It is Friday night and Schoellkopf Field lies empty now. The wind ruffles a few patches of turf. The stands shudder in the winter downpour, longing to be inside a dome. A lone man attempts to jog up the steps, only to trip and fall midway through.
But where is the Sprint Football team? Enjoying a delicious three-course meal at the Statler, of course. The reason? To celebrate yet another successfully completed season and to honor those that have served them most. Pastas, chicken, salad and fruits graced each players’ table.
Following the feast, head coach Terry Cullen and his compadres introduced a comedy/awards show that rivaled the ESPYs. Each award presentation was peppered with quotes from the graduating seniors.
The first title to be given out was the Hunt Citizenship Award for the player who exemplified the quality of a model citizen and student athlete. For the third year in a row, senior Imad Baggar took home the trophy.
Senior David Minami concluded a brilliant career at wideout by winning the A.L Morris Sportsmanship Award for coming to practice everyday and trying hard while allowing others to play in front of himself.
Soon afterwards, the first shots of the night were delivered by team co–manager Jessica Barns: “The problem is that God gives men both a brain and a penis, but only enough blood to work one at a time.”
After a bit of laughter, senior cornerback Bo Sangosanya countered with two quotes of his own: “Women might fake orgasms, but men can fake whole relationships.” And perhaps more poigniantly, “Honesty is the key to relationships. If you can fake that, you’re in.”
Meanwhile three more awards were handed out. Junior Pat Arangio received the Tamaguy Trainer’s Award for “persistence, devotion to the team in spite of injury, and playing through pain.”
Seniors Jeremy Kipling and Zach Iscol received the Most Improved Player Awards. Kipling was described by the coaches as “the first one to figure out that whatever it is, you don’t make alibis. Just say coach, I f***ed up.” Iscol was a three-year offensive lineman for the Big Red, successfully making the transition from wide receiver.
“We worked hard as a line, and we worked well as a team,” Iscol commented.
Seniors Bo Sangosanya and tri-captain Jon Krautmann picked up their first awards in the form of the Baldini, a plaque given to seniors whose loyalty to the team is shown throughout practices and games. The coaches described Krautmann, one of the most feared players on the field, as, “pound for pound, the toughest guy we’ve ever seen.”
The Rick Casselman Award for “unselfish play and dedication” was given to offensive lineman Aaron Sweeney and tight-end Sam Walcott. Walcott has been praised by many for revolutionizing the tight-end position, making downfield blocks like no other had done before.
The Lieutenant Sussman MVP Award was given to one player on both sides of the ball. On offense, senior tri-captain Andrew Goodman was given the honor, having led the Red to its most offensive production in two years. Defensively, Baggar was the man, having played a stellar season not only at strong safety, but also as a kickoff return man.
Baggar picked up his third award of the night soon after — receiving a game ball for the team’s victory over Princeton. Sangosanya was awarded with the second game ball for the team’s other victory over Princeton. In that game, Sangosanya recorded an interception and a blocked punt while shutting down the Princeton receivers.
The Sprint Football All-League team was also announced. The Cornell defense placed six members, while the offense had five. Honorable mention placement was given to Walcott and Palmieri. Arangio, Sangosanya, Goodman and Iscol were named to the second team, while Baggar, Krautmann, junior defensive lineman Alex Chen, Sweeney, and freshman kicker Evan Andrews all earned first-team recognition.
Finally, the crowd reached a feverish pitch as the captains for next year were announced.
“The captains run the team,” Cullen said. “They make the decisions, I just enforce them. It’s a tough job.” Before unveiling the new captains, current tri-captains Krautmann, Goodman, and Baggar thanked the players for sticking through the “tough, long season.” They thanked the trainers for keeping them healthy and the coaches for “coaching and teaching [them], and giving [them] the opportunity to continue to play football.”
Next year’s captains will be linebacker Palmieri, defensive back Martin Vogel, and wide receiver Sunil Gupta.
Cullen concluded the show with a few words of his own: “This was a very very young team. I feel strongly about this league and this program. This year’s was one of the most competitive leagues I’ve ever seen. Pennsylvania won the title, and we almost beat them. We had a very good football team this year. We couldn’t score points, but we do what we can do. I enjoyed it. It has been a good year.”
And thus closed another chapter of Cornell Sprint Football. Words cannot express how much the defense will miss Jon Krautmann, Imad Baggar, and Bo Sangosanya among others. The best defense in the league shut down many a high octane offense. Losing the entire offensive line will make it difficult for an offense that only began to pick up steam at the end of the season. But with the maturation of quarterbacks Ryan Dwyer and Michael Antonecchia, and the leadership of the new captains, who knows, next year might be The Year.
Archived article by Sumeet Sarin