Friday, April 29, 2022

A Super Saturday At Sherrerd

If you are into lacrosse at all, then you can't ask for more than you're getting tomorrow on Sherrerd Field.

The short of it is that there are two games, both of which will decide the Ivy League championship. One of them matches a pair of unbeaten teams in their regular-season finale; the other is helping to end an unprecedented league season.

You can add in two Senior Days, the final regular season home game for a legendary coach and a moment of silence for another, and it's going to be an emotional afternoon with some high stakes.

It begins at noon with the Princeton-Cornell men's game. That will be followed by Princeton-Yale women at 3.

What you're left with is a Saturday unlike any other the facility has seen.

Starting on the men's side, Princeton and Cornell are two-fifths of the five-way tie for first place in the Ivy League, as those two plus Yale, Harvard and Brown are all 3-2. Penn has completed its league schedule at 3-3. Dartmouth is 0-5.

The games this weekend have Cornell at Princeton, Harvard at Yale and Dartmouth at Brown. As of now, the five teams tied for first all have a mathematical chance to host the league tournament, and the scenarios to determine the four teams in the field are incredible, more so than they've ever been since the tournament began in 2010.

These tiebreakers are so complex that the way that Princeton could host would come down to goal-differential in the head-to-head matchups of three teams who would be at the top if Brown, Yale and Princeton win. 

No matter what happens, there will be at least a two-way tie for first place, and possibly a three-way tie for first. There will also be either a three-way for fourth or four-way tie for third, requiring tiebreakers all over the place.

The winner of the Princeton-Cornell game is assured of a share of the league title and a spot in the tournament. The two have combined for 56 Ivy championships and by far have the most of any two teams (Cornell with 29, Princeton with 27, nobody else with more than 10).

TigerBlog could give you a bunch of notes about the game, but none of them matter. For instance, a week ago, he told you that Princeton and Harvard were 1-2 in the Ivy League and then played a game with 35 goals. 

The game will be preceded by a moment of silence in memory of Richie Moran, the legendary Cornell coach and lacrosse ambassador who passed away earlier this week. Moran, in addition to be an iconic figure in Cornell athletic history, was also the great-uncle of Pat Moran, a Cornell grad and current Princeton men's lacrosse Athletic Fellow. TB spoke with an emotional Moran about his great-uncle; you could read about their relationship HERE.

The men's Ivy League tournament situation won't be settled at the end of the Princeton-Cornell game. Dartmouth-Brown starts at 1. Harvard-Yale starts at 2. If all three home teams win, Princeton hosts. 

Also, Princeton is still ranked No. 2 in RPI and owns wins over Nos. 3-5-6-8-12. It's NCAA at-large chances are solid.

As for the women, the picture is much clearer. Princeton is 6-0. Yale is 6-0. This math is easy.

The winner of the game is the outright Ivy League champion and the host of the Ivy League tournament next weekend.

Brown, Cornell and Harvard are all 3-3 in the league, with Brown at Harvard and Dartmouth at Cornell. Clearly, the winner of Brown-Harvard will also be in the tournament. Like the Big Red men, the women are also in with a win and even with a loss if Penn also beats Columbia (which is Sunday). The only way Cornell can't get in is if Columbia beats Penn, Dartmouth beats Cornell and Brown beats Harvard.


Beyond all that, there's the fact that this is the final regular-season game for Chris Sailer as Tiger head coach. There will be a large group of alums there to celebrate the woman who has coached Princeton for 36 years. 

To recap, it's Princeton-Cornell men at noon and Princeton-Yale women at 3. There will be championship celebrations after each for the winner. The weather figures to be perfect.

What could be better for the last Saturday of April?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Spirit Of Princeton

Princeton baseball coach Scott Bradley continues to be a great person to follow on Twitter.

Here's a case in point:

That's awesome stuff right there. 

Princeton's coaches are extraordinary people, and they are for the most part excellent communicators as well. As for the athletes, well, they too are extraordinary, and in fact they are on a whole other level of being extraordinary.

It's easy to take for granted when you're around them all the time. Every now and then, it's good to have a reminder that these are not your average 18- to 22-year olds. 

Judging by the responses that TigerBlog got from yesterday's guest entry from senior women's lacrosse player Gaby Hamburger, maybe he should try to get other athletes to write about their experiences as well.

As has been the case for years, decades, the best people to speak about Princeton Athletics are the athletes themselves. They're an extraordinary group, these athletes, who come here and negotiate something that isn't very easy to do: playing a varsity sport while succeeding at the top undergraduate university in the country.

They all have their stories. That's why TB enjoys having the athletes on podcasts so much. He can ask them the same questions and get a variety of answers, all under the common thread of being athletes at Princeton. 

For all of these years, TigerBlog has said over and over that the best part of working here has been the opportunity to get to know the athletes as they compete and then see where they go with their lives and careers after that. 

To TB, they really do embody the spirit of Princeton.

If you want to put a capital S on that, there is one who officially does. The news came down yesterday of the winners of the Spirit of Princeton Award.

According to the official language: 

The award recognizes those who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the undergraduate experience through dedicated efforts in student organizations, athletics, community service, religious life, residential life and the arts.

The award has been won by athletes many times through the years. This year's group of seven winners includes three who are members of Princeton's varsity teams. There are two male winners, and they are both varsity athletes. 

Sally Jane Ruybalid has been a familiar face on the bench at Jadwin Gym in her role as women's basketball manager. Elijah Barnes of the men's basketball team and Alex Charles of the men's soccer team both won Ivy League championships this past year, but that's hardly all that they've been doing during their Princeton careers.

Here are their write-ups from the release (which can be seen HERE).

Sally Jane Ruybalid, a senior from Trinidad, Colorado, concentrating in architecture and pursuing a certificate in urban studies. Ruybalid is a manager for the varsity women’s basketball team and sings in the Princeton Chapel Choir. She is a leader in Butler College, serving as a peer academic adviser (PAA) and member of the Residential College Leadership Team (RCLT).

Elijah Barnes, a senior from Freehold, New Jersey, concentrating in history. Barnes is a forward on the varsity men’s basketball team and a founding member of the Black Student-Athlete Collective (BSAC). Off the court, he is a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, is involved with the Princeton University Preparatory Program (PUPP) and helps new citizens register to vote in Trenton.

Alex Charles, a senior from Durham, North Carolina, concentrating in the School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and pursuing a certificate in statistics and machine learning. Charles is a defender on the varsity men’s soccer team and a founding member of the Black Student-Athlete Collective (BSAC). Off the field, he is a Writing Center Fellow and part of the Princeton Charter Club. He also volunteers with Academic Success Today, a mentoring organization connecting Princeton students with students in middle school. 

Congratulations to all of the winners, and especially to those who also have represented the athletic department. They've done so in a way that stands out from all of the others, and given how high the bar is set by that group, that is not something that's easy to do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Guest TigerBlog - Gaby Hamburger

 As always, TigerBlog has a standing offer to anyone who wants to write something for this space. Today, in something of a first, he turns the floor over to Gaby Hamburger, a senior on the women's lacrosse team.

Gaby shared with TB the speech that she gave to the team a few games back, as part of a tradition of having seniors give pregame speeches. TigerBlog thought what she said was excellent, at once speaking to what is learned by these athletes through the experience of being a Princeton athlete and showcasing who she is, which is to say someone who brings energy and drive to everything she does.

Here is her senior speech:

Hi team (I’m Gaby)

Senior speeches always seemed so far away and there were definitely times when I didn’t think I’d make it but nevertheless here I am so let’s do this. I’ve heard so many speeches before me and many of them were so eloquent but one thing this team has taught me is to know your own strengths…  and as an engineer, words are not one of mine so I’m just going to use numbers to talk about my experience on this team and overall at Princeton over the last 4 years.


Let's start with some funny ones (feel free to laugh at me)

      About 36: the number of times I have thrown up trying to run the fricken Maryland test

      54: the score I got on my linear algebra final freshman year. Took this one at the hotel in Boston before our elite 8 game.

