'd play twice that year, the first time at Rutgers and then a week later here in Princeton.

Every major milestone in the evolution of the sport has Princeton's fingerprints on it. The changes of the rules, including having 11 players on a side and things like a line of scrimmage and the current lining of the field. When the sport needed to reigned in for safety reasons, Princeton was in the White House with Teddy Roosevelt for the formation of the national college governing board in 1906, which is now called the NCAA. Even cheerleaders and tailgating trace their roots to Princeton.

Princeton has produced 28 national championship teams and one Heisman Trophy winner, Dick Kazmaier in 1951. There have been nationally ranked teams, huge crowds - and a venerable concrete stadium that was unfortunately built just before the impact of freezing and thawing on concrete was fully understood.

If the stadium couldn't quite last forever - it had a good run at 83 years - the loyalty that was formed among those who played here certainly will. And, failing Reunions and Commencement, there isn't anything else that can draw the number of people to the campus that a big football game can.

The modern day Princeton Tigers are a considerable source of pride to the athletic program and University. The most recent Ivy League championship was won a year ago, when the Tigers led the conference in offense and defense. It was the second Ivy title for Princeton in four years.

The man at the forefront of the program now is Bob Surace, the head coach who is a perfect fit for the team and the school it represents. An All-Ivy center and Ivy champion himself at Princeton (and the first Princeton athlete TigerBlog ever wrote about), Surace is innovative, putting unique, exciting teams on the field, and a rock of a foundation off it. His teams are successful academically and spend a lot of time volunteering in the local community.

Surace also understands that football does not drive Princeton University. He doesn't feel that as the head football coach he is above everyone and everything. Quite the contrary actually. You will see him at almost every other team's games, as his usual approachable self. It's refreshing, actually.

Princeton will be featured prominently as college football begins the celebration of its 150th anniversary. It's grown from simple roots, with 25 Princeton guys and 25 Rutgers guys, with a handful of fans in attendance, to a sport that nationally will pack stadiums that have more than 100,000 seats in them. Millions will watch on TV.

It all started with the Tigers.

And those Tigers - the Princeton football ones - are still looking pretty good as they turn 150.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rooting For Robby Andrews and Gavin McBride

TigerBlog has let his daughter know that she needs to get a job this summer. Period.

Her car - technically it's TigerBlog's car - needed new brakes even before she got her first career flat tire the other day. Oh, and that pesky car also seems to need gas every now and then.

In addition, she's talking about going to India next summer with her friend Sonali. And of course she's heading off to college in a year.

Money? What's that, compared to knowing that you can watch all 64 episodes of "Breaking Bad," as Miss TigerBlog just did.

Okay, the summer just started. She'll find a job. Probably. Hopefully. Definitely.

In the meantime, she did have some really interesting points about the show. She referred to Walter White, for instance, as being an "interesting problem solver."

And if you've seen the show, then you know all about Hank and the third-to-last episode of the series, which is up there with any episode of any TV show that's ever been produced. MTB was definitely struck by what happened in those 45 minutes.

TigerBlog mentioned to his daughter that he had seen back-to-back all 64 episodes of "Breaking Bad" and all 153 episodes of "Gilmore Girls." Granted, this took a little time to do.

TB isn't sure what people are thinking when he mentions how much he loves "Gilmore Girls." After all, he's not the normal demographic for the show.

Still, he and MTB - who also seen both - had an interesting conversation about the two and the character development in each show. Miss TigerBlog, as your average nearly 17 year old, of course thought "Breaking Bad" had much better characters because of how they evolved, as opposed to the way she felt the characters on "Gilmore Girls" did not. They stayed flat, she said.

And she had possibly a little too much respect for the evil genius of Walter White, to the point that when the conversation was over, TB wasn't 100 percent sure whether he should be humored, scared or something in between. Either way, it was one of the highlights of the weekend.

There were some Princeton Athletic highlights this weekend as well.

One of them came Saturday night, when TigerBlog got a text message from the remarkable Thayer Patterson. If you don't know Thayer, he's sort of a walking, talking search engine of Princeton Athletics. There's nothing or no one he doesn't seem to know.

It was late Saturday when Thayer texted TB that it wasn't every day that a Princeton assistant track and field coach won a title at the USATF championships. In this case, it was assistant cross country coach Robby Andrews.

If you spent a lot of time watching the Olympics last summer, like TB did, you had to feel for Andrews, who had an amazing kick in the men's 1,500 semifinals, only to be disqualified on the minorest of infractions - one that was pretty debatable. Instead of being in the final, he saw teammate Matthew Centrowitz become the first American since 1908 to win Olympic gold in the 1,500.

Andrews is still in his prime, obviously, and it's not that long until 2020. Is he the American to beat? Well, at the national championships Saturday in Sacramento, nobody was able to beat him.

Andrews, whose biggest claim to fame is either his Olympic spot or the fact that he and TigerBlog went to the same high school, was in fifth place with one lap to go before he went into another gear. Among those he passed on the final lap was Centrowitz.

THIS STORY has a ton of detail on the event.

One of the best things about Princeton is that there are so many people here who are easy to root for, and Andrews is definitely one of them. And not just because he went to Manalapan High School.

So is Gavin McBride, as you may know if you've been reading anything TB has written about the 2017 men's lacrosse team.

TigerBlog got an email from the NCAA the other day congratulating Princeton on having had McBride lead Division I in goals per game this past season. In case you forgot, McBride scored 54 goals in 15 games, or 3.6 per game. Only one player in Division I - Albany's Connor Fields - had more goals, with 55, and he played three more games than McBride.

McBride's 54 goals set a Princeton single-season record, bettering the 21-year-old record set by U.S. Lacrosse Hall-of-Famer Jesse Hubbard. What did it get McBride? Honorable mention All-Ivy League and nothing, not even honorable mention, from the USILA All-America committee.

McBride was a sixth-round pick of the Denver Outlaws in the Major League Lacrosse draft, and he played in his first professional game this past weekend. How'd it go?

More of the same, actually.

McBride scored three goals, all in the fourth quarter, as Denver rallied from seven goals back to beat the New York Lizards 17-14. Zach Currier, McBride's Princeton teammate, had a goal, three assists and six ground balls in the game, by the way.

McBride's three-goal performance in clutch time earned him Major League Lacrosse Rookie of the Week honors. 

As he has been all year, TigerBlog was happy that McBride continues to do well. He had such a monster season - scoring five or more goals six times and three or more goals 11 times - and he got so little credit for it.

Now he's in Major League Lacrosse. It's only for the best of the best.

You know. For players like Gavin McBride.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lehigh Redux

The rain that came after midnight Friday, technically Saturday morning, was heavy enough and loud enough to wake TigerBlog.

There, in the darkness, TigerBlog listened as it fell - and as his mind filled with thoughts.

Among them - is his office flooding again? And how will this affect Miss TigerBlog's upcoming lacrosse tournament?

Ah yes. Another weekend, another club lacrosse event. As TigerBlog said last weekend, this is the 10th and final summer of club lacrosse between his two kids, and he'll be missing it when it's final over.

This past weekend was spent at Lehigh University. It's the perfect place for one of these events, with a lot of parking and a ton of grass field space.

TigerBlog has been there a million times, or so it seems, for such tournaments, with both of his kids.

Lehigh is an interesting place. The athletic fields are in their own contained area, and for all the times that TigerBlog has been there, he doesn't think he's ever seen the actual campus.

On the other hand, TigerBlog has been to so many Princeton games at Lehigh that he's pretty sure it's the non-Ivy campus he's been to the most with the Tigers - unless he's never been to the campus. The only school that's close is Rutgers. No, it's Lehigh.

When TB was there this weekend, he first drove past the parking lot where he parked back on April 11, when he was there for a Princeton men's lacrosse game, one that the Tigers would lose 15-10. That was one of the nicer nights of the spring, though a warm, no-jacket night - and quite a contrast to the time he'd been there two years earlier, 

MTB's games this weekend - there were four of them - were played on fields that were set up on either side of the football stadium.

TigerBlog is a big fan of Lehigh's football field, called Goodman Stadium. It has a nice grass area in one end zone where fans can sit - and kids can run around - and the concourse is packed with different food vendors.

