Sometimes we forget, especially during March Madness, that there are other national championships going on in collegiate athletics as well. And if you suggested Cornell had one of its finest weekends ever - you'd be right. But not just for men's basketball!
It was the absolute pinnacle of Big Red athletics, consider:
Cornell's Men's Hockey - Last weekend Cornell took home a league-best 12th ECAC Hockey championship allowing just a single goal in 4 games in the ECAC tourney. Incredible! Tournament MVP, goaltender Ben Scrivens, was unconscious as Big Red won three straight games by a score of 3-0 behind Scrivens record-setting play. Incredibly he may have just been the second best Cornell goalkeeper on the weekend.
This weekend : NCAA Tournament play begins with Cornell hosting New Hampshire and RIT/Denver. A monster weekend as the Big Red try to reach the Frozen Four.
Cornell's Women's Hockey - The Women's team had a historic season that looked certain to end in the national semi-finals against the nation's best team, perennial powerhouse Mercyhurst. Cornell had never beaten Mercyhurst in their history (0-11-1). Of course, Big Red was not to be stopped and Catherine White stunned Mercyhurst with an overtime winner as the Lakers ended their season at 30-3-3.
That sent the Big Red to the Finals against #2 seed Minnesota-Duluth in a game (shown on CBS College Sports) that will go down as one of the greatest finals in college history. (I was watching it online and it was indeed - EPIC!) After nearly 6 periods of electrifying hockey including almost 3 overtimes, Minnesota-Duluth scored a wild goal with just 33.6 seconds left in the third OT. With bodies flying everywhere, a shot from the point was tipped in by Jessica Wong past Amanda Mazzotta to claim the championship. Sophomore goaltender Mazzotta was sensational, repeatedly robbing Minnesota-Duluth throughout the game and overtime as she chalked up an NCAA record 61 saves. It seemed Cornell was destined to win, what with their Men's Basketball team having just finished their improbable upset hours earlier. But it wasn't to be.
While it was a disappointing loss, when you consider that this team had never won a playoff game, let alone a series - the season was an incredible success in particular for a progam that is just five years old.
Cornell Men's Wrestling - Freshman Kyle Dake was crowned NCAA champion at 141 lbs. as Cornell had a total of 4 All-Americans and finished 2nd in the nation. Mack Lewnes finished second, Cam Simaz was third while Troy Nickerson took fourth place. The second place showing was Cornell's highest ever. Dake, the Cornell rookie, was the first true freshman to win a national title in five years. An incredible season topped with an excellent showing in particular by wonderkid Kyle Dake.
Cornell Men's Basketball - Then you may have heard the Men's Basketball team electrified the campus and the nation by not just upsetting but pounding Temple and then Wisconsin to setup Thursday's epic showdown against Kentucky.
This Thursday : It is Big Red against Big Blue! Can Cornell continue their incredible run with a colossal upset of the #1 seeded Wildcats?
And will Cornell continue to weave their magic and reach the Frozen Four?!
The Cornell fan base is primed and ready for another great weekend. So before you count out Big Red against the Wildcats - remember there is some serious magic going on in Ithaca these days!
Your predictions for Thursday's epic showdown? And don't forget to watch online at MMOD and on CBS.