Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hey, It's May

It's May. Actually, it's May 2nd, but it's still May.

You know what that means?

It means that TigerBlog can talk about the weather again. He said two weeks ago that he wouldn't talk about how weird the April weather was anyway, and he didn't.

So what if it rained, snowed, sleeted, sizzled, everything in the last month. It's up there with the wildest weather months TB can remember actually.

It ended somewhat fittingly, at least for TigerBlog, who was standing on a field on April 30, wearing a sweatshirt with two layers under it as the sun came and went and the wind whipped and stopped, all while it occasionally drizzled. He wasn't sure if he should put on sunscreen or another layer, and he ended up putting on both.

Now that's it's May, the forecast, of course, is for close to 90 the next few days. If you were looking for what you might consider a perfect spring day, there haven't been many of them, at least around here.

As May has arrived, it's also the last full month of the 2017-18 athletic year. Already there are spring teams who are finished for the year, and others who are winding down quickly.

On this day next month, the men's heavyweight and men's and women's lightweight rowing teams will be competing on the final day of their national championships at Mercer County Park, and the only events left after that will be the men's and women's NCAA track and field championships.

That means that there are a lot of huge events coming up this month. This weekend is particularly big.

The Ivy League Heptagonal track and field championships will be held Saturday and Sunday at Franklin Field. Should Princeton's men win, it would mean another "triple crown" of Heps titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.

Princeton has won eight of these "triple crowns," six by the men and two by the women. No other Ivy school has ever done it on either side.

Fred Samara, the head men's track and field coach, is already past 40 in terms of Ivy League championships won in a career. That's a lot, by the way.

The fire still burns with him, though. Maybe that's why he's still winning championships, because he is so competitive and so focused on continuing to put out the best possible program he can each year. It's very impressive.

If you've never been to a Heps track and field championship, it's definitely worth attending. TB is always fascinated by the way those who really understand the math behind the event know exactly who is positioned well and who isn't at all times. 

The Ivy League awards championships in 33 sports during an academic year. Of those 33, there have been 26 that have already been won.

Princeton has won nine of them - men's cross country, field hockey, women's soccer, women's volleyball, women's basketball, men's indoor track and field, women's tennis, women's golf and last weekend women's lacrosse. As a reminder, the Tigers host the Ivy League tournament this weekend, with the semifinals between Penn and Dartmouth (4) and Princeton and Columbia (7) on Friday and then the championship game Sunday at 11 between the winners.

The remaining seven Ivy titles to be won are in baseball and softball - Princeton will not be in the Ivy League championship series in either - the two track and fields and then men's heavyweight, women's open and men's lightweight rowing.

Princeton has reached double figures in Ivy League titles 24 times. Harvard has done it 10 times; no other school has ever done it. Princeton has finished with nine Ivy titles four other times, most recently in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Round numbers being what they are, getting to 10 titles would be a great accomplishment. It is a great goal for the athletic department each year, or at least for TigerBlog, who has relatively little to do with the outcomes of course.

The rowing championships, by the way, will be held next Sunday, with the women's open in Pennsauken and the men's heavyweights and lightweights in Worcester. That'll be it for Ivy League championships.

Two days before that, by the way, will be the first round of the NCAA women's tennis tournament. Princeton, the Ivy champ, will be taking on Illinois in Lubbock, Texas. Here was the team's reaction to the selections yesterday:

In the meantime, there's Heps this weekend. And the Ivy women's lacrosse tournament here, even though that doesn't affect who is considered the Ivy League champion. That will be Princeton and Penn, who tied for first and will be co-champs regardless.

Still, there is the NCAA tournament automatic bid on the line.

Plus, it's May. It's a time for nice weather and big games. You should have both this weekend on Sherrerd Field.

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