On Aug. 25, Princeton football kicked off practice for the 2010 season on campus, at the recently renovated Finney and Campbell fields. But previous generations of Tigers may remember a very different site for August workouts: Blairstown, N.J., near the Delaware Water Gap. The secluded retreat hosted football’s preseason practices from 1949 to 1972, when new coach Bob Casciola ’58 decided to work out on campus to accommodate a larger roster and provide indoor options on rainy days. In 1967, a few years before Blairstown’s final football camp, PAW featured the training locale in the photo essay reprinted below.
From PAW, Nov. 14, 1967
A Blairstown Portfolio
Photographed by George Peterson ’65
The Princeton Summer Camp is located three miles north of Blairstown, New Jersey, not far from the Delaware Water Gap. The Camp is owned by Princeton’s Student Christian Association and financed, independent of the University, by charity.
When the Ivy League’s track and field teams compete at the Outdoor Heptagonals May 8-9 at Princeton’s Weaver Track, the Tiger women will be aiming for a rare trifecta — Ivy titles in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track in the same academic year. The last — and only — women’s team to accomplish that feat also ran for Princeton, in 1980-81. Below, PAW looks back in the archives for its account of that remarkable team, which, like this year’s squad, was coached by Peter Farrell. Farrell, now in his 33rd season, enters the weekend with 24 Ivy track or cross country championships, eight in each season.
Fans of Ivy track and field history also may be interested in Brett Hoover’s HepsTrack.com story about the 1970 Heps, contested during the tumultuous days following the American invasion of Cambodia and the shootings at Kent State University.
From PAW, May 18, 1981
Women’s Track: Ahead of the Pack
By Mark J. Sherman ’83
Much like the people charged with delivering the daily mail, it seems that nothing can keep the swift-footed members of the women’s track team from completing their appointed rounds, way ahead of their competition. Head Coach Peter Farrell’s squad handily defeated two opponents in dual meets, easily won the Ivy meet, and qualified a couple of runners for the national championships.
If this all sounds familiar, it should. In three years as a varsity sport, the team has taken the Ivies all three times. And earlier this year, the Tigers won the first running of the indoor Ivy championships as well as the Ivy cross country title.
But Farrell refuses to rest on his laurels. He is, in his own estimation, one of the few Ivy women’s coaches to recruit actively. The annual influx of talented runners has given Princeton substantial depth, enough to make up for the loss through injury of two key performers this spring. Middle-distance runner Eve Thompson ’82 sat out the entire outdoor season, and hurdler Sari Chang ’84 missed the Ivies, but their teammates kept the Tigers well represented in the score sheets. “We could afford a couple of problem spots here and there, because the trademark of this team is balanced scoring,” says Coach Farrell.
The May 5, 1970, PAW featured an unusual sight on the cover: Nassau Street, closed to traffic “for the first time in memory.” Students and townspeople wandered on the road and rode bicycles April 19, kicking off Princeton’s first Earth Day celebration. Princetonians will be back on the street Saturday, April 24, for Communiversity, Princeton’s annual town-gown festival. Below, PAW’s coverage of the Earth Week events in 1970.
From PAW, May 5, 1970
The University: Earth Day
Earth Day, April 22, was only part of Earth Week at Princeton. On Sunday, April 19, students and townspeople gathered in front of Nassau Hall and spread out for litter clean-up marches in various parts of the campus and community. Two hours later, the debris was dumped near the PJ&B railroad station.
There was also a memorial service for the internal combustion engine, a band concert, and exhibition of 100 wooden panels on which Princeton artists depicted aspects of the environmental crisis. For two hours, Nassau Street was closed to traffic while the crowd sang “This Land is Your Land,” handed out “polluter” awards, watched tricycle races, and looked at displays of “eco-pornography.”
By linking alumni with the University, The Princeton Alumni Weekly aimed to serve both constituencies, as the first editors wrote:
“The only way for colleges to test their work is to raise their heads occasionally from academic introspection, and look about in the world of men. Perhaps they have been doing well by their sons; if so, it is good to know it. Peradventure wrongly; it is better to know that.”
The content that interested alumni then is not altogether different from what interests PAW’s readers today. One of the magazine’s top priorities was to report on endowments and finances, including rates of return for the last 20 years — details that previously had not been made public. The first issue highlighted campus events, including a pair of lectures by former U.S. President Grover Cleveland, then a Princeton resident.
Class news and obituaries held a prominent place in the second half of the magazine. One example, from the Class of 1896 column: “Gordon Johnston, formerly of the Rough Riders, is now a lieutenant of the 43rd Regiment, serving in the Philippines. … Lieut. Johnston distinguished himself for bravery by putting to rout with a small band over a thousand armed Filipinos after a hard day’s work in saving a town from a fire started by the enemy.”
March 23 marks the 35th anniversary of one of Princeton’s brightest basketball moments — the men’s team’s victory over Providence in the championship game of the 1975 National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
Led by captains Armond Hill ’85 and Mickey Steuerer ’76, Princeton went 18-8 in the regular season and won its last nine games, but Penn won the Ivy League, earning a spot to the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers accepted an NIT bid, and while the Quakers made a first-round exit in the NCAAs, coach Pete Carril’s team continued its winning streak, building a following with each successive trip to New York. The championship run was a crowning achievement for Tim van Blommesteyn ’75, left, and Brien O’Neill ’75, who appeared on PAW’s April 15, 1975, cover. Below, read Dan White ’65’s account of Princeton’s improbable postseason.
From PAW, April 15, 1975
‘The Smart Shall Take from the Strong’
Princeton wins the National Invitation Tournament
By Dan White ’65
It was the most unlikely finish of the past decade. Originally picked to win less than half of its games, Princeton’s basketball team went undefeated against its last 13 opponents and captured the National Invitation Tournament championship. In becoming the first Ivy school ever to win a post-season tourney, it triumphed over Holy Cross, South Carolina, Oregon, and Providence. Princeton’s winning streak, currently the longest of any major college, propelled it to 12th place in the national rankings of the Associated Press.
Yet what will be remembered about this season is not so much a single victory (like the upset of South Carolina), or brilliant play (Tim van Blommesteyn racing downcourt with a stolen ball), or frustrating loss (Brown edging Princeton out of the Ivy lead), as the euphoria that caught up everyone, university and town alike, in the end.