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Make Your Vote Count...In That Way That Doesn't Count At All

The 2008 'Cuse Awards are almost here. It's Syracuse University's chance to honor it's best and brightest athletes and you can be a part of the voting! Well, kinda...
Fan voting will play a role in determining award winners, but will not be the sole means of determination. The Awards Committee will make final determination of award winners.
In other words, this isn't the NBA All-Star Game. Probably for the best though, I can't imagine there are very many Syracuse fans out there who are discerning enough to compare the accomplishments of the basketball team to that of the rowing team. Did you even know we HAVE a rowing team?

Nevertheless, it is our duty to make our voices heard and I'll share with you what my keen and perceptive eyes can tell. Let's take a look at the four categories currently up for voting and do a little handicapping:

Team of the Year
Women’s Basketball (22-9 record, NCAA Tournament appearance)
Men’s Crew ’07 (Undefeated Cup season)
Field Hockey (12-7 record, fourth place in Big East)
Men’s Lacrosse (11-1 record as of 4/21/08)
Women’s Lacrosse (13-2 record, won Big East Conference regular season title)

The Women's B-Ball team loses a few points for their early exit in the NCAA Tournament but that aside it was a fantastic season. Men's Crew won their third-straight Goes Trophy, whatever that is, a feat never done before. The field hockey team did...well...but I'm not quite sure how a 12-7 record stacks up against the competition. Men's Lacrosse has certainly made their case. And the ladies laxers, well, they've certainly made their own as well although I'd like to have seen one more quality win.

In the end there can be only one and that one is...Men's Crew! Congrats, your on-going accomplishments, of which I just learned all of, are many and your sustained success wins out.

Male Athlete of the Year
Ryan Armstrong (Crew ’07 Member of undefeated cup varsity 8 boat)
Michael LeBlanc (Track &Field Ran the 100 meter dash in 10.17 at the NCAA Championships in Spring 2007)
Mike Leveille (Lacrosse Team’s leading scorer, Lacrosse Player of the Year candidate, Lowe’s Senior Class finalist)
Jeff Scull (Cross Country competed in national championship, finished ninth at Northeast regional)
Hansen Woodruff (Soccer leading goal scorer, Team MVP, All Big East Second Team)

So is Ryan Armstrong the captain or just a crew-member? Does he lead the league in strokes or something? I need more to go on. Michael LeBlanc had a nice year and he gets bonus points for having his own blog. Mike Leveille is rewriting records in lacrosse, but does he stand above those who came before him? Jeff Scull did well, but I've gotta wonder why he wasn't able to gut it out for eighth place at the Northeast regional. Finally, Hansen Woodruff, who sounds like an evil financier from an 80's Bond movie, was the best of Cuse in soccer, but was he the best male athlete overall?

In the end, it's Michael LeBlanc! The Canadian (but we won't hold that against him) shined (shone?) on the track for the Orange and set himself apart. Well done.

Game of the Year
Women’s Basketball vs. West Virginia 3/3/08 (Dominated 13th ranked West Virginia 73-51)
Football vs. Louisville 9/22/07 (Orange upset 18th ranked Cardinals 38-35 at Louisville)
Men’s Lacrosse vs. Johns Hopkins 3/15/08 (Knocked off defending national champions in Baltimore 14-13 in overtime, SU’s first win at Homewood Field in a decade.)
Women’s Lacrosse vs. Georgetown 4/5/08 (Beat 6th ranked Georgetown 18-3)

Women's B-Ball had an amazing season and that win was a benchmark for the program but I don't know if it's GOTY worthy. The SU-Louisville win itself was an earth-shaker, but did the rest of the season (ours and Louisville's) mar it? The Men's Lax win would be sweeter if Johns Hopkins were as good as they were last year (currently 5-5). And the Women's Lax win was a huge one for the program but can a blowout be GOTY?

In the end, it HAS to be the Louisville football win. It was such an amazing event at the time, a great game (had it been two minutes longer Louisville probably would have won) and it gave hope to the entire fanbase when they needed it most. That the hope was sucked dry from us the very next week is another story.

Comeback Athlete of the Year
Cheryl Cobbina – Volleyball (Missed the final four matches of the 2006 season with a shoulder injury. Came back the following season to lead the team with 470 kills and 1,221 total attack points)
Sheron Mark – Track &Field (Missed the entire 2006-07 indoor and outdoor seasons due to a knee injury. Returned to win 8 event titles during the 2007-08 indoor season in the long jump and triple jump.)
Arinze Onuaku – Men’s Basketball (Missed entire 2006-07 season with a knee injury. Returned to average 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds and 47 blocked shots a game.)
Taj Smith – Football (Missed 8 games in the 2006 season with a broken collarbone. Came back in 2007 to catch 44 passes for 822 yards and 5 touchdowns)

Cheryl Cobbina certainly did well, those numbers led the team and she earned a second-team all-conference nod. To return from missing an entire year and win 8 events, Sheron sets the bar extremely high. Arinze knows about missing an entire season as well, and he surprised a lot of people with his play. Taj rebounded from a nasty injury to have a solid, if not spectacular, final season with the Orange.

In the end I'm going with Sheron Mark who returned from injury to compete and win multiple events including the long jump and triple jump en route to breaking school records, some of which were her own.

See! Not all the love goes to the "money" sports. Just about 90% of it. But don't listen to me, place your own vote for the Cuse Awards. It probably won't count but you'll feel like you did something today.