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Cornell men’s lacrosse coach Connor Buczek with the late Richie Moran

ITHACA, NY -- Despite dropping a 14-11 decision to Yale in the Ivy League tournament over the weekend, the Cornell men's lacrosse team will live to fight another day. It was announced on Sunday that the Big Red would host Ohio State in the NCAA tournament.

There is little argument that Cornell (11-4) belongs in the field after a stellar season during which the Big Red took down the University of Albany, Ohio State, Penn State, Yale, Harvard, Syracuse and Princeton.

There was another justified announcement made recently, as Connor Buczek was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year after leading his alma mater to a share of its 30th Ivy title. Buczek becomes the first Cornell coach to win the award since it was initiated in 2015, and I can tell you that the man in whose name Buczek's coaching position is endowed (he is the Richard M. Moran Head Coach of Men's Lacrosse at Cornell University) would agree that Connor deserves this recognition. Richie told me many times that he was entirely pleased with the decision to hire Buczek (a Cornell class of '15 All-American and one of the program's all-time great players), and he believed the future of the program is bright under the leadership of Buczek and his highly competent staff of Jordan Stevens, Paolo Ciferri, Max Tennant and Mark Wittink and Sean Cerrone.

Coach Moran stated many times that he believed that Connor's status as “a program insider” gives him an edge in recruiting, as he is well aware of the myriad of demands on a Cornell student-athlete. I was fortunate enough to see Connor and his staff interact with the retired Hall of Fame coach at many gatherings, and it was clear that they held the program's patriarch in the highest regard, as they treated him with great respect, admiration and gratitude. They knew they were in the presence of a legend, and they savored every moment.

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Don't let the headline fool you — “Bombers Win 19-3” does not mean that football season is here...

The Ithaca College baseball team had a lot on the line on Sunday, as they would take the field in a rubber match against Union, with the opportunity to host the Liberty League tournament on the line. The Bombers had put themselves in an unenviable position by dropping the opening game of the best-of-three series on Saturday by a 5-2 margin, but found hope by bouncing back to take game two by a 7-3 margin.

In game three, the hosts got off to a good start by shutting the visitors down in the opening frame, then plating two runs in the bottom of the first. Union would close the gap to 2-1, but the Ithaca bats came alive in the third, with hometown player Buzz Shirley driving in his first run of the game before his teammates exploded for six more runs. When the dust cleared, the Bombers had banged out 15 hits, and Matt Fabian and Nicholas Cutaia joined Shirley by driving in three runs apiece.

The day held a little extra significance for the Bombers' other hometown hero, catcher Gil Merod, as Sunday was Gil's 21st birthday.

Details will be forthcoming on the upcoming Liberty League tournament.

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It was also a big weekend for the Bomber men's track and field team, as Ithaca left Vassar with its second consecutive Liberty League outdoor title. Ithaca College also swept the individual awards, as Nathan Oczkowski won the track portion of the Performer of the Meet award, while Kevin Danaher won the Field Performer of the Meet.

The Bombers put up 211 points at the meet, the University of Rochester was second with 182, R.P.I put up 145 and R.I.T. Tallied 129. Ithaca High grad Nick John — a senior at R.I.T. — placed second in Friday's pole vault event with a 4.55m (14' 11") effort, earning Second Team All-Liberty League honors in the process.

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I have been waiting for the news that Rich Strike, the Kentucky Derby winner, would be DQ'd due to a positive steroid test. When I saw that amazing burst of speed at the end, followed by the horse's incessant efforts to bite the escort pony, I said, “Man, that's an equine 'roid rage if I ever saw one!” Stay tuned...

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