At various times this weekend, TB found himself inside the stadium. It was essentially empty, and it wasn't lined for football at all.

Still, it's hard to stand in there without thinking about all the times he's been there for Princeton-Lehigh football games. All of them have been very early in the season, usually on hot days. They're always competitive.

As great as it is to watch a game from the hill or the stands, the best place is from the sidelines. TigerBlog has done radio from the press box, which is pretty high up, and simply watched from the sideline. He always likes to watch games from the sidelines, though he rarely gets the chance, but for some reason they seem to be better at Lehigh. Maybe it's because of the weather, and the fact that at that time of year, there's still a lot of green in the hills that are behind the stadium.

Ah, but TB can never talk about Lehigh without having one event leap to the front. You know what it is, right?

It happened a little more than 21 years ago. Does TB really have to tell you?

It was the 1996 Princeton-Penn men's basketball playoff game. TB wrote this back on March 9, 2016, the 20th anniversary of the game, just in case you don't remember or weren't paying as close attention back then:

Of all of the great little anecdotes TigerBlog has from his nearly 30 years at Princeton, perhaps his favorite is the one where Pete Carril was being badgered by a sportswriter after a Penn game at the Palestra.
The writer, by the way, was Brian Dohn, then of the Trentonian. TigerBlog was a big Brian Dohn fan, though he lost touch with him years ago, after Dohn left to go cover the Dodgers.

Anyway, Princeton had just lost to Penn in the final game of the regular season for its eighth straight loss to the Quakers. The outcome of that game left the teams in a tie for the league title and set up a playoff game for the NCAA bid five days later.

It also led to this exchange:

Dohn: "Do you think Penn has your number?"
Carril: "I don't believe in that."
Dohn: "But sometimes a team just has another team's number."
Carril: "Yeah, I don't believe in that."
Dohn: "Yeah, but maybe they just have your number."
Carril: "I'm telling you I don't believe in that."

At that point, another question was asked. This was from Jerry Henry, then of New Jersey Network.

Henry: "Coach, what can you do differently to beat them in the playoff game?"
Carril (looking at Dohn): "Nothing ... if they have our number."

That's a great one. So was the game itself. Princeton 63, Penn 56, in overtime. 

If you want to read the whole post, it's HERE.

If you want TB to sum it up for you, he can tell you that it was an extraordinary game, one that the players have often said to him means as much or more to them as the win five days later over UCLA in the NCAA tournament.

It also was the nigh that Pete Carril announced his retirement, something that TB saw before anyone else, when he came into the locker room and saw the solitary coach, holding the chalk that he had just used to scribble the words to his team on the blackboard there. TigerBlog knew his night was taking a dramatic turn at that point.

All these years later, it remains in the top three or so of nights TB has had at Princeton. And it was part of the most dramatic, and busiest, week he's had in all his time here.

When TB made a right turn past the lacrosse field this weekend to head back to the main parking lot, he drove right past the front of the building where it all happened on that frozen March night. Stabler Arena.

As he saw the words on the facade of the building, he was taken back in time to that night. And it made him smile, in a way that few of his memories can match.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bowling And Walking

TigerBlog can tell you the exact last time he went bowling.

It was back in the three-month period between when his friend Corey had his driver's license and TigerBlog did not. In other words, it's been a long time.

Corey drove, in the big old brown Olds 88 he used to have. His house was exactly four miles from TB's (he knows this because he used to ride his bike over there, even though he had to cross Route 9 at the end), and his driveway looked like it had valet parking service, with all the cars that were parked there most times.

Anyway, they went bowling, at Howell Lanes. TigerBlog had to drive the big 88 back, even though he only had his permit. You can figure out why. Yeah. You're smart. Corey and TB? They remain close friends to this day and will forever.

Why mention bowling today? TigerBlog would like to say it's because he was watching an old Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, the one where Foghorn says about the little chicken that "the boy's about as sharp as a bowling ball." But hey, TB hasn't watched cartoons like that in, well, not this week at least.

And then there was the time recently when someone in the athletic department mentioned bowling, and Kim Meszaros, the assistant to Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan, cringed at the thought of TB's renting shoes and, egads, putting his fingers into the holes on the bowling ball that someone else might just have used without dousing it with hand sanitizer first. That was funny.

Actually, it has nothing to do with either of those. Nope, it has to do a little bit with how bad TigerBlog's eyes are getting.

TigerBlog's two favorite Division I athletic conferences are, obviously, the Ivy League and the Northeast Conference. The Ivy League has Princeton. The Northeast Conference has TigerBlog Jr.

Yesterday afternoon, TigerBlog saw a tweet about how the NEC had released its institutional team academic awards.

Basically, the league recognizes the school whose athletes have the highest average GPA and then the team from each sport in the league that has the highest GPA. For the record, Sacred Heart, TBJ's school, won both the men's lacrosse award and the overall institutional award, while 24 men's lacrosse players - including TBJ - won the individual academic award for having at least a 3.3 GPA.

In fact, it was quite a year for Sacred Heart men's lacrosse. The team had a seven-win improvement from 2016 and made the conference tournament, and the Pioneers also won the academic award while also maintaining a strong commitment to service. There's a lot to like in that program.

The overall Sacred Heart athletic GPA was 3.381, which is the all-time NEC record for a school over the course of an entire school year. It's quite a tribute to Bobby Valentine, the SHU athletic director, and the entire athletic department.

Oh, and bowling?

When TB first looked at the list, he thought that LIU Brooklyn's women's bowling team had the best overall GPA, and an incredibly high one at that, at 3.864 for the team. In fact, it's just TB's eyes that are failing him. When he looked closer, he found out that it was really 3.664, which is still extraordinary.

It's not the best in the league, though. The team with the highest overall GPA is Robert Morris women's basketball at 3.724. That's unbelievably high.

The Ivy League doesn't have such an award, though maybe it would be something the league would consider at some point. The league does do Academic All-Ivy League, which honors five male athletes and five female athletes per school per season for excellence academically and athletically. Doing the math, that brings you to 15 men and 15 women per year per school.

The spring 2017 group was announced yesterday. You can read about them HERE.

The list includes two of the greatest all-around combined athletes/students Princeton has ever known, really. One is Julia Ratcliffe, the three-time first-team All-America hammer thrower. The other is Olivia Hompe, the all-time leading scorer in Princeton lacrosse history.

All 10 athletes in the spring group, and all the athletes across the league each season who win this honor, have done incredibly impressive things on their campuses.

And while TB is talking about incredibly impressive things that people have done, how about Derek DiGregorio?

TigerBlog has written about Derek a lot through the years. He's the middle son of Steve and Nadia DeGregorio, the one who has been battling Ataxia Telangiectasia for years. It's a disease that has left him in a wheelchair for the last few years, but there he was the other day, graduating from Princeton High School and walking across the stage (with the help of an exoskeleton) to get his diploma.

Out of the chair. Walking across the stage.

You can read the story about Derek HERE.

Here are a few quotes from his parents (his father, Digger, was a longtime Princeton football assistant coach):

"He is the toughest individual I know," Steve said. "True grit is what he has, compassion and perseverance, that's what he has, that's Derek."

"We don't have the word 'no' in our vocabulary," said Nadia DeGregorio, Derek's mother.

Yeah, they're pretty tough individuals themselves.

Congratulations to Derek. It would have been easy, so easy, for him to give up at any number of points. And, it would have been easier still to not walk across that stage.

Then again, these people never do what's easy. The DeGregorios - the parents, their other two sons Zack and Aaron (who also graduated from PHS this week) and their close circle of friends - deal every day with issues that most people couldn't fathom or handle for a few hours.

They deserve to celebrate a little. For Derek, and for themselves. There aren't too many high school diplomas that mean more anywhere this month than in their house.

Again, congrats to Derek and his family.

They are the most courageous people TigerBlog has ever met.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

District 12

TigerBlog ran into a question yesterday he's asked a lot this time of year, one he's mentioned plenty of times before. 

Do you have to work in the summer? The answer, again, is yes.

It actually got TigerBlog thinking back, what is it now, nearly 35 years, back to his first summer in the newspaper business. He covered high school sports back then, so what would he do in the summer?

The answer, he found out, was simple. District 12 Little League.

