May 1, 2008

The Sun Sports Staff Selects the Top 20 Junior Athletes

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Each year, the Sun chooses the top athletes from each class. Below are the 20 best juniors as selected by the members of the Sun’s Sports Department. On Friday, the Sun will reveal its choice for Athlete of the Year.

Jeff Foote — Men’s Basketball

Immediately recognizable around the Hill, Foote is loved as much as for his big man personality as well as his consistently impressive performances. The 7-0 center is not just tall, however—he’s a skilled big man whose enthusiasm, team spirit and passion are always on display on the court for the Red. A transfer from St. Bonaventure, (your loss, Bonnies) Foote competed in his first game in a Cornell uniform in December. A good passer and post player, Foote can also run the court during important transitions. Despite not playing collegiate ball for over two years, Foote has established himself as Newman favorite and consistently makes the clutch plays—whether it’s a put-back, assist or timely block.

Adam Gore — Men’s Basketball

Gore is a 6-0 guard with strong instincts on both sides of the court and the ability to play either guard position. He has good ball-handling skills that complement his passing abilities. This year he made All-Ivy second team, after missing the majority of his sophomore season with a knee injury. Gore averaged just over 10 points per game, with 2 rebounds and 1 assists, while shooting an astounding .929 percent from the free throw stripe — No. 1 in the Ivy League. Gore has also proved himself a high percentage 3-point shooter, ranking second on the team in shooting percentage from behind the arc at .459. Over the course of the Ivy championship season, Gore scored in the double figures 15 times and led the team in scoring five times and in steals 10 times.

Jordan Leen — Wrestling

Cornell’s resident Mr. Wrestling, Leen’s list of accomplishments would be sufficient for an entire varsity team’s. As a junior, Leen was the captain of the Red team that won the Ivy League championship for the sixth time in a row, securing a bid to the NCAAs, where it placed ninth overall. Leen himself won an individual championship at 157 pounds, upsetting three highly-ranked wrestlers on the way, including the No. 1 seed in the semifinals. Leen was also named EIWA Wrester of the Year. He received a first-team All-Ivy nod, the third of his career, following another undefeated Ivy season. Earlier in the year, Leen placed second at the Brute Binghamton Open, followed by individual titles at the Body Bar Invitational and the Reno Tournament of Champions. Leen’s eight major decisions this year was the second-highest total on the team, and his 89 career victories places him in a tie for 17th on Cornell’s all-time wins list. Additionally, Leen is a two-time All-American, three-time NCAA Qualifier and was, in an omen of things to come, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2005.

Steve Anceravage — Wrestling

The second half of the wrestling team’s junior power duo — along with classmate Jordan Leen — Anceravage also has a laundry list of honors. As a sophomore, Anceravage was named to the All-Ivy second team following a 22-6 overall record. He won his EIWA bout at 165 pounds, qualifying in the process for his second-straight NCAA tournament. This year Anceravage moved up a weight class to 174 pounds. Anceravage was a runner up at EIWAs. The All-American also placed sixth at the NCAAs in his third appearance. He was a perfect 5-0 in the Ivies, winning every single match by fall, a record which earned him first-team All-Ivy honors. Anceravage’s 15-match win streak at the beginning of the season saw him carry victories at the Body Bar Invitational and Brute Binghamton Open. He is third on the team in wins, with 35, and set a school record for falls this season, 17, with 28 so far in his career.

Moina Snyder — Women’s Basketball

Students at Cornell hail from all over the country, but Snyder does them one better — the forward’s hometown is Nice, France. The transfer student started making an impact on the Red as soon as she joined the team. After just seven games, Snyder cemented her starting spot, going on to be selected to the Honorable Mention All-Ivy team. She has good ball-handling skills, runs the floor well and has great court sense. This year, Snyder has only been outshot and outscored by classmate Jeomi Maduka. Snyder averaged just under six rebounds a game, with a .489 shooting percentage, an average of 9.1 points per game, 22 steals and a team-leading 30 blocks. Snyder has proved herself to be a threat no matter where she is playing.

Jeomi Maduka — Women’s Basketball

Without a doubt one of the most talented athletes Cornell has seen in a while. Maduka excels at everything she tries. Few athletes have their names featured on the Cornell Athletics website as often as the two-sport star, who has earned All-American honors in both sports. One of the leading scorers and rebounders in the Ivy League as both a sophomore and a junior, Maduka makes her presence known all over the court as a forward for the Red. In track and field, Maduka placed eighth in the 2007 NCAA outdoor track and field championships. She is also a six-time Ivy League Heptagonals champion and was named Performer of the Meet in 2007 for both the indoor and outdoor Heps. In the process, Maduka has helped guide her team to four straight indoor and outdoor Heps team titles. As an example of her many conference honors, Maduka was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for basketball seven times.

Maria Matos — Track

Matos is not someone to be messed with. In three short years, she has established herself as one of the top discus throwers in the Ivy League and in the country. Last year, Matos placed seventh in the Championship of America discus at the Penn Relays. She then won her second Heps title in the discus, followed by a second-place finish at the ECAC championships. This year, Matos has continued to dominate, repeating her successes of last April with a first-place NCAA Regional qualifying performance, as well as a second-place finish in the shot put and a first-place finish in the discus at the Penn Relays. Matos has her eyes set on the championships coming up at the end of the year.

Zach Hine — Track

Hine has grown a lot since his first year on the team, when he was a rookie distance runner unafraid to set a brutally fast pace. Last year, he established himself as the Red’s dependable third-place runner, leading a long-distance squad that dominated the championships. Hine has since become one of Cornell’s go-to guys in the longer-distance races, including the 3,000-, 5,000- and 10,000-meter races.

Garrett Huyler — Track

A solid jumper as a sophomore during the indoor portion of the season, high jumper Huyler really took it to the next level during last year’s indoor Heps. He won his first Heps title in the high jump with a school-record jump of 7-6. The next week, at the IC4As, he placed second, missing the NCAAs by the smallest of margins — one centimeter. This year Huyler matched the school record with a 7-1 jump, earning a NCAA Provis­ional qualifying spot. He then broke the record later this year at the Big Red Invitational, clearing 7-2 1/2.

Brenna Gulotta — Field Hockey

At 5-2, forward Gulotta is not the most imposing field hockey player on the grass. But don’t let her height fool you — she’s one of the most explosive players on the field, especially off the ball with her always-improving stick skills. As a sophomore, Gulotta started all 16 games, finishing the season second on the team in goals and points. She was also named Ivy League Player of the Week, while also garnering two Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors and one Player of the Week award. This year, Gulotta tied for the lead in goals, 5, and points, 14.

Belen Martinez — Field Hockey

Martinez is the field hockey’s defensive ace. As co-captain last year, she was a second-team All-Ivy selection, started all 16 games as a sweeper and was named the team’s defensive Most Valuable Player. Martinez was able to contribute offensively as well, scoring two goals and two assists. As a rookie, Martinez was an integral part of the Red defense, a line that held its opponents to 50 percent fewer shots than it had the year earlier. Martinez earned second-team Regional All-American, as well as second-team All-Ivy honors that season. She was also the third-highest scorer on the team. This year, Martinez tallied 11 points, with three goals and five assists.

Nathan Ford — Football/Baseball

Ford is a spectacular athlete, starring on both the baseball and football fields — and in multiple positions. Last year, Ford was named the baseball team’s Most Valuable Player as a catcher and an infielder. He excelled at both positions equally, racking up an impressive .964 fielding percentage, with six pickoffs on 14 attempts. Ford led the team at the plate with a .338 batting average. This year, he’s only gotten better, posting a team-leading .410 batting average, as well as 59 hits, 28 RBI and an almost-perfect .975 fielding percentage. Ford’s ability as a quarterback is equally impressive, exhibiting prowess in passing as well as general creativity in and out of the pocket. He has so far for his career compiled over 1,400 passing yards and 345 rushing yards, with a combined total of 14 touchdowns.

