Perseverance Pays Off for Perez ’16

Chris Perez ’16 (Beverly Schaefer)

Chris Perez ’16 (Beverly Schaefer)

Wrestler Chris Perez ’16’s path to the NCAA Championships this year was a demonstration of English writer Samuel Johnson’s statement that “great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.”

A Long Island native, Perez tore his ACL near the end of a strong freshman campaign during the 2011-12 season. Taking the following year off from school to heal, he experienced the sudden death of his father, Hubert, and tore his ACL a second time. When he injured his ACL a third time at the beginning of his sophomore season, Perez’s future prospects on the mat seemed grim.

But despite doctors’ recommendations that he stop wrestling, Perez refused to give in. “After I tore my knee the third time, I said to the coaches, ‘ESPN is going to make a sweet story when I win the NCAAs,’ ” Perez said. With his right leg completely wrapped, he became the starter at 149 pounds this season and compiled a record of 19-11.

At the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships at Lehigh University, he upset nationally ranked opponents Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra and Penn’s Charles Cobb. Perez finished second in the tournament as he and 141-pounder Jordan Laster ’17 made the finals at consecutive weight classes. The two were among five Tiger wrestlers who landed berths at the NCAA Championships March 19-21 in St. Louis, Mo., matching a program record.

At the NCAA tournament, Perez suffered a close loss in his first match against Alex Richardson of Old Dominion, but moved quickly through the consolation bracket. In his second wrestleback match, he gained revenge with a 10-6 decision over nationally ranked Ken Theobold of Rutgers, who had beaten him in February. Perez ultimately fell in the Round of 16 in a close 7-5 decision to Bryant Clagon of Rider, two matches away from All-American status.

“The biggest thing I’ve learned from these experiences is that life is unpredictable,” Perez said. “I never really lost focus on my goals, and just looked at it all as part of my journey.” Looking ahead to next season, that postseason journey could continue closer to home: The 2016 EIWA Championships will be held at Princeton, and the 2016 NCAA Championships will be at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Quick Takes:

TRACK AND FIELD throwers competed at the Monmouth Season Opener on Saturday, where junior Brielle Rowe threw a personal best in the hammer throw of 47.58 meters.

MEN’S TENNIS, currently ranked No. 28 in the nation, took down No. 57 Penn to open Ivy play on Saturday at Jadwin Gym. Senior Zack McCourt and sophomore Tom Colautti led the way in the Tigers’ 6-1 win.

WOMEN’S TENNIS also posted an impressive 6-1 victory over Penn to start the Ivy season. After posting a 7-0 league record last season, the Tigers have won their last eight Ivy matches.

SOFTBALL began its Ivy season with consecutive wins over Brown in a Saturday doubleheader. Senior Alyssa Schmidt’s home run in the top of the first was the only run of the first game, as junior Shanna Christian posted seven shutout innings to maintain the Tigers’ lead. Another low-scoring contest followed, with the second game scoreless until the final inning. With freshman Kylee Pierce on third, sophomore Haley Hineman dropped down a bunt to bring home the game-winning run and give the Tigers their second 1-0 win of the day.



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Mourning — and Celebrating — Abraham Lincoln’s Death

Martha Hodes *91

Martha Hodes *91

The president literally stopped the show when he walked into Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary, had arrived late to that night’s performance; the comedy Our American Cousin already had begun. As they took their seats in the dress circle, the actors onstage paused and the audience cheered. Lincoln bowed. Around 10:15 p.m., as Lincoln laughed at a line in the play, John Wilkes Booth shot him in the back of the head. The next morning, Lincoln was dead.

