A little more than two months after a momentous season in the annals of the Cornell football program came to an end, the Red celebrated its successes and bid farewell to its departing seniors Saturday night at its annual awards banquet, held at the Statler Hotel.
A total of 24 awards were handed out by head coach Jim Knowles ’87 and his staff. Senior defensive lineman Ryan Lempa headlined the evening’s program, taking home the Pop Warner Most Valuable Player Award. The team captain, Lempa anchored a defensive line that allowed only 101 rushing yards per game this season, which ranked ninth in the country. It was a drastic improvement over the 205 per game the team allowed in 2003, and a contributing factor to the team’s turnaround.
Junior wide receiver Brian Romney earned the Offensive Red Helmet Award, given to the outstanding player on offense. Romney, a transfer from Snow Junior College in Utah, was an honorable mention All-Ivy selection and hauled in 60 receptions for 760 yards and three touchdowns this season.
The Defensive Red Helmet Award went to senior defensive tackle Mike McGinty, who also contributed to the Red’s league-leading run defense. McGinty led the team in sacks and tackles for a loss.
Senior offensive right tackle Kevin Boothe was awarded the Sid Roth Award as the top down lineman for the second consecutive season. Boothe was a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection for the second straight year, after starting all 10 games this season. Prior to the season, he was ranked as one of the top 25 offensive linemen in the country by ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. He will join classmate Joel Sussman in applying for a fifth year of eligibility due to medical hardship.
Senior captain Brad Kitlowski was the recipient of two awards — the Harvey Sampson Award, for the player who shows the most consistency throughout his career, and the Victor Grohmann Scholar-Athlete Award. Kitlowski is a two-time All-Ivy selection and was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District first team this year. He started all 39 games in his Cornell career, and this season ranked second on the team in tackles (64), forced two fumbles and broke up three passes from the safety position. Kitlowski was a linebacker his first three seasons for the Red, and make the move to strong safety this season in an attempt to utilize his talents in the defensive backfield.
Kitlowski recorded a 3.42 GPA as an economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences. Matt Pollock, a junior defensive tackle, was awarded the Charles Colucci Award, emblematic of the non-senior who contributed the most to the success of the team. After he blocked an extra point to preserve a 21-20 victory over Princeton on Oct. 30, he was named Ivy League special teams player of the week.
Senior captain David Archer was awarded the Enzo Montemurro Award for spirit and leadership, as well as the first-ever Jaime McManamon Award, “for the senior, who through diligence and hard work in the strength and conditioning program was able to significantly improve his performance on the field of play.” McManamon ’07 died in a car accident last May 13.
Archer, an offensive lineman, moved from center to guard, then back to center during the season.
The Stone Travel “Big Play” recipients were junior safety Kevin Rex and senior wide receiver Chad Nice.
Nice also shared the Doc Kavanagh Training Room Athlete of the Year Award with senior defensive back Sean Nassoiy. Nice played much of the season with a separated shoulder after missing all of last year due to injury. Nassoiy, who played several games with a hand injury, also was awarded the Robert Fenton Patterson Award, as “the player who has shown the most improvement in the face of physical or other handicaps.” Nassoiy earned honorable mention All-Ivy honors after missing the last several games of 2003 due to a bout with cancer. He also contributed two key interceptions to the Red’s 32-26 comeback victory at Columbia on Nov. 13.
Senior linebacker Dan Collins was named the Most Valuable Back after ranking third on the team in tackles, recovering a fumble and recording three sacks.
The Paul N. Hunt Citizenship Award was given to senior placekicker Trevor MacMeekin. MacMeekin took a leading role in the team’s Touchdowns for Hope program and is a member of the Red Key Athletic Honorary Society.
Fellow specialist, Mike Baumgartel was the recipient of the Jeff Stenstrom Award, emblematic of the “player who contributes most to the performance of special teams.” Baumgartel was one of the league’s premier punters, setting a school record with 244 punts in his four-year career. He averaged 36.1 yards per punt, and booted two of the four longest punts in Ivy League history.
Senior offensive lineman Tim Doherty and senior safety Nate Tarsi were named the most improved offensive and defensive players, respectively, while freshman wide receiver was awarded the Dick Schaap ’55 Award as the freshman who contributed most to the team.
Michael Boyd, a freshman in the College of Engineering, received the Daniel N. Bondareff Freshman Scholar-Athlete Award.
Archived article by Owen Bochner
Sun Sports Editor