Friday, December 31, 2021

Year In Review Part II

Welcome to New Year's Eve and the final TigerBlog of 2021.

This is also the 256th TigerBlog of 2021. Thank you once again for being a loyal reader, unless you're not a loyal reader, in which case, you can add "loyal reader of TigerBlog" to your 2022 resolutions.

TigerBlog writes here every business day. At the end of each year, the total number of entries is either 253, 254, 255 or 256. This year is the second straight with 256. There were 254 in each of the two years before that. It seems sort of random.

TB does end each year in the same way, with a rundown of some of the top events or moments in Princeton Athletics from the previous 12 months. He will be doing that again today. 

He started doing this in 2012. In 2011 he did a list of "bests" of the year. In 2010, he talked about how much the world had changed in the prior 10 years, which actually made for some pretty interesting reading as he went back.

All of the year in reviews did, to be honest. They took TB right back to all of those great moments from all of those great years. 

For the record, here is what TB had as the top story in some of those years:

2012 - the NCAA field hockey championship
2013 - the Ivy football championship
2014 - Julia Ratcliffe wins the NCAA hammer throw
2015 - the women's basketball team's 31-1 season, including a 30-0 regular season and the program's first NCAA tournament win
2016 - the Ivy football championship, with a caveat that Ashleigh Johnson's gold medal in water polo would be No. 1 if it counted. TB has only considered Princeton events, so nothing professional or international, but in Johnson's case, she was still a Princeton athlete at the time
2017 - the women's soccer team's season, including its NCAA tournament win over North Carolina
2018 - the men's hockey team's ECAC championship and NCAA tournament appearance
2019 - he sort of had three stories: the field hockey run to the NCAA final, the men's volleyball EIVA regular season and tournament championships and the men's golf Ivy title, which was a one-stroke win over second-place Columbia and Yale only one more stroke back from there (875-876-877)
2020 - he didn't rank them and instead just had a list of the best moments in no order

He also found this, from 2014:

The evolution of New Year's Eve goes like this: 1) try to stay up til midnight, 2) desperately try to find something fun to do at midnight, 3) pretend you don't care if you have something fun to do at midnight even though you do, 4) don't do anything other than stay up to watch the ball drop at midnight while sneering at those who are in steps 2 and 3, and finally 5) not care that it's New Year's Eve.

That's pretty good. 

And that brings up the end of 2021. TB is going back to ranking them, since he got a bunch of emails last year requesting that he do so again. 

Once again, these are Princeton on-field moments only (so things like the Olympics, or Devin Cannady's 17-point game for the Orlando Magic of the NBA or the world hockey championship won by Sarah Fillier and Claire Thompson don't count). 

And these are only TigerBlog's thoughts, not an official Princeton ranking or anything. TB welcomes any feedback, especially if there are those who disagree.

The Top 10 of 2021:

10. Simen Guttormsen sets the Ivy League pole vault record
Simen Guttormsen vaulted 5.50 meters to set an Ivy League record for the indoor pole vault. What he didn't do was set the family record, which is 5.74 meters, held by his brother Sondre, a Princeton teammate who competed at the Summer Olympics.

9. The men's basketball team goes 2-1 against the Power 5
Princeton defeated South Carolina 66-62 on Nov. 12 and Oregon State, an Elite 8 team a year ago, 81-80 on Nov. 21, while also falling 87-80 in two overtimes to Minnesota on Nov. 14. Princeton is set to open the Ivy League season Sunday at Harvard.

8. The men's water polo team wins the NWPC title and an NCAA game
Princeton rallied to defeat St. Francis (N.Y.) 9-6 in the NWPC championship game, after falling behind 3-0 in the first eight minutes. The Tigers the defeated Fordham in the NCAA first round before dropping a 12-6 decision to UCLA in California. Princeton set a men's water polo record with 26 wins.

7. Beth Yeager makes field hockey history
Beth Yeager came into the field hockey program with lofty expectations as befitting someone who was already a member of the U.S. national team. She went on to set the Princeton record for goals by a freshman with 16 (despite missing the last three games to injury) and became the first Princeton freshman field hockey player to earn first-team All-American honors.

6. The women's basketball team knocks off No. 22 Florida-Gulf Coast
Abby Meyers took over the final 70 seconds of Princeton's game on Dec. 1 at Florida-Gulf Coast, scoring the final five points to give Princeton a 58-55 victory. The win was the Tigers' first over a nationally ranked team since a victory over No. 18 Rutgers in 1978.

5. The women's soccer team reaches the second round of the NCAA tournament
Princeton spent much of the season ranked in the Top 25 and earned an at-large bid and home game in the NCAA tournament, defeating Vermont 2-0 in the opening round. Princeton then had two one-goal leads on fourth-ranked Texas Christian before falling in the second round and finishing the season with a 15-3-1 record.

4. The men's cross country team wins an Ivy title and NCAA regional
Princeton had five of the top nine finishers in the Ivy League Heptagonal championships on its own West Windsor course, earning a dominant league title with 28 points, well ahead of second-place Harvard (43), with Penn in third with 90 points. Princeton then five of the top 11 finishers at the NCAA regional meet to win there as well with 40 points, ahead of runner-up Georgetown (49). Princeton finished 23rd at the NCAA meet.

3. The men's soccer team has a perfect Ivy League season
Princeton went 7-0-0 in men's soccer, clinching the outright championship on a Walker Gillespie goal at Penn with still one week left in the season. Mateo Goody then scored an overtime goal the next week to give the Tigers a win over Yale, completing the league sweep and giving head coach Jim Barlow his 200th career win.

2. Another football championship
Princeton went 9-1 overall and 6-1 in the Ivy League to earn a share of the Ivy League championship, making it four league titles in the last eight seasons for the Tigers. Along the way Princeton defeated Harvard (in five overtimes) and Yale to earn a bonfire, which was an incredible moment of campus spirit and celebration of campus community. 

1. Out of a pandemic, a championship
So what was the No. 1 moment of the last 12 months? It's actually a series of moments. It's all of the moments when Princeton returned to competition last spring, after 13 months of shutdown due to the Covid pandemic. Included in those moments were an All-American performance by Obiageri Amaechi in the discus, an appearance in the NCAA championship regatta by the women's open rowing program to keep its streak of never having missed one alive and an IRA national championship in dominating fashion by the women's lightweight rowing team. More than anything, though, the reemergence of Princeton athletes was a welcome sight and a reminder of the sheer love that goes into competing as a Tiger.

What will be the top story of 2022 in Princeton Athletics? The beauty is that you never can tell before it all starts to play out. 

In the meantime, have a safe and happy new year everyone. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Daria Frayman making the fall national championship in tennis and the only player in the country ranked in top 10 in doubles and singles. Not even a mention from the hometown, let alone the ITA.