Countdown to Cortaca, Part 8: Night of Baseball Reveals Yankee Stadium Will Be a Cozy Home for Cortaca 2022

By Kerry Regan, August 25, 2022

Cortaca Jug Day at Yankee Stadium brings together the Bomber faithful, and puts Coach Toerper on the mound.

Check out the highlights of Cortaca Jug Day at Yankee Stadium, from the pre-game at Stan's Sports Bar to the fans in the stands during the game.

From November 10-12, 2022, Ithaca College will be hosting a weekend-long “IC in the City” experience in New York City for alumni and current students, faculty, and staff.  The centerpiece of this event, the 63rd annual Cortaca Jug football game between Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland, will take place on November 12 at Yankee Stadium. To highlight this amazing opportunity, we will be publishing a yearlong series titled “Countdown to Cortaca: Bombers in the Bronx,” highlighting the entire weekend. 

Hundreds of IC and SUNY Cortland friends and alumni trekked to Yankee Stadium for Cortaca Jug Day on July 28.

The event served as a promotion for the Cortaca Jug football matchup and IC in the City weekend that will take place November 10-12.

And before the Yankees took the field against the Kansas City Royals, those fans were treated to something unique. A video previewing the annual rivalry contest played on the center field scoreboard prior to the game. Following that, head football coach Michael Toerper was joined by his Cortland counterpart Curt Fitzpatrick to jointly throw out ceremonial first pitches.

Later in the game, which was being broadcast live on the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES), the coaches were invited into the broadcast booth, where announcer Michael Kay asked Toerper what playing at the stadium meant for recruiting.

Head football coach Michael Toerper got a chance to throw out the first pitch prior to the Yankees-Royals game on July 28. Later, he talked about the 2022 game with Michael Kay in the YES Network booth.

“We’ve got guys on the team who are going to have played in MetLife Stadium and in Yankee Stadium in their career,” Toerper replied. “No other college football player can say that, and I don’t care what division it is.”

It was a chance for the the matchup Sports Illustrated once called “The Biggest Little Game in the Nation” to share a little air time with one of the most iconic franchises in all of sports.  

And it was an opportunity for the IC family to connect for a Cortaca atmosphere without the coveted jug on the line. The college held a pre-game get-together for the Ithaca community at nearby Stan’s Sports Bar.

Among the Bomber faithful at Stan’s was Julian Munoz ’94, a receiver on the Bomber 1991 national championship team and current head football coach at nearby Trumansburg High School. “Anything that involves IC I’m there,” he said. “When you're a member of that program as a football player, when they say we're family, we really are. Any time something comes up, we're going to get together, and we're going to have a lot of fun. It's just an amazing program to be a part of.”

Peter Talbot ’78 was also part of a team — the WICB football broadcasting team — where he worked his way up over his four years from statistician to play-by-play announcer.

Talbot recalls high-level skills in the broadcast booth as well on the field. His freshman year the play-by-play announcer was Nick Nickson, who later became longtime radio announcer for the NHL Los Angeles Kings. Nickson’s color man was Chuck Wilson, an original ESPN radio host who was named by Sports Illustrated.com in 2009 as runner-up for "Best National Sports Radio Host" of the decade. When Talbot later did play-by-play, his color man was Eric Reid, who has been a television announcer for the NBA Miami Heat since their inception in 1988. “That’s a pretty great group of people,” Talbot noted.

Talbot, Munoz, and others then made their way to the stadium, becoming part of the crowd of 43,836 — just shy of the 45,161 mark from the 2019 Cortaca Jug game at MetLife Stadium that set the Division III single-game attendance record.

Caps Allow Fans to Show Dual Support

In the stands, many of the Bomber faithful sported the IC-branded Yankees caps that were included in the special Cortaca Jug Day ticket package available to members of the IC community.

Allie Ricchiuti 17, Erin Ferguson ’17, ’18, and Sage VanAmerongen ’18 picked up their caps together at the IC table near one of the entry gates. They were teammates on the women’s basketball team, lived together on campus and now live near each other in Manhattan.

“It’s a regular thing to see us out together,” Ferguson said.

“Especially supporting the Bombers,” Ricchiuti added.  “We love the Ithaca energy down here.”

Ferguson recalled a Cortaca memory: “In 2016, we had to run out of practice real quick in order to make it to the game in Cortland. We had a car waiting, and a bunch of us drove right over there to support the Bombers. That was pretty special.”

Now, five years later, she made another Cortaca memory going to Yankee Stadium with two ex-teammates.

Varsity sports participation also threatened Lance Amarilio’s ability to see the game his freshman year because he had a crew meet in New Jersey on game day. A self-proclaimed “massive football fan,” Amarilio 21 managed both to row on the IC boat that won the Novice 8 Championship at the Braxton Memorial Regatta that day and to watch the game. “Before our race, I was the one streaming it for everyone on my computer,” he said.

An athletic training major, Amarilio also worked with the football team on the sidelines at the 2019 MetLife game. “It was an amazing memory that I’ll forever treasure,” he said, noting that he still has his sideline medical pass hanging in his room. “It’s amazing when you walk into an elite-level locker room and to be next to the lockers of players who are well respected and celebrities.”

But his best memory of that game, he said, “was when we stormed onto the field from the tunnel while the steam is shooting out and the fireworks going off and they announce that we just broke the D3 attendance record.”

“We talk about intentionality, connection, and caring. Well, our alumni are here connecting tonight. And I hope all of our alums, and all of our current students and their families, join us in November for IC in the City as we show how much we care and connect with each other and with our community at large.”

Ithaca College President La Jerne Terry Cornish

He was quick to point out that the Bombers broke their seven-game Cortaca losing streak his first year on campus, and then won the Jug every year he was in school. “So there must be something about me at Ithaca,” he said, smiling.

More than anything, the night showed the strong bonds Cortaca has forged through the IC community.

“It’s about connection,” said IC President La Jerne Terry Cornish, echoing Munoz’s sentiments prior to the game. “We talk about intentionality, connection, and caring. Well, our alumni are here connecting tonight. And I hope all of our alums, and all of our current students and their families, join us in November for IC in the City as we show how much we care and connect with each other and with our community at large.”

Stay in the Loop

Planning and preparation continue for IC in the City and Cortaca Jug 2022. For more information and to learn about opportunities for alumni, students, faculty, staff, and IC community members, please visit the “IC in the City” homepage.