March 11, 2002
Fencers Falter at Northeast Regionals
| March 11, 2002
The fencing team suffered a disappointing afternoon yesterday, failing to qualify anyone for the NCAA Championships. This inability means that the Red’s season is over, rather than continuing for another week, as it would have if fencers had qualified for the next step.
Of the foil fencers, Tara Hatami finished highest, coming in 22nd place. Tara Watkins placed 28th and Rachel Lee rounded out the squad with a 34th place finish. The epee squad managed some higher results, with junior Siobhan Cully capturing seventh place, Stephanie Glaser in 10th and Patricia Blumenauer coming in 12th.
In addition, Cully’s finish was the highest among Cornell fencers on all three squads. It should be mentioned that while she did not qualify for the automatic bid, as the third at large selection in the Northeast Region, Cully still has a slight chance to get an at large bid to the championships which will be released on Thursday.
In saber, Elinor Granzow finished 16th and Erin Conroy finished 30th.
“It was a tough, tough day,” head coach Al Peters candidly remarked. “We had hoped to qualify someone. Obviously Siobhan was the closest and we had a few others but nobody else was really close.” However, qualifying for the NCAA’s is extremely difficult. In the past six years, only six Cornellians have done so, two of them last year.
As Peters put it, “Some people fenced well, others not as well as they would have liked. If you qualify today you’re basically automatically one of the top 24 fencers in the country.”
The Red began the day filled with hope. Although undoubtedly disappointed by their 10th-place finish the previous week at the IFA Championships, the match was seen as an extremely rigorous day that would only prepare them that much better for this weekend’s more important event.
The Red also has veterans like Blumenauer, Elinor Granzow and Cully, who had qualified for the NCAA’s before. Expectations ran high that one or several of the fencers would finish high enough at the Regionals. The meet is one of many factors which, combined with previous results and strength of schedule, yields a mathematical composite that determines who qualifies for the NCAA championships.
Archived article by Andrew Bernie
We are an independent, student newspaper. Help keep us reporting with a tax-deductible donation to the Cornell Sun Alumni Association, a non-profit dedicated to aiding The Sun.
March 12, 2002
Safety school!” “I’m blind, I’m deaf, I wanna be a ref!” “Screw BU, Harvard too!” Such are the sounds at Lynah Rink on hockey night. Yes, it’s fun to yell cheers and insulting phrases at opposing teams, but praise and passion for the Red hockey team is empty without an understanding of where this team has been, what it has experienced, and where it stands now in relation to its history. Now, as the team records triumph after triumph, garnering national media attention, you may be tempted to jump on the bandwagon. Sure you can call yourself a fan, but to gain a full appreciation for Cornell hockey, you must first realize the program’s difficult start, its rise to national recognition in the late 1960s, and its subsequent fall, from which it is finally beginning to recover. During the first half of the twentieth century, the Cornell hockey team began well but eventually skated into trouble. In 1897, a group of students tried to start a club hockey team but failed miserably, having no coach, no facilities, and no money. In 1900, however, a hockey club was formed and coached by G. A. Smith, who went undefeated in his first and only season. The team itself went undefeated in three of its first four seasons, and when it established its first permanent coach in Talbot Hunter, won its first Intercollegiate League Championship. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this feat was that every game was played on the road. But after this early success, the team only recorded five winning seasons over the next 36 years. Reasons for this slump included the horrible conditions on Cornell’s home ice, Beebe Lake, and the difficulty in preparing the team for its usually road-heavy schedule. The Cornell hockey team learned how to skate on Beebe Lake, perhaps not the best of locales. Perhaps former team member Dave Cutting described it best, as related in Good Sports: “It was primitive hockey during my time and compared to the luxurious conditions at Lynah Rink, laughable.” He goes on to describe how the rink was bordered by three inch wooden walls against which players would pack snow to cushion the blows from rampant checks. The ice would also crack from time to time, carrying away parts of the boundary. Many teams were not willing to come to Beebe to play, and so Cornell was forced to play much of its schedule on the road. But over the next few years, the team underwent a face-lift. A new coach was hired, Cornell joined the Ivy League, and in 1957, Lynah Rink was built. Now with a difficult past behind it, and a solid foundation to build on, the Red was ready to take on the nation. New head coach Paul Patten was a highly qualified coach who brought discipline, a hearty spirit, and an extensive knowledge of the game to Ithaca. He utilized his many recruiting connections to bring in a highly talented class. In its first three seasons under Patten’s reign, Cornell went 9-42-2, allowing double digit goals 18 times, including an 18-0 bashing at the hands of Harvard. However, as