May 5, 2006

Top 25 Senior Athletes

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The following 25 athletes have been the cream of the crop on the fields, courts, mats, rinks, pools and tracks here at Cornell. With Slope Day upon us – marking the final official day of classes for this group – The Sun looks back at their outstanding and sometimes breathtaking accomplishments.

*Denotes finalist for Sun Senior Athlete of the Year award

*Kevin Boothe, Football

2006 Sun Senior Athlete of the Year. See accompanying story for more about Boothe.

*Joe Boulukos, Men’s Lacrosse

Going into tonight’s game at Hobart, Boulukos, who is a co-captain for the No. 3 men’s lacrosse team, is third on the team in goals, assists, and points. The Huntington, N.Y., native and preseason first-team All-America selection is also on a list of 23 players who are nominees for the 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy, which is lacrosse’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. In the Red’s 16-6 win over Yale on March 25, the midfielder became the 31st player in Cornell history to tally 100 career points – currently he has 121. In his sophomore season, Boulukos was an honorable mention All-America selection after tallying 30 points, and then improved his junior year, notching 43 points en route to a spot on the All-America second team. Included in those 43 points were seven goals and an assist in the Red’s first victory over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome since 1987. In both 2003 and 2004, Boulukos was a first-team All-Ivy pick. Later this month, he will lead the Red into its third straight NCAA tournament appearance.

Jessica Brookman, Women’s Swimming

Although the women’s swimming team finished eighth at the Ivy championships in late February, Brookman shined in the pool, as she won the 100-yard butterfly in 55.44, breaking her own school record of 56.12, which she swam at the same event one year prior. The time also qualified the Rocky Hill, Conn., native for the U.S. national championship meet, where she swam to a 33rd-place finish. At the event, Brookman also placed 27th in the 100-yard backstroke and 48th in the 200-yard individual medley. Brookman also set new school records in the 200-yard fly and the 200-yard IM at the Ivy championships. In her junior year, Brookman captured the 100-yard freestyle title, with a time of 52.19, good enough for fourth place on the all-time Cornell list, and placed fourth in the 100 fly.

Stefano Caprara, Men’s Swimming

Brookman wasn’t the only swimmer to compete at the national level, as Caprara joined junior Mike Smit at the 2006 NCAA championships at Georgia Tech in late March. At the event, Caprara earned top-25 finishes in both of his event – the 100-yard and 200-yard backstroke. The meet ended an illustrious career for the team’s co-captain, who leaves Cornell with three individual school records and was a part of three more relay records. In his freshman campaign, Caprara earned the most points for the Red at the EISL championships, while garnering second most his sophomore season. At this year’s event, he helped the Red to a fourth-place finish by finishing second in the 200 backstroke.

Shannon Caron, Women’s Crew

On a team chock full of youth, it was Caron’s leadership that has helped carry the women’s crew this season. This season, the rower from Victor, N.Y., led the team to a 15th place finish at the Princeton Chase. In her sophomore season, the varsity eight had its best finish in recent years at the EAWRC Sprints, earning fourth place.

Lenny Collins, Men’s Basketball

Although Collins could never bring Cornell basketball to the Big Dance, he was an instrumental part in bringing the program back to respectability. In his four years, the Red has never finished with a worse overall or conference record than the previous year, which includes back-to-back 8-6 conference marks the past two seasons – the first time Cornell has finished over .500 in league play in consecutive seasons since the 1986-87 and 1987-88 campaigns. Collins led the way in those seasons, both on the court and with his leadership abilities. In his junior season, the San Juan Capistrano, Calif., native scored a team-high 13.3 points en route to a first-team All-Ivy selection. This past season the tri-captain scored 12.6 points per game on his way to second team All-Ivy honors. He led all Ivy rookies in the 2002-03 season, with 8.2 points per game, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per contest, earning him the Ivy League’s Rookie of the Year award. He continued his maturation in his sophomore campaign with 10.3 points per game and a team-high 52 steals. Collins was also named to the ESPN The Magazine’s Academic All-America third team this past season.

Rocky Collis, Baseball

Collis, a co-captain for the baseball team, came to Cornell with high expectations, and met them in his freshman season, going 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 47 innings. That season Collis made six starts, including a complete game, in 11 appearances, striking out 36 batters. Despite the strong debut, Collis took a step back the following season, mostly because of a nagging injury which sidelined him by mid-April. However, the right-hander, native bounced back in a strong way in his junior season, as his paper-thin 3.14 ERA helped the Red to its first ever Gehrig Division crown and earned him a honorable mention All-Ivy nod. This season, Collis was again solid, as he posted a 3-3 record in nine stars with a team-high four complete games and 53 1/3 innings pitched.

