Thursday, December 20, 2018

Higher Standard

So the invitation to last night's Department of Athletics Holiday Party included a request to wear the ugliest sweater you could.

There would be prizes to the worst of the worst.

This led TigerBlog to wonder when it was that ugly sweaters stopped just being sweaters and crossed over into intentional ugliness. Or when did people start to think finding the ugliest sweater was a good thing.

There's a good commercial out about the woman who asks her dad if he's going to an ugly sweater contest, when he's obviously wearing a sweater he likes. That's cute.

Anyway, the winner of the contest was easily men's hockey coach Ron Fogarty, who had the ugly sweater/Christmas pants combination that was impossible to beat.

The party last night was a chance for the department to get together and have a little fun. It was a chance to take a break from all of the work that goes into putting a college athletic program together.

It was also a chance to get everyone who works here in the same place at the same time, something that doesn't happen often. It's a spread-out department, with people centered in Jadwin, Dillon, Caldwell, DeNunzio and the boathouse, among other locations.

Beyond that, it was also a chance to recognize two very likeable people who have been to a lot of holiday parties before they retired this past November. Clare Baxter and Dee Vertucci, who both worked in the ticket office.

Clare and Dee are both easy to like, and it was nice to see them have a chance to be front and center last night. TB wishes them both well in retirement.

As for Princeton Athletics, everything these days isn't just about partying. There are still athletic events to be played, including a really big one tonight.

The wrestling team is home at 7 in Dillon Gym against local-rival Rider. If you're wondering whether or not Princeton will be motivated for a pre-Christmas match, consider that the Tigers have lost 18 straight matches to the Broncs.

So yes, motivation won't be an issue.

Princeton last beat the Broncs on Jan. 5, 1982. That's a long time ago.

Princeton has already erased one big losing streak this year when it took down eighth-ranked Lehigh to end a 14-match streak against the Mountain Hawks. This Princeton team is one that is definitely excited about the possibilities for the league season and beyond once the new year rolls around.

For tonight, it's the home opener for a team that has already competed against four Top-15 teams, as head coach Chris Ayres continues to challenge his team and make his program be a national factor. Ayres could send as many as five freshmen out tonight against Rider.

He also has unbeaten junior Matthew Kolodzik, who is the top-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds. Patrick Brucki at 197 is also unbeaten, and he is ranked fourth nationally.

Ayres has become the newest member of the Princeton Podcast Club, with the debut of his "Higher Standard" podcast that will now run weekly through the rest of the season. You can listen HERE.

This is not the last big date of the calendar year for the wrestlers, who will head to Northwestern for the Midlands Championships Dec. 29 and 30. That's always a gathering of some of the very best in the country.

After tonight Princeton is next home the weekend of Jan. 11 and 12 (a Friday and Saturday), when North Carolina and Oklahoma State will be here. Or should that be No. 12 North Carolina and No. 3 Oklahoma State?

Yes, the schedule is very challenging. Oklahoma State, by the way, will wrestle Princeton and then Rutgers while in New Jersey and then five days later wrestle at West Virginia, with a match at Pitt the next day. Will the Cowboys go back to Stillwater in between?

For tonight, it's a local match, one with a lot on the line for the Tigers. It's a chance to end another long losing streak and make another statement, and the first chance to do so at home.

That's Princeton-Rider at 7.

Wear your ugliest sweater. Or whatever you like.

1 comment:

Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

Silverschmidts's comment yesterday was correct that the Duke loss was the largest margin of defeat in Princeton's basketball history. He was also correct that the previous largest margin of defeat was a Princeton loss to Penn. I had previously thought that our worst defeat was 77-34 to Cornell in 1946. For specifics, the worst previous loss was to Penn 55-10 in 1909.