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Success Is Part Of the Lacrosse Way of Life in Upstate New York



Onondaga Community College defenseman Anthony Zangari carries the ball down field.

Update 5/11/15:

The Onondaga Community College men’s lacrosse team continued its decade of dominance with its seventh consecutive national championship, defeating the Community College of Baltimore County at Essex 16-8 on Sunday. The win closes the season with a perfect 18-0 record in which the Lazers outscored their opponents 448-56 while extending their winning streak to a NJCAA record 105 wins in a row. Congratulations Lazers! Go SUNY!

Baltimore Sun: CCBC-Essex loses to Onondaga in NJCAA men’s lacrosse championship
Inside Lacrosse: Photos, Reaction: Onondaga 16, CCBC Essex 8 in NJCAA Final


For a sport that has been around for hundreds of years, it took less than 20 years for a community college in upstate New York to become a consistent powerhouse as one of the best programs in the nation. The Onondaga Community College Lazers have been blazing quite the trail for themselves and the school over the last 5+ years as they have taken a strong stance against losing. The OCC men’s lacrosse team is currently in the midst of a 103 (yes, that’s one HUNDRED three) game winning streak that started on March 27, 2010. When the streak reached 98 consecutive wins on April 13, that set a new NJCAA all-time mark for consecutive wins across all sports and divisions. In addition to that stellar win streak, they have secured 11 straight NJCAA Region III Championships and 8 of the last 9 NJCAA National Championships.

How does a small school in central New York maintain this type of performance? Winning breeds winners, but the efforts at maintaining that tradition extend from the field to the coach’s offices. According to Sports Information Director Sean Farnsworth, the coaches spend much of their time recruiting through the northeast, but also venture north to Canada and as far west as California to find the best players available. The large mix of players brought in to play for the Lazers are brought in for both their skills and personalities, and it shows. Farnsworth says that the team is more like friends playing lacrosse, not lacrosse players forced to become friends. There is a “very close-knit team atmosphere in the locker room and on the field.” To bring talent from coast to coast that can mesh together so well says great things about the success and draw of the program.

The closeness of the team extends beyond the season and into the community both on and off campus. Each year during the summer, OCC holds a summer lacrosse camp for kids that provides them with opportunities to learn the game. The coaches, players, and alumni all take part by providing individual instruction of all phases of the game with the attendees in a spirited, fun-filled environment. It’s a great way to stay close to the game and reach out to the community to find more fans for all involved.

Onondaga Community College men's lacrosse players celebrate a goal.

Onondaga Community College men’s lacrosse players celebrate a goal.

A Stepping Stone to Further Success

The success and recognition of the Lazers has spread beyond upstate New York through the streak as well. The team regularly fields All-American athletes that become honored alumni and continue their college playing careers at national powerhouse teams after their NJCAA time is over, and even professionally in the National Lacrosse League after that. To date, nearly 120 OCC alumni lacrosse players have moved on to continue playing elsewhere. The current Syracuse Orange lacrosse team fields 4 OCC transfer students as the #2 national ranked team in the NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament, and their statistics show why they were coveted:

  • Randy Staats: 2-time NJCAA Offenisve Player of the Year and All-American
  • Tim Barber: 2-time All American, 2014 NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year and the 2014 Mid-State Athletic Conference Player of the Year
  • Warren Hill: 2-time NJCAA All-American, Two-time NJCAA and Mid-State Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year
  • Niko Manning: second team All American
NJCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship Tournament logo

The next challenge on the schedule takes place this weekend as the Lazers head to Baltimore for the 2015 NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championships where they face off against fellow SUNY school Genesee Community College in the national semifinal on May 9th at 1:00. Having outscored their opponents 415-42 this season, the Lazers are in good position to make some more noise in this year’s tournament.

The games at the 2014 NJCAA Men’s Lacrosse championships can all be streamed online as they happen, so we can all watch to see if 105 wins in a row will be reached.


In addition to the men’s team, the OCC women’s lacrosse team is also competing for a national title this weekend as they host the 2015 NJCAA Women’s Lacrosse National Championship at Onondaga’s David W. Murphy Field. The OCC women are ranked #2 coming into the weekend, where they will face off against #4 Harford Community College.

SUNY athletics is indeed continuing a successful year with growth and recognition through the spring season.

Taras Kufel

Written by Taras Kufel

Taras Kufel is the Manager of Digital Engagement at the State University of New York.

May 7, 2015

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Mascot Madness Champion, Hugo the Hawk, Speaks on His Victory and Getting Back to Work




SUNY Mascot Madness winner - Hugo Hawk from New PaltzThe first ever SUNY Mascot Madness came to a close yesterday with over 300,000 votes cast over the entire competition.  In a race that was too close to call initially, Hugo the Hawk from New Paltz was declared the winner of the first SUNY Mascot Madness over Wolfie the Seawolf from Stony Brook.  In a race to the finish, he met the library dean, cleaned the campus, and hung out with many students on campus.

We were able to catch up with Hugo and get his thoughts on the final round of the competition.

What responsibilities do you carry as SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 Champion?  What’s next for you?

As the SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 Champion, it is my duty to represent all that this title stands for. I will continue being the best mascot I can possibly be and keep getting better at it each day.

What will you do with all of your free time once SUNY Mascot Madness 2013 is complete?

With this free time I will get back to the basics. I will work on my cheers and dances and keep myself in tip-top shape for all the teams I root for. I will work hard to earn my place in next year’s tournament and make sure I do my best to defend my crown.


And we look forward to next year’s competition with you Hugo!

Hugo Hawk with Mascot Madness championship trophy

Emily Schwartz

Written by Emily Schwartz

Emily Schwartz is the Coordinator of Open SUNY Communication and Projects.

April 5, 2013

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Bobby Hurley Named University at Buffalo Men’s Basketball Head Coach




Bobby Hurley has been named the 12th head men's basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

Bobby Hurley has been named the 12th head men’s basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

Bobby Hurley, one of the most iconic figures in college basketball history, has been named the 12th head men’s basketball coach at the University at Buffalo.

He joins UB from the University of Rhode Island, where he has been serving as associate head coach. He was hired as an assistant coach at Wagner College in 2010, and spent two seasons with the Seahawks, playing a critical role in rebuilding the men’s basketball team. He helped lead Wagner to a 25-6 record during the 2011-12 season – its best record in school history – before joining Rhode Island.

A first-team All-American in 1993, Hurley is best remembered for being the point guard at Duke. Hurley helped lead the Blue Devils to three Final Four appearances and consecutive national championships in 1991 and 1992. Hurley still holds the NCAA record for career assists with 1,076.

Following his outstanding career at Duke, Hurley was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the seventh pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He went on to play five years in the NBA with the Kings and Vancouver Grizzlies.

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SUNY Oneonta Senior Sets Off on 4,200-Mile Cross-Country Bike Adventure




Jayme Haynes biking in Central Bridge on her cross country adventure

Jami Haynes sets off from her home in Central Bridge, NY, on Tuesday, May 28.

SUNY Oneonta senior Jami Haynes set off on a 4,200-mile, cross-country bike adventure today with the goal of raising awareness about the Harvest of Hope Foundation, an organization that provides emergency assistance to migrant workers and their families. Haynes, 21, accompanied by her boyfriend and sister, left early Tuesday morning from her home in Central Bridge, N.Y.

An avid runner and hiker, Haynes got the idea for the “Miles for Migrants” bike tour after Harvest of Hope founder and President Phil Kellerman visited one of her education classes, taught by Madeline Berry, this past semester. Her 20-year-old sister, Jena, signed on for the adventure, and then her boyfriend, Caleb Grippin, 23, joined the team.

Jena Haynes, Caleb Grippin, Jami Haynes with bikes

SUNY Oneonta student Jami Haynes (right) with her sister, Jena, and boyfriend, Caleb Grippin.

“I wasn’t very familiar with what a migrant farm worker was and how they contributed to American society, and I was especially touched as a future educator by the support that Harvest of Hope gives to these families and the scholarships that the foundation provides,” Haynes said.

The class did a service-learning project to benefit Harvest of Hope, and Haynes kept the momentum going. She and her sister organized a spaghetti supper, several bake sales and a raffle, as well as giving presentations about Harvest of Hope on campus and in the community. “Spreading awareness of the foundation and how it helps migrant farm workers has been extremely rewarding,” Haynes said. “The community definitely knows a lot more about the contributions of migrant workers because of this project.”

Haynes hopes to continue raising awareness by meeting with media outlets during her journey. The trio plans to ride about 60 to 80 miles per day, camping and staying with friends and family members en route to San Francisco. They have been training for the trip for about three months, logging several hundred miles of short and long rides.

The Harvest of Hope Foundation was established in 1997, when Kellerman worked at ESCORT, a migrant education resource center based at SUNY Oneonta. In addition to its affiliation with ESCORT, SUNY Oneonta has operated a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) since 2001. Created in 1972, CAMP is a federally-funded scholarship program that helps students from migrant and seasonal farm-working families pursue higher education.

ESCORT senior programmer analyst Bob Thomas, a friend of Kellerman’s, loaned Haynes and her crew three touring bikes and trailers. Thomas, who completed a cross-country bicycling trip himself back in 1976, was on hand for the send-off Tuesday, offering last-minute tips and advice.

An elementary education major with a concentration in social studies, Haynes will share experiences from her trip this fall as a student teacher at Cobleskill Elementary School.

She will also chronicle her adventures throughout the 11-week journey on the blog:


SUNY Oneonta

May 28, 2013

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