Jamie Greubel, Women’s Track

Greubel has had four years to master the endurance tests that are the heptathalon and pentathalon events, but she only needed one, as she won her first Heptagonal pentathalon title at the outdoor championships her freshman year. At the Heps outdoor meet her junior year, she claimed another title in the heptathalon, and placed second in the event at the ECAC meet, earning All-East honors and setting a school record. To cap off her last indoor season, she claimed the pentathalon title at Heps and bettered her school record with 3,890 points, breaking a school record she had set earlier in the season. She knocked down another of her school records on March 27 at the UC-Irvine Collegiate Classic, when she gathered 5,439 points en route to the heptathalon title and a NCAA-provisional qualifying mark.

Derek Haswell, Men’s Lacrosse

Haswell is one of the true success stories in all of Cornell sports. After watching his brother walk on to the team and find success, Derek decided to take the same path. And despite playing in just five games in his first two seasons, the Skaneateles, N.Y., native has come on like gangbusters recently, and is now the second-leading scorer on the third-ranked team in the nation. His progression began last season, when he notched 26 points on 19 goals, including two game-winners, and seven assists. He also showed his knack for stepping up in big games last year, as he tallied four goals in the Red’s 16-14 win over the Orange. This season he has continued his progress, notching 22 goals and 14 assists in 11 games.

Sheeba Ibidunni, Women’s Track

Spectators quickly learned to stand back when Ibidunni steps up for her turn in the field events. In her junior season, she started setting records in the weight throw, hammer throw and shot put, and hasn’t let up since. She set a school record in the 20-pound weight throw at the indoor Heptagonal meet in 2005, winning the Ivy title with a throw of 59-8 1/2, and continued to have her way with Ancient Eight opponents outdoors, winning the shot put crown with a throw of 45-8 and finishing second in the hammer. At the ECAC meet, she earned All-East honors in both hammer and shot put, muscling her way into the top-5 of all-time throws at Cornell. She also competed in the NCAA Regionals, taking 14th in the shot put. She cemented her spot atop the league in 2006, taking home the shot put crown with a heave of 47-0 3/4 and capturing the weight throw title as well. At ECAC indoor championships, Ibidunni repeated as All-East in the shot put. She holds the school record in the weight throw, setting the standard with a 62-10 performance at the Upstate Challenge this past season. The transition to the outdoor season hasn’t slowed Ibidunni one bit, as she broke the school record in the hammer throw on April 16 with an NCAA Regional-qualifiying heave of 179-3.

Kara Ishikawa, Women’s Soccer

Despite winning just two Ivy League games in as many seasons to close her career, Ishikawa had some impressive numbers through that stretch, tallying 11 goals, including three game-winners, and three assists in 31 games to pace the Red over the past two campaigns. For her efforts, the Mililani, Hawaii, native and co-captain nabbed her second straight second-team All-Ivy selection in early November. For her career, Ishikawa tallied 17 goals and eight assists.

*Kelly Kramer, Volleyball

It all came together for the volleyball team this season, as the Red made its second-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2005. It was a long time coming for Kramer, the team’s libero and co-captain. On a team full of stars, Kramer did the dirty work this season and earned herself a second-team All-Ivy selection after becoming Cornell’s all-time digs leader with 1,342 in her illustrious career. Yet Kramer’s junior season may have been even more impressive, as she collected school records for digs in a season (468) and digs per game (5.09), including 36 against Yale, tying the school record for digs in a match. That season, Kramer was a key component for the Red, as her leadership and guidance was a big part of the Red’s share of the Ivy crown under then first-year head coach Dietre Collins.

Ryan Kuhn – Football

Under head coach Jim Knowles ’87, the football team has experienced a renaissance over the past two seasons – which would not have happened without the play of Kuhn. Despite seeing limited action in his first two seasons, the New Fairfield, Conn., native had a solid junior season, as he split time with incumbent D.J. Busch ’05. That season he completed 54-of-105 passes for 615 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions. However, it was Kuhn’s feet which provided a spark for the Red offense this season, as he and sophomore Luke Siwula became the second combination in Ivy history to each rush for 1,000 yards. Kuhn, who was a first-team All-Ivy pick, became the first quarterback in Ancient Eight history to run and throw for over 1,000 yards, while he also rushed for 100 yards in five games, the most ever by a quarterback in a single season. For the season, he compiled a 5.0 yards per carry average to go with 12 rushing touchdowns, while he threw for six touchdowns, completing 96-of-179 passes.