At first, TigerBlog couldn't believe that the two major - at the time, they were definitely major - newspapers in Trenton would devote that much effort and space to covering Little League baseball and softball. Over the years, TB came to embrace it as a staple of Mercer County summers.

It was weird for him that first year, when he first got tossed into covering the District 12 tournament. Chambersburg, a section of Trenton, was the winner, knocking off Hopewell in a dramatic final. Hopewell's best player, by the way, was Mark Gola, who is today the Director of Athletic Communications at the College of New Jersey.

Night after night for a few weeks that summer, TigerBlog would go to a different Little League field in Mercer County, where enormous crowds would gather to see the games. Back then, TigerBlog was making $15 per story, and he was getting a lot of drama on those summer nights for his $15.

It was a rare year when Nottingham didn't win. When Chambersburg finally did win the championship, there was a huge headline on the front page of the sports section. The late, great and immortal (he's in the baseball Hall of Fame writers' wing) Bus Saidt walked into the newsroom, saw the size of the type and said this: "What happened? The war end?"

TigerBlog remembers it like it was yesterday.

One of TB's favorite Princeton Office of Athletic Communications stories ever was more than 10 years after TB's first District 12 tournament. This time it was David Rosenfeld, TB's former OAC colleague, who was astonished by the coverage. In this case, David asked the immortal question: What's huh-TER-buh?

Huh, TigerBlog wondered? Then he saw the paper. It had "HTRBA" in a headline. As it turns out, huh-TER-buh was "H-T-R-B-A," or the Hamilton Township Recreational Baseball Association, of something like that. It had a team in the tournament.

Yeah, David didn't quite get the whole District 12 coverage either.

It's been years since TigerBlog has seen coverage of the District 12 tournament. He only covered it once, the year Chambersburg beat Hopewell. All these years later, it stands out as much as almost anything he covered at the newspaper.

Speaking of Bus (his real name was Harold; TB isn't sure why he was called Bus), he was as old-time a newspaper sportswriter as you could ever hope to find. Bus would cover a Major League Baseball game every night during every season, driving either to Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium or Veterans Stadium, depending on which team was home.

He'd actually reinvented himself as a sportswriter, after a previous career as an accountant for the state of New Jersey, coupled with his time as a broadcaster. TigerBlog believes that he was the runner-up to Harry Kalas as the voice of the Philadelphia Phillies a long time ago, largely based on his work as the radio play-by-play voice of none other than your own Princeton Tigers.

When TB met Bus, he was already a Trenton legend. Bus, that is, not TB. He was very encouraging to young TB when he was first starting out in the business.

What would Bus think of the world of sports media these days? He'd hate it, TB supposes. Getting his point across in 140 characters? That would not have been for Bus.

Yeah, it's a new world.

Speaking of 140 characters, the best tweet of the week was by far by TB's colleague Craig Sachson, who retweeted a tweet that mentioned that Spencer Weisz had been added to the 76ers predraft workouts. Craig's tweet was "Trust. The. Process."

Now that's tremendous.

TigerBlog isn't expecting Weisz - the 2017 Ivy League Player of the Year and Roper Trophy winner - to be chosen in the draft tonight. Or Steven Cook, who worked out with the Knicks. But who knows that happens and why. It would be great if one or both of them heard his name called.

When Craig showed TB a video of Weisz at Sixers practice, he was wearing the Sixers gear they'd given him. It reminded TB of when TB wrote a story about Ross Tucker, who was then a Princeton offensive lineman.

Ross figured he'd have a shot at getting into an NFL camp after graduation and then move onto whatever career he was going to have. His question was this: When they cut him, would he get to keep the helmet?

Instead, he ended up playing for seven season in the NFL, with six teams. He probably ended up with a few helmets.

And, as one of the most active members of the football media, he ended up with a lot of Twitter followers. Like, 170,000 of them.

That's 170,000 more than Bus ever had. He would have hated Twitter.

He was one of the greats, Bus was.

TigerBlog can't really explain to you why he started thinking back to the District 12 tournament, but that's what got him to thinking about Bus, which is good.

Bus Saidt passed away in 1989. Odds are good that you never heard of him.

To TigerBlog, he represents a world long gone for him - one of the very best parts of that world, for that matter. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jukebox Heroes

TigerBlog found himself in an art deco diner in, of all random places, Richmond last weekend.

He had the Philadelphia omelette, which was tremendous. It was a like a cheesesteak omelette. He could go for one right now, actually.

He debated between the omelette and one of those breakfast specials that included eggs, two meats, potatoes and pancakes. He bets that would have been great too.

Miss TigerBlog was there with him. She had a different omelette.

After they ordered, MTB pointed to the object near the window and asked simply "what's that?" This is what she pointed at:
That, TigerBlog told his nearly 17-year-old daughter, is called a "jukebox." Then he added: "it's like an old-fashioned iPod."

TB had to explain to her that way, way, way back when, these were at every table in every diner - at least every good diner. You'd put a coin in the slot and pick a song, or a few songs, and they would play at your table. After all, there had to be something to do at a restaurant while everyone waited for the smart phone to be invented. 

This particular jukebox didn't accept money. Instead, you pushed the buttons for the song you wanted and then it went into the queue for the entire restaurant, playing softly over the speakers.

TigerBlog counted up, and if he's correct, the jukebox had 310 songs, pretty much all of which would have been on the diner jukebox when TB was in high school. MTB randomly pressed "L3," which turned out to be "Mrs. Robinson," by Simon and Garfunkel. She selected on purpose "Dancing Queen," by ABBA.

The purpose of the trip, of course, was summer lacrosse. What else do people do in their summers?

While at that particular tournament, TigerBlog saw a few people with Princeton connections. For instance, he was walking across a parking lot when he instantly recognized one of the greatest female athletes in school history - Theresa Sherry.

There aren't many athletes out there who scored goals in two NCAA tournaments in two different sports, but Theresa Sherry did - in lacrosse and soccer (Matt Striebel did the same, by the way, for the men). Sherry played in eight NCAA tournaments in her four years at Princeton, and the two teams she played for went a combined 119-25-6 during that time.

She was a three-time first-team All-America in lacrosse, and she - along with men's players Andy Moe, Kevin Lowe, Jesse Hubbard and B.J. Prager - can say that she scored the game-winning goal in overtime in an NCAA championship game (in her case 2003).

Theresa at one time was the head women's lacrosse coach at the University of California. Now she's coaching on the club level. She's also one of the nicer people you'll ever meet in your life, so it was really nice to see her.

TB also saw Penn State head coach Missy Doherty, a former assistant to Chris Sailer here at Princeton. Doherty has taken the Nittany Lions to the Final Four each of the last two years.

The conversation with Missy included, of course, the recent hiring of Jeff Kampersal as Penn State's women's hockey coach, a few years after Guy Gadowsky became the men's head coach.

A few hours later, TB saw Doherty as she pushed a baby stroller. No, this wasn't her own third child. This was the first child of Brianne Tierney and Dylan Sheridan, a really, really little baby. Dylan is a former assistant men's lacrosse coach at Princeton and the head coach at Cleveland State.

Brianne is the head coach at Kent State, which will be starting a team in 2019. She's also the daughter of former Princeton head coach Bill Tierney. TB had seen her a few minutes earlier, when Brianne told her that Missy was pushing the baby somewhere while she watched games.

As TB watched MTB play, he met a group of parents from a team from just outside of Washington, D.C. As he usually is at these tournaments, TB happened to be wearing something that said "Princeton," in this case, his new, really comfortable "Princeton Lacrosse" shirt. This is not to be confused with his other 50 Princeton lacrosse shirts.

Anyway, as usually happens, the parents asked if he was a Princeton coach. He explained what he does, which is followed, as usual, by a request to help get their kids into Princeton.

One of the parents then asked him if he knew who Tyler Lussi was, and he said that of course he did. It turns out that they're close friends of the Lussi's.

TigerBlog has been in this situation a lot. It's a small world, apparently, this world of club sports.

TB pointed out that Tyler Lussi graduated as the all-time leading scorer in Princeton soccer history, for men or women. In fact, she scored 53 goals, the most by an Ivy League player in the last 35 years.