      125: my max hang clean. Actually pretty proud of that one considering my squat is about the same

      9: 9 Joan’s barbecue foot massages and plenty more to come.

Now to get a bit more serious and talk about my experience with lacrosse…

      35: the number of games I’ve had on this team.. a normal senior pre Covid would’ve had about 60 at this point in their career

      7: the number of games I’ve actually played in, that’s about 15% of the games. I could stand up here and tell you that it wasn’t that hard to always be a bench player or that I always felt important on this team, but that wasn’t always the case. It’s really hard to be on this team and not play, there’s no sugarcoating it. But the one thing that I’ve learned from this aspect of my experience, is that your self worth does not come from the minutes you get, or the stats next to your name on the website. Outside of our bubble, no one gives a shit about the details of your D1 lacrosse career… what does matter is your character, how you treat others, and how you’ve grown from these tough experiences.

      17 years: I’ve been playing lacrosse for 17 years. And besides growing physically to a whopping 5 foot 4, I’ve grown immensely as a person through this sport.. It’s been an outlet for my competitiveness, a place where I’ve made incredible friends, and has taught me many many lessons about resilience. When I came into the Princeton program in 2018 I was so unsure about who I was as a lacrosse player. This team has shown me good leaders and I’ve met people that I’d want to emulate in the real world, and it’s also showed me what qualities of a leader I don’t think are productive or healthy for a team, which has been just as important for my development. Throughout the 17 years, I’ve had many coaches with different coaching styles and that has prepared me to work with and under different types of bosses, and through all the positives and negatives, I know that these many years of lacrosse have prepared me to do anything I want and get through any challenges during the rest of my life.

      50: I’ve had about 50 college teammates. The seniors my freshman year were terrifying, and to them I am thankful for the close knit group I found within my original class shoutout you 9, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of best friends. My sophomore year team felt so much more like a family and those seniors also left a huge impact on me as a person and teammate. I’ll touch on the Covid year later, but I am also so thankful for this current team and am proud to be graduating with this senior class.


Now I wanna talk about Princeton outside of lacrosse. 


      50%: I’d say about 50% or more of my good friends at school are non lacrosse players. And this is one piece of advice I will always give to the younger girls: really make an effort to make genuine friendships outside of this team. I have met such incredible people at this school and I know many of them will be my friends for life. My best friend isn’t on this team and that’s OK, if anything it has helped me appreciate all that this team has to offer while also taking in the full Princeton experience. Your teammates will always be there for you, but not every single one has to be your best friend. Playing a division 1 sport at an extremely stressful school is A LOT, and I couldn’t have done it without my nonlax friends.

      36: As an engineer I’ve taken 36 classes. I won’t bore you with ORFE stories but I will say that being an engineer and a student athlete is fricken hard. Being successful academically at Princeton in general is hard, and on top of that playing a division 1 sport is hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself as you work through the balance of both.

      15: I’ve saved this one for one of the last as it’s probably been the hardest part of my journey at Princeton. It’s been 15 months since I had a massive 5 hour surgery to fix both of my hips. I didn’t include this when I spoke about lacrosse because my injury affected my entire life, not just playing sports. I couldn’t walk or sleep without pain, and I wasn’t even playing lacrosse at the time. Post surgery, I don’t think I ever felt more alone and sad. Physically I was in pain as I rehabbed for months and socially junior spring was brutal. I am extremely grateful for Catherine and the time she spent with me and how much she truly cared about me and my well-being. My family has been the best support system throughout college and especially during this period, they constantly sent so much love. The months post op really showed me who my true friends were and I am so grateful for their continued love and support and always cheering me up. It’s a lesson I wished I learned earlier, but be there for your teammates when they are injured or struggling or dealing with family things. Spending just a few minutes to check in with a friend can go such a long way in the busy lives we have here.

      4: it hasn’t quite been the full 4 years yet… But overall Princeton has been quite the experience. I’ve made some of the best memories of my life, met some of my favorite people in the entire world, learned so much in and out of the classroom, and have had so many laughs. I’ve also experienced some of the hardest moments in my life… surgery, losing a grandparent, struggled with anxiety and plenty of tears. But I truly wouldn’t change any of it… even the pandemic in the middle of my college years… it’s made me who I am and I am really really proud of who I’ve become and what I have going into the next stage of my life.

      And finally to wrap up. FOUR. The 2022 team has 4 regular season games left…I am so excited to continue our Ivy League play tomorrow and absolutely punish Penn. Princeton has beaten Penn 28 times… let’s go enjoy a midweek game at ‘52, make it 29 times,  and truly have fun playing this sport that brought us all together at Princeton.


Love you all,


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Lindsey, Anita and SUMO

TigerBlog was standing on the sidewalk that leads out of Harvard's Jordan Field Saturday afternoon after watching the men's and women's lacrosse doubleheader.

As he stood there, talking with some of the other women's lacrosse parents, he saw a familiar face, one that he originally couldn't place, even after she called him by name. He hates being in this situation, by the way.

Before he could have the internal conversation that goes like this: "Who is that? I should know this. Just say 'hey' and go from there and it'll come to you," she introduced herself. 

"I'm SUMO," she said. 

Ah yes. SUMO. That's who that is. In fairness, TB had never met her in person. He'd just seen her on Zoom and in pictures. 

SUMO is Suzanne Morrison, one of the women feature in TigerBlog's women's athletic history book. She is one of only three women to win three varsity letters as a Princeton senior, along with two legendary 1970s Princeton athletes, Emily Goodfellow and Amie Knox. 

In Morrison's case, she was a four-year letterwinner in women's hockey. She also won varsity letters as a senior as the manager of the field hockey and women's lacrosse teams. Her story is in the three-sport letterwinners chapter, which is one of TB's favorite parts of the book. 

It was great to meet her in person. TigerBlog hasn't actually met in person many of the women he wrote about, so it was good to actually get to spend some time together.

As they were talking, two other familiar faces walked by. This time, TB immediately remembered the one who said hello.

It turned out to be Anita Rackovan, who was a former women's lacrosse player and who was a student worker before she was even at Princeton. Anita was with Lindsey Biles, one of the top players the women's lacrosse program has ever seen and one of the top clutch players the program has ever seen.

Up until a few weeks ago, Biles was the third-leading goal-scorer in Princeton history and was fourth all-time at Princeton in points. Biles graduated in 2005 and was a Tewaaraton finalist as a senior, not to mention a first-team All-American as a junior and senior. Her other honors included being a four-time All-Ivy selection, including first-team her last two years, and the 2005 Ivy League Player of the Year Award. 

As a freshman, she had three goals and one assist in the 12-7 win over Georgetown in the NCAA championship game. She had two more goals in the 2003 championship game, which was an 8-7 overtime win over Virginia. Rackovan was a freshman on the 2003 team.

TB introduced Anita and Lindsey to SUMO, a member of the Class of 1989. It's always great to see people from different generations who have that immediate common bond of having been Princeton athletes.

As the 2022 season has gone along, Kyla Sears has moved Biles down one spot in both goals and points. Biles finished her career with 175 goals and 221 points. Sears now has 272 points, and she just moved past Biles in goals, with 181. 

Ahead of Sears are Olivia Hompe with 198 goals and Crista Samaras with 189. Sears is now second in points, having moved past Samaras this past Saturday with a seven-point effort in that Harvard game. Sears now has 272 for her career, leaving her 13 shy of tying Hompe. 

The Princeton women have bigger things on their minds than record-chasing at this point, though. The Tigers are currently 5-0 in the Ivy League with a game tomorrow afternoon at Columbia. After that, the Tigers finish the regular season at home Saturday against Yale.

And what are the Bulldogs? They're already 6-0 in the league. Win or lose against Columbia, who is 0-6 in the league, Princeton knows its game against Yale will determine who hosts the Ivy League tournament. If Princeton wins against the Lions tomorrow, that game also becomes winner-take-all for the Ivy title.

