Fall 2016 has been jam-packed with last-minute game-winning goals, shots and touchdowns, amazing upsets and fascinating stories about student-athletes. From Alex Rauter’s penalty shot in Madison Square Garden to Collin Shaw’s touchdown catch in Hamilton, N.Y., Cornell Athletics has had quite an eventful semester, and The Sun covered it all. Let’s look back on 10 of the best stories from this past semester.
The Red knocked off Princeton, a team that ended its season in the top 10 in the country. Junior forward Krysten Mayers’ goal in double overtime sent Cornell to its first victory over the Tigers since 2007. The Red led by two goals early on, but Princeton stormed back to tie it up and force overtime. The women would go on to rank in the top 3 in the Ivy League for the fourth-straight year.
After a scorching hot start to the begin the season, Cornell football faced a telling test three games into the season, traveling to Hamilton, N.Y., to battle No. 25 Colgate. Despite trailing by 23 at one point, the Red staged an improbable comeback, capped off by senior wide receiver Collin Shaw’s acrobatic touchdown with less than a minute left in the game. The win marked the first time since 1950 that Cornell defeated a ranked opponent on the road.
Critical to the win over Colgate and to the team’s vastly improved performance all season was sophomore quarterback Dalton Banks, who was named honorable mention all league in his first year as a the team’s starting quarterback. Despite his inexperience, Banks showed poise in the pocket and helped the team win three more games in 2016 than it did in the past two seasons combined.
With a third place finish at the Quechee Club Collegiate Challenge to combine with a first place spot at the Cornell Invitational, the Red placed in the top three in each of its tournaments to start this season. Led by senior captain Luke Graboyes and junior Christopher Troy, Cornell will aim for the Ivy League title this spring.
Ryan O’Byrne ’07 left Cornell 10 years ago to pursue a career in the NHL. After a decade in professional hockey, O’Byrne returned to Ithaca to finish his degree. “[At Cornell I am] not always on the go [and do] not have that thought in the back of my head that maybe I’ll get traded today, or I had a bad game last night maybe I’ll get sent down. Here they can’t send me down,” O’Byrne joked.
After six subpar years, Cornell Athletics hired Brian Earl with hopes of bringing the men’s basketball team back atop of the Ivy League. Since Earl took over the program, the team has gone through several changes. The first-year head coach takes a starkly different approach to the leading the team than former coach Bill Courtney did. In their personalities and in their on-the-court strategies, the two coaches differ in a myriad of ways.
One of six Cornellians to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Rudy Winkler grew up carrying hay on his family farm near Albany. One of the most successful track and field athletes in Cornell history, the senior donned the red, white and blue this summer to compete in the hammer toss at the Olympics.
In front of a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd, the men’s hockey team took down UNH in late November. New Jersey native Alex Rauter’s penalty shot goal — Cornell’s first since 1987 — gave the Red a two-goal lead, and the squad never looked back. “It’s surreal. It is something special,” Rauter said after the game.
When he’s not locking down opposing teams’ running backs, senior linebacker Jackson Weber can be found writing his senior thesis on the American election process. The government major also interned for Hillary Clinton’s campaign this past summer. As part of our election coverage, The Sun profiled Weber’s political and extracurricular involvement on campus.
Before Michael flew and LeBron James amazed, before Tiger roared and Serena Williams dominated, there was Jon Anderson and a pair of hastily assembled Nike shoes. Anderson was the first athlete to ever win a major sporting event in a pair of Nikes. Anderson, who was a star on the cross country team at Cornell, went on to win the 1971 Boston Marathon and competed in the 1972 Olympics in Munich.