June 4, 2003: Sports
Sports Web Exclusives! P-nut Gallery column
Photos: Top, Kelly Baril 03; middle, Cameron Atkinson 03; bottom, Kelly Sosa 03. (Photographs by Bevery Schaefer)
Kelly Baril 03 thought her Princeton varsity sports days were over when she blocked her last shot for the field hockey team last fall. But the three-time All-America goalie replaced her pads with a pair of high-tops in the winter to join the womens basketball team after the coach saw her play in pickup games at Jadwin Gym.
Coach Richard Barron must have sung Barils praises at home, because his wife, Tiger softball coach Maureen Davies Barron 97, asked Baril to pull on the orange and black this spring to fill an outfield spot on her team. Even with her thesis looming and her senior spring ahead, Baril says she had to accept. Playing a varsity sport in college is one of the most amazing things Ive been able to do. I couldnt turn down an opportunity to keep playing, the psychology major says.
Several other Tigers also are playing more than one sport, which is common in high school but not at the N.C.A.A. Division I level.
The Ivy Leagues new seven-week rule requiring time away from practice for varsity athletes has not slowed multisport participants, whose coaches are encouraged to make sure the students get time off between seasons, according to Erin McDermott, assistant director of athletics.
If a kid has the ability to contribute in more than one sport at a school like Princeton, its our responsibility to give him a chance to try, says Princeton baseball coach Scott Bradley, who has had his share of two-sport athletes, including footballs B. J. Szymanski 05 and basketballs Will Venable 05 this season.
Szymanski, one of footballs top receivers, has hit .329 for Bradley this season, leading the Tigers in runs, hits, and stolen bases. Bradley says the ability to offer standout student-athletes the chance to play more than one sport helps Princeton recruit some high school seniors who are considering schools such as Vanderbilt or Stanford, where off-seasons are filled with mandatory practices.
Cameron Atkinson 03 runs track in the winter and spring, but in the fall hes all football. Third on Princetons all-time rushing list with 2,449 yards, the captain of this years track team also holds the school record in the 60-meter dash and won the 200-meter dash at last months outdoor Heptagonals.
Its been easier in my senior year since Ive been doing it all along and now I can leave it all on the table, because once its over, its over, says Atkinson, a chemistry major.
Among other Princeton standouts donning more than one uniform is Rachael Becker 03, an Academic All-American on the defending national champion womens lacrosse team who also plays field hockey. Becker has won seven Ivy League titles (four in field hockey and three in lacrosse). Her lacrosse teammates, Elizabeth Pillion 05, Theresa Sherry 04, and Kelly Sosa 03, also star on the Ivy League champion womens soccer team. All-Ivy volleyball player Kellie Cramm 04 is playing her second season of lacrosse, while All-Ivy basketball player Ray Robins 03 hit the volleyball court this spring. Paul Lyons 05, who has won three Heps shot-put titles, also plays football.
Sosa, the womens soccer captain for the past two seasons, joined the lacrosse team as a backup goalie this spring. Accustomed to using her feet on the soccer field, she jokes that pain has helped motivate me to use my stick more, but I still do a lot of kick saves.
Sosa says she uses her time more wisely during her sports seasons because she has to be more efficient managing it. When I was deciding whether to play lacrosse, I was thinking about relaxing in the spring for the first time, but thats not really my personality. Especially since, when I thought I was done playing for Princeton, I realized how valuable that experience is, she says.
True Tiger fan
Thacher Longstreth 41 at Princetons November 9 football game against Penn. The former Philadelphia city councilman and All-America end for Princeton died April 11. Longstreth attended every Tiger football game home or away since the Yale contest of 1949, until a Texas windstorm kept him from the Brown game in 2001, snapping a streak of more than 460 games.
Mens track second at Hepsrowning
The mens winner at the 69th Heptagonal Outdoor Championships May 4 at Yale came down to a controversial finish in the final event, the 4x400-meter relay.
Trailing Cornell by six points heading into the relay, Princeton needed to finish at least three places ahead of the Big Red to claim its 13th outdoor Heps title. But the Tigers Josh Kauke 04, who was running the anchor leg of the relay, was bumped by a Cornell runner and fell. Although Kauke got up and finished, Princeton placed fifth. Cornell was disqualified.
A call for a rerun of the event without the Big Red was overturned by meet officials, leaving the final score to stand at Cornell 130, Princeton 127.
Unfortunately it came down to the 4x400 meter relay, but the meet was not lost there. We underperformed in a few key events, and Cornell had a great meet, said team captain Cameron Atkinson 03, who won his first individual Heps title in the 200-meter dash. To have a teammate go down in the relay and to have all that controversy made taking the loss that much more difficult.
Other strong performers: Paul Lyons 05 and Rocky Craley 04 placed first and second, respectively, in the shot put. Josh McCaughey 04 won his third straight Heps hammer-throw title.
The womens lacrosse team (144, 61 Ivy) moved within two victories of claiming back-to-back national titles when it defeated Ohio State, 178, May 11 in the quarterfinals of the N.C.A.A. tournament. The win earned Princeton its fourth straight trip to the Final Four, where it was scheduled to face top-seeded Loyola May 16 in Syracuse. The Tigers beat LeMoyne 191 in the first round of the tourney.
Mens lacrosse (113, 51 Ivy) defeated Albany 1610 in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament and was set to face its old rival Syracuse in a quarterfinal May 17. Princeton is seeking its seventh national title. The Tigers have played in each of the last three N.C.A.A. championship games, all against Syracuse, which won two of the three matches.
The baseball team (2721, 155 Ivy) was headed to its eighth N.C.A.A. tournament after winning the Ivy League title in a three-game playoff against Harvard at home May 1011. Thomas Pauly 04 pitched a complete game in the 52 win that earned Princeton its third Ivy League title in four years.
The 2003 Tigers 27 wins are second only to the 1985 team, which won 29 games.
Softball (23191, 113 Ivy) made the 230-mile trip to Providence to get just four outs against Brown May 3. But finishing that game, which had been halted by darkness April 14, was worth every mile as the Tigers won 85 to claim the Ivy championship and an automatic bid to the N.C.A.A. tournament. Princeton was scheduled to play South Carolina May 15 in the opening round in Tucson.
Womens golfs Avery Kiser 05 received one of three at-large bids to the N.C.A.A. championships after claiming her second straight Ivy League individual title. The Tigers finished second to Yale by 10 strokes at the Ivy golf championships April 27.
Mens lightweight crew surprised the field by winning the Eastern Sprints May 11 in Massachusetts. The fifth-seeded Tigers won the Ivy Leagues varsity title with a time of 6:28.49, finishing nearly four seconds ahead of Columbia and five seconds ahead of top-seeded Harvard.