June 4, 2010

Men’s Varsity 8 Crew Notches Best IRA Finish Since ’94; Nathan Taylor Still the Man

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Best Men Afloat

The men’s heavyweight Varsity 8 crew rowed to a third-place finish at the 108th annual IRA Regatta today on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J., matching its best finish since 1994. The Red took home the bronze medal behind top-ranked Cal and Washington with a time of 5:30.356, and crossed the line just in front of Harvard, which bested Cornell earlier in the season at the Cayuga Lake Inlet.

All four Red boats raced in the Grand Finals at IRAs, with the Open 4+ boat beating the field by nearly five seconds to earn the gold medal. Meanwhile, the Freshman 8 and Second Varsity 8 crews rounded out the day’s performances with a fourth- and fifth-place finish, respectively.

Mack Attack

Rising senior Mack Lewnes, who was named one of the Sun’s top 20 junior athletes, finished second at the University World Team Trials last weekend. Lewnes defeated three opponents en route to winning the mini-tournament, but fell to eventual champion Quinton Wright of Penn State in a best-of-three series.

Lewnes won the first match against Wright, but the Penn State wrestler rebounded to win the next two and take the championship at 185 pounds.

Guess Who’s Back, Back Again

Former standout Gretchen Gregg ’08 has returned to help coach the women’s basketball team for the upcoming 2010-11 season.

“I am excited Gretchen has come back to Cornell,” said head coach Dayna Smith in a statement. “She was an important player on our first Ivy League championship team. She played with passion and fire during her days at Cornell and I look forward to her bringing that same passion to the sidelines.”

Gregg comes back to the Hill following a stint with the Lehigh women’s basketball program, where she helped the Mountain Hawks to back-to-back Patriot League championships and NCAA tournament appearances. During the 2009-10 season, Lehigh established a new school and Patriot League record for wins with 29. (Sound familiar?).

Working closely with the team’s guards, Gregg’s tutelage contributed to Lehigh leading the Patriot League with a 34.6 3-point percentage and 5.9 3-pointers made per game in 2008-09. Thanks largely to Alex Ross, the Mountain Hawks also broke the school record for 3-pointers made in a season with 196.

Cornell sports devotees will recall that last winter, Kevin App ’07 returned to help coach the men’s basketball team to an unprecedented 2009-10 campaign.

‘Track’ of All Trades

The track and field teams enjoyed a successful three days at the first round of NCAAs in Greensboro, N.C., last weekend, with three women advancing to the Finals in Eugene, Ore. Senior Stephanie Pancoast earned a third-place finish in her heat (ninth overall) to book her second straight trip to the NCAA Finals with a time of 10:30.63 in the 3000 steeplechase. This comes after Pancoast sat out the beginning of the outdoor season with an injury.

Also qualifying were freshman Victoria Imbesi (javelin) and junior Kim Standridge (800 m).

Here’s to You, Coach

Speaking of track, men’s head coach Nathan Taylor has been named the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Northeast Region Men’s Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive season.

The award, which is voted upon by the nation’s coaches, comes after Taylor led the Red to an Ivy League-record eighth consecutive Outdoor Heps title in May.

Not Your Typical Graduation Ceremony

For the second straight year, the men’s ultimate frisbee team competed in the national championship tournament in Madison, Wis., over Memorial Day weekend. The Buds finished third overall in the field of 20 teams from all over the nation.

The governing body of U.S. Ultimate actually rated the Bud’s 17-16 victory over Michigan in the quarterfinals as the best game of the tournament, with the top play of the tournament belonging to senior Daniel Campbell.

Writes Scott Butler, a friend of the program: “Once again, Buds seniors elected to miss Cornell graduation to play with their comrades in Nationals and, once again, the team, parents and friends enjoyed an impromptu graduation ceremony on the field following a semifinal loss to eventual tournament winner Florida.”

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Original Author: Alex Kuczynski-Brown