July 18, 2002

Hail, All Hail Cornell

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Welcome Class of 2006 to Cornell University, one of the eight prestigious Ivy League schools. All through high school you had your eyes set on one or many of the Ivies. And why shouldn’t you? The Ivy League represents some of the most academically challenging, selective, and respected colleges and universities in the United States if not the world.

Ironic isn’t it that the Ivy League began as an athletic conference.

Yes, it only by coincidence that those eight schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton and Yale represent the most elite schools in the country.

However, few know that these world-class institutions are accompanied by world-class athletics departments, and Cornell is no exception. That is why when U.S. News and World Report named the top-20 sports programs last year it was no surprise that Cornell was on the list, joining Harvard, Brown, Princeton and Dartmouth.

Cornell offers the second-most varsity sports, 36, of Division I schools, all of which are covered in The Sun. Some athletes have competed at the highest levels of athletics whether you consider those to be the Olympics, World Cup, NHL or NFL.

Travis Mayer and Hannah Hardaway, two freestyle skiers at the Salt Lake Olympics, are Cornell products, although they probably didn’t perfect their moves at Greek Peak. Mayer, a sophmore, won the silver medal, while Hardaway finished just out of medal contention in fifth place.

Meanwhile Cornellians also found success at the E Center. Joe Nieuwendyk and Dana Antal both won gold medals for the men’s and women’s Canadian hockey teams.

Things back in Ithaca also went well this past year. The men’s hockey and lacrosse teams both announced their returns to national prominence. Both teams fought their way to quarterfinal appearances in the NCAA tournaments.

The women’s volleyball, lacrosse, and basketball teams had their best seasons in school history with the lacrosse team reaching the Final Four.

The women’s track team swept through the Ivies in all three of its seasons. And the women’s polo team three-peated as national champions.

Yes, it is a good time to be a Big Red fan. But to share a secret, it has always been a good time to be a Big Red fan.

Pop Warner 1894, Dick Schaap ’55, Ed Marinaro ’72, and Ken Dryden ’69 all grace the walls of the Hall of Fame room in Schoellkopf Hall. The national championship trophy from the first NCAA tournament in men’s lacrosse is hidden in the lax office. The banner from the only undefeated-untied season ever in NCAA hockey history hangs from the rafters in Lynah Rink.

Cornell is the only school to have winning records against Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State (of course none of those teams will ever be able to exact revenge since Cornell is safely in the ranks of D I-AA football).

Or more recently, Tony Kornheiser, anchor of the ESPN show Pardon the Interruption, decorated the set with a Cornell football helmet.

Nothing infuses the campus with school pride such as a routing of No. 1 Syracuse on the lacrosse field or welcoming the Crimson hockey team with a shower of fish and a good harassing

Going to a game, whether it is for football, soccer, volleyball or hockey allows the student body to partake in Cornell school spirit. These teams unite the campus as we cheer on our classmates, acquaintances and friends as they lead our alma mater into friendly tilts against Dartmouth and Columbia or not-so-friendly battles against Harvard or Penn.

Skeptics have sounded the death toll of the student-athlete, but he or she is alive and well at Cornell. When you watch a match, meet, or game on the Hill you will see your peers engaged in the purest form of sport in one of the few forums unblemished by corruption, scandal, and commercialization.

No where is passion for sport as prevalent as in the Ivy League and Cornell. It oozes from the players and the fans alike. So attend a football or hockey game. Stop by Oxley Equestrian Center for a chukker of a polo game. If Cornell wins, celebrate. If not, we’ll get them next time. But for the time being enjoy the solidarity of cheering together for our school.

Lift the chorus

Speed it onward

Loud our praises tell

Hail to the our alma mater

Hail, all hail, Cornell.

Archived article by Amanda Angel