May 4, 2005

Top 10 Sophomores

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Now halfway through their collegiate careers, these 10 players have already made their mark on Cornell athletics — and for many of them, on the national stage. Whether from Ontario, Canada, or Irving, Texas, each of these athletes has arrived here in upstate New York and had a profound impact on their respective sports programs. So much for the supposed sophomore jinx.

Randi Bisbano, Gymnastics
The size of Bisbano’s contribution to the gymnastics team does not at all mirror her petite, 4-11 frame. At the USAG Collegiate nationals, she earned All-American status in two separate events for the second straight year — finishing seventh in both the all-around and on the balance beam. She is the first gymnast in Cornell’s history to receive this distinction in more than one event. While her performance at the end of the season was spectacular, Bisbano was solid all year long, as she was named the ECAC Gymnast Athlete of the Week after the very first meet in late January.

Elizabeth Bishop, Volleyball
At the volleyball team’s annual banquet, Bishop was named the team’s most valuable player — and for good reason. She broke five Cornell match and single-season records, including the marks for kills (465) and attempts (1,265) in a season. Her 5.28 kills per game ranked 14th in the nation and shattered her own school record of 4.40 kpg she set in her rookie campaign. For her efforts, Bishop was named to the first team All-Ivy and honorable mention All-Northeast.

Mike Fullowan, Sprint Football
The workhorse of the sprint football team, Fullowan led the CSFL in carries (158) this season. He ran for 564 yards in only six games — scoring six touchdowns in the process. In a victory over Princeton, Fullowan had one of his best games, rushing the ball 28 times for 133 yards and a touchdown. But, more impressively, he also threw a 25-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

Halina Kristalyn, Women’s Hockey
Even though the women’s hockey team was only able to produce three wins in league play, Kristalyn was one of the few bright spots. In 28 games, she scored seven goals and assisted on five others and her 0.25 goals per game average ranked 41st in the league. For her exceptional work on the ice and in the classroom, Kristalyn was named to the ECACHL All-Academic team.

Matt McMonagle, Men’s Lacrosse
The men’s lacrosse goaltender has been one of the key components in the Red’s unbeaten run through the Ivy League this season. With a 7.77 goals against average and a .557 save percentage, McMonagle has compiled a 9-2 record in net, including victories over several highly ranked schools. Over the last three contests, he has allowed fewer than six goals per game, including a 17-4 win over perennial Ivy power Princeton. In the first week of April, McMonagle was named the Tompkins Trust Company / Cornell Athlete of the Week after making 17 saves against Penn.

Dave McKechnie, Men’s Swimming
At the Red’s most important event of the year, the EISL championships, McKechnie came up huge — winning gold medals in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke, along with second-place finishes in the 200 and 400-yard medley relays. He also set school records in all of the aforementioned events this season, and he and the rest of the 400-medley relay squad were named team MVPs at the annual banquet in March. In addition, McKechnie was the co-recipient of the Spirit Award, given to the Cornell swimmer with the most positive energy and enthusiasm.

David McKee, Men’s Hockey
McKee quite possibly had the best season by a goaltender in the history of college hockey. His 1.24 goals against average and .947 save percentage respectively rank first and third all-time and his 10 shutouts broke the ECACHL record. He now has amassed 15 shutouts in just two seasons, which has already broken Ken Dryden’s ’69 Cornell career record of 13. McKee led the Red to a 27-5-3 record this season and ECAC regular season and tournament titles. For his brilliant play between the pipes, he was named a Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick Finalist, a CCM and INCH All-American, and the USCHO Defensive Player of the Year.

Jerry Rinaldi, Wrestling
On almost any other team, Rinaldi would be the best wrestler. But on a Cornell squad that finished fourth at the NCAA championships, a guy that finished 10th in the nation at 197 pounds can be overlooked. But there is no doubting Rinaldi’s impressive performance on the mats this season. In addition to his finish at nationals, he was a unanimous All-Ivy first team selection after ending the season with a 35-10 record and a No. 2 ranking in the EIWA.

Morgan Uceny, Women’s Track
Just two weeks ago, Uceny was named the ECAC Division I Women’s Track Athlete of the Week for her part in the 4X800 relay team that finished first at the Sea Ray Relays and shattered a school record by nearly five seconds. One week later, that same relay squad placed first at the Penn Relays, again resetting the Cornell record. However, while Uceny’s outdoor season has gotten off to a terrific start, her indoor season was one of the best in school history. At the 2005 NCAA Indoor Track and Field championships, Uceny earned All-America honors — the first for a Cornell woman since 2001 — after finishing seventh in the 800-meters. She also qualified for the outdoor NCAA regionals with a fourth-place finish in the 800 at the Sea Ray Relays.

Ivana Zdgaljic, Fencing
During the regular season, Zdgaljic compiled a 33-15 record, while helping the saber squad emerge as one of the strong points of the Cornell team. At the IFA Championships, she was one of three Red fencers to advance to the individual finals. After finishing seventh at the NCAA regional competition the following week, Zdgaljic qualified for the NCAA championships — where she placed 24th in the saber event. She was the only Red fencer at nationals this season.

Archived article by Bryan Pepper
Sun Assistant Sports Editor