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May 9, 2017

The Sun’s 2016-17 Top 25 Senior Athletes

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Each year, The Sun’s sports board names its top 25 senior athletes. Below are the selections for the 2016-17 school year, listed in no particular order.

Rudy Winkler – Track & Field

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Rudy Winkler was named The Sun’s top male senior athlete of the year. Read our feature on him here.

Nia Marshall – Basketball

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Nia Marshall was named The Sun’s top female senior athlete of the year. Read our feature on her here.

Chris Fraser – Football

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You’re not a fan of Cornell football if you don’t know who Chris Fraser is. The potentially-NFL bound punter was the third in Ivy League history to attain first-team All-Ivy each year of his career. The Maryland native was also tapped as Ivy Rookie of the Year his freshman year, and only improved from there. Fraser’s ability to flip the field was priceless for the Red, and his head coach, David Archer ’05, has consistently praised him as a top punter in the country. The All-American has a career long punt of 72 yards, and never had a punt blocked during his four years on East Hill. Though not in a sexy position, Fraser was an integral component to the Cornell football program the past four years.

-Zach Silver

Emma Eldredge – Polo

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While not everyone knows it, the women’s polo team is indisputably one of Cornell’s best. National Champions in 2015 and 2016, and winners of eight regional titles in the last nine years, the team is a force to be reckoned with. Emma Eldredge has been with the team for four years and will depart East Hill as one of the best in recent memory. The daughter of head coach David Eldredge and sister of another former Cornell polo player Kailey Eldredge, Emma continued the Eldredge tradition of success while also making a name for herself. While the Red came up a bit short of another national title this season, Emma’s impact on the program cannot be overstated.

-Charles Cotton

Hanna Bunton – Hockey

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Coming into Cornell as one of the best U18 players in Canada, Hanna Bunton had a lot of expectations to live up to, and that she did. Bunton was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team during her freshman year, scored the game-winning goal in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals against top-seeded Clarkson her sophomore year. Bunton capped off an extraordinary Cornell career with a strong senior campaign. Bunton was named Ivy League Player of the Year and was named to the First-Team All-Ivy Team and the ECAC Hockey Third Team, and for the second straight year, Bunton led the team in points, finishing with 29 this season, capping her career-best of 27 from last season.

-Jamil Rahman

Austin Jamerson – Track & Field

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Austin Jamerson, an Indiana-native, was everywhere on the track for the Cornell men’s track and field team ever since his freshman year and has made an immediate impact for the team. Jamerson has competed in heptathlons during the duration of his Cornell career, placing third in his very first meet. Jamerson placed in fourth place in the decathlon at the Penn Relays his freshman year, and has seen steady improvement in all areas of competition. He won the heptathlon in the Ivy League Indoor Track and Field Championships, in addition to winning first place at Heps for the Decathalon and third place at the IC4A/ECAC Outdoor Track and Field Championships last season. Jamerson is looking to cap off his senior season strong too. Jamerson was named First-Team All Ivy this season as well.

-Jamil Rahman

Gabe Dean – Wrestling

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The most decorated Cornell athlete over the past four years, Gabe Dean has a resume that speaks for itself. Two NCAA championships, four All-American honors, four EIWA titles and four New York state titles are just some of the honors and awards the 184 pound Dean has compiled in his time here. The Lowell, Mich. native — who was a high school state champion in both wrestling and football — put together an overall record of 152-7 with 101 bonus points wins and will be remembered as one of the most dominant collegiate wrestlers in recent history. Dean has also been one of the leaders of the nationally renowned Cornell wrestling program in the locker room and has worked as a mentor for younger wrestlers on the team during his final seasons in addition to his work in the community. While his time at Cornell is just about over, Dean’s next goal is to make the Olympic team in 2020.

-Charles Cotton

Rob Pannullo – Sprint Football/Baseball

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Since his first game in the 2013 season opener, Rob Pannullo has appeared in every sprint football game since his freshman year. Playing a little at wide receiver his freshman year, Pannullo molded himself into the program’s starting quarterback for three years. Pannullo topped off his career with Second-Team All-CSFL honors in 2016, after earning an Honorable Mention All-CSFL the year before. Pannullo showed his athleticism by totaling 2,243 yards in the air over his career, but also 1,138 with his feet. The two-sport athlete also took his talents to the baseball diamond, playing in his junior year as a relief pitcher for Cornell baseball. His stint as a pitcher was good for a win and a save in five appearances, striking out at least one batter in each of those games. As a passer, rusher, receiver and pitcher, Pannullo is a jack-of-all-trades.