The women's game, by the way, is the second game of a doubleheader that begins with the men against Cornell at noon. The winner of that game gets a share of the Ivy title and an Ivy tournament spot.

Monday, April 25, 2022

A Championship Weekend

If you went to yesterday afternoon, then you saw the same word in three of the first four stories in the rotator: Champion.

Well, technically it said "championship" in one of them, but hey, the point is the same.

The fourth story? That was about an upcoming NCAA tournament appearance by one of the champions. That makes for a pretty good weekend. The top four stories all had celebration photos, or "jubo," as it's known in the Office of Athletic Communications (that's short for jubilation).

The three championships came in men's volleyball, women's golf and women's tennis. TigerBlog will start with women's tennis.

Princeton went into the weekend tied with Penn for first place at 4-1 each but with a win over Penn, meaning the Tigers had the tiebreaker for the automatic NCAA bid. Because of that, a sweep over Cornell and Columbia meant no worse than a share of the league title and a trip to the postseason.

The Tigers got their sweep, and a bit of help too. Columbia knocked off Penn Friday. The Tigers took down Cornell Friday and Columbia Sunday, and just like that, they were the outright champs.

For head coach Laura Granville, this is nothing new. In fact, Princeton has won three straight Ivy titles, and before that, there were another three straight sandwiched around one year without a championship. That's six in seven years. 

How many Princeton coaches have ever won six Ivy League titles out of seven? TB would love to tell you he's researched that, but he hasn't – yet. He'll get back to you on that. Promise.

Off the top of his head, he can think of a few. Chris Sailer. Bill Tierney. Fred Samara. Cindy Cohen. Susan Teeter. Rob Orr. Lori Dauphiny. There are others. Beth Bozman and Kristen Holmes-Winn in field hockey for two. 

You know who never has? Anyone who ever coached football or basketball at Princeton. This isn't easy to do. 

The women's tennis team will find out its NCAA opponent one week from today.

The women's golf team took the "champion" thing to another level, with the team and individual champion at the Ivy League tournament. The Tigers started yesterday's final round two strokes behind Columbia but ended up winning by three, shooting a combined 300 yesterday to the Lions' 305.

For the women's golf team, that's three Ivy titles in four years. 

In addition to the team title, Princeton also had the individual champ, Yanjun Liu, who shot 71-72-73 on the par 72 course to win by five shots. 

Liu is Princeton's 11th Ivy League individual champion and second freshman, joining former Tiger great Avery Kiser, who won as a freshman in 2002 and then again as a sophomore and junior before finishing fourth as a senior.

The NCAA regional bids will be announced Wednesday at 4 on the Golf Channel.

And then there's the men's volleyball team.   

Princeton followed up its improbable win over second-ranked Penn State by taking down NJIT in the EIVA championship match Saturday night. The win vaults Princeton into the NCAA tournament, where the Tigers will take on North Greenville Sunday at 8 pm Eastern time at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion. The winner of that match takes on the defending NCAA champion, Hawaii, in the quarterfinals.

At one point this year Princeton was 5-12, and the tournament the team was most worried about reaching was the league tournament. Since then Princeton has ripped off 10 straight, including the amazing win over Penn State in five sets Thursday night.

Princeton then dropped Set No. 1 to NJIT Saturday night before winning the next three. Princeton sophomore Ben Harrington added tournament MVP honors to his EIVA Newcomer of the Year Award.

If you're wondering about North Greenville, its nickname is the Crusaders, it's the champion of the Conference Carolinas and its head coach is someone who appears to be hard to root against if you do what TB has done all these years. This is from his bio on the North Greenville website:

Battenfield earned a Ph.D. degree in sport management at Florida State University in August, 2004 and his dissertation is entitled “An Ethnographic Study of the Culture of Communication in the Sports Information Office in a Division I-A Athletic Program.” His research interests include the culture of communication in college sports, sports public relations and media, qualitative inquiry in sport management, ambush marketing in the Olympic Games and communication and marketing in intercollegiate athletics.

How great does that sound?

Also, North Greenville is located in South Carolina. And in what town? 

Tigerville. It'll be the guys from Tigerville against the Tigers.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Catching Up Yet Again

 Here's another one of those "catching up" entries that everyone seems to like so much:

* The baseball team had an amazing win Wednesday afternoon against a Rutgers team that had won 16 straight games and was ranked eighth in the country. Led by an extraordinary relief appearance from Reece Rabin, Princeton knocked off the Scarlet Knights 9-7.

Princeton jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings, getting started in the first with a two-run home run from Matt Scannell. Rutgers would score once in the third and then six times in the fourth to take a 7-6 lead, but then in came Rabin, with one out. What did he do? He went the rest of the way, all five and two/thirds innings, and allowed no runs and only one hit. 

Nick DiPietrantonio tied it on a home run in the eighth, and then Scannell doubled in two in the top of the ninth. Rabin then finished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth. 

It was a great win for the Tigers, who have had so many tough losses this season. To knock off a Top 10 team? That's season-making for a group of players and coaches who have never given up.

Princeton is home this weekend for three against Harvard (starting at 11:30 tomorrow with a doubleheader and then a single-game Sunday at noon).  

* Speaking of huge wins over nationally ranked teams on long winning streaks, the men's volleyball team has come a long way this season. How far? After last night's win over Penn State, the Tigers have made it all the way to the EIVA championship game tomorrow, where the opponent will be NJIT.

 Penn State, by the way, is the second ranked team in the country and had won 19 straight matches. It was an extraordinary performance by Princeton, who won the first two games, lost the next two and fell behind in the fifth before rallying to win it 15-12 on Penn State's home court.

* The weather this weekend in Princeton figures to be perfectly spring-like tomorrow and then summery Sunday. 

* Speaking of Princeton-Harvard, there are two lacrosse games in Cambridge between the teams tomorrow. The men play first at 1, followed by the women at 4.

The women clinched a spot in the Ivy League tournament with its 15-13 win over Penn Wednesday night. The Tigers have Harvard tomorrow and Columbia Wednesday, while Yale has Columbia tomorrow. Right now Yale and Princeton are unbeaten in the league, and they face each other a week from tomorrow in Princeton in a game that very likely will determine the host for the Ivy tournament the following weekend.

As for the men, Princeton would win the outright Ivy title with wins in its final two games (at Harvard and home against Cornell as part of what will be another huge doubleheader). At the same time, Cornell would also win the Ivy League title with a win tomorrow (against Brown at home) and then next week at Princeton.

In the short run, Princeton would clinch a spot in the Ivy tournament with a win over Harvard or with a Cornell win over Brown, even if Princeton loses to Harvard. The Crimson, for their part, are also playing to get into the Ivy tournament and to also possibly be the top seed and host. 

* The women's tennis team is at Cornell today and then home against Columbia Sunday. Wins in both would mean at least a share of the Ivy League championship.

The Tigers are 4-1 in the league, tied with Penn for first. The Quakers, whom Princeton defeated 4-0 earlier this year, are playing the same two teams in reverse order. 

Cornell, who is 3-2 in the league, would get at least a share of the championship with a sweep of its own. There could actually be a very crowded share of the championship, with Harvard and Yale also at 3-2 (though they do play each other this weekend).

* The Ivy League golf tournaments will be held this weekend, with the men at the Century Country Club in Purchase, N.Y., and the women at the Ridge at Back Brook, which is in Ringoes, not far from Princeton.

HERE is information on the women's tournament. HERE is information on the men's tournament.

* The softball team is home for three games against Penn this weekend (two tomorrow with Game 1 at 12:30, one Sunday at 12:30).

The Ivy standings right now have Harvard at 9-3, with Princeton at 11-4 and Dartmouth at 6-3. That's a lot of disparity in games played. Penn is 5-7 in the league. 

Princeton has three more with Columbia next weekend in its final regular-season games.

