Monday, May 7, 2018

Counting On Chris And Fred

The average TigerBlog entry runs around 850 words or so.

TB aims for at least 750, and then it always seems to go a little past there. He's not sure how long the longest has been, though there have been some that have made their way well past 1,000 or even past 1,200.


He can give it to you in 10 words:

You can always count on Chris Sailer and Fred Samara.

That's 10, right? Okay, he's done for today. 

Actually, he'll expand a little.

Chris Sailer is the head coach of women's lacrosse. Fred Samara is the head coach of men's track and field. You already knew that.

Together, they have coached Princeton for, well, a lot of seasons. As this weekend shows, they have lost none of their fire. As this weekend also shows, the championships continue to pile up.

Sailer coached her team to wins over Columbia and Penn to win the Ivy League tournament. She's now won four of the nine of the ILTs, and Princeton's four are the most by any school.

While the women's lacrosse team was winning on Sherrerd Field, Samara was at Franklin Field in Philadelphia at the Ivy League Heptagonal championships.

After Day 1, a win didn't seem like a sure thing. After Day 2, Princeton was the Heps champ. Again.

The Heps title was the 10th of the academic year for Princeton, pushing the Tigers into double figures for the 25th time (only Harvard has reached double figures in the league as well, and the Crimson have done it 10 times). Princeton has been in double figures for four straight years now. 

That's three Heps championships for Princeton - this academic year alone, as the win completed a sweep of cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field for Princeton for the "triple crown." That would be nine of them for Samara's program.

No other men's team has even done it once. The only other coach besides Fred Samara to pull it off was Peter Farrell, the longtime women's track and field coach.

If you count the Ivy tournaments, Sailer and Samara are past 60 championships between them. In the last five years, here's their resumes:

* five straight regular-season women's lacrosse championships
* four indoor Heps titles
* three outdoor Heps titles
* two cross country Heps titles
* three Ivy women's lacrosse tournament championships

That's a lot of championships.

The men's track and field team entered Sunday's Day 2 behind by seven points. Was this going to be the year that Penn broke through, ending the 15-year run by Princeton and Cornell?

Princeton was having none of it.

The Tigers got 18 points in the third event of the day, the 1,500. From there, Princeton scored in 14 of the final 15 events, winning six.

By the end, Princeton won by 36 points over the host Quakers. If you want the entire rundown of all of the Princeton performances that made it happen, click HERE.

TigerBlog was following the Heps results from Sherrerd Field, where he was working at the women's lacrosse tournament.

Princeton ended the regular season tied for the championship with Penn, one game up on Dartmouth. Columbia, the fourth place team, had played Princeton in the final game of the regular season, which Princeton won 22-16.

The rematch between the Tigers and Lions Friday wasn't as close. Princeton scored the first 10 of the day on the way to a 17-7 win.

Penn and Dartmouth played in Friday's first semifinal game, and Penn would hold off a massive Dartmouth run to win 16-14. The Quakers looked to be in complete control before Dartmouth went on a 7-1 run to make it close.

That set up a rematch between Princeton and Penn. The Tigers had won the regular season meeting 21-8, and actually had Penn won that game, then the women's lacrosse tournament and Heps track and field would both have been at Penn at the same time.

As it played out, Princeton would play 120 minutes against Penn this year and would trail only once, at 1-0 in the first game. The Tigers would never trail in yesterday's final, but there would be seven ties, meaning Princeton responded each time Penn evened the score.

In fact, Penn would tie it at 10-10 with 12:57 to play. What happened from there? Princeton scored the final three to close it out.

As a result, the Tigers went into the NCAA with an automatic bid, instead of an at-large bid. The selections were last night at 9:30, and Princeton drew Syracuse, with the winner to play the host, Boston College. For some reason, by the way, the show on wasn't live, and you could fast forward through it.

It'll be the 25th time Chris Sailer has taken Princeton to the NCAA tournament. That's extraordinary. So is what Fred Samara continues to do.
 Congrats to the women's lacrosse and men's track and field teams. And their remarkable coaches.

And that's 800 words for your Monday.

TB could have done it in 10.

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