Around the Water Cooler: Thanksgiving Edition

Published by Timothy J. Walsh on November 24, 2010 at 3:11AM

The Game has ended, and Thanksgiving is here. But even though the fall season is (basically) over, there is still plenty to talk about in Ivy League sports. Three Ancient Eight student-athletes, who put a special emphasis on the “student” half, were honored as Rhodes Scholars; two Ivy men’s soccer teams are making a deep run in the NCAA tournament; Princeton runners impressed at nationals; and football handed out its postseason superlatives. Put down your turkey leg, and join me around the water cooler.

In addition to Harvard’s own Baltazar Zavala, a senior wide receiver on the football team, Dartmouth’s Gabrielle Emanuel and Yale’s William Zeng were chosen as Rhodes Scholars last weekend. Emanuel, who graduated summa cum laude last June, was a rider on the Big Green’s equestrian team and is currently working on a water access and purification program in Mali. Zeng is a member of the Bulldogs’ lightweight crew team and plans to study mathematics and the foundations of computer science at Oxford.

Among the 16 teams left in the NCAA men’s soccer tournament, two of them belong to the Ivy League. After topping Boston College in the first round of the tournament, Brown faced off against UConn last Sunday. The two teams were tied, 1-1, through 120 minutes of action, but the Bears prevailed in penalty kicks, 7-6. On the other side of the bracket, Dartmouth, which had already beaten Monmouth, squared off against Notre Dame. The Big Green and the favored Irish also went into overtime, but a 99th-minute goal from Andrew Olsen sealed the 2-1 win for Dartmouth. Next Sunday Brown faces off against Cal and the Big Green take on UCLA for a chance to play in the quarterfinals.

The cross country season came to a close this past weekend with the men’s and women’s teams from Princeton impressing at the NCAA Championships. The women, who entered the race ranked No. 25 in the nation, took 15th place, and junior Alex Banfich was named an All-American by finishing 20th overall with a time of 20:36. On the men’s side, the Tigers locked up 12th place, the best finish in program history. Two runners also earned All-American status as junior Brian Leung came in 21st (30:19) and classmate Donn Cabral took 34th (30:27).

The Ivy League also announced its All-Ivy teams for football yesterday. League-champion Penn was best represented on the squad, picking up nine first-team honors, and its entire offensive line picked up an all-conference nod. The Quakers had a total of 21 players recognized for their individual achievements on their way to helping Penn earn its second straight undefeated conference record.