Eventually, everyone will have played 21 games, and the top two teams will meet in the Ivy championship series. 

As a reminder, you can watch the baseball and softball games for free this weekend without having to ever move your chair.

* The complete schedule is HERE.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Carnegie Cup

So who said this and on what occasion?

"You can't afford in your life to do anything that will lower the estimation in which you are held today by every student of Princeton University.

It certainly sounds like it was from a speech of some significance, and it was. It also seems like it goes back a little ways as well.

If you had "Andrew Carnegie" and "on the occasion of the dedication of Lake Carnegie in November 1907," then you are correct.

Andrew Carnegie, as you probably know, was one of the richest Americans ever. He made his fortune in the steel business, and he gave away 90 percent of the money as he got older.  

Before Carnegie came along, Princeton rowing competed on the canal, which at the time was wider and was also a major artery for commercial shipping. In the early 20th century, Carnegie decided he wanted to build either a lake or a football stadium on the Princeton campus, and he chose, obviously, the former.

Princeton could have had Carnegie Stadium for football, but Carnegie thought rowing would be bigger than football in the coming decades. Instead, Princeton ended up with Palmer Stadium, which was built in four months in 1914. It was named for Edgar Palmer, Class of 1903. 

Unlike Palmer, Andrew Carnegie never went to college. In fact, he was born in Scotland to a poor family, one that eventually made its way to Pittsburgh when he was 12 years old.

The first races ever held on Lake Carnegie were on Nov. 8, 1907, both rowing and canoeing. The boats that competed were all made up of Princeton University students.

When it was over, Andrew Carnegie spoke. In addition to what TigerBlog already mentioned, he offered this:

"I hope, young gentlemen, that this victory of the body, this physical victory, which you have won to-day will spur you on to win victories with the head hereafter. It is all very well for a man to hew away with the axe, to work with his hands, but there is no man if he does so who should not have in his heart the ambition some day to be compelled to work less with his hands and more with his divine brain within him."

The main event was a two-mile race among the classes in the fours with coxswain, and the sophomores won. Carnegie said this afterwards at the award presentation:

"Here is the regatta, here are the victors, here is the trophy. We have been making history to-day, because it will pass down forever in the annals of Princeton that the first regatta was this which we have witnessed to-day. And upon this trophy which hundreds will come and look at will be the names of these five men. They will be fresh in the memory of all visitors; and while the names of all the crews that . come after will also be scanned, a peculiar importance attaches to those of the first."

How prescient was Carnegie? Very.

Coming up Saturday, the Princeton heavyweight men will row in New Haven against Cornell and Yale for that same trophy, the Carnegie Cup. That's a 116 year old tradition.

It was an intramural Princeton race from 1906 through 1910, and then it was awarded to the winner of Princeton-Cornell-Yale race for the first time in 1911. 

It went back to being an intramural award for 10 more years after that, and it's since been awarded almost every year to the Princeton-Cornell-Yale winner since 1922 – 100 years ago.

TigerBlog loves that kind of stuff. 

He doesn't expect the current generation of athletes who will be rowing Saturday in New Haven to know any of this. On the other hand, if they do, maybe they'll have an even greater appreciation of the trophy that they're hoping to take home is all about.

There are other trophies that are older, mostly in soccer, rugby, golf and tennis. The Stanley Cup is a bit older too, dating back to 1893. For that matter, it's not even the oldest cup in Princeton rowing – the Childs Cup dates to 1879

Still, the Carnegie Cup is a trophy with an incredible history to it. And with a speech on Day 1 that was so accurate it's scary. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Dazzling, Before And During The Game

There are a lot of athletes who can dazzle during games.

There aren't as many who can dazzle during a game AND before the game. Kyla Sears is one of the ones who does.

One of the most astonishing parts of a Princeton women's lacrosse home game is watching Sears sing the national anthem. It's not just she can sing. It's that she's a show-stopper. 

If you doubt it, just watch the reaction of the other team's fans. When Sears is introduced, you can tell that they're not expecting anything special. By the end, they're giving her a big-time ovation. It happens every time.

It's like the live version that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street band did of the song "Jersey Girl." When it starts, almost nobody in the audience has ever heard it before. When it ends, there's a deafening roar.

Your next chance to hear Sears sing the national anthem comes up today at 5, when the Tigers host Penn on Sherrerd Field (and on ESPNU). 

Then you can watch her play, as she and her teammates continue their chase for an Ivy League championship and Sears continues her march through the record book.

When you think of Kyla Sears, you think of goal-scoring. You also think of her incredible ability to draw free position opportunities and convert them.

Sears already holds the school record for free position goals in a career, with 59. Who is second? Olivia Hompe, with 35. That's a huge gap. If you watch Sears play, she just has this uncanny way of slicing through the defense and drawing fouls.

In all Sears has 174 career goals, which leaves her one away from Lindsey Biles for third all-time at Princeton. Up next would be Crista Samaras (189) and Hompe (198). 

For career points, Sears is has 260, which leaves her 10 from Samaras for second and 25 from Hompe for the record. Princeton has four more regular season games and then in all likelihood the Ivy League and possibly NCAA tournaments. 

What you don't necessarily think of Sears as is a feeder, and yet she is only five away from Erin McMunn's school record (she trails Hompe by one for second place).

Sears had six assists in Princeton's most recent game, a 17-5 win over Dartmouth Saturday. Those six assists set the program single-game record, and with her two goals she equaled her career high of eight points. Those numbers brought her the sixth Ivy Offensive Player of the Week award for her career.

Right now, Princeton is one of two unbeaten teams in the Ivy League, along with Yale. Princeton is 3-0, and Yale is 5-0, with a game against Columbia (0-4 in the league) Saturday.

Before the Tigers can worry about their game against Yale as the second game of a doubleheader on Sherrerd Field on April 30, there's the matter of the Quakers tonight, a trip to Harvard Saturday (also a doubleheader with the men) and a trip to Columbia a week from today.

Penn is 1-3 in the league, but the Quakers have two one-goal losses and can still get into the Ivy tournament by winning out. Plus, it's Princeton-Penn, which is always a big game in Ivy women's lacrosse.

Right now, there are two teams with two losses: Cornell and Harvard at 3-2. Harvard still has to play Princeton, but it has one of the one-goal wins over Penn (Yale as the other). 

Princeton would clinch a spot in the Ivy tournament with a win. The short math is that Princeton would have its fourth win, which would eliminate Penn, Dartmouth and Columbia, who would all have four losses. Brown could still get to four wins but would only do so by winning its last two, which are against Harvard and Cornell, and that would give them four wins as well. If there is a four-way tie at 4-3 between Princeton, Cornell, Harvard and Brown, Princeton would get one of the spots, with the first tiebreaker head-to-head and Princeton with wins over Cornell and Brown already.

Penn could still get in if it wins its last three (Princeton tonight, at Dartmouth Saturday and Columbia at home the following Saturday) and gets a little help in some other results.

Chris Sailer talks about Sears the singer and Sears the player in this week's Princeton Laxcast. 

By the way, this week's women's podcast has one of the seniors as the player guest. TigerBlog will say that this interview was a bit different, largely because he already knew all the answers.

You'll see why if you click HERE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A Season In 27 Seconds

As Princeton was playing Dartmouth in men's lacrosse Saturday afternoon, TigerBlog was also following the Harvard-Penn game at the same time.

At one point, he was asked whether it would be better for Princeton if Penn won or if Harvard won. The answer was this "yes, but there's no way of knowing which one until you know what happens the next two weeks as well."

The 2022 Ivy League men's lacrosse season enters the final two weekends with six games to be played, which means there are 64 possible outcomes. This is no difference than in any other year.

Where the difference for 2022 comes in is that in most other years, there are assumptions that can be made about the results of some of the upcoming games. This year? Forget it.

If TB has noticed anything about this season, it's that the results of one week seem to have no impact on what happens the next week. Just when one team looks to be reeling, it comes back with a big win, in the case of Penn, or two, in the case of Brown.

