Tuesday, July 20, 2021

An Aussie Writes About An Aussie

For some reason, someone on the Office of Athletic Communications call the other day mentioned that the five members of the team should have a 100-meter race.

Of the five people who make up the OAC, TigerBlog is by far the oldest. He has 18 years on the next oldest member, and he is probably 22 or so years older than the average. He also has two surgically repaired knees.

Despite that, the general consensus was that TB would finish either second or third. He doesn't see it.

There was unanimous opinion that the winner would be Elliott Carr. TB would be willing to wager somewhere in the neighborhood of everything he owns that Elliott would win (provided he didn't do something like throw the race to collect everything TB owns).

Elliott is a former college basketball player. He stands about 6-5 or 6-6 and is young and athletic. There's no chance he loses. 

TB? Maybe the others in his office think he'd do okay because of how much he rides his bike, but that would be losing track of the fact that he rides his bike mostly because his knees are shot. 

TB and Elliott did 15 miles around Princeton last week. TB is pretty sure Elliott could have sprinted away from him any time he wanted except for one reason. Only TB knew the route they were taking. 

Still it was fun to ride with him. He's, alliteratively, an amazingly amiable Australian, and his story is an interesting one, of how he came to the U.S. for college, attending Clarke University in Iowa. His bio on Clarke's webpage mentions, among other accomplishments, that he played Australian Rules Football and won the conference shot put championship in high school. He was also a starter and Academic All-Conference selection at Clarke.

It was Elliott who wrote the story on goprincetontigers.com about another Australian, steeplechaser Ed Trippas. In case you haven't seen the story, you can read it HERE.

Elliott did a great job of capturing Trippas' story. What Trippas did this past June 29 was nothing short of amazing.

Trippas, running in his final opportunity to reach the Olympic qualifying standard and secure a trip to Tokyo, knew he had to better 8:22.0. What was his time? A shocking 8:19.60. 

It was more than just a successful run against the standard. It was the third-fastest steeplechase time ever by an Australian and a time that would have easily won the NCAA championship this past June - by nearly 10 full seconds. 

That time was the 10th best ever run by an NCAA steeplechaser.

Trippas will get a chance to run in Tokyo. He'll also get a chance to win an NCAA title, since he's going to be entering his senior year at Princeton after these Games. 

When you read the story, you'll get a real sense of who Trippas is. You'll also get a really good sense of what he's gone through to get where he is.

There are also some great pictures, especially the one of him as a very young track athlete. And the one of him with three other members of a relay team from when he was still very much new to running. 

In that one, he has a medal around his neck. Will he have an Olympic medal? That's asking a lot, but his time in June lets you know that anything is possible for him. 

The very first event of the track and field portion of the upcoming Games is the semifinal for the men's steeplechase. It will be contested on Friday morning, July 30. The final will be held three days later, on Monday evening. 

As you probably remember, Princeton has had an alum in the final of the men's steeplechase at the last two Olympic Games, where both times Donn Cabral reached the final and finished eighth. Cabral was an NCAA champion in the event his senior year of 2012.

Will Trippas be able to duplicate those successes? He's going to get the chance, largely because of the astonishing race he ran back in June. 

Here's his quote from Elliott's story:

I got on the line and it was an all or nothing situation where I had to run 8:22.00 or faster to make it. Fortunately, I ran 8:19.60 and qualified. It was a pretty special moment.

Yes, it was pretty special. 

And now he has a chance for a few more of those moments.

No comments: