December 1, 2006

What a Wonderful Year

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Since today is the first day of the last month of the year, everyone reading this may think of December 1 as merely the beginning of the end of 2006. However, for myself and everyone who works on your favorite college daily, this is our farewell issue for the semester. Finals will come and go, the ball will drop and Rush will start before you see The Sun rise again.

As a senior, the last Cornell anything has been striking a nostalgic chord with me recently. Even yesterday, the fact that it was my last day ever of fall semester classes at Cornell gave me pause. But since I’ve spent the majority of the last two years putting my blood, sweat and tears into the Sports section you’re holding in your own two hands, it’s moments like the last football press conference or the last late night putting out a hockey/basketball supplement that I think I’ll really miss.

On that note, I hope you’ll humor a sad, sappy quasi-journalist and allow me to share some fond athletic memories from the past two semesters.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t be everywhere for everything, so this list is somewhat limited to the sports I was responsible for writing about. But first I’d like to take a second to recognize all the games I missed and wished I hadn’t. That would include the fencing team’s first Ivy win since 1991-91; the men’s tennis team defeating Harvard for the first time since 1960; the lightweight crew rowing away with the national title this summer; and the men’s swimming team winning dual meets against Harvard and Princeton for the first time since the mid-1980s. And of course, what would this list be without the women’s lacrosse defeat of Harvard to clinch a share of its first ever Ivy title, or the sprint football’s overtime win against Navy on its way to an undefeated CFSL season and its first title since 1986? I couldn’t be there, but I got chills proofing the pages bearing those stories from my desk at 139 W. State Street.

Now, without further ado, here are my own personal favorite sports moments from the last calendar year, in no particular order.

Men’s basketball loses to Princeton in double overtime. Some nights are so electric that, win or lose, you remember them long after the last whistle blows. Such was the case of after the matchup of the Red against the Tigers, which was sent to a first and then second overtime when Princeton’s Scott Greenman hit 3-pointers with a second left in each frame. Just as memorable as the action on the court was the shock wave that tore down the press table as the news that Columbia had beaten Penn was passed from ear to ear.

The hockey-wrestling double whammy on March 19. Hmmm, how do you kill time before the men’s hockey team takes the ice for the ECACHL championship game at the Pepsi Arena in Albany, N.Y.? Simple — find a TV and watch then-freshman Troy Nickerson wrestle for the national championship at 133 pounds.

The longest hockey game in Cornell history. If you weren’t watching this game, you don’t deserve your diploma. It wasn’t until the third overtime that Wisconsin finally found a way around David McKee ’07 and sealed a trip to the Frozen Four.

Sure, I was down at The Sun making pages until 4 a.m., but on nights like this it’s hard to complain.

Men’s lacrosse beats Princeton on the road. When these two Ancient Eight rivals clash, it’s always one for the books. The victory on a rainy, dreary day last April set the table for the Red’s fourth consecutive Ivy League championship.

Cornell downs Harvard and Northwestern in one night. My first and possibly my last Cornell-Harvard hockey game — because how could it get any better than scoring two goals in the last five minutes of the game to prove that “Harvard sucks”? By some happy twist of fate, the men’s basketball team beat Northwestern the same night — its first win over a Big Ten team since 1967-68. But the best part was the scene in my living room later that night, as a crowd of screaming, jumping Cornellians clustered in front of my TV to watch the replay of the hockey game.

Football upsets then-No. 23 Albany for its first win of the season. Consider it a lesson learned: anything is possible on Schoellkopf Field. “I just knew we were going to win tonight,” said head coach Jim Knowles ’87 after the game. Let’s just say the game was so exciting, my reenactment of the game for my roommates involved a sequence in which I repeatedly body-slammed our kitchen table.

Volleyball sends Penn packing, 3-1. It wasn’t until the next afternoon, when Cornell swept Princeton, that the Red clinched the Ivy League title. But this was the match I was at, and the raucous crowd and the always-thrilling play made it no less exciting.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Happy holidays, and see you next year for another exciting round of Cornell sports.

Olivia Dwyer is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. Forever Wild will appear every other Friday next semester.