In the beginning of the season, the home team seemed to have an advantage. Now it's impossible to predict anything.

Princeton beats Brown by eight goals? No problem. Brown comes back to take out Penn (12-10) and Yale (20-13) on back-to-back weekends. Penn loses that game to Yale? What happens next? Penn 11, Harvard 8.

There is no unbeaten Ivy League team right now. There are six nationally ranked. And none of those are Dartmouth, whom TB can't even begin to explain. The Big Green, who are huge by the way, have a one-goal loss to Cornell and, after Saturday's 12-10 loss to Princeton, a two-goal loss to the Tigers. There's also a nine-goal loss to Harvard and a 17-goal loss to Yale.

Dartmouth still has games against Penn and Brown. There is no outcome of those games that would surprise TB. Actually, there is nothing that could happen in any of those six games that would be shocking.

There are a few certainties. One of them is that the winner of the Princeton-Cornell game will be assured of at least a share of the Ivy League championship. The other is that if Princeton defeats Harvard this weekend and Cornell defeats Brown this weekend, then the Princeton-Cornell game becomes a winner-take-all championship game (with hosting the Ivy League tournament as a prize).

There's no sense in looking back in this league, not with the next challenge just around the corner. Still, there are a few things from the Princeton-Dartmouth game that are worth revisiting. 

One of them is the game Beau Pederson had.

TigerBlog posted this video clip on the Princeton men's lacrosse Instagram feed Sunday afternoon:

Within 24 hours, it had already passed 5,000 views. 

The caption really tells the whole story. That really is the season that Pederson has had. By the way, the Dartmouth player that Pederson knocked down is 6-1, 205.

Pederson had three caused turnovers and four ground balls against the Big Green to earn a spot on the USILA Team of the Week. It's well-earned.

It's also the first national recognition that Pederson has gotten this year. He was not one of the eight Tigers who made the Inside Lacrosse mid-season All-American team, something that TB found astonishing. Take it from TB, who has seen every game: Pederson is having an All-American season. He has been dominant all season.

You could also make a case for Luke Crimmins, Princeton's other shortstick defensive midfielder. Those two are as responsible as anyone for where Princeton finds itself, which is ranked third in every poll and second in the RPI.

Pederson's three caused turnovers against Dartmouth were part of a program single-game record 18. That's where the Tigers won the game. Saves were pretty even (16 for Dartmouth, 15 for Princeton). Dartmouth had one more ground ball (37-36, fueled by a big edge in facing off, though Princeton's Tyler Sandoval won three straight that all led to Princeton goals in the fourth quarter when a 10-9 Dartmouth lead became at 12-10 Princeton win).

With all the caused turnovers, Princeton was able to have a 54-41 edge in shots, and the Tigers needed all of those.

Next up is the trip to Harvard. It's another huge one. Will Princeton have momentum from the win over Dartmouth? 

In the Ivy League in 2022, that's not how it works. Each week is its own challenge, and none of them are easy. Last week doesn't matter this week.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Nationally Televised

When it comes to total yards, points or goals, there aren't too many Princeton athletes who rival Sophia Goldberg.

Okay, she's not an athlete. She is, though, a huge part of Princeton Athletics and, if you ask TigerBlog, one of the biggest looming graduation losses.

Sophia is a Princeton senior who, since the football season of her sophomore year, has been keeping stats at pretty much any event where she's been needed. She picked up the intricacies of the different sports and computer program like it was nothing. TB is pretty sure she was already at the keyboard about one quarter into her first football game.

There's another student, also a senior, who is a key part of the stat-keeping lineup. His name is Austin Isgrig. Usually, or at least at the men's lacrosse games, Sophia will enter the stats into the program as TB calls them out, while Austin takes care of the social media.

TigerBlog felt really badly when he didn't let Austin take over the keyboard spot (sort of like the pilot's seat) for the second half of the Princeton-Penn men's lacrosse game. He let Austin take over for the next home game, against Marist, and he went the distance pretty much flawlessly.

He, too, will be tough to replace. 

Though Sophia would have had a great career in entering stats, she instead will turn her back on all of that potential and instead enter into an MD/Ph.D. program, probably at the Mayo Clinic, beginning this summer. TB thinks it was his letter of recommendation that got her there, either that or her essentially flawless academic record at Princeton. One or the other. 

TB can't even begin to imagine how difficult an MD/Ph.D. program is. What he does know is that when she's done, she'll be an extraordinary doctor/researcher. One of these days, albeit several years from now, she'll be making real difference in people's lives.

Meanwhile, back in the press box, the ability to watch plays back on video has made a huge impact on the quality of keeping stats. To that end, the addition of ESPN+ has been amazing.

Sophia, by the way, has an ESPN+ account of her own. She says it's her dads and that he likes to watch games that she stats back in California.

The growth of ESPN+ and the Ivy League on ESPN has been more than just a way to have better stats. Maybe even including social media, the evolution of videostreaming from its birth to the productions that exist now is as big as anything that's ever happened in college athletics other than the internet itself.

In decades past, it would have been impossible to watch even one game of almost every sport at Princeton. Now? If there's a game that's not streamed, or isn't streamed on ESPN+, it seems so strange not to be able to watch.

Take softball, for instance. If you're a Princeton parent or alum, you can watch pretty much every game. The first one of yesterday's doubleheader at Yale was a little more special, in pretty much every way.

For starters, it was televised on ESPNU.

Second, Princeton won 12-0 as Alexis Laudenslager threw a no-hitter and struck out 10 and Serena Starks homered. That's the first career home run for Starks, a junior, and the second career no-hitter for Laudenslager, also a junior.

Game 2 yesterday was back on ESPN+, and Princeton won that one too, 5-4, completing a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs after a 9-1 win Saturday.

Because of Covid issues that have messed with the schedule, there are three Ivy teams who have played 15 games (Princeton, Columbia and Brown) and two teams (Dartmouth and Cornell) who have played nine. With that disparity, it's hard to tell who's actually where in the standings, but Princeton is a strong 11-4. 

Harvard is 9-3. Dartmouth is 6-3. Every other team in the league has at least seven losses.

The top two teams in the league will advance to the league championship series. The winner of that goes to the NCAA tournament.

Softball gets really strong ratings on ESPN, especially the NCAA tournament. In the new world of college athletics, though, it doesn't take cable TV to watch a game. 

Of course, when you do have that change, putting up a 12-0 victory does make a good impression.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Vote For Baughan

TigerBlog loves the picture of Princeton men's lacrosse coach Matt Madalon that goes with the Princeton Laxcast.

It's a pregame photo of a smiling Madalon, with his arms folded, almost looking straight at the camera. This is the picture:

That's a great picture, right? Of course he's smiling. And it's not just because his team is doing so well.

What you can't tell by this is that there is actually another person in the original picture. And with whom is Madalon so happy to be speaking?

TigerBlog, of course. TB cropped himself out of the picture to use it on the webpage. Here's the actual picture:

George Baughan is this week's guest on the men's edition of the Princeton Laxcast. You can hear him and Coach Madalon HERE.

What you can't tell from the podcast is that Baughan is wearing an old, old-school Princeton Lacrosse hat. It's one that has to date back to at least the early 1990s, or maybe even 20 years before that. 

Baughan is an interesting young man. If you watch Princeton play, then you know he's a ferocious defenseman, one who is freakishly athletic at that. Beyond that, he is also a tremendous student in the School of International and Public Affairs. There's this, from a nomination form TB submitted on Baughan's behalf:

His senior thesis topic is the Global War on Terror and 9/11 and the impact it had on Chinese counter-terrorism towards the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. He wrote two junior papers, including one entitled " State Surveillance and Security in Xinjiang: The Role of the Private Sector," which he presented to the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC and to the State Department and White House officials in Washington D.C. His other JP was entitled "Air to the Throne? How Environmental Activists Upended Airport Expansion in England and Beyond." 