-Jack Kantor

Ellie Crowell – Soccer

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The captain was a leader on and off the field for the Cornell women’s soccer team. While she was listed as a midfielder, Ellie Crowell also excelled at the forward position. Crowell came out of the gates strong, ranking third on the team in scoring during her freshman season with 11 points in 15 games. Crowell was named All-Ivy League Honorable Mention her sophomore year after she led the Red in scoring with 14 points, and a team-high six goals and two assists. Her junior year, Crowell led the team in scoring for the second-straight season with nine points, going for four goals and one assist, and was named to the All-Ivy League first team. Crowell capped off her career by being named as a captain during her senior season, and getting All-Ivy League Second Team honors.

-Jamil Rahman

Ignacio Masias – Polo

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Ignacio Masias came to Cornell as one of the best men’s polo players in the world. The Peru-native played for the Peruvian National Polo team and qualified for the FIP World Cups in 2011 and 2014. Masias’ team also won the Peruvian National Polo Tournament in 2010 and 2011. Masias brought talent and shoulder-load expectations with him to Ithaca as an anchor and a regular-starter for the team. Masias capped off his Cornell career leading the Red to a 16-4 record this year, and leading the team on its way to a National Semifinals appearance.

-Jamil Rahman

Catie Smith – Lacrosse

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Women’s lacrosse defender Catie Smith’s year-to-year contributions to the Red cannot be denied. Smith improved considerably in each successive year, including a breakout junior year campaign where she recorded a program-high 41 caused turnovers and led Cornell to one of the top nationally ranked defenses. Her 2016 campaign efforts earned her Third-Team IWLCA All-American, First-Team IWLCA Regional All-American and First-Team All-Ivy honors.

Smith has followed up her breakout season with another stellar year. On the current season, the defender has recorded 39 caused turnovers, 45 ground balls and 41 draw controls to help lead Cornell to a No. 11 national ranking. Smith’s efforts this season have earned her Defender of the Year and First-Team All-Ivy honors. And she is not done yet — the Red recently qualified for the NCAA tournament, and Smith will certainly look to bring Cornell to unprecedented highs in its national bid.

-Josh Zhu

Luke Graboyes – Golf

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The outgoing captain of the golf team, Luke Graboyes has put together quite a career during his stint at Cornell. Wasting no time, Graboyes became a key member of the team beginning with his freshman year. The Watchung, N.J. native finished second on the team with a 75.22 scoring average. As a sophomore, Luke improved upon his freshman results and earned All-Ivy Second Team honors to go along with several top-10 finishes at highly competitive events.

As a junior, Graboyes took another step forward. He led the team in scoring average (73.47) and went on to medal at the 2016 Ivy League Championship — carding the lowest three-day total at the biggest event of the year. The individual title earned Graboyes a spot on the All-Ivy First Team. During his senior year, Graboyes once again led the team in scoring average and finished in the top-five at three more events. Graboyes’ impact on the team, both on and off the course, will certainly be missed.

-Charles Cotton

Victoria Wines – Fencing

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When Victoria Wines compiled an astounding 56-12 epee record during her freshman year, it became quite clear that she would play a prominent role on the Red for years to come. A quick look at Victoria Wines’s accolades reveals just how impactful she has been throughout her career; with a 228-44 overall record in her four years of college, Wines is the only fencer in Cornell history to earn four all-Ivy selections. Wines has not only earned success on the Ivy level, but has also earned national acclaim as one of the most prominent college epee fencers. Her national accolades include a first-team All-American selection in 2015, one gold and three silver medals in the NCAA Northeast Regionals and qualifying for the NCAA championships four consecutive years with a third place finish in 2015.