That's an incredible stat. The most in 35 years? Actually, that would give her the most goals since TigerBlog last saw a jukebox, he supposes.

Lussi is one of the bigger graduation losses any Princeton team will have heading into 2017-18. She's a lot like Olivia Hompe, the all-time leading scorer in Princeton lacrosse history - men's or women's.

It's the nature of college sports. You get four years - sometimes five - and that's it. The program moves on, hoping to find the one who comes along to break your record.

Of course, it makes you appreciate when you have the Tyler Lussi's who come through there in your uniform. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Jury Duty

TigerBlog spent much of yesterday in Louisiana. His mind did, anyway.

His body was on jury duty. Or, as he likes to call it, "sit in a room with total strangers for a few hours as nobody's number is called."

TigerBlog was called for jury duty one other time in his life, back when he still with the newspaper. On that occasion, he sat around the courthouse for eight hours and had his number called right at 4 for a civil case, only to have one of the lawyers immediately dismiss him.

This time, TB was originally supposed to go in late April, but he got a postponement until mid-June because of lacrosse season. And off he went yesterday morning, ready to fill his role in the justice system. Better than being a defendant, right?

Before he ever reached the courthouse, he realized he'd forgotten the book he wanted to read. It's called "Documents That Changed The Way We Live," by Joe Janes, the official brother-in-law of TigerBlog. He'll report back on it another time.

Fortunately, he had two John McPhee books in his trunk. And so he re-read the first section of "The Control of Nature," which is about the attempts in Louisiana to keep the Atchafalaya River from overwhelming the Mississippi River 300 miles north of New Orleans.

Mr. McPhee had given the book to TigerBlog a little more than a year ago, when TB had gotten back from Lafayette and the NCAA baseball regional there. As part of the drive from New Orleans to Lafayette, TB had been on the team bus when it drove over a 23-mile bridge over the Atchafalaya Basin. When TB mentioned it to Mr. McPhee, he gave the book to TigerBlog - complete with an inscription that read "To the Blazin' Cajun."

Anyway, TB had the book with him when he checked in at 8:30. After a brief orientation for the approximately 100 potential jurors, the woman who was in charge said that she'd be back around 10 with an update on when they'd be needed, though possibly sooner, if something came up.

From that point, TB wouldn't see that woman for awhile. In the meantime, he and his fellow jurors were allowed to spread out a bit - into the hallway, upstairs to a cafe, in the back to a "quiet room." In the main room, a television played daytime TV, including "The Price Is Right." At one point, a man walked in from outside and asked TB if he'd missed anything. TB informed him that the lady on "The Price Is Right" almost won a car but messed it up at the end. He said "no, I meant with the jury stuff."

When TB had gotten his postponement back in April, he called in to the number of his summons and spoke to a woman who very nicely rescheduled him. During the time that TB was in the main room yesterday, that same woman - presumably - was patiently listening to caller after caller tell her why they shouldn't have to be on jury duty without every losing her temper, or mind.

For the most part, TB read his book. When he opened it, the first thing he saw was the inscription. His first thought was that "Cajun" would be a great name for a French bulldog.

The book kept him occupied, though he couldn't find the right spot to read. The hallway was the best air conditioned, but it was also the highest traffic area. There were also people who wanted to chat.

So TB kept reading. He got most of the way through the part about the Mississippi and Atchafalaya, which he'd read before. At no point did the woman come back to call any numbers. None. Eventually, a few hours before the scheduled end time, she let the whole group go, saying no juries would be needed that day in that courthouse.

Maybe it's because for one day, there was no strife?

Anyway, that was TB's second jury duty experience. For this one, he was paid $9, plus $.17 per mile, which brought his total amount to around $16. He elected the option of donating it to one of the three charities offered, in his case, the Wounded Warrior project.

What did he miss at Princeton? There were two new stories on this particular June Monday on

One was about Dan Mavraides, the former men's basketball player who is competing this week at the FIBA 3-on-3 World Championships in France. Mavraides was a 1,000-point scorer at Princeton before graduating in 2011, after helping Princeton to the Ivy title and NCAA tournament. He reached the 1,000-point mark despite scoring only 11 points as a freshman.

TigerBlog saw last week that 3-on-3 basketball has been added to the 2020 Olympic Games. So have a bunch of other sports. And some existing sports will have some new wrinkles, like swimming and track with co-ed relays.

You can read all about Mavraides HERE.

The other story was about recent men's soccer graduate Steffen Seitz, who earned a bunch of amazing honors with his diploma. You can read about him HERE.

Among those honors, Seitz won a writing prize. From the story:
On graduation day, Seitz was also honored as the recipient of the 2017 Gregory T. Pope '80 Prize for science writing. The Pope Prize is awarded annually to a graduating senior for outstanding articles or papers on scientific topics written for a broad audience. A committee consisting of The Council for Science and Technology members and science writers selected his winning essay "The Wine Menu From Hell: The Schmidt Insect Sting Pain Index."

The title alone was award-winning, right?

Anyway, it was a quiet day. At Princeton, and in the jury room.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Remembering A Voice From The Past

TigerBlog hopes you had a good weekend.

He hopes, if you're a dad, you had a great Fathers' Day.

Today, though, he offers nothing in the way of humor. Nothing lighthearted about Princeton Athletics.

Today is about sadness, as he thinks back about Wendy Herm, who passed away last week. Wendy was 40 years old at the time of her death.

You have to be a pretty devoted Princeton fan to remember Wendy the athlete. She was a softball player, a good one, a two-time All-Ivy League selection, including one first-team honor, before she graduated in 1999.

Princeton won the Ivy League title and an NCAA regional in 1996, advancing to the Women's College World Series. If you go to the records section of the softball page, you'll see Wendy Herm's name on a few of the lists. At-bats in a career. Doubles. Extra-base hits.

TigerBlog's connection to Wendy Herm came through the fact that she worked for him, and his current Office of Athletic Communications colleague Craig Sachson, back when she was a student, along with her softball teammate Katie Bay.

There have been three people who have been the primary public address announcer for Princeton football since the stadium opened in 1998. TigerBlog is the current one. Before him, it was John McAdams, who might have been the only full-time PA announcer of all time. You remember him more as the long-time, legendary voice of the Palestra and Big Five basketball.

Before John, it was Wendy Herm.

As he writes that, TigerBlog realizes that both of his predecessors passed away, much too young. John was 64 when he died, back in 2005.

As TB said, Wendy was just 40.

She spent the last five years of her life battling a brain tumor, fighting it hard to the end. A few days before her passing, the softball team tweeted a message to her from Reunions:

It was touching. It was a sign of the love her teammates had for her and the enduring bond that is formed here among athletes and teams.

TigerBlog can't remember when he first heard Wendy Herm do the PA at a sporting event. When he did, he was impressed enough to offer her the women's basketball job, even when she was an undergrad. That was followed by men's basketball and football.

Even now, nearly 20 years later, there aren't a lot of women who do the public address for college football and men's basketball. Back then, Wendy was even more a rarity.

She was the PA announcer for the 1997 Princeton-Yale game held in Giants Stadium. At the time, she was the first woman to do PA at that stadium - which no longer exists - for a football game. She also was the PA announcer on opening day at Princeton Stadium in 1998, when the stadium was completely sold out.

Wendy's presence behind the mic brought in a lot of media coverage. She handled it very well. You can believe TigerBlog when he says it's not easy to pretend there isn't a camera crew in your face while you're announcing.

It also brought in some condescending letters and emails from some alums, who questioned why we'd have a "girl" do the PA for us.

TigerBlog wouldn't have put her in that situation if he hadn't had total faith in her. And she never let him - or anyone listening - down.

TB would have loved to have her back as the permanent PA announcer, but she went her own way after graduation. Through the years, TigerBlog lost touch with her, and it's possible that he saw her or heard from her maybe three times in the last 15 years.

Still, he always thought highly of her. He always respected how she handled the challenge of being a woman - an undergraduate woman at that - in a high profile role here. He always liked her.

He was saddened when he heard the news that she had gotten sick. He was sadder still when he heard that she had passed away last week.

There are memorials for her this week, including one that sounds more like a party than a funeral.

Still, there's no way to sugarcoat it all. She was bright. She was funny. She was engaging. She was a lot of good things.

