November 17, 2000

Winter Sports Have Come Out of Hibernation

Print More

So there you have it. The complete look at 11 different sports and 15 different teams. Everything we know about everything that falls into the category of wintery and sporty.

Yet there’s something to be said about these sports that you won’t find specifically spelled out in any of these pages. Things on the East Hill are changing.

When I came here my freshman year, it seemed the only winter sports worth watching were men’s hockey and wrestling. I watched my beat, wrestling, tie for an Ivy title by grabbing the all-important tie with Penn at home. I saw the men’s hockey team, in its final season with Kyle Knopp, get pushed around by bigger teams in the ECAC.

Last year things began to improve, as we saw the Big Red post a 163-115-3 record overall in the winter months, its best winning percentage of any sports season. But the problem was our heroes in the winter sports managed only a .280 winning percentage in the Ivies, by far the worst numbers for any season.

Men’s hockey improved, wrestling was consistently good (despite dropping the Ivy title to Penn), but that’s not where the greatest leaps and bounds were made.

The indoor track team had a phenomenal season. The men’s squash team posted a winning record. Gymnastics reported record-breaking scores on a seemingly weekly basis. And most impressively, winter marked the beginning of a spectacular campaign for the national champion women’s polo team and NCAA runner-up men’s polo team, the very groups you see featured prominently on the front of this supplement.

All around improvement to be sure, even if the Ivy numbers weren’t there to back that up.

This year, it appears Cornell is poised to take one step further. The men’s basketball team that limped to the worst record in the Ivies seems poised (once again) to turn it around. The women’s basketball team has bounced back from devastating injuries. Equestrian improved continuously last year, and should continue that trend. Both polo teams are once again staring at the possibility of NCAA championships. The squash teams, with their new courts in the Reis tennis center, look to be stronger in overall and Ivy play than ever before. The women’s ice hockey team, led by Danielle Bilodeau, appears to be headed back in the right direction. Indoor track is strong again, and swimming appears to be improving. And wrestling, well, you’re not a top-20 team year in and year out for no reason at all.

The point of all this? There’s not a single weekend this winter where you shouldn’t be able to find a Cornell team with potential competing somewhere on the East Hill, and competing legitimately.

Not just showing up, as it used to, but now competing with the top teams in the league week in and week out.

Make no mistake my fellow Cornellians, winter sports are back, and they are stronger than ever.

So get out and see something. Go to a squash contest, watch a wrestling match, or find out what Lynah looks like when it’s inhabited by the women’s ice hockey team.

One thing is for certain, Cornell sports are in a transition. But, if you, my fellow Cornellians, don’t pay attention to the transition, you just might miss it.

Archived article by Charles Persons