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Some of Big Red athletics' top moments of all time

November 16, 1940 – Football

Ed Marinaro '72

Ed Marinaro '72. Image: Cornell Athletics Communications. See larger image

Many of the Big Red's most memorable achievements are well known through the collegiate sport landscape. While not an exhaustive list, here are 10 signature moments for Cornell sports teams.

Though not a victory, the "Fifth Down" game set the standard for fair play and sportsmanship in athletics. Top-ranked Cornell seemingly improved to 6-0 with a 7-3 victory over Dartmouth, scoring on the game's final play. After reviewing game film the following Monday, Big Red head coach Carl Snavely and acting athletic director Robert J. Kane wired Dartmouth officials to tell them Cornell scored on an inadvertent fifth down. Though there were no rules compelling the outcome to be changed, in an unprecedented act of sportsmanship, the Big Red relinquished claims to the win. The Big Green accepted the forfeit, winning the contest 3-0. It remains the only time a collegiate sporting contest has been decided off the field after the completion of a game.

March 21, 1970 – Men's Ice Hockey

Cornell completes the first (and only) unbeaten and untied hockey season in Division I history (29-0-0) with a 6-4 victory over Clarkson at what would become Olympic Arena in Lake Placid, capturing its second NCAA title in four years under head coach Ned Harkness.

October 30, 1971 – Football

Ivy League football legend Ed Marinaro '72 breaks the NCAA career rushing record as part of a 272-yard performance in a 24-21 win over Columbia. Marinaro would be runner-up for the Heisman Trophy after becoming the first college football player to surpass 4,000 yards.

May 29, 1976 – Men's Lacrosse

softball coach Dick Blood with the team at the 2004 NCAA regionals

Softball coach Dick Blood with the team at the 2004 NCAA regionals. Image: Cornell Athletics Communications. See larger image

It was the matchup lacrosse fans everywhere wanted to see. For the first time in NCAA tournament history, two undefeated teams, No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Cornell, met in the championship game. The contest didn't disappoint, as the Big Red, down 7-2 at halftime, took a fourth-quarter lead before Maryland scored on a buzzer-beater to send the game into overtime. The Big Red scored four unanswered goals in the extra session to claim the crown with a 16-13 victory.

June 4, 1989 – Women's Rowing

After finishing a respectable third at the Eastern Sprints just two weeks before and going in as underdogs to rowing powers Washington and Wisconsin, the Big Red surprised the field by winning the nationals. It remains the first and only NCAA championship won by a women's program in Cornell history.

May 12, 2002 – Women's Lacrosse

women's basketball head coach Dayna Smith at the 2008 NCAA tournament

Women's basketball head coach Dayna Smith at the 2008 NCAA tournament. Image: Cornell Athletics Communications. See larger image

When the 2002 season commenced, the Big Red was considered an afterthought in collegiate women's lacrosse, while Maryland was a favorite to make its 13th straight Final Four and win its eighth straight national title. Ivy League Player of the Year and Maryland native Jaimee Reynolds '02 had other ideas. Reynolds scored seven goals and two assists as the Big Red knocked off Maryland 14-4 in the NCAA quarterfinals at Schoellkopf Field. In the process, head coach Jenny Graap's ('86) squad became the first Cornell women's team to advance to an NCAA final four.

May 20, 2004 – Softball

Legendary head coach Dick Blood, the all-time wins leader at Cornell in a single sport, couldn't have asked for a better way to earn his 300th career victory. The Big Red scored a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning and held on for a shocking a 2-1 upset over third-seeded and 18th-ranked Long Beach State in the first round of the NCAA regionals in Los Angeles.

March 16, 2008 – Women's Basketball

A flip of a coin that gave the Big Red a bye in a three-team Ivy League playoff and a dominant defensive effort in the championship game against Dartmouth gave head coach Dayna Smith's team a first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. Led by Ivy League Player of the Year and two-sport All-American Jeomi Maduka '09, the Big Red set program records for wins (20) before losing in the first round to eventual NCAA Final Four participant Connecticut.

March 18-21, 2010 – Men's Basketball, Women's Ice Hockey, Men's Ice Hockey and Wrestling

Kyle Dake '13

Kyle Dake '13. Image: Cornell Athletics Communications. See larger image

Arguably the greatest weekend in more than 100 years of Cornell athletics, the Big Red made national news across the board. The men's basketball team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament with wins over nationally ranked Temple and Wisconsin, charming fans all over the country with their exploits on the court and their wit and cohesiveness off it. Women's ice hockey continued its Cinderella run to the national championship game at the Frozen Four, knocking off top-seeded and undefeated Mercyhurst in the semifinals. Wrestling finished second at the NCAA tournament, a school-best mark. The Big Red crowned four All-Americans, including national champion Kyle Dake '13 at 141 pounds. Big Red men's hockey topped off the weekend by winning its 12th ECAC Hockey championship with shutouts of Brown and Union in a span of 30 hours.

March 23, 2013 – Wrestling

Kyle Dake '13 cemented his spot as the face of collegiate wrestling by becoming the first student-athlete to win four NCAA titles at four different weight classes. The Hodge Award winner as collegiate wrestler of the year, Dake was named the EIWA and Ivy League Wrestler of the Year and went unbeaten at 165 pounds, including knocking off the reigning champion at the weight class in the NCAA finals, a match for which ESPN rearranged the championship schedule to feature on its airwaves.

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