WOMEN’S BASKETBALL is off to a 4-2 start that includes impressive wins over Southern California, Delaware, and Lehigh, and a pair of close losses at Rutgers and No. 22 Vanderbilt. Senior captain Addie Micir was the hero in the Southern Cal game Nov. 26, sinking two free-throws with five seconds remaining to put the Tigers on top, 60-59. She followed that performance with a 20-point game against Vanderbilt and an 18-point effort at Delaware in which she hit six of seven 3-point attempts. Through six games, Micir leads Princeton in 3-pointers (3.8 per game) and ranks second on the team in scoring (13.8 points per game).
Triathletes train for endurance, and longtime pro Karen Smyers ’83 has endured more than most: a bout with thyroid cancer, a collision with an 18-wheel truck, and another accident that nearly severed her hamstring, not to mention the everyday hurdles of preparing to race the daunting Ironman distances – a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.
Smyers, who swam competitively at Princeton, dominated the U.S. women’s triathlon scene in the 1990s and won gold at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii in 1995. In fact, she won two major Ironman titles in a two-week span that year – "perhaps the single most remarkable achievement in the sport to date," according to USA Triathlon, which inducted Smyers into its Hall of Fame in 2008.
This weekend, Smyers returns to Hawaii for what may be her last Ironman as a professional, and in addition to racing her competitors on the course, she is aiming to win the event’s top charity prize by raising money for children and families affected by pediatric brain tumors. She chose her cause to honor Robert Duffy Jr., the late son of a friend and teammate. Through Oct. 5, Smyers had raised nearly $34,000.
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Princeton’s winter teams returned from the January exam break and posted a near-perfect weekend that included big wins for men’s and women’s swimming and a combined 7-0-1 record for the basketball and hockey teams.
MEN’S and WOMEN’S SWIMMING swept Harvard and Yale at the annual H-Y-P meet, held in DeNunzio Pool Jan. 29-30. The Tiger men opened the action Friday night and sealed victory by winning six of the nine races held Saturday. Jon Christensen ’12 won three individual events in the meet. In the women’s competition Saturday night, Meredith Monroe ’12, Courtney Kilkuts ’10, and Alicia Aemisegger ’10 each set school or pool records. Those three also joined Megan Waters ’11 to break the Princeton record in the 200-yard medley relay.
MEN’S BASKETBALL opened Ivy League play with wins at Brown (63-46, Jan. 29) and Yale (58-45, Jan. 30). Douglas Davis ’12 led Princeton in scoring in both games. The Tigers improved to 11-5, including nine wins in their last 10 games.
Winners in winter
For Princeton athletics, the list of 2008-09 Ivy League champions expanded by three during the winter season, with women’s squash, men’s squash, and men’s swimming capturing team titles. The men’s hockey team missed its chance at the Ivy crown but will play for the ECAC Hockey championship — and an automatic bid to the 16-team NCAA Championships — in Albany, N.Y., March 20-21.
Women’s squash had the most impressive run of Princeton’s winter season, winning all 13 of its matches en route to a third consecutive win at the Howe Cup, the sport’s collegiate national championship. The Tigers were dominant at times, winning by a 9-0 or 8-1 score in more than half of their matches. But they also were outstanding when tested. Princeton beat Harvard 5-4 on two occasions — first to wrap up the Ivy title Feb. 8 and then to win the Howe Cup a week later.
In men’s squash, Princeton’s championship was its fourth in four years, an unprecedented feat that highlighted the contributions of senior stars Mauricio Sanchez, Kimlee Wong, and Hesham El Halaby. The Tigers challenged 10-time defending champion Trinity in the national final and lost 5-4 in a contest decided in the fifth game of the ninth match.
The men’s swimming team captured the Ivy title for the third time in four years. The Tigers won the final four events of the championship meet, held March 5-7 at DeNunzio Pool, to extend their lead over second-place Harvard. Doug Lennox ’09 scored wins in the 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly events, shattering his own meet records in both.
The most decorated individual athlete of the winter may be men’s hockey goalie Zane Kalemba ’10, who earned Player of the Year honors from both the Ivy League and ECAC Hockey (as well as Goalie of the Year in ECAC Hockey). Classmate and swimming star Alicia Aemisegger also added to her impressive résumé, earning the Swimmer of the Meet title at the Ivy championships for the third straight year. Aemisegger will compete at the NCAA Championships March 19-21.
Senior thesis spotlight: Cracking the code
With funding from the history department, Kelly Stewart ’09 spent her winter break traveling to libraries and archives in Cuenca, Spain, where the 12th-century law code Stewart is studying for her senior thesis was written.
Stewart is examining the Reconquest period, when Christians regained control of the land from Muslims, and the legal code that was intended to create a more stable, family-oriented society. The Fuero de Cuenca, the code handed down by King Alfonso VIII, was seen meant to represent stability, law, and justice in the region. As “one of the first of its kind,” Stewart noted, it was admired and imitated by Christian settlements in the area.
“What disappoints me is that it’s impossible to know how these laws were enforced,” Stewart said. She is intrigued by some of the trial-by-battle rules, which declare God’s intervention as a deciding factor in a fight to the death, as well as laws that protected women and their honor.
While exploring Cuenca and researching at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid, the Cuenca Provincial Archive, and the Catedral de Cuenca, Stewart was able see architecture from the time period. And at an 800th anniversary event at the Catedral, she saw a page from the original code displayed, written in Castilian.
Some of the most rewarding experiences of her trip were learning to navigate through the old town, walking on its hills, and seeing the cliffs and rivers that mark important geographical boundaries. Cuenca sits perched between two gorges, part of its defense against invaders.
“It really does bring the project to life by seeing it in context,” Stewart said. By Julia Osellame ’09
Above, Kelly Stewart ’09 in Cuenca, Spain. (Photo courtesy Kelly Stewart ’09)
Read other senior thesis spotlights: Chip Snyder ’09 on safari | Adrian Diaz ’09 gets ‘Lost’ | Rosa Marie Maiorella ’09 researches ‘boogie houses’
More from ‘Joker One’ author Campbell ’01
Author and former Marine Lt. Donovan Campbell ’01, featured in the Books and Arts section of PAW’s March 18 issue, spoke about his new memoir, Joker One, with Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air March 5.
Click here to listen to the interview and read an excerpt of Campbell’s book at NPR.org.