-Josh Zhu

Colin Sinclair – Tennis

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Fresh off its second-ever Ivy League title, the Cornell men’s tennis team owes much of its success to captain Colin Sinclair. As a player who saw little playing time during his freshman year, Sinclair improved every year to become a staple in the starting lineup. During his breakout junior year, Sinclair went 13-6 in doubles and 11-7 in singles to earn spots in the All-Ivy League First Team for doubles and All-Ivy League Second Team for singles. Sinclair continued his stellar play this season, compiling a 10-6 record in doubles and 16-3 record in singles to once again earn First Team All-Ivy League honors for doubles and Second Team All-Ivy League honors for singles.

-Josh Zhu

Cole Rutherford – Baseball

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After transferring his junior year, Cole Rutherford settled in almost immediately as Cornell baseball’s everyday first baseman and cleanup hitter. Even as a new player for the Red, Rutherford led his team in RBIs (26) and slugging percentage (.516), also posting a team-high .314 batting average in Ivy League play. His performance in 2016 earned him Ivy League Player of the Week honors twice and All-Ivy League Honorable Mention. 2017 was just as good. Rutherford once again was a monster at the plate, with a team-high 33 RBIs, 7 home runs and 29 walks, in addition to an improved batting average (.310) and slugging percentage (.560) across 116 at-bats. Rutherford ranked 66th best in nation for RBIs per game. For his off-the-field efforts, Rutherford earned Academic All-District honors in 2017. Rutherford was a cog in Cornell baseball’s lineup and will be missed come next season.

-Jack Kantor

Katy Weeks – Field Hockey

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Just one of three seniors on the field hockey roster this past season, Katy Weeks put up big numbers. The two-way midfielder finished third on the team in points with 16 (5 G, 6 A), and first in total shots. Over her career, Weeks collected four All-Ivy selection — second-team her first two years, first-team the latter two. But what defined Weeks most was her consistency. She never missed a game her entire career, starting in each and every contest (67 in total). In 2015, she was named Mideast Region All-American Second-Team, and has tallied several academic awards over her career as a student-athlete.

-Zach Silver

Marika Cusick – Tennis

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Marika Cusick has been a staple on the tennis team for four years now and was a driving force behind the team’s uphill journey which culminated in this year’s Ivy League title. After leading the team in singles victories her first two seasons, Cusick earned the No. 1 singles spot for her final two years. As a junior, she earned All-Ivy First Team honors, and her contributions as a senior cannot be overstated. Playing in the top spot, Cusick was one of four players in Cornell’s top-six to finish the season with a .700 or better winning percentage. She won 10 out of her final 11 matches and led the team to its first ever Ivy title. She once again earned All-Ivy First Team honors and was the league’s unanimous selection for Player of the Year.

-Charles Cotton

Brian Realbuto – Wrestling

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Winning 119 of 138 matches across his collegiate career, Brian Realbuto displayed what it meant to be a Cornell wrestler every time he stepped on the mat. Through all four years, he was at the top of his game. At both 157 and 174 pounds, Realbuto earned first-team All-Ivy honors four times and won an EIWA title three times. And with his performance this year, recording a 27-3 record, Realbuto secured his place as a three-time All American (2014, 2015, 2017). While he never won a national title, the four-time NCAA qualifier was ranked as high as No. 2 at 174, and was the number two seed in the 2017 NCAA tournament. Realbuto was a national runner up at 157 his sophomore year.

-Jack Kantor

Alyssa Phelps – Volleyball

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With a large number of accolades heading into her freshman year, setter Alyssa Phelps had high expectations to immediately contribute to the team. And she certainly lived up to those expectations: Phelps started in all 24 matches of her freshman year, recording an outstanding 923 assists to finish the year ranked 14th in Cornell history for assists in a single season. Phelps also showcased her versatile style of play, finishing the season among the team leaders in service aces, blocks and digs.

After her rookie campaign, Phelps locked up the starting setter spot and consistently ranked among the team leaders in aces and blocks. This season, Phelps became the first Cornell player since 2013 to earn Ivy League Player of the Week, and also earned All-Ivy Second Team honors during postseason awards. Phelps has certainly made a mark in Cornell record books in concluding her season: she ranks second all-time in assists (3,181), 19th in Big Red history in digs (718), and 19th in block assists (160).