*Dustin Manotti, Wrestling

Over the past two seasons, the wrestling team has finished in the top-5 at the NCAA national championships. This feat obviously requires a very strong team – which Manotti has been a big part of not just these past two years, but also for his career. With his third-place finish at this year’s NCAAs, the tri-captain joined former teammate Travis Lee ’05 as the only two Ivy League wrestlers to be four-time All-Americans. Manotti burst onto the national scene right away, as he parlayed his stellar league season, which concluded with him winning Ivy Rookie of the Year honors, into an eighth-place finish at nationals. Over the next two years, the Mifflinburg, Pa., native went a combined 73-11, earning All-Ivy second-team honors each year. This season, Manotti moved up to the 157-pound weight class, but the move had no adverse affect, as he went 31-5 on the season, ending his career with 133 wins, which is good enough for third on Cornell’s all-time list. Manotti ended his career with a stellar performance at this year’s NCAAs, as he shook off an opening round loss and barreled through the wrestlebacks with five straight wins to earn a third-place finish.

Joe Mazzurco, Wrestling

Another key to the wrestling team’s recent success is Mazzurco, a two-time All-American performer. This season the tri-captain from Mahopac, N.Y., went 26-5 in the 184-pound weight class, bringing his career record to 112-26. The 112 wins rank fifth on Cornell’s all-time list. Mazzurco’s 2005-06 season culminated with a fifth-place finish at the national tournament. It was his second straight fifth-place finish at the event, as he took the honor at 174 pounds a season ago. Despite his recent success, Mazzurco had to bounce back from injuries early in his career. While he showed signs of what was to come his freshman campaign, going 14-6, he was derailed with an injury the next season, and had to use his redshirt year. However, he came back with a big way in 2003-04, as he made his first NCAA appearance, inevitably falling to the No. 11 seed.

Brett McKeon, Men’s Tennis

McKeon has led the way for the men’s tennis team over the past two years, taking on the best of the competition at the No. 1 singles spot. In his junior season, he posted a 14-16 record in singles competition, and was an even 12-12 in doubles play. This year, he helped Cornell to a 10-10 record overall in dual matches, including a 2-5 mark against Ancient Eight opponents, and led the Red as high as No. 66 in the national rankings. During the Ivy League season, McKeon went 6-3 on his own, and earned a 2-5 mark in doubles play. In his final campaign with the Red, he helped break a 45-year losing streak against Harvard, taking both his singles and doubles matches en route to a 5-2 win over the Crimson. In another Ivy matchup, McKeon scored the only singles win on the day for Cornell by upsetting then-No. 66 Dan Hanegby in the No. 1 singles matchup.

*Matt Moulson, Men’s Hockey

He was the most recognizable name on the most popular team at Cornell. Moulson, the men’s hockey team captain, ended up in the Frozen Four in a rookie season in which he netted 13 goals and 10 assists, including Cornell’s first hat trick in four years in a win over Dartmouth. It was a sign of great things to come, as Moulson improved in his second season, pacing the Red in points with 18 goals and 17 assists, earning him an honorable mention All-ECACHL nod. His best effort that season came at Harvard, as the Mississauga, Ontario, native torched the Crimson for a hat trick and an assist. Moulson again led the Red his junior season, accumulating 42 points, including the 100th of his career, on 22 goals and 20 assists. He ended the season in ninth place in the nation with 12 power-play goals. This season, Moulson’s career almost came full circle, as the Red was just one goal short of another Frozen Four appearance. However, this could not sour Moulson’s season, as he again led the team in scoring and again finished in ninth place in the country with 11 power-play scores, leading to a spot on the All-ECACHL second team.

Meghan Phair, Fencing

Phair brought unprecedented success to the Cornell fencing program, slashing her way through the record books in her four years fighting epee for the Red. She reached new heights for Cornell in her freshman year, following up a first-team All-Ivy rookie campaign by finishing sixth at the NCAA championships and becoming the first Red fencer in 26 years to earn All-American honors. The honors continued with a second team All-Ivy selection her sophomore season, a top finish at NCAA Regionals, and a fourth-place finish at the national championships, good for a second consecutive All-American honor. By these impossible standards, Phair’s junior year was slightly off-key, as she fell to ninth place at the NCAA Regionals and failed to qualify for the national tournament. However, she returned to top form in her final tour, earning second team All-Ivy honors and leading the Red to its first win against an Ivy opponent in over a decade with a 3-0 performance against Brown at the Ivy championships. She earned a final trip to nationals with a fourth-place finish at Regionals, and capped off her career with a 17th-place finish in national tourament.