a testament to Patten’s ability, the team about-faced in its next three seasons, going 29-26-6 without giving up even one double-digit loss. To complete the impressive turnaround, on February 3, 1962, Cornell upset Harvard 2-1 at Lynah Rink for the first time in 50 years and eight tries — a period over which the team had been outscored 86-8. The bumbling team in Carnellian and White that had been jeered at in opposing rinks was finally coming into its own. In 1963, Cornell brought in a new coach to take it to a new level. Using his ability to get the most out of his players, Ned Harkness forged one of the greatest dynasties in college hockey history. It was a team that not only recorded impressive stats but also brought together a great number of big names. Under Harkness, Cornell had four straight NCAA Final Four appearances and won two national championships. The dynasty’s most remarkable achievement occurred during the 1969-1970 season when it recorded the only undefeated, untied season in the history of college hockey. On top of such success, the team picked up four ECAC titles and five Ivy League titles. During his tenure, Harkness recorded one of the highest winning percentages in NCAA history at 85.4%. Ned also brought in some of the greatest players Cornell has ever seen, including Ken Dryden, Cornell’s first NHL draftee, Harry Orr, Brian Cornell and the Ferguson brothers – Doug and Dave. Dryden’s class included Cornell’s first batch of All-American selections. But the golden days of titles and winning records could not last forever, as Harkness left Cornell to coach in the NHL in 1970. Over the next 25 years, the Red reached only two Final Fours, zero National Championships and three ECAC titles. For a team used to competing on a national stage, this success rate was not enough. Double-digit loss seasons were recorded for the first time in 10 years, and the team never again recorded over 10 wins in the Ivy League. But in 1995, the athletic department introduced Mike Schafer ’86 as head coach and the men in Red responded immediately, picking up two straight ECAC titles. The team recently won another ECAC title and is primed to make a run at the national championship. In 102 years of hockey, Cornell has had two major upswings and two major downswings. With the leadership of Schafer and strong recruiting classes, the Red is ready for another upswing into national prominence. So with an understanding of where this team came from — playing on Beebe Lake with wooden boards that float away, to two national championships, to its current rebuilding period — perhaps the passion in your “Screw BU” will be a little deeper. Archived article by Sumeet Sarin
March 12, 2002
Coming off an Ivy League championship season, the Red has an almost completely new look around the field. Some old staples and young talent should make for an interesting combination as head coach Dick Blood attempts to find just the right ingredients for that title mix. The strength of two returning starters on the mound will provide consistency, while a few positions around the horn remain up for the taking. The outfield is a melange of question marks and may be the biggest uncertainty surrounding Cornell’s squad. So let’s make the general particular, and get this show on the road: Pitchers With the departure of All-Ivy League second-team pitcher Nicole Zitarelli ’01, there will be questions surrounding the Red’s pitching staff. Fortunately, the squad boasts two battle-tested sophomore hurlers who can ably fill the void left by “Z.” Second year player Sarah Sterman will be the ace of the staff. As a rookie last season, there were times when Sterman was the best pitcher on the team. The power pitcher from Geneva, N.Y. compiled a 14-7 record in her inaugural campaign and posted a sterling 1.84 ERA. Most impressively, she had an extraordinary strikeout-to-walk ratio (4:1) which was an indication that last season was not a fluke. Sterman’s classmate, Nicole LePera, will be the second half of Cornell’s pitching tandem. LePera did not see much action early last season because of mechanical problems in her delivery. However, once she corrected her errors, she was arguably the team’s best pitcher down the stretch. She won all five of her decisions last season, including a 5-3 victory at Harvard in the year-end playoff series which catapulted the Red into the NCAA Tournament. Blood believes that both players have the tools to succeed. “They both have a three to five pitch arsenal with very good control,” he said. Junior Kristen Hricenak and freshman Alyssa Brune may also see time as spot starters or relievers. Hricenak did not pitch last season but has ample experience, having thrown every inning for her former high school team. Brune’s action may be more sporadic and will ultimately depend on the team’s performance. Catchers Co-captains and seniors Christina Trout and Annette Sheppard should share most of the time behind the plate. Their leadership on the field will be key in bringing together an otherwise eclectic defensive line-up for the Red. Trout is a rally starter and gets hits when called upon in the fourth to sixth hitting positions. She hit just under .300 last year (.295) and will be expected to drive in important runs for the Red once again this season. She also has soft hands behind the plate and should not allow many passed balls from her sophomore battery mates. Sheppard is a free swinger who had 50 total bases last season in just over 