The award TB nominated Baughan for was the Senior Class Award, which recognizes excellence from senior athlete across four areas: competition, classroom, community and leadership. Baughan was announced as a finalist Wednesday.

Part of the selection of the winner involves fan voting. To vote, click HERE. You can vote as many times as you like. 

By the way, knowing Baughan as TB does, he would say that it wouldn't surprise him at all to see Baughan's name on other ballots in the next few decades.

Tomorrow is a big day for Princeton lacrosse, with a doubleheader on Sherrerd Field that begins at noon with the women's game against Dartmouth and then concludes at 3 with the men's game against Dartmouth. Both Princeton teams are playing for the league championship in the last three weeks of the regular season.

The good news is that if you want to watch both teams in their quest, you can do so easily for the next three Saturdays. Each of those days features a doubleheader, with the games tomorrow to be followed next Saturday with another doubleheader at Harvard (men at 1, women at 4). The regular season ends with two games on Sherrerd Field on April 30, with the men against Cornell at noon and the women against Yale at 3. 

In between, the women also have two Wednesday games, this Wednesday at home against Penn (5) and then the following Wednesday at Columbia (4).

The Princeton women are 2-0 in the league. Yale is unbeaten at 4-0. Yale plays at Cornell tomorrow and then home against Columbia next Saturday before playing Princeton. Should the Bulldogs win one of those two, then they're assured of being in position to play for at least a share of the championship in the game at Princeton.

The Princeton men are one of four Ivy teams with one league loss, and no team is unbeaten. If you're rooting for Princeton to clinch an Ivy League tournament spot tomorrow, then root for Yale to beat Brown, Harvard to beat Penn and Princeton to beat Dartmouth. If you're rooting for Princeton to host the Ivy League tournament, which the No. 1 seeds will do, then root for Brown to beat Yale. Princeton cannot be the host unless Yale loses another game, in the same way that Yale cannot be the host unless Cornell loses another game.

Most NCAA tournament predictions continue to have five Ivy League teams in their possible fields. There continue to be five Ivies in the top 10 of the RPI. Playing each other only drives the RPI up, rather than down. 

What that means, of course, is that there is the potential for a team not to make the Ivy League tournament but make the NCAA tournament, something that's never happened before. All of that will play itself out over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, there's the doubleheader tomorrow.

And the need to vote for George Baughan.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Super Saturday

TigerBlog hopes you had a Wonderful Wednesday and now have a Terrific Thursday.

Ah, alliteration. It's a wonderful thing. 

Most of TigerBlog's experiences with alliteration through the years have come quite by accident. He's sometimes said sentences that seemingly made sense, without realizing that he had the same first letter in so many words.

That leads into a good trivia question. In what movie was this line uttered: "That's lot of alliteration from anxious anchors place in positions of importance." Here's a hint - it's a wildly underrated movie that should be on pretty much everyone's list of the 25 best movies ever.

TB will have the answer for you later.

Why the alliterative action for today? Well, that's because it's only two days until Super Saturday.

It's a promotion of the Jadwin Jungle. If you're a Princeton student and you send a selfie from each of six different home events this weekend, then you'll be entered to win a pair of air pods.

The ever-present airpods, by the way remind TB of a team a few years ago when he was walking into a supermarket. As he got to the door, someone walked out speaking rather loudly, with the air pods in his ears. As this happened, someone TB did not know was also walking up. He and TB stopped for a second as the man walked between them, oblivious to anything other than his conversation. 

There was a time that a person who walked out of a supermarket and was speaking loudly with no one else around would have raised some eyebrows. Not anymore. 

"It used to be easier to tell who was crazy," the other man said. 

As for Super Saturday, here are the six home events:

8 am - men's lightweight rowing vs. Cornell
11 am - track and field Larry Ellis Invitational
noon - women's lacrosse vs. Dartmouth
noon - women's tennis vs. Harvard
2 pm - men's volleyball vs. Sacred Heart
3 pm - men's lacrosse vs. Dartmouth

That's a pretty good day. Or a Super Saturday. If you're a student who would like to submit your six photos, you can do so HERE.

Larry Ellis, if you don't know, was the first Black head coach ever in the Ivy League. Hired in 1970 to coach the men's track and field team, he would serve in that position for 22 years. 

TB found THIS STORY about Ellis from The quote from Fred Samara matches up perfectly with the Larry Ellis whom TigerBlog knew.

Ellis, who was also an Olympic coach, was part of one of the most insightful moments TB has ever experienced. TB was walking down the Jadwin balcony when he saw Ellis and one of his athletes outside of his office, and TB heard the athlete ask the coach what he needed to do to be able to get to a certain time in his event.

And what did Ellis answer? With all the wisdom of the world, he said simply "run faster."

Larry Ellis passed away in 1998. The Larry Ellis Invitational originated one year later.

As for the men's volleyball team, Princeton started the season 1-8 but has gone 9-4 since. The Tigers are also 8-6 in the EIVA and ending the regular season with matches tomorrow and Saturday against the Pioneers, who are 2-12 in the league.

The league's six playoff teams are set, and Princeton will be one of them. The Tigers currently are in a three-way tie for second, and second place comes with two bonuses - a first-round bye and an avoidance of unbeaten Penn State in Round 1.

The women's tennis match is also huge. Princeton is one of four teams in the Ivy League with one loss. Harvard, the Tigers' Saturday opponent, is the only remaining unbeaten Ivy team.

It'll indeed be a Super Saturday. Get those selfies ready. If you're not a student and want to take the Super Saturday challenge, you can email your six selfies to TigerBlog (

And the trivia answer? Broadcast News, of course. It's the scene where William Hurt (a novice who has gotten where he is through his good looks and ratings in focus groups rather than through any kind of intelligence or depth)  is chosen to anchor a special report on a Libyan skirmish. The report is produced by Holly Hunter, while Albert Brooks, the great veteran reporter, is excluded, leaving him home to watch and critique.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

No Jacket Required

So TigerBlog came to campus Sunday to watch some of the Princeton teams who were playing and refused to bring his winter coat.

He knew it was cold and blustery. So what? It was April. Springtime. To wear the winter coat would be to admit it was still wintery.

And, predictably, he was freezing the whole time. So was everyone else he ran into, many of whom were wearing shorts, t-shirts, light jackets - anything springish.

TB wrote about senior thesis topics last week. He's guessing someone could write a great thesis on the psychology of knowingly wearing clothes that won't keep you warm enough just because of the time of year. The corollary to this is refusing to put the air conditioning on in your house when it gets to be 85 degrees in late April because it's not summer yet.

The first 10 days or so of April are very trying. It's supposed to be warm, and it never is. In fact, it's still really cold, forcing people to pretend it isn't because they want the cold weather to be past.

Fortunately, it warmed up yesterday. In fact, reached the 70s here in Princeton. Today's forecast would be the first 80-degree day of the year. 

Springtime. Hopefully it stays springy and doesn't go back to winter or jump too quickly ahead to summer. The temperatures for the rest of this week look great, and then it dips back a bit but only into the 50s next week.

It'll be nearly perfect tonight at 7 for the opening draw of the Princeton-Maryland women's lacrosse game, with the forecast for 75 degrees with no chance of rain. It's the final non-league game of the regular season for the Tigers, and it matches two ranked teams: Princeton is No. 12, and Maryland is No. 9.

Maryland holds a 32-8 edge in the series, including 14 straight for the Terps. The teams have met every season since 1993 other than the last two Covid-affected years. Princeton's first NCAA title came with a 10-7 win over Maryland in 1994, and three of Princeton's eight wins have come in NCAA games. 

Princeton hadn't played in 11 days prior to its game last Saturday at Brown. In addition, the Tigers had played only two games in 21 days before taking on the Bears.

Was the team rusty? It didn't seem like it. Princeton scored four times in the first five minutes and led 7-0 after the first quarter en route to an 18-6 victory. 