The nation’s seemingly universal reaction to the first presidential assassination is well documented in contemporary newspapers, in the formal expressions of condolences that followed, and in memoirs published in later decades. In Mourning Lincoln, Martha Hodes *91 asks: What were the “raw reactions” of people on the street, with their families, and by themselves when they heard the news? Some felt that “North and South are weeping together” but others thought the news was “glorious,” Hodes writes. She also explores how the aftermath of the assassination ultimately shaped the legacy of the Civil War. Continue reading

#ThrowbackThursday: Princeton Baseball

With the 2015 Princeton baseball team set to begin its Ivy League schedule this weekend, we turn back the clock to check out a pair of Tiger teams from the illustrious 150-year history of the “Nassau Nine.”

baseball_1870Above, the 1870 Tigers hold a special distinction as the first Princeton team to beat Yale. They topped the Elis in New Haven, 26-15, in a game that — despite the high score — lasted just over two hours, according to the official boxscore.

baseball_1941Seventy-one years later, the 1941 Tigers duplicated the 1870 poses in a photo for PAW. The ’41 squad also had Yale’s number, beating the rival Elis twice en route to Princeton’s first Eastern Intercollegiate Baseball League championship.

NBA Commissioner Speaks About Activism in Pro Basketball

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a Princeton audience that when a handful of the league’s stars wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups last year, following a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, he appreciated their effort to express their point of view.

“Derrick Rose, I think, was the first player to wear the T-shirt,” Silver said. “Credit to him — he knew exactly what he was doing. He knew how much more effective that would be than making a statement to a reporter after a game.” But Silver cautioned that too many political statements on the court would be “a disservice to the fans, who come to see a basketball game.”

Steve Mills ’81, general manager of the New York Knicks, and Craig Robinson ’83, an ESPN commentator and former college coach, joined Silver for a March 24 discussion of “Political Expression and Activism in Today’s NBA,” moderated by Professor Eddie Glaude *97. The event was sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Department of Athletics. Continue reading

Tiger of the Week: Scott Clemons ’90, Sharing His Passion for Books

Scott Clemons ’90 (Courtesy Scott Clemons)

Scott Clemons ’90 (Courtesy Scott Clemons)

While most students’ bookshelves at Princeton are lined with dog-eared textbooks and hand-me-downs, Scott Clemons ’90 lined his shelves with something a little different: rare books.

Clemons, now president of the Grolier Club in Manhattan, co-organized an exhibition that opened at the club last month titled “Aldus Manutius: A Legacy More Lasting Than Bronze.” Aldus Manutius, who died 500 years ago this year, was a famous scholar-printer of the Italian Renaissance.

Gutenberg may have invented the movable-type printing press, but “anyone who has ever sat in a cafe, or in the bath, with a paperback owes a debt to Aldus and the small, cleanly designed editions of the secular classics he called libelli portatiles, or portable little books,” wrote The New York Times.

“It’s become a cliché to call them the forerunners of the Penguin Classics,” Clemons told the Times. “But the concept of personal reading is in some ways directly traceable to the innovations of Aldus’s portable library.” Continue reading

Names in the News: Cruz ’92 Announces Presidential Run, Author Lee Discusses His Work, and More

Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (U.S. Senate portrait)

Sen. Ted Cruz ’92 (U.S. Senate portrait)

Shortly after midnight on Monday, Texas senator TED CRUZ ’92 announced on Twitter that he is running for president in 2016. He delivered a formal speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. on Monday and is the first candidate to officially enter the race. In an op-ed for CNN, professor of history and public affairs JULIAN ZELIZER analyzed Cruz’s chances by comparing his campaign to that of Barry Goldwater, the Republican senator from Arizona who ran against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Johnson became president after defeating Goldwater, whose extremism “scared off” voters in solidly Republican states and helped Johnson win a landslide victory. MARC FISHER ’80 of The Washington Post also wrote about Cruz in a feature story that includes a look at the candidate’s Princeton years.

Creative writing professor CHANG-RAE LEE spoke at the annual Bookworm Literary Festival in Beijing, where he discussed his latest novel, On Such a Full Sea, with Edward Wong of the New York Times’ Sinosphere Blog. Lee answers questions about the dystopian nature of the novel, which is set in a future where Baltimore has become B-Mor, a city of transplanted Chinese laborers; his research trip to a factory in Shenzhen, China; and the roles that environmental issues and immigration play in his narrative. Continue reading