October 5, 2005: Sports
Sports Scores Updated weekly
When August Wolf ’83 finished his undergraduate years at Princeton, he was among the best shot putters in the world, and with the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics just a year away, his next goal seemed obvious. But finding someone to fund his Olympic ambitions was a different story. “I got no support from anybody,” Wolf recalls. By piecing together a modest training budget, he managed to compete on the international circuit and qualified for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where he finished fourth. After the games, he went on to a successful career on Wall Street.
Nearly two decades later, Wolf watched with dismay as another generation of Olympic hopefuls encountered the same funding obstacles he had faced — athletes such as Adam Nelson, a 1997 Dartmouth graduate who won Olympic silver in the shot put in 2000 and 2004, and world-class high jumper Tora Harris ’02, an NCAA champion in his event. Wolf feared that without financial backing, some of America’s best athletes, particularly Ivy League graduates, would leave their dreams behind in favor of more practical, stable careers. “It’s an easy path, compared to living hand to mouth for a few years while you train,” he said.
Wolf created the Ivy Trust, a non-profit organization designed to give direct support to Ivy alumni with Olympic aims, and in 2004, the group provided grants to 29 athletes. Fifteen of the athletes competed in Athens, and three earned medals. Then, with the 2008 Beijing games on the horizon, Wolf and the trust’s board decided to look toward broader goals.
The organization’s next phase will include a new name, an expanded mission, and a new president with Princeton ties, Amory Rowe ’95, who took office in June. Now known as the U.S. Athletic Trust, the group will open its funding to all college graduates looking to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
U.S. Athletic Trust grants include those from the trust’s general fund, distributed based on need and an athlete’s likelihood of reaching an Olympic final, and athlete-specific funds, provided by donors who “adopt” athletes. The trust also has campaigned to encourage more direct support to athletes from the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and the national governing bodies for individual sports. According to a study by the trust, direct support to athletes accounted for just 6 percent of the USOC’s $135 million budget in 2003.
Rowe, a former field hockey, ice hockey, and lacrosse standout at Princeton, sees the trust as an organization “by athletes, for athletes,” and the athlete’s perspective is one she intimately understands. After graduation, she began competing as a triathlete, and she ranked among America’s best competitors in the duathlon (a combination of running and cycling events).
Rowe said that many people misunderstand the costs and benefits of being a professional athlete. For example, when Rowe won $2,000 in prize money at a two-hour duathlon, her brother marveled at her $1,000-per-hour haul. “Well, if you amortize that over however many hundreds of hours of training go into a two-hour performance,” she explained to her brother, “you’re coming up with pennies.”
To expand the U.S. Athletic Trust, Rowe wants to increase the organization’s visibility by advertising in national publications and having sponsored athletes wear the trust’s logo. She also hopes to expand the support structure to include corporate sponsors, drawing on the model of Canada’s “See You in Athens” program, a nonprofit group that supported 244 of the 266 Canadian athletes in Athens with help from Molson Inc.
This year, the U.S. Athletic Trust has supported nine athletes, including Winter Olympic hopefuls Byron Friedman and Scott MacCartney, both skiers from Dartmouth. Princeton athletes on the trust’s list include Harris, who had a stellar indoor season last winter; fencer Maya Lawrence ’02, the 2005 national champion in women’s epee; and triathlete Jordan Rapp ’02, a former rower who also serves as the trust’s webmaster.
Rapp, like many triathletes, has worked part-time jobs and relied on support from his parents throughout his competitive career. But thanks to the additional funds provided by his Athletic Trust sponsor, Performax Physical Therapy, he has been able to increase his training load, including a month-long trip to Canada to work with his coach and train alongside top triathletes such as New Zealand’s Hamish Carter, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist, and Canada’s Simon Whitfield, the 2000 Olympic gold medalist.
Rapp has been able to put training ahead of work, at least temporarily, taking his workouts to a new level of intensity. “I’m really hoping to have a breakout season,” he said, “largely due to the flexibility afforded to me by the trust.”