And now she's gone. At just the age of 40.

TigerBlog sends his sympathies to her family and friends. He thanks the softball team for its support for her.

One of TB's memories of watching Wendy as a player would be the chant that the team would do when she was at bat. Chanting was a big thing in softball, way more so than today.

When Wendy was up, this is what her teammates cheer:

"Get a hit for me. Get a hit for me. C'mon Hermie, c'mon Hermie, get a hit for me."

TB has no idea why he remembers that. He just does.

It was from a time when Wendy was a young athlete, strong, independent, confident, funny, mature.

It's the Wendy Herm TB will always remember.

In the meantime, he'll just be sad that she's gone. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cam Porter, Cara Morey And Some Other Stuff

TigerBlog stumbled on a "Gilmore Girls" quiz the other day.

Not surprisingly, he did very, very well. The only questions he got wrong were about the new roles that Jess and Paris play on other shows that TB hasn't watched,and what song was playing in the background when Dean and Rory first broke up.

TigerBlog got a few of them too right.

For instance, TigerBlog's answer to "where did Rory first meet Logan" was "by the coffee cart outside her dorm when she was with Marty and then in the archway by her dorm when Logan and his friends were looking for a different young woman they thought lived in Rory's room."

The correct answer was "college."

There were also quizzes about some other shows. Like "The Sopranos." TigerBlog did well there too, including knowing that Christopher's father was "Dicky Moltisanti."P

Why write about this today? Why not? History has shown TB that today and the next few Fridays will be the least read TigerBlogs of the year.

What? You have something better to do on your summer Fridays?

In fact, TB could probably just insert the lyrics from "Thunder Road" or something right here, and almost nobody would notice.

He always wonders that about senior theses. Are professors really reading every word? Maybe someone should try the "Thunder Road" trick and see what comes of it. What's the worst thing that could happen?

Anyway, for those of you who are reading this, and before you embark on your weekend, TB has a few Friday thoughts:

* Calendar update

The first athletic event of the 2017-18 academic year is 10 weeks from today. Wow. 2017-18?

TigerBlog thought it would be more than that. Nope. It's 10 weeks from today to Aug. 25, when the women's soccer team hosts Monmouth.

TigerBlog's prediction is that he'll go the game, and the first person he'll see when he gets there is former Ford Family Director of Athletics Gary Walters. He's not sure why he thinks that.

In some ways, those 10 weeks don't seem like a very long time. The summer always seems to fly by.

On the other hand, things around here definitely slow down a bit. Obviously there are no intercollegiate athletic events in the summer.

This will be the ninth summer since TigerBlog has been writing every day here. When he first got to the summer of 2009, he wasn't sure exactly how he was going to come up with something five days a week. As he's said before, he figured he'd slow down to three days a week, or rerun some of the earlier ones from the year, or, when in doubt, just tell funny Pete Carril stories.

You know. Like this one:

TigerBlog was walking with Carril to a pre-tournament luncheon for a tournament at Fresno State. Carril had his cigar in his hand, and the tournament rep told him he couldn't smoke inside the building. What did Pete do? He put the cigar down on the underside of the stair railing outside the building, went to the luncheon, came back outside and got his cigar back.

Yeah, TB could make a summer out of writing things like that.

* Cam-puters
Cameron Porter is one of the best men's soccer players Princeton has seen. He led Division I in goals scored, points per game and goals per game in 2014, when he was the Ivy League's Offensive Player of the Year.

He began his Major League Soccer career with the Montreal Impact, and he scored a huge goal for the team in stoppage time in the CONCACAF Champions League. Then, two weeks later, he had a devastating knee injury.

Now he's back in MLS, with Sporting Kansas City. There's more to him than just that, though.

Porter was recently featured in a story on the world's most tech-savvy athletes. The list includes him - and some others you might have heard of, like LeBron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Joe Montana and Paul Rabil (he's a lacrosse player).

You can read the story HERE.

Or read another story about Porter HERE. This one is about the same basic subject, though it's from

This is impressive stuff. Porter is representing exactly what Princeton Athletics wants to be - a place where students can pursue their education and athletic pursuits without having to compromise either for the other. Princeton pushes its athletes to do just that, and maybe the best part about Princeton Athletics is that it won't make excuses for either.

The result is that people like Cam Porter thrive here and then go to do amazing things when they leave. Read the stories. You'll know exactly what TB means.

* In other Princeton news ...

Oh oh, come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Oh, Thunder Road, oh, Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey, I know it's late, we can make it if we run
Oh oh oh oh, Thunder Road
Sit tight, take hold, Thunder Road
Well, I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back if you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride ain't free
And I know you're lonely for words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free, all the promises will be broken

* Speaking of soccer

Myslik Field at Roberts Stadium will be the home of eight soccer games in September - plus the one in August. That's a busy stretch.

The men are home three times that month, while the women play five home games in September, all in a 16-day stretch.

* Head coach Cara Morey

When Jeff Kampersal left to become the head women's hockey coach at Penn State, it seemed likely that Cara Morey would take over the head coaching job here at Princeton. That became formal with the announcement last week.

Morey spent six years on Kampersal's staff, most recently as the associate head coach. She has helped lead Princeton through two very strong seasons the last two years, with an NCAA tournament at-large bid and Ivy title in 2016 and a trip to the ECAC semifinals and 20 wins this past season.

You can read the entire story about Cara Morey right HERE.

* Happy Fathers' Day

If you're still reading, TigerBlog wants to wish a Happy Fathers' Day to all of the Princeton dads out there. 

Fatherhood is certainly fascinating. TigerBlog can attest to that first hand. It jumps at you from Day 1, forcing you to learn things about yourself that you never imagined and pushing you in ways that you would never be able to see coming.
TB looks at people who are about to become fathers for the first time and chuckles. They have no idea what they're in for, after all.
TigerBlog has been at this father thing for awhile now, and even now he's still not sure what to expect next, or what challenge is coming down the road. Still, he thinks he speaks for pretty much all fathers when he says he wouldn't trade any of it.
As he said, Happy Fathers' Day to all of you dads. TB assumes you'll be waited on all day by your kids, right? 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Thank You And Farewell To Anne And G

TigerBlog had a meeting with Patrick McCarthy yesterday morning.

You remember Patrick. He's the oldest child of Tom McCarthy - Boog, as he's known - the former Princeton football and men's basketball play-by-play man who now does the Philadelphia Phillies, the NCAA basketball tournament and the NFL, among other things.

Patrick did some radio for Princeton last year, on football and men's basketball broadcasts. He's spending his summer working with the Reading Fightin' Phils, and the conversation yesterday was about possibly having Patrick back to do more announcing.

That part lasted about five minutes. The rest of the time was just hanging out, with Patrick and with Cody Chrusciel, one of the Office of Athletic Communications video stars.

At one point, TigerBlog wanted to show Patrick two pictures he has on his computer, both of a very young TigerBlog Jr. with Patrick's dad. He found one them easily - it was TBJ and Boog at the scorer's table at Jadwin Gym, both wearing headsets, as Boog did what was then "The Tom McCarthy Show" on ESPN radio. It's a classic.

The other one was at a Lafayette football game. Again, they're both wearing headsets, and Boog is towering over him, in the broadcast booth in Easton.

That one TB couldn't find. He found others. Lots of others. He seems to have a lot of pictures that were taken on a beach, interesting enough. Some really great ones too.

One of those is of TBJ and Miss TigerBlog, maybe a year or two later, standing on the beach. They're both holding lacrosse sticks, one a plastic one and the other an old wooden one.

They've come a long way since then in the sport, and they've had a lot of support from a lot of people along the way.

Two of the ones who've done more than they probably realize are now leaving Princeton's Department of Athletics.

Anne Murray came here more than a decade ago from Pittsburgh to play on the women's lacrosse team. She has stayed after graduation as an assistant coach, and last week she announced that she was leaving to pursue the next phase of her career.

TigerBlog can't remember one time since he met Anne where he'd say she was in a bad mood. She's always upbeat, always smiling, always bringing energy to the situation. Even when she wasn't happy about something, she would give one of those "are you serious?" type of smiles.