Kyla Sears scored seven goals in the game as she became the third Princeton women's lacrosse player to reach 250 career points, trailing only Olivia Hompe (285) and Crista Samaras (270). Sears was 4 for 4 on free-position chances against Brown; you could write your thesis on her ability to draw free position chances and then cash them in.

The four free-position goals gave her 56 for her career, or 21 more than the second-best total in program history (by Hompe). With four more free-position goals on the year, Sears would have the first, second and third best single-season totals in program history.

The game against Brown started a sprint to the regular-season finish that will see the Tigers play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday. That's seven games in 22 days after two in 21.

The final five games after tonight are all Ivy League games, beginning Saturday with a game against Dartmouth. Each of the next three Saturday's are doubleheaders with the men and women, with both at Harvard on April 23 and then both home for their Senior Days April 30 in games that could both decide an Ivy League championship (women vs. Yale, men vs. Cornell).

Princeton is currently 2-0 in the Ivy League. Yale is 4-0. Nobody else is unbeaten.

As for tonight, in Maryland you have the No. 2 scoring defense team in the country at 7.33 goals per game, trailing only Stony Brook at 7.27. Stony Brook defeated Princeton 16-8 in the last game before the long break, in a game after the Tigers had battled through non-Covid illness that forced a postponement of the Columbia game, which adds to the busy stretch.

Maryland's Emily Sterling leads Division I in goals-against average at 7.23 and save percentage (.560). That's a good combination. It gets more interesting when you add in Aurora Cordingley, who leads Division I in points per game at 6.33. You have one player who scores almost as many as the goalie allows. How is this team, with a record of 11-1 (its only loss is to James Madison), ranked ninth? 

You can see for yourself tonight. 

The opening draw is at 7. And best of all, no jacket required.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Good News

It's a day for three good news stories. 

TigerBlog didn't realize the NBA regular season was ending this weekend.

As a result, he was wondering if Orlando was going to sign Devin Cannady to a second 10-day contract. Instead, just before the Magic's season finale Sunday against Miami, it was announced that the team had signed him to a multi-year contract. According to what TB read, the contract is "partially guaranteed."

NBA contracts are very complex, obviously, but it's clear that the team sees a player with a future. He certainly showed that in his 10-day contract.

Cannady had a 15-point game against Miami, which was two off his career high. In his five games in Orlando this year, he averaged 10.0 points per game, and he was in double figures in each of his last three games. 

He shot 41 percent from three-point range, and that was with one game where he was 1 for 6. Cannady averaged 29 minutes per night in what TB would assume was a tryout that he passed.

It's remarkable, especially considering that he's a year removed from what looked like it very much was a career-ending leg injury. TB is very happy for him.

TB is also very happy for the Princeton baseball team.

The Tigers came into the weekend 0-6 in the Ivy League and 2-20 overall, with eight one-run losses and a slew of injuries that left the roster short along the way. Rather than give up, Princeton took two of three this weekend from Cornell.

The teams split two games Saturday, as the Tigers won the first game 12-3 and then dropped the second one 7-1. Game 3 went to Princeton 10-6 Sunday afternoon.

Princeton trailed 6-3 after three on Sunday before putting up five runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth. Nadir Lewis hit a go-ahead run during that five-run burst, and he now has a team-best 29 RBIs on the year. 

The Princeton record for RBIs is 53, set in 1985 by Drew Stratton. Can Lewis get there? He's got 15 more regular season games to try. Can he get 24 in 15 games? He has 29 in 25, so there's a chance. He's 19 away from tying for second.

Beyond just the RBI's, Lewis is putting up a monster year.

Lewis leads the Ivy League in OPS, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and home runs. He's second in batting average. He's second in RBIs but leads in RBIs per game. Those are gaudy stats.

Lewis also homered in the win in the first game this weekend. In fact, in that game he went 3 for 4 with a double and five RBIs in addition to the home run. 

Next up for Princeton is a three-game series at Dartmouth this weekend. It's been a challenging year for sure, and it's in those challenging situations that the best coaches continue to get their teams to play hard and push on. Scott Bradley, the Princeton baseball coach, is doing just that.

The men's golf team had a nice weekend as well too. The Tigers won the team championship at the Princeton Invitational, and the Tigers were the runner-up as well. 

There were two Princeton teams in the 15-team field. The Princeton Orange team won the championship, and the Princeton Black team came in second, one stroke back.

Freshman William Huang was the individual champion, shooting 10-under, winning by six strokes. It was the first time in 18 years that Princeton has won its invitational, and it was the first time in 15 years that it had the individual champ.

There were 15 teams in the field, including the other seven Ivy teams. Columbia was the next-best Ivy finisher, coming in fifth, 12 shots behind the Princeton Orange. Seton Hall and Temple came in third an fourth.

Next up for Princeton is the Ivy League tournament, which will be held April 22-24 at the Century Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. 

Obviously anything can happen in a three-day event in golf, but the tournament this weekend is a great sign for the Tigers' chances.

And it was part of a weekend with some pretty good news, for some current Princeton athletes and for one alum who looks like he's making his dream come true.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Hall Of Famers

So here was TigerBlog's first thought when he saw that Gail Ramsay was recently inducted into the U.S. Squash Hall of Fame: "Wait, how was it possible she wasn't already in?"

Ramsay has been Princeton's women's squash coach since the 1994-95 season. This is what the story on had to say about her induction:

Since taking over at Princeton in 1995, Ramsay has led the Tigers to four team national championships, four Ivy League championships, and three players to five individual national championships. For the past 20 years, when the top collegiate players compete for that individual national title, they are playing in the Ramsay Draw and for the Ramsay Cup, named after Princeton's coach and a four-time national champion during her collegiate career at Penn State. Ramsay's teams have won 276 dual matches in her time at Princeton, long ago making her Princeton's winningest women's squash coach.

Four-time individual national champ. Four-time national championship coach. 

Again, how was she not in?

TigerBlog is a bit biased when it comes to Gail Ramsay. For one, he was at one time her next-door neighbor. For another, it was Ramsay and former men's coach Bob Callahan who got TB started playing squash in the first place.

Any time they'd watch him play, he always felt like they were his parents, watching with a mixture of pride that TB was playing their sport and horror at the way he was playing it. Nonetheless, TB loved playing the game for as long as his knees and shoulder allowed, and it was Gail who kept him supplied in rackets, shoes, whatever else.

On top of all that, she's also just a wonderful person who loves Princeton squash and who has always been a great representative of the program. 

So, yes, again, how was she not already in?

On the subject of Halls of Fame, there's also the matter of the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. CoSIDA, if you don't know, is the national organization for athletic communications, and it is CoSIDA that oversees the only official Academic All-American program, which means that any other national academic awards are from coaches' organizations or sport governing bodies but are not official Academic All-Americas.

The CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame "recognizes former Academic All-Americas who received a college degree at least 10 years ago, have achieved lifetime success in their professional careers, and are committed to philanthropic causes."

It's a pretty distinguished group. The complete list of honorees can be seen HERE.

The latest inductees are a group of four who were announced last week. One of the people on the list is Princeton alum Jen Babik, who played softball and field hockey before graduating in 1995.

While at Princeton she played on the first of the Tigers' two Women's College World Series softball teams. She went on to be a Rhodes Scholar and then attend Stanford Medical School. Today she is an infectious disease specialist at the UC-San Francisco medical center.

Again, she wasn't in this hall already also? 

TigerBlog wrote about Babik in the women's history book. She talked about her experiences at Princeton, how she balanced playing two sports, how she found soccer while in England as a Rhodes Scholar and her work now. She remains incredibly close to her teammates from Princeton.

