Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Claire Thompson, Nominee

You want to see a great picture?

Check out the shot that accompanies the story on goprincetontigers.com of the four Princeton women's hockey players who won the coaches' association scholar-athlete award.

Pretty artistic, right?

TB is a big fan of such pictures. He loves the pictures of helmets on the turf, looking up at the stadium behind. Or the ones of the sticks all lined up behind the bench. Or the close up of the starting block. Or the net of the goal.

Such pictures add great flavor to events, if they're done right. TB always appreciates when Princeton's photographers come back from a game with that sort of creativity, beyond just the game action itself.

By the way, the four players who were honored with the AHCA award were MacKenzie Ebel, Sharon Frankel, Claire Thompson and Sylvie Wallin. You can read the story HERE.

Also by the way, back on Dec. 3, 2018, TB wrote this after watching the Tigers defeat Quinnipiac 3-2 at Baker Rink:
TigerBlog knows very little about hockey, though he could tell from watching it that No. 4 on Princeton was very, very good. That turned out to be defenseman Claire Thompson, who was a calming influence who helped keep Quinnipiac off the board for those first 58 minutes. TB was impressed with how Thompson was playing, and that was before she scored Princeton's second and third goals of the night.

Some things are just obvious.

Thompson, by the way, turned out to be more "great" than just "very, very good," as an athlete and a student. The AHCA academic award was her third, and she's already won three ECAC academic awards, with one more to be announced. She has also been a multiple time Academic All-Ivy selection.

As a player, this is from a different release: She helped Princeton to two NCAA tournaments, the 2019 Ivy League title, and the 2020 ECAC tournament championship, and graduated as Princeton's fifth-leading all-time scorer among defensemen, with 87 points. She was a three-time All-ECAC honoree, including a first-teamer in 2019 and a 2020 ECAC all-tournament team member, and she was a three-time All-Ivy League pick, including first team in 2019. Thompson was selected for Canada's team at the 2020 IIHF World Women's Championships, though the event was canceled due to COVID-19.

That other release was the one announcing that she has been chosen as Princeton's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award. Throw in that she was an ecology and evolutionary biology major who graduated with high departmental honors, and it's easy to see why.

The Woman of the Year Award originated in 1991 to recognize female athletes who have an outstanding record in athletics, academics, service and leadership. There will be 30 finalists announced in August, and the winner will be chosen in the fall.

No Ivy League athlete has ever won it. The league takes all of the individual school nominees and chooses to advance one or two to the next round of evaluations. Of course, just being the institution's nominee is impressive enough, given that Princeton has about 100 or so female athletes in each class.

The award, as an aside, recognizes nominees from every NCAA school, regardless of division. Interestingly, in the last five years, the award has recognized two Power Five Conference athletes, one Division II athlete and two Division III athletes.

Award or not, Thompson had an incredible career on every level.

The last two years were among the best in the history of the women's hockey program. Princeton played in the 2019 NCAA tournament in Minnesota, and the Tigers followed that by winning the first ECAC championship in program history this past season.

The Tigers were primed to make a serious run at winning it all in this year's NCAA tournament when the championships were postponed due the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the last paragraph in the Woman of the Year nomination story:
Thompson plans on attending medical school, and she will continue training with an eye on competing for Canada in the 2022 Olympic Games while also continuing research on infectious disease in society.

As TB has said before, this is definitely the kind of person you want representing your institution.

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