Men’s lacrosse league champions
For the second time in program history, the men’s lacrosse team streaked their way to the conference title when they defeated Army 11–8 on April 26 in Annapolis, Md. A win over Army yielded the Raiders their first Patriot League championship since 2008. The team also returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since being an at-large entry in 2012.
Cameron Williams ’16 scored a natural hat trick to spark the Patriot League championship win, scoring three times in a five-minute span during the second quarter to give the Raiders the lead for keeps. He added another goal in the third to keep Army at bay, while Ryan Walsh ’15 scored two goals and Brandon Burke ’17 made eight saves.
Colgate began the season with four-straight wins and then four-straight losses. But four more in the win column — over Loyola, Lehigh, Holy Cross, and Army — led to a share of the Patriot League regular-season title. And then, two convincing wins in the Patriot League tournament handed Colgate double crowns.
Advancing to the NCAA tournament, the Raiders lost to North Carolina 12–19 in Chapel Hill, concluding their season 10-6.
This year’s 50th Reunion class has etched its name into Colgate history. Thanks to gifts totaling more than $22 million, the university’s new athletics facility will be known as the Class of 1965 Arena. The building will include the Steven J. Riggs ’65 Rink — named in honor of their classmate and hockey captain who was killed in Vietnam in 1968 — as well as locker rooms and office space for the ice hockey, lacrosse, and soccer programs. Construction began in April, and the facility is expected to open in October of 2016.
A crowd of more than 600 welcomed keynote speaker Erik Stolhanske ’91 of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard for the eighth-annual Golden Gates all-sports banquet. Stolhanske has starred in and helped produce such movies as Super Troopers, Puddle Cruiser, and Beerfest.
Born without a fibula, he has worn a prosthetic leg his entire life and has been traveling the country to speak about overcoming that adversity. A Minnesota native, Stolhanske was captain of his baseball team in grade school and was also featured in the original P90X video workout series.
“I’m living proof that there’s no conceivable way to predict the future,” he said. “And there’s a reason I come back to Colgate as often as I can. This is the place where I learned to adapt — to get back up after getting knocked down.”
Brawner picked up a second award when she and senior Spiro Goulakos (captain, men’s ice hockey) were each named Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The 2014–15 Senior CLASS Award Winner for men’s ice hockey, Goulakos excelled in the classroom, earning dean’s list after posting a 3.58 GPA during the fall semester. On the ice, Goulakos tallied 14 points (3 goals and 11 assists) in 26 games. He garnered All-Tournament Team recognition at the ECAC Hockey Championship, and he helped the Raiders advance to the title game for a second-consecutive season.
Earlier in the evening, Colgate recognized two first-year athletes with Rookie of the Year awards: Anthony Abbadessa (men’s lacrosse) and Haley O’Hanlon (women’s lacrosse).
Men’s basketball coach Matt Langel received the Howard N. Hartman Award for coach of the year. In his fourth year at the helm, Langel led the Raiders to their best season since 1996.
The John LeFevre ’41 Appreciation Award went to local businessman Michael Clare, owner of Oliveri’s Pizzeria. Senior Student-Athlete Advisory Committee leaders Alex Lagowitz (men’s golf), Brawner, Nick Harper (men’s track and field), and Kori Strother (women’s track and field) were also recognized for their efforts.
Swimming for smiles
Haakon Brekke ’15 organized the swim-a-thon to fundraise for his nonprofit organization Kids Action for Kids, which works in conjunction with Operation Smile to provide surgeries for children born with facial deformities, cleft lips, and cleft palates.
Many children in rural parts of Southeast Asia who have such deformities cannot afford surgery (which costs approximately $800) and struggle with malnutrition. They’re also often ostracized.
Brekke, while attending high school in Thailand, helped establish Kids Action for Kids with his brothers and mother, and another family. Since 2009, the nonprofit has funded more than 600 successful surgeries, working closely with Thai telecom company Dtac, which matches every dollar raised.
“It’s easy to see the difference you’re making … you know that for every four hundred dollars you raise, you’re changing a child’s life forever,” Brekke said. The event participants swam 137 miles and raised approximately $14,000. “It’s great to see that [the team] really rallied around this, and they’re passionate about doing something to help others. The energy that we put into this is really, really cool.”
Lacrosse alumna to play for Israel
Former standout Courtney Miller ’12 will represent Israel in the 2015 European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) European Championships. In May, Miller relocated to Israel and has been training with the team to prepare for the competition, which will be held at Sportovní Centrum in Nymburk, Czech Republic, from August 6 to 15.
A native of Chappaqua, N.Y., Miller was a four-time First-Team All-Patriot League selection who helped the Raiders capture back-to-back league titles during her first two years with the program. Miller ended her career in Hamilton as the program’s all-time leader in draw controls (201). She also ranks among the school’s career leaders in points (241/3rd), goals (168/3rd), and assists (73/4th).
The Israel women’s team is ranked 8th in the world, but unranked in Europe because 2015 marks its debut in a European championship event (which is held once every four years). Israel joins 16 other countries who are vying for a gold medal in the small city located on the outskirts of Prague.
To advance to the playoff round, Israel must finish in the top two. Wales — widely regarded as one of the top teams in Europe — and Israel have never met, so the opening-day match is one of the most widely anticipated on the schedule.
In conjunction with the Israel Lacrosse Tzedakah Program, each player will compete in honor of a charity of their choosing, with a portion of the team’s general fundraising committed to each.
Carole Harris ’15, Mariah Jones ’15, and Missy Repoli ’15 (women’s basketball) want to call the shots someday instead of just shooting them. So, Head Coach Nicci Hays Fort and her staff suggested the WBCA’s “So You Want to Be a Coach” Program.
With the financial support of Colgate’s athletics department, Harris, Jones, and Repoli were among 58 graduating student-athletes selected for the 13th-annual workshop April 3 to 5 in Tampa. It was held in conjunction with the Women’s Final Four and WBCA Convention.
Participants learned about re-cruiting, the administrative side to coaching, how to get hired, skill development, and work-life balance.
Colgate’s first-year assistant coach Katherine Menendez participated in the program after her playing career, so she helped the students prepare for the workshop’s intense 12-hour-long days.
Harris said that serving as a team captain opened her eyes to leadership and how it develops chemistry on the hardwood. Those traits aided her selection for the workshop. “It’s very different to go from being a teammate to becoming a captain,” she said. “You have to be able to enforce but also see it from their perspective; be a leader on and off the court, but also be able to talk to each one of your teammates.”
The workshop also served as an entré into finding a job by introducing the students to the WBCA community.
17 NCAA Recognition Awards
In the latest Academic Progress Report (APR), Colgate improved from 12 to 17 teams earning Public Recognition Awards from the NCAA. The APR is an annual scorecard of academic achievement calculated for all Division I sports teams nationally. Teams must meet a certain academic threshold to qualify for the postseason and can face penalties for continued low academic performance.
To be in the top 10, the required scores ranged from 980 to a perfect 1,000, depending on the sport. The APR measures eligibility, graduation, and retention each semester or quarter. The most recent APRs are multiyear rates based on scores from the 2010–11 through 2013–14 academic years.