Published December 21, 2013http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
Alfred Tennyson once wrote:
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering 'it will be happier' ..."
There. Now isn't that nice? Doesn't it take your mind off the fact that some Russian terrorist just bought your credit card information after your last trip to Target?
No? OK, how about this: 2013 was a pretty decent year for YSU athletics. Not great, but solid. But before I recap the highs and lows, let me say something. In our Thanksgiving paper, we ran this this column: http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/nov/28/apathy-not-anger-ysus-enemy/?print
The column started out with me giving prices of torches and pitchforks, in case any fans wanted to storm the YSU football offices to call for Eric Wolford's head.
Now. I assumed that most readers would know I was joking, and that I was making a satirical point about how many YSU fans were overreacting to the team's three-game losing streak. Some of you understood this. Some of you didn't. I know, because I got letters from both sides.
So, for those of you who didn't get it, let me say it more clearly: I DO NOT ACTUALLY ENDORSE THE PURCHASING OF PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES, NOR DO I ENDORSE STORMING YSU'S FOOTBALL OFFICES TO CALL FOR WOLFORD'S HEAD.
In fact, if you read this blog, you'll see that I thought Wolford deserved another year.
Everybody got it? OK, good.
Let's move on.
Here are my picks for the five best YSU stories of 2013:
1. Behind Anna Pompeo's runner-up finish, the YSU women's cross country team won its first Horizon League title. This was the only league team title for the Penguin in any sport this season.
2. YSU's Brandi Brown wins Horizon League player of the year and Bob Boldon is the coach of the year after leading the Penguins to a second-place finish in the conference in women's basketball.
3. With the program on the upswing, YSU's men's basketball team is selected for its first postseason tournament since 1977.
4. Behind Eric Rupe's individual title, the YSU men's cross country team places second in the conference race.
Here's the five most disappointing stories of 2013:
1. After an 8-1 start, the football team loses its last three games to miss the playoffs.
2. Guard Kendrick Perry injures his knee, ruining the men's basketball team's chances of making a tournament run.
3. Volleyball standout Missy Hundelt tears her ACL at midseason, costing the Penguins a chance to make a tournament run.
4. Standout infielder Drew Dosch tears his ACL just before the Horizon League tournament. (Fortunately, he was still drafted in the seventh round by the Orioles.)
5. The John Barnes era gets off to a shaky start as the women's basketball team is hit by the injury bug. Later, it's revealed that Shar'Rae Davis will miss the entire season with colitis.
Here's my five favorite YSU stories that I wrote in 2013:
1. A look back at the 1993 national championship team.
2. Days after losing his father, Carmine, Joe Cassese delivers a memorable eulogy in front of thousands.
And, finally, five things I'd like to see in 2014:
1. After a record-breaking four-year career, Kendrick Perry gets picked in the second round of the NBA draft.
2. The football team makes the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
3. YSU football players Chris Elkins, Kyle Bryant and Nick Liste make it into an NFL training camp.
4. Senior runner Samantha Hamilton advances to the NCAA nationals in at least one event.
5. One of YSU's team sports (football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, baseball, softball) wins a conference title.