-Josh Zhu

Victoria Whitworth – Equestrian

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From the start of her riding career with Cornell equestrian, Victoria Whitworth has proven her star quality as a rider. In her freshman year, Whitworth was the Ivy League Champion in Intermediate Flat and was on the Intermediate Flat Zone Team as the third-place rider. Then early on in her sophomore year, she moved up to Open Flat to qualify for the Regional Show, where she mounted an impressive third place finish in the Intermediate Flat. The versatility kept showing in her junior year when she competed in yet another area — Open Fences. Whitworth was the Open Fences regional champion in her junior year. She went back to Open Flat her senior year and was the Reserves Champion in Regionals, and then went on to place fifth in the Zones Championship.

-Jack Kantor

Mitch Gillam – Hockey

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When Andy Illes ’14 departed from Cornell, for a moment it looked as if the once-strong goalie position for men’s hockey would take a hit. But Mitch Gillam stepped into the role gracefully, starting his sophomore to senior season to follow the strong play of his mentor in Illes. Gillam started his time in a Cornell jersey out with a bang, when he notched 24 saves for a victory in his first start, and also famously scored on the opponent’s’ empty net.

By the numbers, Gilliam’s strongest season came as a first year starter his sophomore year, putting up a .941 save percentage along with a 1.59 goals against average — both career lows. But perhaps his most impressive feat came in his junior season, when Gillam amassed a whopping seven total shutouts, including a consecutive 213 minutes, 17 seconds of shutout hockey over the span of four games — good enough for third longest streak in program history, just 18 seconds shorter than Illes in 2011.

-Zach Silver

Rachel Scherman – Squash

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Scherman was a centerpiece of the women’s squash team much of her career. Over the course of her past three seasons, she ranked 33rd, 27th and 28th in the country, respectively. That 27th ranking was the highest on the Red for the year, and it included a run to the semifinals of Holleran (A) Division of the CSA National Individual Championships — she amassed four total trips to individual nationals while at Cornell. As co-captain her senior year, Scherman mainly competed in the No. 2 spot, finishing her career in the quarterfinals of the Holleran West bracket.

-Zach Silver

Daniel O’Neill – Lightweight Rowing

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As team captain for the lightweights his senior year, Dan O’Neill rows in the varsity eight that has gone undefeated so far, currently geared up for championship season. As a sophomore, O’Neill rowed with the varsity eight that won the national championship at the IRA Regatta to culminate an undefeated year. He has also rowed in the varsity eight that won the Jope Cup, Ivy League Championship and the Joseph Wright Trophy by taking the No. 1 overall spot among all varsity eight boats at the 2015 EARC Sprints. At the end of his sophomore season, O’Neill was named first-team All-Ivy, and his varsity eight was named both the EARC and the IRA Lightweight Crew of the Year.

-Zach Silver

Adrian Jones – Track & Field

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Adrian Jones came into Cornell and made an immediate impact for the women’s track and field team. Her freshman year, Jones made it to the finals during both the Indoor and Outdoor ECAC Championships. Not only that, she made it in multiple events — the 60m dash and the 200m — during her freshman, sophomore and junior seasons. Indoors, Jones holds the No. 3 spot all time in Cornell history for the 60m time with a time of 7.47, as well as the No. 2 time in program history for the 200m dash with a mark of 24.18. Outdoors, she is No. 3 all time in the 100m and No. 2 in the 200m with times of 11.71 and 23.81, respectively. In her sophomore year, Jones ran on the 4x100m team that set a new school and Ivy League record with a time of 45.21, and also set a school record in the same event this year with a time of 45.01.

-Jamil Rahman

Dylan Palacio – Wrestling

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In a Cornell wrestling lineup that is perennially stocked with talent, Dylan Palacio still managed to shine during his time with Cornell. Like his fellow teammates Gabe Dean and Brian Realbuto, he too was a four-time NCAA qualifier. Palacio posted an 83-20 record for his career with the Red, including an impressive 14-1 record at the EIWA Championships. He also holds the record for Cornell’s fastest-ever fall at Easterns, pinning his opponent in a mere 15 seconds. Palacio has also earned two-time All-American honors and a pair of EIWA titles in his junior and senior years. At the NCAA tournament, Palacio placed fourth and sixth place at 157 pounds in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

-Jack Kantor

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