Matt Pollack, Football

While his classmate Kevin Boothe was garnering all the headlines on the offensive side, Pollack was being a beast on the defensive side of the ball, wrecking havoc for quarterbacks and other ball carriers. This season, the first-team All-Ivy defensive tackle made 36 stops, including 7 1/2 for a loss, had 1 1/2 sacks and recovered two fumbles, as part of a defense that allowed teams to rush for just 88.3 yards per game. These numbers came a year after the Fulton, N.Y., native burst onto the scene in 2004, when he recorded 31 tackles, three pass deflections and one forced fumble. Yet it was Pollack’s intangibles that made him a star in his junior campaign, as he notched two blocked kicks, one of which was an extra-point block to preserve a 21-20 win over Princeton. Pollack’s athleticism did not go unnoticed – in fact, wrestling head coach Rob Koll scooped him up to wrestle a few matches at heavyweight this past season.

Kristin Rayhack, Women’s Swimming

Rayhack, a diver for the women’s swimming team, ended her successful career with a pair of fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Zone A Diving championships on March 16. Last season at the same event, Rayhack placed fifth in the 3-meter dive and and sixth in the 1-meter. This followed up a strong performance at the Ivy championships, where the Tampa, Fla., native placed fourth and third in the 1- and 3-meter events, respectively. Yet it was Rayhack’s sophomore season when she shined at the championships, as she was named the diving MVP after finishing first in the 3-meter event and third in the 1-meter dive.

Kevin Rex, Football

Like Pollack, Rex was a key component to the Red’s stingy defense this season, as the run-stopping safety led the team with 95 tackles, including 10 1/2 for a loss, with two sacks, two interceptions and four passes broken up, to earn himself a spot on the All-Ivy first team. The fiery tri-captain and Thousand Oaks, Calif., native had a nose for the ball all season long, as he notched four games with double-digit tackles. In his junior season, Rex earned second-team All-Ivy honors after leading the team in tackles (86) and forced fumbles (four). For his career, Rex tallied 206 tackles, five sacks and four interceptions.

Maggie Fava, Women’s Lacrosse

After earning the starting sport in goal her sophomore year, Fava has steadily improved to the point that she ranks among the nation’s best netminders in her final campaign. The goaltender anchored No. 10 Cornell to a share of its first-ever Ancient Eight title in her final campaign, and her 6.86 goals against average ranks second in the nation. Her GAA and .553 save percentage lead the Ivy League, and her save percentage is fifth in the nation. Fava was named the Ivy League’s Defensive Player of the Week on April 24 after helping the Red to wins over No. 17 Syracuse and Yale. She saw action in eight games her rookie season, and started the final 13 games of the season in her second year, finishing with a 10.54 GAA an .455 save percentage. In her junior campaign, she settled in at the net, starting 12 games and finishing with double-digit saves in four contests.

Matt Serediak, Men’s Squash

In his rookie campaign, Serediak rose to No. 12 in the nation, the highest ranking ever at the time for a Red squashers. He earned first-team All-Ivy honors and was selected to the All-American second team for his first-year performance, then repeated as All-Ivy after playing at the No. 1 spot his sophomore season. In 2005, he returned to the nation’s elite, finishing the season ranked No. 20 in the nation and earning second-team All-American accolades. In his final season, Serediak earned All-Ivy honors for a third time after helping the Red claim the Hoehn Division Cup at the CSA team national championships and advancing to the second round of the individual national championships.

Kuda Wekwete, Men’s Soccer

Wekwete has been a silver lining on an otherwise cloudy program over the past three seasons. This year, he led the Red with five goals, including the game-winner in a surprising upset at then-No. 18 Penn. In fact, the West Orange, N.J., native scored the game-winner in each of the Red’s three games, earning himself a spot on the All-Ivy second team. This year was a breakout one for Wekwete, who entering this season had just one career goal.

Heather Young, Volleyball

Young finishes her time at Cornell with a pair of second-team All-Ivy honors to go with a pair of Ivy League titles, including sole possession of first place and a bid to the NCAA tournament in 2005. After finishing second in the league with 1.38 blocks per game her junior season, she led the Ivies with 1.44 blocks per contest. She ranks first all-time at Cornell in block assists, finishing with 332 in her career, including a school-record 123 in her final season. With 113 career service aces – including 40 her freshman year – she ranks in the top-10 in program history in yet another statistical category, and holds the No. 3 all-time spot at Cornell in total career blocks with 370.

Archived article by Chris Mascaro
Sun Senior Writer