April 29, 2008

The Sun Sports Staff Selects the Year's Top 10 Freshmen Athletes

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Riley Nash — Men’s Ice Hockey
Inclusion on this list will likely take a lower spot on his trophy shelf compared with some of the other noteworthy honors Nash has accumulated this year. The freshman was named to the College Hockey News All-Rookie Team, and was honored as the ECAC Rookie of the Year as well as Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Nash collected 32 points on the season — the most by a freshman since Kyle Knopp’s 33 from the 1995-96 season — with 12 goals and 20 assists. He finished only one point behind team scoring leader sophomore Colin Greening. The forward showed a penchant for the insurance goal when he scored empty-net goals in back-to-back games against Yale and Brown on Nov. 9 and 10. Nash also excelled in postseason play, contributing six points — five assists and one goal — during the Red’s run to the ECAC Hockey semifinals.
Mickey Brodsky — Baseball
Brodsky was a bright spot in a disappointing (12-27, 6-14 Ivy) losing season for the baseball team. He was recruited primarily as a pitcher, but demonstrated a lethal eye at the plate as the season wore on and became the regular first-baseman. A native Californian, Brodsky hit .336 with four home runs and 21 RBIs while starting 38 of the team’s 39 games. One of Brodsky’s best qualities as a hitter is his patience; while his batting average was second on the team, his .477 on-base percentage led the team. In one game against LeMoyne, Brodsky drew four walks and was hit by a pitch, and ultimately scored three of the Red’s five runs.[img_assist|nid=30311|title=Top 10 Freshmen|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Ali Tomlinson – Softball
Tomlinson currently sports a 15-4 record and a 3.08 ERA, but as impressive as those numbers are, the real signs of her success lie in her peripheral stats. Tomlinson has pitched all seven innings for 15 of the 19 games she’s started, a total of 125 innings on the season — good for second most on the team behind senior pitcher Jenn Meunier’s 145 1/3. Despite throwing fewer innings, however, the hard-throwing hurler has notched a team-leading 118 strikeouts — 13 more than Meunier. During the team’s 20-game winning streak, Tomlinson collected nine victories and was named Ivy League Pitcher of the Week after a three-win week against Columbia and Syracuse. She was also Ivy League Rookie of the Week during the week of May 25.
Libby Johnson – Women’s Lacrosse
On a team overflowing with senior talent, Libby Johnson managed to force her way into a starting spot and play a pivotal role on the offense. Until last weekend, Johnson was leading the team in scoring during Ivy contests: she had collected 12 goals and six assists in six games and was finding net on 80 percent of her shots. In the Red’s 17-9 rout of Brown, Johnson scored five goals and handed out three helpers to lead the Red offense.
Rebecca Johnston – Women’s Hockey
Johnston is another rookie icer who has already received plenty of attention in her freshman campaign. She was named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, first team all-conference — Johnston is the first Cornell player to win either recognition — and Ivy League Rookie of the Year following a team-leading, 32-point season. Even more impressive, Johnston was selected to the Canadian National Team, which lost to the United States team in the gold-medal match of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Women’s Championship.
Maddie Pearsall – Gymnastics
Another ECAC Rookie of the Year, Pearsall became the first Red gymnast since Sonya Negriff in 1998 to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. In the NCAA Northeast Regionals at Penn St., Pearsall finished 12th in the all-around with a 38.425 score. Pearsall’s best event in the Regionals was the balance beam, where she scored a 9.750.
Max Constant – Men’s Polo
Polo runs in the Constant family blood, apparently, as Max is the brother of junior women’s polo standout Ariana Constant. Constant was an offensive threat in every game the Red played. He scored 10 goals in the last regular season win over Tea Brook, 12 goals in a victory over UConn, four in the semifinal upset over UVA and four in the Red’s season-ending loss to Texas A&M during the national finals. Constant was also named to the all-tournament team.
Lena Russomagno – Women’s Soccer
After an outstanding freshman campaign, Russomagno was named one of the captains for the upcoming 2008 season. She led the team in the 2007 season with six goals and two assists for 14 points. She showed a penchant for coming through in the clutch, too, adding two game-winning performances to her year’s accomplishments.
Mike Grey – Wrestling
The 133-pounder wrapped up his season with a 42-9 record, and went 3-1 in the EIWA tournament, placing third and securing an automatic NCAA bid. A No. 7 seed, Grey finished in sixth place at the NCAA Championships, recording four wins and three losses — an All-American performance. The freshman led his team in wins, with 42, including a team-high 15 wins earned by major decision. Unsurprisingly, the Ivy honors quickly rolled in, with Grey earning All-Ivy recognition, as well as being named Rookie of the Year. During a hotly-contested match with Penn, Grey cemented the Red’s victory with a 14-7 win by decision, a match in which Grey registered six takedowns.
Mack Lewnes — Wrestling The dominant Lewnes starting turning heads the moment he hit the mat this season, beginning his rookie career with a 12-match win streak that included individual titles at the Brute Binghamton Open and the Body Bar Invitational, as well as first place finishes at the Reno Tournament of Champions and the Southern Scuffle. In the EIWAs Lewnes went undefeated, winning the individual title at 165 pounds, as well as earning an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. In the championships, Lewnes was the only freshmen to advance to the semifinals, ultimately placing fourth, earning All-American honors. He is second on the team in wins, with 36, as well as pins, with 13. Lewnes was also named EIWA Freshman of the Year.