April 28, 2004

Remembering Senior Athletes

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After two weeks of phone tag and e-mails, former editor Scott Jones and I finally met up for lunch yesterday. Ever since I joined the paper, Scott’s been a mentor to me. He’s the reason why my columns are funny. He’s the reason why I was assistant sports editor (although it was Alex Fineman ’03 who made me sign my name). Anyway, it was just great to see Scott again in person because I had an amazing story to tell him, and he’s graduating soon.

Speaking of amazing stories and college glory days, next week the sports kids will breakdown the top athletes by class. It’s a list based mostly on stats, and always strives to collectively include every team. And it’ll be all wrong. Not every athlete contributes to the stats sheet, but there are plenty who have helped their teams to glory. So with that in mind, here’s the stories of six seniors you can’t miss. They may not make the final Sun lists, but they’re top athletes in this fan’s mind.

Mick Razzano — Football

While most had forgotten about the football season before it even began, I’ll never forget the guy who refused to slide when scrambling out of the pocket. This senior QB will forever be remembered for his head-first dive into the end zone during the team’s first — and only — win of the season. After that, things seemed to take a turn for the worse for the Red, but you wouldn’t know it by the way Mick took the field. He exuded confidence, and always brought his game face.

So what makes Mick so great? He’d do anything for his teammates, including play through excruciating pain. I’ll never forget the look on Mick’s face during the post-game press conference at Princeton. Sweaty, pale, wincing — he looked like half the man he was just a week ago. He looked like he should have been hospitalized, not playing football.

Sure enough, the week later, Mick was benched. It turned out he had been playing with an abdominal tear. While he may not have racked up the ‘W’s, he gets the ‘T’ for toughness in my book.

Neil Morrissey — Football

For sticking to wideouts like glue, and his interception at Yale alone, I could stick Neil on this list. But there’s more.

Neil was a guy who was motivated by a friend this season. You see, last year, this friend passed away from cancer. Since then, Neil’s worked hard to rehab from his 2002 season-ending ankle injury, and set up the Touchdowns for Hope foundation to raise money to fight cancer. And in a way, that alone makes us all winners.

Tim DeBlois — Lacrosse

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Tim earlier in the season for an interview. He told me all about how he was recruited by both Princeton and Cornell. How he came to Cornell, and loved his four years, but really wanted one thing this year — to beat Princeton.

Last Saturday Tim DeBlois did exactly that, as he led a Cornell defense that knocked off Princeton in Princeton. Now Cornell controls its own fate, and with a win over Brown this Saturday can return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.

Throw in personal injury and the death of a teammate and great friend, and I’d say DeBlois has more than earned his captain’s ‘C’ this season.

Andrew Collins — Lacrosse

Rodney Dangerfield may have popularized the phrase “I get no respect,” but Andrew Collins lives it. Last year, Cornell’s leading points man failed to make any of the national awards lists. Still, Collins gives his all on the field, day in and day out. Cornell’s offense runs through this guy like beer runs through my Uncle Sal.

And if you haven’t seen him play — my God — get out of bed this Saturday and go to the team’s game against Brown. The 1999 Rams may have been the greatest show on turf, but — when hot — Collins and company are arguably the next best thing. And did I mention it’s supposed to be 70