It was a weekend to remember for the SUNY Cortland athletics department.
The College’s Division III powerhouse added a new chapter to a storied history filled with championships and individual accolades, sweeping all six State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) team championships in spring sports.
It marked the first time any SUNYAC team won conference titles in baseball, softball, men’s and women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s outdoor track and field in the same season since the league first began sponsoring all six sports simultaneously in 2000. The College had previously taken home five spring sports titles seven times since 2001, including each of the past two years.
“That's just about as close to perfect as you can get,” said SUNY Cortland Director of Athletics Mike Urtz ’94. “This is another one of those accomplishments that speaks to the dedication we see day-in and day-out, year-round from all of our student-athletes and coaches. I’m just thrilled for them.”
With each spring sports team winning at least seven conference championships between 1998 and 2012, the College unquestionably set the bar for athletic excellence in the SUNYAC’s spring sports. The feat seemed likely to be reached at some point; it just happened to be 2013.
This year, Cortland earned the top seed and hosting privileges in three sports — baseball and men’s and women’s lacrosse. The College’s softball team was seeded second and its outdoor track and field teams served as pre-determined hosts of their conference championships.
“That’s something that shouldn’t get lost in the celebration — just how hard our staff members work to host these tournaments,” Urtz said. “From pre-game preparation until well after each contest ends, they work tirelessly to support our student-athletes.”
Here’s a look at the six SUNYAC championship performances:
Baseball: Ranked third nationally, the College’s baseball team marched to its 31st SUNYAC title with three decisive wins, punctuated with a 16-1 rout over Oswego in the conference championship. The Red Dragons earned an automatic berth into the NCAA tournament and will make their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance — the longest active streak nationally in Division III.
Softball: There was no shortage of excitement in the softball team’s SUNYAC championship run, highlighted by two extra-inning wins over Plattsburgh — including a 13-inning marathon — and a seemingly improbable seven-run comeback against Geneseo in the title-clinching game. The Red Dragons clinched their fifth SUNYAC championship in seven years and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Div. III tournament.
Men’s Lacrosse: The nationally top-ranked men’s lacrosse team posted a pair of decisive SUNYAC tournament victories in running its season record to 17-0, capped by a 9-2 win over Plattsburgh in the championship game. The Red Dragons qualified for the NCAA Div. III tournament while capturing their sixth straight conference crown in the process.
Women’s Lacrosse: For the 15th year in a row, Cortland’s women’s lacrosse team reigned supreme in the SUNYAC. The Red Dragons, now 18-1 on the season, knocked off Brockport, 16-6, then ran past Geneseo, 12-5, to earn the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Div. III tournament.
Men’s Outdoor Track and Field: The men’s outdoor track and field delivered when it mattered most, taking the meet’s final race, the 4 x 400-meter relay, to earn a second straight conference title. The Red Dragons narrowly edged Oneonta, 200-198, for the team title and will send several athletes to the ECAC Div. III Championships.
Women’s Outdoor Track and Field: Several personal-best performances, including three meet records, pushed the women’s outdoor track and field team to a convincing win at the conference meet. Cortland’s 244 points bested second-place Buffalo State’s 129 and earned many athletes a trip to the ECAC Div. III Championships.
For the latest updates on each team’s performance at the national level, visit the College’s athletics website.