100 at-bats. She will most likely land somewhere between the five through seven slots in the lineup. She also has a gun for an arm and will prevent her opponents from getting free bases without a fight. First year phenom Melissa Heintz, standing 6’1, will add an extra flare at the two position and is lauded by Blood as a future defensive star. “[Sheppard] has always had the strongest arm in the league, but now it could well be Heintz,” said Blood, “she has a hose for an arm and can throw out just about anyone from her knees.” The true challenge for the untested rookie will be how quickly she can find her comfort level behind the plate and perform up to expectations. Sophomore Melissa Cannon will also add depth to the position and will be called upon as a defensive replacement. First Base When not pitching, Hricenak will most often get the call at first base while providing power at the plate. Hricenak is currently second on the Red’s all-time home run list and boasts a .521 career slugging percentage. Junior Drew Martin will also see time at first and provides defensive stability at the position. She is a very capable first baseman and will be crucial to the Red as a defensive replacement in final inning situations. Second Base Second base provides a smorgasbord of potential starters ranging from rookies to seasoned veterans. “Our recruiting strategy this year was to bring in four or five righthanders who could play three positions on the infield,” mused Blood. That strategy has paid off as the Red now have three legitimate first year contenders fighting for a home at second. Those include Billie Boles, Lindsey Crumbaugh, and Erin Kizer. Boles provides speed on the base paths, while Crumbaugh and Kizer provide pop at the plate. Senior Julie Staub returns and will surely battle for her position coming off her 26 starts last season. Martin could also see time at second if called upon to do so. “There will be a lot of competition,” summed up Blood, “and basically whoever hits will play the most innings because all of them are capable defensive players.” Third Base The hot corner is sophomore Sandra Alvarez’s for the taking. Alvarez saw limited action last year, starting in only nine games her rookie campaign, but is being called upon by Blood to make an impact on this year’s title run. She can provide a consistent bat at the plate if given the chance (nine total bases in 28 plate appearances) and has shown signs of defensive stability in the field. “If she can catch the ball she’ll play,” said Blood of his second year player, “it’s as simple as that.” Kizer may also see time at third base, should Alvarez’s fielding falter. However, the freshman is a natural second basemen and will see the most action there. Shortstop Another potential great for the Red will fill the hole at shortstop this season. Rookie Lauren May is a flat out exciting player. She has good range, a strong arm and can provide highlight reel performances in the field. Maybe the only question surrounding May is whether or not she can maintain her consistency at the plate. “She’s taken the position by storm and will allow Kate Varde to play her natural position in the outfield,” commented Blood. Boles will share the majority of innings with May at short and could step into a starting role if May lacks offensive potency for any amount of time. Outfield The outfield, which features two first-team All-Ivy performers, will undoubtedly be the strength of the team. Despite the loss of team leader and All-Ivy second-teamer Charlotte Brombach ’01, the Red will rely heavily on the outfielders for offensive production and defensive stability. Sophomore Kate Varde headlines the group and will make the switch from shortstop to patrol center field, the position vacated by Brombach. In addition to her All-Ivy honors last season, Varde was the league’s Rookie of the Year. Originally recruited to East Hill for basketball, she unexpectedly became a star for the softball team. She led the squad in batting average (.333), slugging percentage (.695), runs scored (36), and hits (48). In addition, she led the Ivies in home runs (14) and broke the university’s single season record in that category. Classmate and All-Ivy standout Erin Sweeney will play alongside Varde. Sweeney, a speedster, was the catalyst of numerous Cornell rallies last season. In her first collegiate year, she batted .313 and led the team with a .428 on-base percentage. She was also the squad’s best baserunner, leading the Red with seven stolen bases. Surprisingly, she also showed a great deal of power, b
elting six homers and driving in 17 runs. Two other sophomores, Melissa Cannon and Leah deRiel will also see plenty of time in the outfield. Cannon, the Red’s most versatile player, batted .295 last season, smashed five home runs, and drove in 24 runs. Like Sweeney, she also has the ability to snag a base, as she was 6-6 in stolen base attempts last season. DeRiel saw limited action last year but will definitely see a boost in playing time this year. In just 21 at-bats, she had 11 hits, which included three round-trippers and three doubles. “I didn’t start her. I must be an idiot,” Blood said after analyzing deRiel’s stats. The final member of the outfield corps is senior Shara Freeman. Freeman will primarily be used as a late-inning defensive replacement. More importantly, she will be a guiding force for the multitude of underclassmen on a fairly young Cornell squad.Archived article by Scott Jones