Buczek

Cornell head coach Connor Buczek during his playing days. 

Starting this weekend, the Premier Lacrosse League Championships will get underway at Zions Bank Stadium in Salt Lake City, and it will be business as usual, so to speak, given six former Cornell players will be battling for the title. It will be anything but business as usual in another sense: The stadium will empty except for the players, coaches and officials. (That said, fans will be able to watch the tournament on the NBC family of channels.)

Two of Cornell’s best-ever players will suit up for the Atlas Lacrosse Club, as former Tewaaraton Trophy winner Rob Pannell (class of ’13) and current Big Red head coach Connor Buczek will represent that team. Jake Pulver (’18) and Sam Duggan (’20) will play for the Chrome Lacrosse Club, Jason Noble (’13) will represent the Chaos LC and Clarke Petterson (’19) will take the field for Redwoods LC. 

Seven teams consisting of many of the nation's top professional lacrosse players will compete in four contests of group play format with full playoffs over the span of two weeks, with the championship game getting underway on Aug. 9.

Cornell fans will have an opportunity to see many alumni in action, and the television schedule can be found at www.cornellbigred.com

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What a difference a year makes… 

Last year at this time, area football fans were planning a trip—for some it was a pilgrimage of sorts—to MetLife Stadium to be a part of history. The Ithaca College Bombers would take the field against the Cortland Red Dragons for the storied Cortaca Jug game, and a push was underway to put forth a collective effort to break the all-time Division III attendance record.  

At first, there were whispers that it was actually possible that the number could reach as high as 40,000, and when the final number of 45.161 was announced and the final buzzer sounded, it was a great day in Ithaca. Not only were IC fans a part of history, they got to watch their Bombers win their third consecutive Cortaca Jug with a convincing 32-20 victory. The win would make Bomber head coach Dan Swanstrom 3-0 in his Cortaca Jug career, and send retiring Red Dragon coach Dan McNeil out with a loss in the final game in his stellar 23 year career. 

When it was announced last week that the game would not take place this year, many were disappointed but few were surprised. The dominoes have been falling since the Ivy League cancelled its basketball tournament in March, and while there is plenty of empathy to go around I have to say that I feel especially bad for the Cortland seniors. No class wants to go through a 4-year career without claiming the Jug at least once, and 2020 represented the last chance for that group of players. Of course, I feel bad for the IC seniors as well, but at least they will carry bragging rights for the rest of their lives. 

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Over the course of my 40 years in Ithaca—28 of them as a sports columnist—I have had the pleasure to interact with some very dedicated and influential coaches, and I love seeing their athletes carry forth the life lessons those coaches impart. The community will say goodbye this week to Rosalie Bower Amoroso, whose impact as a dance teacher helped to shape many lives in a very positive way. 

I sat with Rosalie for an interview when she was in her seventies, and when we got to the stories about the time she spent as a Rockette, performing at the iconic Radio City Music Hall, she sat up a little straighter and smiled at the photos of herself, high-kicking with the best of them. 

Rosalie grew up studying at her parents’ Bower School of Dance, she graduated from Ithaca High School in 1958, and her Ithaca Academy of Dance helped hundreds of area youth find their balance and their voice. Her school was a business, but many, many kids were welcomed even if they did not have the resources.

Rosalie was a very dignified lady, and I hope that she and her husband, Carmen, are gliding across some dance floor in some awesome place.

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