She also talked about her experiences as a musician. She would be in the jazz band at Princeton, and before that, she'd play in her high school marching band, including at a festival at the old Giants Stadium, where she learned something that stayed with:

“I had a solo,” she says. “I remember how nervous I was beforehand. I think about that now if I’m
nervous about something. I think that was the most nervous I’ve ever been about anything, with that solo in front of thousands of people in that stadium. I learned a lot of life lessons from sports, like so many people do. But for me, I also learned a lot from those band competitions. I learned about being able to overcome feeling really nervous and be able to perform.”

Congratulations to Gail Ramsay and Jen Babik.

And, yeah, what took so long to get them inducted?

Friday, April 8, 2022

A Weekend With Some Firsts

When TigerBlog wrote about the senior thesis yesterday, he mentioned how Mollie Marcoux Samaan wrote hers on women's golf. 

Today, she's the commissioner of the LPGA.

Her predecessor, Gary Walters, who wrote his on this: "Stereotyping by College Students Re-Examined: A Replication and Extension of the Katz and Braly (1932) and Gilbert (1950) Investigations." During his 20 years as the Director of Athletics, there were few issues closer to his heart and that he advocated more passionately about than stereotyping.

Interesting. It's also interesting to TigerBlog that yesterday's entry was really well-received. What is it about the thesis that really appeals to Princetonians? Well, that might be a bit self-explanatory. A better statement is that Princetonians really love Princetonian traditions.

As for this weekend in Princeton Athletics, it's a really busy one, as all weekends in April are. By the way, HERE is the full schedule.

It's also a weekend with some firsts.

One of those firsts involves the baseball and softball games. Both teams are home, with two games tomorrow and one game Sunday against Cornell. 

What's the first? With the temporary relocation of the softball field, this is the first time that both teams will be playing home games at the same time in essentially the same location. You can go almost pitch-by-pitch between the two fields if you like. 

If you stand down the rightfield line at softball, you can probably see both fields at once, since you'll essentially be in foul territory on the leftfield side of baseball. 

The eight Ivy baseball and softball teams play three games against each of the other seven teams. After those 21 games are over, the top two teams play a best-of-three for the NCAA tournament bid.

Right now the Princeton softball team is tied for first at 6-3 with Harvard, a team from whom Princeton took two of three, which would give the Tigers the home field should they remain tied at the end of the season.

The race is hardly a runaway, though, as really no team is out of it at this point. Cornell, at 2-4, is playing to put itself right back into the hunt this weekend.

The baseball team is still looking for its first Ivy win, but this is a team that has had all kinds of bad luck, with injuries and close losses. In fact, Princeton has eight one-run losses this year, including against defending NCAA champion Mississippi State.

The other first for this weekend is the first meeting ever between Princeton and Boston University in men's lacrosse. That game faces-off at 1 tomorrow on Sherrerd Field.

The Tigers come into the game at 7-2 overall and ranked either third or fourth in every poll. The Terriers are currently ranked 13th.

Both teams won league games last week by a 17-9 score (Princeton against Brown, BU against Navy). They also both played Tuesday with much different results, as the Tigers defeated Marist 18-7 while BU lost to Yale 22-15.

Princeton played Stony Brook for five straight seasons (2015-19) on the weekend it did not have an Ivy League game. Now it's a game against Boston University, who will become the sixth ranked team Princeton will play in its first 10 (and seventh team who has been ranked at some point this year).

This game matches the No. 1 scoring offense in the Patriot League (and eighth in Division I) against the No. 1 scoring offense in the Ivy League (and second in Division I). BU also leads the nation in caused turnovers per game and is second in the country in ground balls per game. Princeton? The Tigers are fourth in the country in ground balls per game.

This figures to be a really good matchup. After this, it's three straight Ivy League games to end the regular season - home against Dartmouth, at Harvard, home against Cornell. Princeton is 2-1 in the league.

As for the women's lacrosse team, the Tigers will be ending an 11-day break with a game at Brown tomorrow at 1. Hopefully the team enjoyed that break.

Princeton will have played exactly two games in 21 days. In the next 22 days? Princeton will have seven games, with six league games and a game this Wednesday at home against Maryland. Each of the next three weeks will see Princeton play Saturday/Wednesday.

The Tigers are 1-0 in the league. Yale, at 3-0, is the only other unbeaten. Brown comes in as one of three teams at 2-1, along with Harvard and Cornell.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Thesis Month

Do you want to see a picture of a happy person?

Of course you do.

This is Gaby Hamburger from the women's lacrosse team, with her advisor Alain Kornheiser, who is also an Athletic Fellow with the men's hockey team. They are following what apparently is a Princeton tradition of jumping into the fountain after handing in a senior thesis. 

Gaby, by the way, is an Operations Research and Financial Engineering major. Her thesis is entitled “It’s Electric! Optimizing Electric Vehicle Charging Through Tariffs.”

Had TigerBlog gone to Princeton, he would probably have told you the story many times about how he procrastinated on his senior thesis and had to scramble to get it done by writing 50 pages in the last two days or so. 

He's often thought about what he might have written a thesis on had it been required at Penn. Or if he'd gone to Princeton. He's always figured it would have been one of three subjects.

First, and most likely, would have been the Holocaust. He's not 100 percent sure what the specifics would have been, but he's always thought that would have been his starting point. 

If that was too emotional, then he might have gone with the Battle of Gettysburg from the Civil War. That was always very interesting to him. 

Lastly, he might have written the history of women's athletics at Princeton, but he decided to hold off on that for a few decades. 

It's interesting for him to think about how much that is taught in history classes today hadn't happened yet when he was in college. Interesting. Scary. Same thing. 

This is thesis month for Princeton's seniors. As much as TB has been a part of the fabric of the University for as long as he has, he still never got to experience what it was actually like to be an undergrad. One of the things that he missed out on was what it was like to write a senior thesis.

This is what the University website says about the senior thesis:

Writing a thesis encourages the self-confidence and high ambitions that come from mastering a difficult challenge. It fosters the development of specific skills and habits of mind that augur well for future success. No wonder generations of graduates look back on the senior thesis as the most valuable academic component of their Princeton experience.

That makes sense. TB isn't sure when it first became a Princeton requirement. The online directory of senior theses goes back to 1924. There's a reference in the June 1880 Princeton Press about the senior thesis topics of some of the graduates.

Here were some from that 1880 newspaper:

The Decline of American Statesmanship.
From Aristotle to Descartes. 

Had TB graduated 100 years before he did and gone to Princeton, he still could have written about Gettysburg.

The directory that TB mentioned above is one of his favorite websites. You can find out pretty much anyone's thesis. 

TB's favorite former women's soccer player Tyler Lussi's: Exercising Their Equality: Coeducation and Athletics at Princeton University after 1969. He's read a lot of that one. 

Who else? 

Dick Kazmaier? The Company and the Union: A Case Study.

Helena Novakova and Margie Gengler Smith (the first two women athletes)? Nature in the Works of I.S. Turgenev (Novakova) and A Survey of Yellow Journalism and Its Effect on America's Involvement in the Cuban Crisis and Spanish-American War (Gengler Smith).

Amy Richlin (she was the first woman to win the Class of 1916 Cup as the senior athlete in the highest academic standing at graduation)? Defense Problems in the Roman Occupation of Britain, A.D. 43-197.

Ford Family Director of Athletics John Mack? Where Do I Stand: Student Evaluation of Self and Peer Academic Ability. 

In a thesis foreshadow, Mack's predecessor, Mollie Marcoux Samaan, wrote hers on: The Social Construction of Sport and Gender: A History of Women in Golf, 1890-1955. 

There was one from the Class of 1953 entitled "Skimmer Burns," which TB assumes was well-written: It was John McPhee's.

You can access the directory HERE.

This is a very stressful time for seniors. For senior spring athletes, finishing the thesis is balanced with competing in your final season. 

To everyone finishing theirs this month, good luck, and congratulations. 

Any time TB has ever spoken to a senior who has just handed in a thesis, the reaction is always the same. It's an incredible combination of relief, satisfaction, joy and euphoria.

As much work as it would have been, TB wishes he knew the feeling.