Two generations of Princeton pro pitchers met at Yankee Stadium in August
when Chris Young ’02 of the Texas Rangers, the Tigers’ latest
major leaguer, spoke with Bob Tufts ’77, a relief pitcher for the
San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals from 1981 to 1983. After his
baseball career, Tufts earned his M.B.A. from Columbia University and
started a 20-year career on Wall Street.
It took Jeff Terrell ’07 the entire spring and summer to earn the starting quarterback job for the football team’s season opener, but just nine minutes and 25 seconds — of prime fourth-quarter clock time, no less — to demonstrate that he deserved it.
It was during that stretch that Terrell coolly led the young Princeton offense on an epic 16-play drive that included four converted third downs and culminated in what proved to be the winning field goal, as Princeton held on for a 23–21 victory over Lafayette Sept. 17 in Easton. Even more impressive than Terrell’s final stats — 19 of 28 for 197 yards — was his deft decision making, as he wisely took what the defense offered rather than forcing throws.
“It’s like Coach says,” Terrell explained afterward as head coach Roger Hughes happily nodded along. “You don’t have to get a touchdown on every play, you just have to keep moving the chains.”
Early on, Terrell and the Tigers had little trouble moving the chains, jumping to a 20–0 halftime lead. Three other young players seeing their first extended action also had key roles: The new starting backfield of Cleo Kirkland ’07 and Rob Toresco ’08 combined for 126 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while wide receiver Brandon Circle ’08 made five catches for 75 yards through the air.
The veteran Tiger defense chipped in, too, especially after Terrell was forced to the bench when a second-quarter hit from a blitzing Leopard had him seeing stars. All-Ivy cornerback Jay McCareins ’06 jumped a sideline route and returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown, and linebacker Nate Starrett ’06 intercepted another pass just two plays later.
Though Terrell returned after halftime, the Leopards dominated the third quarter after a quarterback switch jump-started the Lafayette offense, closing the gap to 20–14. After the Tigers’ clock-eating drive pushed the lead to nine, Lafayette returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to close the score to 23–21 with 3:26 left.
The Leopards never got the ball back, though, as their exhausted defense could not stop Toresco from rumbling for three first downs. Once more, the chains kept moving — slowly but steadily — until the clock ran out.
By David Baumgarten ’06
WOMEN’S HOCKEY Megan Van Beusekom ’04 will represent the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Van Beusekom was one of four goaltenders selected for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Former FOOTBALL standout Zak Keasey ’05 will play linebacker and special teams for the NFL’s Washington Redskins this season. Keasey, who joined the team as a free agent in May, earned a spot on the final 53-man roster on Sept. 3.
Road games against Wake Forest and Stanford and an appearance in the Preseason NIT headline a challenging nonconference schedule for MEN’S BASKETBALL in 2005–06. The Tigers will open the season at home Nov. 14 against Drexel in the first round of the Preseason NIT. Other key dates on the schedule include the Ivy League opener, at home against Columbia Jan. 13, and two meetings with Penn, Feb. 14 at the Palestra and March 7 at home.
WOMEN’S SOCCER lost 1–0 to UCLA Sept. 2 in a rain-shortened rematch of last year’s national semifinal game. Two days later, the Tigers lost to Miami, 3–0. MEN’S SOCCER fell 2–1 to Loyola in its season opener. Adrian Melville ’06 scored for the Tigers late in the second half, tying the score at 1–1, but the Greyhounds quickly responded with their second goal and held on for the win.
FIELD HOCKEY opened its season with losses against American and Penn State, but the Tigers rebounded to beat Yale 5–1 Sept. 10.
MEN’S WATER POLO won its first four games at the Princeton Invitational Sept. 9–11 before falling to the University of California, San Diego in the tournament final.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY started the season with a pair of team wins at the Fordham Invitational Sept. 10.
In WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL, Princeton topped Providence and Colgate before falling to Fordham in the Colgate Invitational Sept. 9 and 10. Senior Lauren Grumet and freshman Kelli Grobe were named to the all-tournament team.