Tuesday, June 7, 2022

A Covid Catch Up

Welp, Covid has finally caught up with TigerBlog.

It's been a rough few days for TB, though he did have the good sense to wait until after graduation and the NCAA men's lacrosse championships to get sick. 

TB hates to be sick. He does everything he can, somewhat obsessively at times, to prevent it. Usually it works. Every now and then, it doesn't. 

The only thing he can really compare to this was back in 1986, when he had mono and strep throat at the same time. He remembers being sick and watching the Challenger disaster on live television. 

He's very fortunate in that had not been sick too often, and when he has been, it's never been anything horrible. Even this is not nearly as bad as many others have had it.

Still, as he said, it's been a rough few days. Ah, but not to worry. The blog goes on.

* TigerBlog absolutely loved this video from Princeton track and field as it gets ready for the NCAA championships this week. 

The NCAA championships are the last remaining event for Princeton this academic year. There will be 19 Tigers in Eugene, 17 men and two women. The men's team enters ranked 16th in the country after finishing fifth at the NCAA indoor championships, which was a remarkable achievement.

The championships begin tomorrow, and the Tigers will jump in quickly, with almost everyone set to compete on Day 1. The biggest event of the first day will be the pole vault final, where Sondre and Simen Guttormsen compete at 8 pm Eastern. Sondre won the event indoors, where Simen finished third. 

The two women, Caroline Timm in the 1,500 and Kate Joyce in the javelin, compete Thursday. Here's the men's schedule:

Wednesday, June 8
7:32 p.m. ET / 4:32 p.m. PT – 4x100 meter relay semifinal (Simang'aliso Ndhlovu, Ibrahim Ayorinde, Daniel Duncan, Greg Sholars)
7:46 p.m. ET / 4:46 p.m. PT – 1,500 meters, semifinal (Sam Ellis)
8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT – pole vault final (Simen Guttormsen, Sondre Guttormsen)
8:02 p.m. ET / 5:02 p.m. PT – 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinal (Ed Trippas)
9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT – 400 meters semifinal (Michael Phillippy)
7:14 p.m. ET / 6:14 p.m. PT – 800 meters semifinal (Sam Rodman)
7:40 p.m. ET / 6:40 p.m. PT – shot put, C.J. Licata
10:48 p.m. ET / 7:48 p.m. PT – 4x400 meter relay semifinal (Ladislav Töpfer, William Doyle, Andersen Dimon, Michael Phillippy)
Friday, June 10
8:32 p.m. ET / 5:32 p.m. PT – high jump final (Jeffrey Hollis)
8:35 p.m. ET / 5:35 p.m. PT – discus final (Robbie Otal)
9:02 p.m. ET / 6:02 p.m. PT – 4x100 meter relay final (Simang'aliso Ndhlovu, Ibrahim Ayorinde, Daniel Duncan, Greg Sholars)
9:12 p.m. ET / 6:12 p.m. PT – 1,500 meters, final (Sam Ellis)
9:24 p.m. ET / 6:24 p.m. PT – 3,000-meter steeplechase final (Ed Trippas)
10:02 p.m. ET / 7:02 p.m. PT – 400 meters final (Michael Phillippy)
10:14 p.m. ET / 7:14 p.m. PT – 800 meters final (Sam Rodman)
11:21 p.m. ET / 8:21 p.m. PT – 4x400 meter relay final (Ladislav Töpfer, William Doyle, Andersen Dimon, Michael Phillippy)

* What good is being sick if you don't catch up on your TV. TB has been watching "The Offer," which is a Paramount + show about how "The Godfather" was made. If you're a fan of the Corleones, it's a great show.

TB didn't realize that it was being released one episode at a time. When he got to the end of Episode 8, which he thought was the last one, he thought "weird way to end a series." Then he found out there are two more episodes to come. 

* Griffen Rakower was one of Princeton's backup men's lacrosse goalies. He's also an extremely smart guy, so smart, in fact, that he won the NCAA Elite 90 Award for the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championship. The NCAA sponsors championships in 90 sports between Division I, II and III, and the athlete with the highest GPA at the championship site is awarded the Elite 90 Award.

In this case, it went to Rakower, an economics major whose GPA is, well, really good.

The award was presented to Rakower by the head of the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse committee, Loyola AD Donna Woodruff. She came over to the team huddle at the end of Friday's practice, and an NCAA member asked Griffen Rakower to come forward to deal with an issue that had come up.

Of course Rakower had no idea what was going on, and until Woodruff pulled out the silver trophy he had a look on his face that said "oh no, what did I do? I didn't do anything wrong that I can think of. Am I in trouble? Did I ruin this for everyone?"

Once the award was announced, the entire time erupted — and then he smiled. It was a great moment. 

* At one point this weekend, the six stories on the rotator were all rowing stories, with the IRA championships this past weekend.  

When TB went to the front page yesterday, the first person he saw was Keith Elias, the former Tiger running back. Actually, he's more than a former Tiger running back. He's Princeton's career leader in rushing yards (and 20 other things), with 4,208 yards; the next closest is Judd Garrett at 3,109, and after that is Cameron Atkinson at 2,449. 

That's close to, but not quite, the percentage distance from Bill Bradley to Ian Hummer for career men's basketball points.

Elias remains the most charismatic Princeton athlete that TigerBlog has ever met, even nearly 30 years since his graduation. There has never been anyone else quite like him who has ever come though this athletic program, with the way he carried himself and the way he was the immediate center of attention of whatever room he walked into. On the field, there have been a very few here in TB's years who could compare when it came to the thrill the crowd got when he touched the ball, because you just knew that at any moment, he could do something spectacular.

The story on goprincetontigers.com yesterday was about how Elias was on the ballot for the College Football Hall of Fame. You can read it HERE.

* Lastly, Pete Carril often spoken about the importance of a good high school coach and how having that kind of high school coach made all the difference for so many players. To that end, there are a bunch of lacrosse players now in their mid-20s who are proof positive of that.

Steve Henze was one of two coaches of a club team called "Twist" that played out of Bucks County, Pa. The same core group was together for seven summers, from when they were rising sixth graders on through high school. Of that group, more than 20 went on to play in college, from the highest ranks of Division I and through Division II and III.

Henze taught them lacrosse, and he taught them what it meant to be teammates. He was tough and disciplined, and he had a soft, funny side as well. They loved to play for him, and they all benefited from the lessons he taught them. In the truest spirit of what Princeton calls "Education Through Athletics," they will take with them those lessons for the rest of their lives. TigerBlog Jr. is one of them.

When not coaching lacrosse, Henze was a police detective in Abington. He was a strong family man, with his wife Lisa and their children - including a son Jake who played for Twist and then for Monmouth - and now grandchildren.

Steve Henze passed away suddenly recently. It was a sad, shocking text message to get, that someone not yet 60 years old, someone so full of life, someone who had done so much for so many people, someone who oozed goodness out of him, was gone, just like that.

TB last saw him last fall at the Princeton-Harvard football game. Henze's nephew played for the Crimson. As always, he was the same Steve Henze. Strong. Vibrant. Seemingly invincible. 

To Lisa, Jake and the rest of the Henzes, as well as to every player who ever played for him, TB sends his deepest condolences. Steve Henze was a wonderful man.

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