Somewhere along the line, Anne coached MTB at one of Princeton's summer camps. She stayed invested in her progress along the way, even stringing sticks for her. She was always asking how she was doing.

For a kid like MTB, having someone like Anne was invaluable in her development as a player. Just hearing that Anne had asked about her made her play harder.

As for TigerBlog Jr., well, he owes a lot to Gary Mosley. And he's not the only one.

Mosley - "G," as countless Princeton athletes and coaches have known him during his time as assistant equipment manager - is also leaving Princeton. He's entitled. After all, it's only been 41 years with the athletic department for him.

As far as TBJ is concerned, Mosley outfitted him from Day 1 of his lacrosse career and helped him with anything and everything, all the way through to, well, the present. TigerBlog has no idea the number of times G cut one of TBJ's sticks to the right length or attached and reattached his throat protector to his helmets.

And, just like Anne, he was always asking how TBJ was doing.

As far as Princeton's athletes are concerned? Well, TigerBlog will say it this way: Gary Mosley has been a no-nonsense guy around some young people who desperately needed that kind of influence.

G worked with a lot of different teams at Princeton, including men's soccer and track and field. TigerBlog can tell you he was a bedrock of the men's lacrosse program.

In fact, Bill Tierney had this to say about him: "G was a constant for me, just knowing how much the players and I could count on him. It was just a given that if I needed anything at all, he would be there."

Gary Mosley was more than just the equipment manager for the men's lacrosse team. He was part of their accountability to the program and the school. During his decades here, he was not the kind of person you wanted to let down. You did not want to have him have to tell you why and how you let him down.

He was famous for his brief, but, uh, to the point, halftime addresses to the team, before the coaches came into the locker room. He was a presence on the sideline during games.

Tierney was right when he said he could count of him. That's just what his nature has been all these years.

There was a going-away event for Gary the other day. He was asked to say a few words, and he did at the end. They were, as TigerBlog could have guessed, very brief.

All he basically said was that he tried to do a good job and he tried to help the athletes with whom he worked. It was all about them, he said.

It's how he operated for all those years. Need him? He's there. Need someone to have your back? He's your man. Need someone to push you away from bad habits? You want him for that too.

When TigerBlog found out that G was retiring, he had sent him a short note of congrats and, of course, to thank him for everything he'd done for TBJ. This was the response he got:
If I had any hand in helping your son out it was a pleasure. It's great to see how he developed in this game we both love. Thanks again.

That was perfect. Not too many words. Right to the point. No nonsense. Encouragement. Honesty.And a touch of emotion.

That's Gary Mosley in a nutshell.

He'll be missed. So will Anne Murray.

They gave a lot to this department. TigerBlog wishes them the best.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Best Ever

So the academic year has ended, and the Class of 2017 has scattered.

Princeton's campus is quiet, or at least quieter, for the summer.

TigerBlog is frequently asked whether he has to work in the summer. The answer is yes. There is always something to do.

In fact, come August, when the events start up again - August 25 is the first athletic event, a women's soccer game at home against Monmouth - TigerBlog will again be amazed by how another summer has flown by and how many things there were to get done along the way.

And that he came up with something to write about every day. 

Of course, it's a tad too early to be looking ahead to the coming fall season.

When TigerBlog thinks back to the 2016-17 athletic year, he's going to think of the 11 Ivy League championship teams. He'll think of the field hockey run to the Final Four. He'll think of the different teams that were impacted by freshmen who made an immediate impact on Princeton Athletics  - especially Michael Sowers with men's lacrosse (not to mention the extraordinary seasons of seniors Gavin McBride and Zach Currier) and Matthew Kolodzik with wrestling.

He'll think about the extraordinary accomplishment of the men's basketball team, which was asked to do something no other team in Ivy League history ever had to do - go 16-0 to get to the NCAA tournament.

And the football team, the Ivy League champ with the No. 1 offense and No. 1 defense. And the ridiculous year of John Lovett, who put up a season (like Currier) that will never be matched. Remember his numbers: 20 rushing touchdowns, 10 passing touchdowns, 26 receptions. Who will ever do that again?

TB will remember the men's hockey team's ECAC opening round series against Colgate, which Princeton won two games to one. He'll especially remember Game 2 of that series, when Princeton, after losing Game 1, avoided elimination by tying it with one second left and then winning it in OT.

It's one of the best games TB has ever seen. And then Game 3, which was another epic day from this past year, when Princeton gave up the first goal and then came back to win the game and series 2-1.

He'll also keep in mind the women's lacrosse team, especially its NCAA win over Cornell, its third straight over the Big Red, this time accomplishing it as torrential rain fell in a surreal way as the winning goal was scored. 

There were other big moments from the past year as well. There always are. It's one of the best parts of being at Princeton.

More than anything else, though, TigerBlog will remember 2016-17 as the year of the most loaded von Kienbusch Award ever.

As you know, Princeton had 10 finalists for the top female senior athlete. All 10 are among the most elite - or are the most elite - athletes ever to play their sport at Princeton.

It began to become obvious to TB and his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues a few years ago that this year was going to be unique. Each year, the OAC group talks about future Roper Trophy and von Kienbusch fields (who says athletic communications people aren't super cool?), and it was obvious that 2017 had some big potential.

First, there were the original members of the Class of 2017. Then there were three who took off to train for the Olympics who would come back as members of the Class of 2017.

The result was what you saw at the banquet before Reunions. That would be the best von Kienbusch field ever.

TigerBlog has always thought that the three greatest male athletes in Princeton history are Hobey Baker, Dick Kazmaier and Bill Bradley. He'd go in this order, by the way: Bradley, Baker, Kazmaier.

As for the women, it's been a bit more uncertain.

He's mentioned Caroline Lind, the two-time Olympic gold medal winning rower. He's mentioned Rachael Becker, from field hockey and lacrosse. Maybe Niveen Rasheed from basketball can be in the conversation. There are certainly others. TigerBlog does not mean to slight anyone.

If you wanted to make a top 25 - hey, maybe that's a summer project? - the Class of 2017 would be well represented.

If you wanted to make a top 1?

Well, TigerBlog would have to go with Ashleigh Johnson.

And yes, maybe she's getting extra credit for her gold medal at the Olympics and the two times she was named the top player in the world at her sport. Or maybe it's just about the eye test.

If you've ever seen Johnson play - at Princeton or in the Olympics or anywhere - you probably could sum her up in one word: "wow."

As in "wow, how can she tread water like that and then explode to get a ball that's rocketing to the top corner of the goal?"

When you're in athletic communications, you don't always want to deal in superlatives. For starters, you don't want to overlook anyone. As TB says, he never means to slight anyone.

In Johnson's case, though, it's a little different. She is so extraordinary that, as TB wrote, her win in this incredible von Kienbusch field surprised no one.

So it's TB's opinion, and not an official Princeton position, that she is the greatest female athlete Princeton has ever seen.

And when you see the greatest, it's okay to point it out.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chewing The Cud

As TigerBlog sat roasting in the sun while watching lacrosse this past weekend - an annual rite of summer that he'll get back to in a second - it dawned on him that his two kids rarely play on what would be considered a "nice" day.

It's either freezing or boiling. This weekend? Boiling.

This is Summer No. 10 for TigerBlog of club lacrosse. It's really hard to explain to someone whose kids do not play summer lacrosse, or some other sport, what exactly it's like to devote weekend after weekend, tournament after tournament, summer after summer to a club team like this.

The schedule this past weekend for Miss TigerBlog, for instance, was three games Saturday - at 3, 5 and 7 - and then one more at 1:30 Sunday. That means play a game, sit an hour, play again, sit again, play again.

And this schedule was kind. This coming weekend's tournament has a game at 6 p.m. Friday, at 3 and 7 Saturday and at 8 a.m. Sunday. That's a lot of waiting around.

This, of course, is going on while much of the world is doing non-athletic-related things, like, oh, going to the beach.

And is it free?

TigerBlog's friend Todd has two sons, Matthew and William. Matthew played with TigerBlog Jr. starting in fourth grade and ultimately every summer from the end of sixth grade through the end of 11th. William is two years younger than MTB, so he has a few years left.

TB and Todd were talking the other day about how much money they've invested into this through the years. The exact amount? A lot.

