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Mighty Oaks 2017 Fall Sports Season Underway

New season brings new coaches, logo and a new website

The Mighty Oaks fall sports season gets underway Sept. 2 when the men's and women's cross country teams race at LeMoyne College.

It was a busy off-season for the Mighty Oaks as the athletic department brought on three new cross country coaches to replace coach John View who retired. The athletics department also released a new and updated Mighty Oaks logo as well as a redesigned the athletics website.

Men's Cross Country
The men's cross country team welcomed new head coach, local running star Mike Melfi. Melfi has his work cut out for him as the team is coming off a strong fifth place finish at last year's USCAA national championships with several runners returning from last year's team. Expected to lead this year's team are seniors Dana Carris and Ryan Shaw. Carris finished in 20th place overall at the USCAA national championship race in November 2016. Other runners expected to contribute are senior Nick Giordano and junior James Boyd. A strong freshman class led by Tom Keenan and Mark McClenahan will work to help the team as well. Keenan recently posted a 5K in under 17 minutes and McClenahan has a personal best 2 mile in the low 9:50s.

Women's Cross Country
The women's cross-country team finished fourth at last year's national championship. It was their sixth top-five finish in the last six years in the USCAA championship. The team will be led by junior All-American Marissa Lathrop, who finished 15th overall in the USCAA championship. Lathrop will be supported by sophomore Eden Zickler who was named the HVIAC 2016 Rookie of the Year. Also returning for the Mighty Oaks are a strong core of experienced runners including junior Erin Cuddihy and seniors Emily Verbeck and Emily Steenkamer. Looking to add to a core group of returners will be six first-year students and transfer Lexi Deiseroth who has posted a 5:01 (1,500 meter) and a sub 2:30 (800 meter).

Both the men's and women's teams start their season Sept. 2 at LeMoyne College. Other meets during the season include Morrisville, Geneseo, Hamilton and the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) championships. The season culminates at the USCAA cross-country national championships Nov. 8 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Women's Soccer
The women's soccer team is coming off its most successful season in program history, finishing in second place overall in the USCAA national tournament after losing 2-0, in a tightly-contested match to the University of Maine - Fort Kent. The first challenge of the season will be replacing All-American and leading scorer Heather Carl. Luckily the Mighty Oaks have numerous players up to the task. Leading this year's team is senior All-American goalkeeper Kiki Hilmer and senior All-American midfielder Anna Bishop. Also returning this year is senior Shannon Gordinier, who finished second on the team with 10 goals last season. Senior forwards Jessie Smith, Natalee Wrege and Lauren Archer are also expected to provide pressure up top. HVIAC Rookie of the Year Alyssa Hughes is expected to contribute to the team's success. Senior defender Victoria Fields will help Hilmer defend the net.

The team's season kicks off Sept. 4 facing King's College at home in the HVIAC conference opener. Other key games include a tough non-conference match against Utica College Sept. 20; conference rivals Albany College of Pharmacy Sept. 16; Paul Smith's College in the Barkeater Cup, Oct. 1. The USCAA women's soccer national championship tournament will be Nov. 9-13 in Virginia Beach.

Men's Soccer
The men's soccer team had an impressive 2016 season, winning the HVIAC conference and getting an automatic bid to the USCAA national tournament. The team finished with an 11-5-1 overall record, 5-3 in HVIAC conference play. Like the women's team, the men's squad has some big shoes to fill losing All-American forward Jorge Guarin as well as a slew of other talented graduating seniors. Key players returning are sophomore forward Joe Kulikowski who led the team with nine goals last season. Also returning is the explosive senior forward J.C. Barrientos and talented senior midfielder Geoff Golick. The defense will feature an experienced line of junior Nicholas Van Bennekum and George Beinetti. Incoming freshman keeper Carmine Tronolone will help the All-Conference keeper Matt Hoppe man the net.

The team's season kicks off Sept. 4 facing the King's College at home in the HVIAC conference opener. Season highlights include a matches against local rivals Cazenovia College, Sept. 12; the always-competitive King of the Hill Cup against Onondaga Community College Oct. 5; and conference rivals the College of New Rochelle Oct. 14. The USCAA men's soccer national championship tournament will be held Nov. 9-13 in Virginia Beach.

"We had a very productive preseason and both teams are ready to begin this fall campaign and try to win another conference championship and push on to a national championship," said Head Coach Dan Ramin.

Men's Golf
The men's golf team finished in the top 10 at last year's USCAA national championships. The team welcomes back senior All-American Sean Barron who finished in seventh place overall at the USCAA national championships and also had the lowest two-day score in program history of 154.

Also returning are juniors William Hoffman and Colin Sabitus.

The team will face Syracuse University at the Drumlins Sept. 10 followed by the ESF Invitational at the Links at Erie Village on Sept. 17. The team will participate in both of the Northeastern NCCGA events with the opportunity to qualify for a trip to the NCCGA National Championships to be held in Las Vegas Nevada in early December.

The season includes a trip to the USCAA National Championships at the Penn State Blue Course.

The woodsmen squad lost a talented student-athlete to graduation. Ethan Hall represented ESF at the Stihl Timbersports Northeast Collegiate Qualifiers two years in a row. This year the team hopes to generate interest among incoming freshman and transfer students. The woodsmen team will compete at Finger Lakes Community College on Oct. 14 followed by a trip to the Adirondacks the following weekend to face off against Paul Smith's College. The annual ESF home meet at the Tully Field Station will be Nov. 4.

Bass Fishing
The bass fishing squad had a great 2016 season as they qualified for the Bass Fishing National Championship held at Wheeler Lake, Alabama. The team has competitions planned throughout the fall in tournaments sponsored by the Bass Fishing Federation and Fishing League Worldwide. Competition venues include Lake Erie on Sept. 9. Lake George on Sept. 18 and a home match at Onondaga Lake on Sept. 24.