Tim Bax — Football

The safety from Chicago was honored with an Honorable Mention All-Ivy selection last year. He recorded 57 tackles and a team-leading 7.5 tackles for loss. Coming into the 2007 fall season, Bax was billed as one the league’s top defenders. He also contributed two interceptions, five pass breaks as well as a forced fumble. As a freshman, Bax was first among Ivy rookies in tackles with 50, and received two Ivy League Rookie of the Week selections. This year Bax led the defense with a total of 100 tackles, 26 more than the second-highest tackler.

Zak Dentes — Sprint Football

Dentes, widely acknowledged to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league, is every coach’s dream — a double threat. Not only does Dentes excel for the Red from the QB position, he is also the team’s second-leading rusher. Last year, Dentes’ first on the team, Cornell went undefeated en route to clinching the CSFL title for the first time in 20 years. Dentes connected on 59 of 107 passes for 845 yards. He threw for six touchdowns and averaged just over 140 yards passing per game. He averaged over 31 yards rushing, and scored two touchdowns as well.

Michael Brennan — Sprint Football

Wide receiver Brennan had a banner season in fall 2007, leading the CSFL with 409 receiving yards — 38 more yards than last year’s league leader was able to amass. It is the fifth-highest single-season total by a Red receiver. The Ithaca native is sixth on Cornell’s all-time receiving yards list. Brennan also led the league in receptions, with 32, and was second only to teammate Matt Malleo in all-purpose yards with 632.

Max Seibald — Men’s Lacrosse

This year, the dominant midfielder was named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy, the first Cornell lacrosse member ever to receive such an honor, and was only the fourth second-year player ever to earn the distinction. Seibald was a finalist for the award in 2007 as well, when he was also unanimously named Ivy League Rookie of the Year. Seibald is a two-time All-American, and is consistently ranked among the top players in the nation. He is a stellar team player on offense, where he has scored 23 goals this year, second-most on the team, and accumulated 28 points. He has one of the longest streaks in the nation of games with at least one point.

Matt Moyer — Men’s Lacrosse

Moyer may be one of the nicest guys you’ll meet off the field, but this Red defender is not someone you want to butt heads with on the grass. The team’s top defender, Moyer’s is job to make the big stops, whenever needed. As a sophomore, Moyer started all 16 games, earning honorable mention All-American honors in the backfield for the Red, as well as a second-team Ivy League selection. This year the defenseman, who can play as a long stick midfield in addition to close defender, has racked 29 ground balls.

Wes Newman — Swimming

No one likes to be compared to an older sibling, but for swimmer Newman, it’s pretty impossible. His brother Brad graduated from the team last year — the two often competed against each other at Cornell. The co-captain has had large impact on the team this year, both in leadership and athletic performance. Newman competes in a wide variety of events, including free style races of various distances, freestyle relays, the 200-meter fly, the 200-meter backstroke and both the 200- and 400-meter medley relays. Newman made it to the Olympic Trial Finals in the 100 fly for Canada. Newman’s versatility is on display nearly every time he steps onto the starting blocks. His teammates praise him for leading by example, as well as his determination and intense commitment to his team.

Jimmy Germano — Men’s Rowing Coxswain

Heavyweight coxswain Germano was recruited to come to Cornell as the No. 1-ranked coxswain in the nation. In order to be No. 1, Germano has a special combination of the unique skills used by a coxswain when directing his boat. These include talent, hard work and a deep knowledge and understanding of the sport. Germano’s boat, which held a No. 1 ranking at various points this semester, with multiple individual wins at meets and against various opponents, both unranked and ranked.

Michael Kennedy — Men’s Hockey

Following on the heels of an impressive rookie season, Kennedy returned with even more passion. The forward was a part of the Cornell penalty-killing team last year, matching up skate-for-skate against the opposing team’s top line. He was also an offensive threat, scoring five goals with two assists. This year, Kennedy has only built upon his achievements, doubling his offensive output with a total of 10 goals and 20 assists, third-highest on the team.