On the other hand, the positives of all of this have so far outweighed the negatives that TB's only complaint is that he's going to miss it when it's over. TBJ's summer team, made up of kids spread out across the Philadelphia area, became very close, as did the parents. MTB's team has pushed her to become a much better player and a much more assertive person (and who doesn't want their nearly 17-year-old daughter to be even more assertive?).

Among TigerBlog's best memories ever are the times that he has spent with his kids at their summer lacrosse tournaments. And not just at the games. Driving. In hotels. Talking lacrosse, yes, but also about anything and everything. Like life. Music. TV. The difference between now and when TB was a kid. TigerBlog's rules for staying out of trouble if you're a teenager.

Even cows.

MTB's tournament this weekend was out in Pennsylvania farm country. As the two got closer to the field, they had this conversation:

TB: That's a lot of cows.
MTB: What are they doing?
TB: Chewing their cud, it apepars.
MTB: What's cud?
TB: No idea.

As it turns out, cud is food that hasn't been fully digested and therefore is dispelled by the digestive system of the cow in order to be chewed again. In other words, it's vomit.

So, yeah. Yuck. But hey, even that turned out to be funny.

That was Saturday. The cows were still there Sunday, seemingly unbothered by the heat and their diet.

Speaking of Sunday, there was a story on that was right in TigerBlog's wheelhouse. Actually, it was in Harvey Yavener's wheelhouse, though Yav hasn't written anything in awhile.

As an aside, TigerBlog's reaction is still to call stories that appear on as having been in the "Ledger," as in the Star-Ledger, which used to be on the biggest newspapers in the country.

Anyway the project began last week, when Ryan Dunleavy from emailed TigerBlog asking him to recommend teams that could be considered in his list of the top Division I teams in New Jersey from the 2016-17 academic year.

The first thing TB thought of was "Yav would have done something like this in a heartbeat." If you don't know who Yav is, he was a sportswriter who probably wrote more about Princeton than anyone other sportswriter ever did. It was from Yav that TigerBlog learned an important lesson - judge all sports, and the athletes who compete in them, equally based on the parameters of each sport, rather than the sport's overall popularity.

It's what led Yav to cover anything and everything, and especially women's sports. Really, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, this was wildly unconventional thinking, especially for a veteran male sportswriter.

The piece in didn't rank the teams in order. It just listed them by school. You can see it HERE.

There are 31 teams who were included in the story, representing New Jersey's eight Division I colleges. Here's the ranking by number of teams included:

Princeton - 13 (really, 14, since men's indoor and outdoor track and field were counted as one)
Monmouth - 5
Rider - 4
Rutgers - 3
Seton Hall/St. Peter's - 2

If you don't feel like doing the math, that's 42 percent for Princeton.

It got TB to thinking about which Princeton team he would have ranked as the No. 1 for the year. Honestly, it's hard to pick.

Women's lacrosse? Ivy tri-champ but then powered to the Ivy tournament title and then to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Men's basketball? The first 16-0 team in league history.

Field hockey? Made it to the Final Four, though didn't win the league.

Women's fencing? No. 2 nationally, plus an individual champ.

Football? Led the Ivy League in offense and defense while winning the championship.

Others? A case can be made.

In other words, it was another really good year for Princeton Athletics.

So chew on that for awhile. It's better than cud, right?

Monday, June 12, 2017

Goodbye, Jeff

TigerBlog walked down the Jadwin stairs Friday, down to the basement he and his Office of Athletic Communications colleagues call home.

Oh, and Brian Fitzwater, the IT guy for the athletic department. When the OAC relocated downstairs in late 2015, the was space for eight people, and there are seven OACers.

Fitz, as he is known, was thrown into the package. If you ever wanted to share your office space with one random person, the IT guy is a perfect choice.

The printer isn't working? "Hey, Fitz." Got some weird error message on your computer? "Hey, Fitz." Something goofy with your phone? "Hey, Fitz."

It's like sharing office space with the help desk.

Then there's Fitz himself. He's about as laid back as it gets, which is great considering what he has to deal with all the time. TigerBlog isn't the greatest technology mind of all time, but he does like to at least try to solve the problem (usually by turning something off and back on) before he reaches out for help.

Still, there are times he has to reach out for help. Each time, Fitz has fixed it in about 10 seconds. That's his job. People come to him with problems they can't identify or correct, and they seem incredibly daunting to them. On top of that, people are so reliant on their computers, phones, tablets and everything else that they come to Fitz with a total sense of desperation.

And he calmly fixes what ever the problem is and then sends them on their way. Never once, in all that time, has TB ever heard him yell "it's so simple. Fix it yourself."

Plus, he's an IT guy. By nature that makes him a little different. For instance, he had a really bad nose bleed last week. What did he do? He took a picture of it. Then he said to TB "hey, want to see something cool?"

Anyway, as TB came around the corner after getting to the bottom of the stairs Friday, he heard a familiar voice outside the locked office space.

It was Jeff Kampersal, who was on the phone with Fitz.

Kampersal, as you probably know, is the new women's hockey coach at Penn State. This comes, extraordinarily enough, after 21 years as the head coach at Princeton.

During his time at Princeton, Kampersal had a record of 327-261-58. Most recently, he led Princeton to the 2016 Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament and then the ECAC semifinals this year.

TigerBlog and Kampersal go back to before Kampersal coached the women's team here. TB first met him back in 1992, when Kampersal was a senior for the Princeton men's team.

Kurt Kehl and Mark Panus, TigerBlog's predecessors in the OAC, asked him if he'd write two feature stories about a men's hockey players. One was Andre Faust, who would go on to become, TB believes, the first Princeton player ever to score an NHL goal.

The other was Kampersal.

When TigerBlog first started out in the newspaper business, he was paid $15 per story, plus 22 cents per mile. TigerBlog kept his first check, which was for $15, rather than cashing it, figuring it would have sentimental value down the road. It might have - if he had any idea where he put it.

Instead of keeping the check, he should have bought stock in a new company called "Apple." If he had invested $15 then, it would have returned $337,824,443 by now. Or something like that.

Anyway, you know what Kehl and Panus paid him for those stories? Lunch.

TigerBlog knew little to nothing about hockey and Princeton hockey back then. He can't imagine what he wrote in those two features. They probably weren't very good. Not even worth $15.

But he always remembered the first impression Kampersal made on him from that small time they spent together back then. He could tell Kampersal was a good guy.

Nothing that's happened in the last 21 years has changed that impression for TigerBlog. Year after year, Kampersal represented Princeton with class and dignity, with on-ice success and players who routinely won awards for academic success and service.

Like all of the best coaches at Princeton, Kampersal made himself a big part of the departmental culture.

There was a party last week for Kampersal before he left Princeton. It was easy to tell he was uncomfortable being rewarded and celebrated for his time here. He's a humble guy.

And an easy guy to root for. Oh, and speaking of "guy," the storyline for his hiring is pretty simple.

This is from a story in the Daily Collegian, the Penn State student paper:
Penn State won big the last time it hired a former Princeton hockey coach.
The Nittany Lions dipped into the Tigers’ pipeline again with the hiring of Jeff Kampersal, hoping to recreate the success that Guy Gadowsky brought from Princeton.

Kampersal will be heading to the same school that took another Princeton hockey coach, Guy Gadowsky, who took the Princeton men to two NCAA tournaments and then took Penn State there this year. Kampersal and Gadowsky are close, which makes for a good reunion.

Penn State has put a lot of money into its hockey programs, and its hockey arena. It's a new challenge for Kampersal, one that comes after 21 years of loyalty and hard work here at his alma mater.

TigerBlog wishes him the best.

When he said goodbye to him the other day, it dawned on him that he was talking to the same good guy he'd met all those years ago.

Best of luck, Jeff Kampersal.

You definitely made Hobey proud during your time here.

Friday, June 9, 2017

All-America Again

Update from yesterday - TigerBlog's friend Mark reports that he took a drop after hitting the ball into the street and then chipped in from off the green on the next shot to save par.

TB asked him if video exists to prove it. None does, it seems, though TB will take his word for it.

Here's another update from yesterday - TigerBlog found himself near Nassau Hall shortly before noon. It was decidedly less crowded than it had been when he'd been there 48 hours earlier.

