Two and a half months after it ended its season on Schoellkopf Field, the football team celebrated its 2002 campaign last Saturday with its annual award dinner. Over 20 Cornellians were individually honored for their contributions on and off the field.
Senior wide receiver Keith Ferguson was the recipient of the Pop Warner Most Valuable Player Award after breaking practically every Cornell receiving record this fall. He is the all-time leader in both receptions and reception yards. He was the seventh Ivy Leaguer to have more than 200 catches (202) and ninth to have more than 2,500 yards (2,569). Ferguson was a Second-Team All-Ivy selection, behind Brown’s Chas Gessner and Harvard’s Carl Morris.
The graduation of kicker Pete Iverson ’02 put a lot of pressure on the shoulders of sophomore place kicker Trevor MacMeekin, but MacMeekin responded well. He made eight of the nine field goals attempted and 17 of 19 PATs. Second on the team in scoring to senior captain Nathan Archer by only one point , MacMeekin was given the Offensive Red Helmet Award for the outstanding offensive player.
His counterpart on defense was classmate Brad Kitlowski. The lineman started all 10 games as an outside linebacker, racking up 82 total tackles, the third highest on the team. He was an All-Ivy honorable mention.
The other starting outside linebacker, sophomore Joel Sussman, received the Charles Colucci Award. This award is given to the underclassman who best contributed to Cornell’s success. Sussman led the team in tackles (90) — he was among the elite in the Ivy League in that category. He also had two fumble recoveries and a pair of blocked kicks — one which helped Cornell beat Towson in double overtime.
Senior quarterback Mick Razzano, who vowed that “you will never see me slide” and kept his word was given the Most Valuable Back Award. Despite a grueling preseason competition between quarterbacks, Razzano emerged as the starter and remained there for all 10 games. His numbers steadily improved throughout the season, when he threw for 302 yards in Week 9 against Dartmouth. He threw for seven touchdowns and was also the fourth-best rusher on the team.
Senior defensive back Vinny Bates was honored with the Jeff Stenstrom Award for his contributions as the Red’s top returnman. Bates holds season and career records in both punt returns and kickoff returns for Cornell.
Archer and classmate Pete Combe both were named “Big Play” Men of the Year Saturday. Archer, the first-team All-Ivy fullback, led the Red in touchdowns and scoring. He also made some crushing blows against opponents as a leading blocker. Combe, who was also elected to the first-team, was among the conference’s best defensive linemen with 16 tackles for a loss that included his nine sacks. He had 63 tackles over the season.
The Dick Shaap Award honoring the freshman of the year was given to linebacker John Nelson, who played in all 10 games and registered 13 tackles.
Senior defensive lineman Jesse Rodriguez, one of the most vocal and animated players on the field for the Red, was appropriately recognized as the Enzo Montemurro Memorial Award winner for leadership.
Senior linebacker Nate Spitler took home the Harvey Sampson Award for his efforts through his four years at Cornell. Spitler, a captain for the past two seasons, followed up last year’s second-team All-Ivy pick with another this year. He was second on the team with tackles (85) and led the team in interceptions (3), including one on the last play of a 10-7 double overtime win against Brown.
Junior center John Megaro won the Sid Roth Award for the most valuable lineman. Sophomore punter Mike Baumgartel won the Doc Kavanagh Training Room Athlete of the Year Award for playing with a partially torn ACL for most of the season. Junior defensive lineman Ryan Lempa, who came back from injury to record 10 tackles, won the Robert Fenton Patterson Award. Junior offensive lineman Dominic Garguile took the Bernie Olin Award, as he competed in every game despite painful bone spurs.
Sophomores Marcus Blanks and Kevin Boothe were considered the most improved players of the year, winning the Monsour Jewelers Award. Blanks, a tail back, was the Red’s leading rusher with 568 yards on 129 carries and was an All-Ivy honorable mention. Boothe was a second-team pick and helped the rushing game as an offensive lineman.
Sophomore Luke Hanset and freshman Cam Marchant received awards for academic achievement. Senior inside linebacker Jarad Madea won the Paul N. Hunt Citizenship Award.
Archived article by Amanda Angel