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Best Syracuse athletes since 2000, part I: 2000-2004

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We’re spending the week looking back at the best of this century

2003 ESPY Awards - Show and Audience Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage for ESPN

Since there isn’t a lot of positive sports news these days let’s spend the week looking back at Syracuse Orange athletics since 2000. We’re going to go year by year to determine the best male and female athlete for each year since 2000.

Here are the rules, in order to be eligible for the title the athlete has to be participating for a Syracuse University team during that year, so we are only looking at collegiate careers when we make our selection. We are also using the calendar year so in theory you could make an argument for Carmelo Anthony as the top athlete in 2002 and 2003. For the next four days we’ll give you our picks for a five-year period and you’ll be able to argue for your choices in the comments each day. Got it. Good. Now let’s get to the first set of selections

2000: Cheree Hicks (W. Track & Field) and Ryan Powell (M. Lacrosse)

Hicks won three Big East titles in 2000- the shot put in Indoor and both the shot put and discus at the Outdoor Championships. She also earned All-American honors during both seasons. Powell helped lead the Orange to the 2000 NCAA Title winning the National Player of the Year and Attackman of the Year awards.

Syracuse Orange Photo by Collegiate Images via Getty Images

Also considered:

Dana Fiume (Volleyball)

Jillian Kott (W. Rowing)

Erin O’Grady (W. Soccer)

Etan Thomas (Basketball)

Adrian Woodley (M. Track)

2001: Jillian Kott (W. Rowing) and Dwight Freeney (Football)

Jillian Kott was a first team All-American and helped lead the varsity eight boat to a 6th-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Freeney was an unstoppable force for the Orange football squad as he was named All-American and Big East Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded 17.5 sacks and had 8 forced fumbles leading the Orange to a 10-3 record and Insight Bowl victory.

Also considered:

Beth Record (W. Basketball)

Preston Shumpert (M. Basketball)

Jarett Park (M. Soccer)

John Bitok (M. XC/Track)

2002: Audrey Latsko (Field Hockey) and Mike Powell (M.Lacrosse)

Latsko was First-Team All-American goalie and Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. Powell was the Tewaaraton Award Winner and led the Orange to the NCAA title over the Princeton Tigers.

Also considered:

Julie McBride (W. Basketball)

Jillian Kott (W. Rowing)

Walter Reyes (Football)

Preston Shumpert (M. Basketball)

Chris Liwski (M. Crew)

2003: Julie McBride (W. Basketball) and Carmelo Anthony (M. Basketball)

Julie McBride finished her Syracuse career as one of the best point guards in program history. She ranks 7th all-time in scoring and 3rd in assists. Unfortunate timing for all the other male athletes in 2003 because Melo leading the Orange to their 1st National Championship remains the top accomplishment of the 2000s.

Also considered:

Masha Kabanova (Tennis)

Anna Goodale (W. Rowing)

Walter Reyes (Football)

Anthony Smith (Football)

Tim Adrian (M. Track & Field)

2004: Kelly Duan (Volleyball) and Mike Powell (M. Lacrosse)

Kelly Duan was racking up kills on the volleyball court setting a Syracuse record with 537. She was named 1st-team All Big-East and was an Honorable Mention All-American. Mike Powell won his 2nd Tewaaraton Award and led the Orange to the National Championship over the Navy Midshipmen.

Also considered:

Anna Goodale (W. Rowing)

Hakim Warrick (M. Basketball)

Diamond Ferri (Football)

***

Let us know in the comments if you have different selections. Tomorrow we’ll be back to look at 2005-09