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Autumn Splendor

Five NCAA playoff appearances, three state titles (all won on the same day), a second straight Empire Eight title for the women's tennis team, and a season-ending run of dramatic foot-ball wins highlighted Ithaca's fall season. After the season the Bombers ranked fifth in the Sears Directors' Cup standings, which rank all Division III schools by their performance in NCAA playoff competition.

Men's Cross Country

The Bombers won the program's first state championship, then qualified for the NCAA championships for the 7th time. Ithaca finished 18th at the national race, with sophomore Dale Cocca and freshman Mike Styczynski leading the way. Cocca placed 44th, and Styczynski --- the meet's third-highest-finishing freshman --- placed 74th. The Bombers placed first in their region.

Cocca and his twin brother, Brian, both finished in the top 10 at the regional championships. Dale Cocca won the individual title at the state race, with Styczynski, sophomore Garrett Wagner, and Brian Cocca coming in second, third, and fourth, respectively.

Coach Jim Nichols was named coach of the year by the New York State Collegiate Track Conference.

Women's Cross Country

The Bombers, led by freshman Amanda Laytham, made their first appearance at the NCAA champion-ships since 1992. Ithaca took 10th at the national meet, and Laytham was the first freshman to finish the race, placing 10th.

On their way to nationals, the Bombers won the state title (the pro-gram's first since taking eight straight from 1984 to 1991) and placed second at the regional championships. Laytham matched the team's finish at both races, winning the individual title at state and earning runner-up honors at the regional race.

Seniors Melissa Antunes and Lauren Byler were consistent top-10 finishers all season. Coach Bill Ware was elected NYSCTC coach of the year.

Field Hockey

Playing one of Division III's toughest schedules, the Bombers made their 10th NCAA playoff appearance in 11 years. Ranked in the top 10 most of the year, Ithaca posted a 10-7 record.

Senior Becky Karver, an all-American back, anchored the Bomber defense. All-region selections Beth Gilbert and Michelle Janda were the team's top scorers. Gilbert, a junior, collected 19 points, and sophomore Janda added 14. Karver's penalty stroke with 29 seconds left gave the Bombers a 1-0 win against Cortland, ranked fifth nationally.

Ron Amato '01Football

The Bombers posted a 7-3 record (their 30th straight winning season) and closed out the season by withstanding late rallies against rivals Buffalo State and Cortland. The three Ithaca losses were to NCAA playoff teams.

Senior safety Ron Amato was named to six all-American teams, finishing his career with a school-record 19 interceptions. He ranked third nationally in punt returns after taking over those duties late in the season. The Ithaca defense also featured stalwarts like middle linebacker Julian Forbes '01 and outside linebacker Mark McDonough '02. Forbes, a team captain, became the 15th Bomber to record 200 career tackles; McDonough turned in some of the season's biggest plays, including two interceptions in the final minutes of Ithaca's win over Wilkes and a fourth-and-goal sack on the final play in a 27-20 win over Buffalo State.

Offensively, Tommy Giorgio '01 turned in one of the best seasons ever by an Ithaca running back. He ran for 971 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. The offensive line was anchored by seniors Aaron Mumby and Adam Grossman, a team captain who was named a first-team all-American and also made it to the GTE District I College Division all-academic team for the second time.

Placekicker Seth Steinberg '01 and punter Brian Bicher '03 led special teams. Steinberg finished with 146 career points, the second-highest total ever by an Ithaca kicker. Bicher set a school season record for punting yards (2,249).

Shaun Leska '01Men's Soccer

The Bombers finished 9-5-2 in their 16th straight winning season. Wade Wilkin-son '01 wrapped up his career as one of Ithaca's most prolific scorers. A second-team all-region pick, he led in scoring for the third straight year. He was one of two Division III players named to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America scholar-athlete first team.

Three other seniors joined Wilkinson as first-team Empire Eight all-stars: midfielder Shaun Leska (in photo) and backs Nick Economos and Todd McCormick. McCormick had started every game of his career.

Women's Soccer

For the 13th time in 14 years the Bombers were picked to play in the NCAA playoffs. Senior Erin DeMarco earned her third straight all-American selection at back; she also finished as Ithaca's leading scorer after being moved to an offensive position late in the year.

DeMarco, whose 17 points included a pair of goals that came just 26 seconds apart against Clarkson (the third-fastest pair of goals ever by a Division III player), earned a spot on the NSCAA national scholar-athlete team. She was also picked as the Empire Eight player of the year. Freshman Becca Berry, who scored 16 points, earned conference honors as rookie of the year. DeMarco, junior back Karen McCleery, and senior midfielder Alison Paratore earned all-region honors. Senior Samme Miller finished with a school-record-tying 82 points in her career, despite missing time to injuries for much of the year. Classmate Jess DiManno became the program's career-assist leader.

Andrea SchwartzWomen's Tennis

Ithaca won its second straight Empire Eight championship, compiling a 10-2 record during the fall season. Junior Andrea Schwartz (photo) and freshman Meghan Carroll posted perfect records at the two-day Empire Eight tournament.

Freshman Paige Watkins won a team-leading 17 matches, and Carroll (11-1) posted the team's top winning percentage (.917). Schwartz compiled a 16-8 record, raising her career mark to 58-16. She already ranks ninth on Ithaca's career victory list, and her .784 career winning percentage is the highest ever by a Bomber. Senior Brooke Basile raised her career records to 37-21 in singles (fourth on Ithaca's career list), 33-29 in doubles (eighth), and 70-50 overall (sixth).

Women's Volleyball

For the 6th time in 7 years the Bombers reached the championship match of the NCAA's New York regional tournament. Along the way Ithaca won the New York State Women's Collegiate Athletic Association title --- clinching the program's first state championship in 16 years. Ithaca's 31-9 record marked the program's 15th 30-win season.

Seniors Karen McCord and Stephanie Raefski, junior Jen Salmon, and sophomore Jess Raymond earned spots on the all-region team. Only one other school in the nation had as many all-region selections.

Salmon became Ithaca's career leader in assists and earned first- team all-conference honors. Raefski, a second-team Empire Eight all-star, became the eighth Bomber since 1993 to be named to the District I all-academic team.




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