TB is sure he could ask someone in the communications office how many people came to this campus in the last week, between Reunions, Class Day and Commencement. Whatever the number is, it's a lot.

The place was flooded with people. There were crowds everywhere.

Sometimes, TigerBlog starts writing something and the words just come flying out. He goes from the first paragraph to the last paragraph without a stop, the thoughts just blending together effortlessly.

Or something like that. In all seriousness, TigerBlog finds it much easier to write that way, quickly, so that his thoughts do continue, as opposed to stopping, going back, trying to figure out where he left off, what he's already said. That's especially true about feature stories, way more so than the daily effort here.

This entry, though, is different.

TigerBlog wrote the update from his friend Mark around 11 yesterday morning, before he headed up near Nassau Hall, which made him wonder about the size of the crowds who had just been there.

Then he had a nice leisurely lunch. Then he wrote the part about wondering how many people were on campus in the last week, so he actually emailed Dan Day in communications.

Then he got into the heavy lifting of his day while waiting for Dan to get back to him. Actually it didn't take Dan that long to inform TB that that there were 26,000 people at Reunions and 10,000 people at Commencement (8,000 of whom took the free panchos that were left out). Throw in some extras here and there, and that's about 40,000 people.

Ah, but TB wasn't sure that was public information, so he emailed Dan back to ask him if it was okay to use. And so he got back to doing other work while he waited, though he did consider what 26,000 or 10,000 or 40,000 people do to the campus.

As he thinks about it and has said before, the only other events that can bring close to that many people here are big football games.

The campus was certainly alive for the last week. Contrast that with when TB was up there yesterday, and it was quiet, almost eerily so. The only sign that anything big had happened there was the last remnants of the fences from Reunions, which were being taken down.

And so TB got to this point, a little past the halfway mark. It was late afternoon - but he had to stop again.

For one, Dan hadn't gotten back to him about using the information, which he ultimately did, which you could have surmised by the fact that TigerBlog already included it. And he wanted to get dinner, which turned out to be dinner for three - TigerBlog, Miss TigerBlog and Miss TigerBlog's hard-to-dislike-even-if-he-constantly-wants-attention cat Jingles.

Speaking of Jingles, MTB started at Instagram feed for him, and he has more than 150 followers already. And he's a cat.

Mostly, TigerBlog had to wait for the results for the NCAA track and field championships, Day 2.  This would be the final event of the academic year, with the final two athletes of the 1,000 or so who represent Princeton set to compete - Julia Ratcliffe in the hammer throw and Allison Harris in the pole vault.

For Harris, it would be an honorable mention All-America performance to cap her career, after being an All-America indoors as well.

As for Ratcliffe, she would finish sixth, making her a first-team All-America for the third time in her career. She becomes the first Princeton women's track and field athlete to be a three-time first-team All-America in the same event.

For those keeping score, Ratcliffe finishes her career with an 11th place finish, an NCAA championship, an NCAA runner-up finish and now a sixth-place finish. She also demolished the Ivy League record, and in fact did so with every single throw of her entire career.

TigerBlog remembers when Ratcliffe first arrived at Princeton from New Zealand. It was five years ago, since she'd take one year off to train for the Olympics.

Then-women's track and field coach Peter Farrell knew what a unique talent Ratcliffe was before she came here, and he had raved about her potential from Day 1. When Ratcliffe came to Princeton - literally, after the long flight from home - there was nobody in the women's track and field office. In fact there was nobody in Jadwin Gym other than TigerBlog and a handful of others, and Ratcliffe's first stop was a chair in TB's old office on the balcony.

She seemed tired then.

She leaves Princeton as one its greatest student-athletes ever. She was a nearly perfect student in economics, and it'll be a long time before someone dominates an event in the Ivy League the way Ratcliffe dominated the hammer.

She's also, in TB's limited time with her, been an incredibly nice, polite person, but also one with a quick wit and an easy laugh. What more could Princeton have asked for from one of its athletes.

TigerBlog has been lucky to be around a lot of really impressive athletes in his time at Princeton. There haven't been many who compare to Julia Ratcliffe. Hopefully she reaches the Olympics in 2020. Regardless, whatever she does, you can bet that she'll do it very well.

And with that, the 2016-17 athletic year at Princeton is over.

And so is TigerBlog for today - nearly 12 hours after he started writing this. That, friends, is definitely a record.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hammer Time

There's a golf course near TigerBlog's house.

It looks nice. TigerBlog wouldn't know. He's never played it. The only time he's ever been there was for a banquet for Miss TigerBlog's high school field hockey team.

TB isn't a golfer. He's played before, though not in a long time.

He knows a lot of people who do play. He even knows some who play at that local course.

Like his friend Mark, for instance. Mark is a former Cornell hockey player who has three children, including one (Michael) who grew up playing lacrosse with TigerBlog Jr. and who now plays at St. Joe's and another (Maddie) who grew up playing lacrosse with MTB and will be playing this coming year at Lehigh.

Mark lives across the street and beyond the train tracks from where the golf course is. He's been known to chip balls from his front lawn, over his house and the railroad trestle and onto the green on the other side.

You'd think someone who could do that would have a better sense of where the golf course ended and the road next to it started. And yet there was Mark, standing in the middle of the road on the other side of the course from his house, holding what looked like an eight-iron and looking for his ball, which TigerBlog could see was nestled against the curb, as he happened to be driving by at that exact moment.

How did he get the ball to stop against the curb on the near side of the road, as opposed to the far side? TB drove away before Mark retrieved his ball and got back on the course, so he didn't see the next shot, but he did see the old ladies playing behind him who were pissed that he was making them wait.

Shortly after that, TigerBlog found himself on the towpath, a place he goes a lot to walk or ride his bike. Not the towpath in Princeton. The one in Bucks County, across the river in Pennsylvania. It's a very calming, scenic, in many ways beautiful place, with views of the Delaware River as you go further up and down and the colors of the canal and its surroundings on the path itself.

He's not the only one who goes there to exercise. There are bikers, runners, walkers, dog-walkers, people pushing strollers, teenagers, senior citizens, everybody and anybody. And geese.

The range of speed and athleticism varies widely among those you'll see coming and going, but the other day TigerBlog realized that the two guys who were running towards him were a little different than anyone he usually sees out there.

As they got closer, he figured out why. One of them was Robby Andrews, the volunteer assistant men's cross country coach at Princeton and a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic team. Robby ran the 1,500 in Rio.

Of course, TB didn't realize it was Andrews until he was passed him, and by then what was he supposed to do? Turn around and catch up to him? Yeah right.

Now that Reunions and Commencement have come and gone, it's easy to forget that the 2016-17 athletic year at Princeton isn't over. There are still the Princeton athletes who are competing in the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore.

Princeton's participation began yesterday, when William Paulson ran his heat in the 1,500 and August Kiles competed in the pole vault.

It continues today with the two women who have qualified.

Allison Harris will also pole vault, in an event that begins at 8 Eastern. You can watch it HERE.

Harris, the Princeton and Ivy League record holder, finished ninth at the indoor NCAA championships to earn second-team All-America honors. She's also a three-time Heps champ, twice indoors and once outdoors.

Harris is the first Princeton women's pole vaulter to qualify for the outdoor championships in 13 years.

Today will also be the final day as a Princeton Tiger for the legendary Julia Ratcliffe. Barring something wildly unforeseen, Ratcliffe will finish her career having eclipsed the previous Ivy League women's hammer throw record on every single throw of her career. If she takes all her throws today, that would be 140 throws in her career.

The women's hammer starts at 5 Eastern. You can watch it HERE.

Ratcliffe is a four-time hammer throw NCAA qualifier. She won the championship as a sophomore in 2014, and she was the 2015 runner-up before taking last year off to train for the Olympics.

Ratcliffe has the second-best throw so far of the athletes in the field. The best belongs to Maggie Ewen, from Arizona State.

The path to qualifying for the NCAA championships goes through the two regionals. Ratcliffe won the East with a throw of 70.75; Ewen won the West at 70.81. That's not a huge gap. In fact, it's 0.05 meters, or just under two inches.

It would be a storybook ending for Ratcliffe to win again.

Regardless, her place in Princeton Athletic history is already secure.