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Orange crushed (cont.)

Posted: Thursday May 19, 2005 3:36PM; Updated: Thursday May 19, 2005 4:16PM
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Eight in the Box

1. What is it with the Orange and repetitious numerals? As big as 22 is to its lacrosse program, No. 44 is even more sacrosanct for the Syracuse football program. That's the number worn by running backs Jim Brown, Ernie Davis (SU's lone Heisman winner, in 1961) and Floyd Little. In fact, the you-must-stop-here saloon in Syracuse in terms of SU memorabilia is a place called 44s.

Next November 12, the school will officially retire football's 44 at halftime of the game against South Florida. Brown and Little will attend (Davis died of cancer early in his NFL career).


2. Final 'Cuse note: Brown, as you may know, was an All-American in both football and lacrosse. The late Dick Schaap, who grew up near Brown in Long Island, often said that the one-time all-time NFL rushing leader was an even better lacrosse player than he was a running back. In his senior year at Syracuse, Brown led the nation in goals scored (43 in 10 games) while averaging 6.2 yards per carry on the gridiron. The Syracuse lax program honored Brown earlier this season during a home game against -- get ready, coincidence connoisseurs -- Brown.

3. Whenever someone asks, "John, why did you become a sportswriter?," the answer is the same. "So that I could write parody songs such as the ones we all wrote freshman year of high school and passed along in class to our friends."

Actually, no one questions why I ever became a sportswriter (that is, besides me). But I do have a parody song, in honor of the horse of the moment. And, the melody should be familiar to anyone who knows the only God-awful tune the Beach Boys ever released, Cocomo:

The Derby, The Preakness,
Ooh, I got a weakness
Exacta, trifecta
Ooh, I have to bet ya,
The 50-to-1 horse
Now a Triple Crown force

Everybody knows
A little colt named Giacomo,
That's who my money's on,
To finish win place or show,
I'm takin' Giacomo

The Derby, The Preakness,
Ooh, I got a weakness,
Exacta, trifecta,
Ooh, I wanna bet ya
While Baffert, and Zito
Suffer in defeat-oh!

Cuz of' Giacomo,
Until the homestretch he'll take it slow,
So many oats to sow,
I'm backing Giacomo

4. SI.com colleague Stewart Mandel had an interesting question from a Jonathon in Baton Rouge (though, considering the spelling, maybe it should be "THE Jonathon in Baton Rouge") in his latest College Football Mailbag regarding "11th year seniors." You know, those guys who seem as if they've been on campus longer than Van Wilder? Anyway, I'd like to give a shout-out to my old friend Jason "Damo" Damoschino, who's the first person I heard mention this phenomenon. In fact, Damo dubbed it "The Carlos Huerta Award," after the former University of Miami kicker (1988-1991) who happens to be the Hurricanes' all-time leading scorer. Huerta, fittingly, never suited up in the NFL.

Each fall Damo and friends select a "Huerta Award" recipient. One of the first ones, oddly enough, was fellow Hurricane Rusty Medearis, the rugged yet injury-plagued defensive end who spent six seasons in Coral Gables.

5. My big plans for this evening: Wait on the long line at the multiplex for Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith. Then, when I finally get to the ticket booth, I'm going to yell: WHADDAYA MEAN, THIS ISN'T THE LINE FOR MONSTER-IN-LAW?!?

6. If you are interested in good taste, skip this item. I'm only sharing it with you because it is true. Two weeks ago, a few of us were making an early-morning expedition to Reading, Pa., for a trail run (the Alligator 10K, which actually was 7.2 miles, but that's irrelevant). Driving south on Route 222, we passed through the town of Virginville. Not more than 10 miles later, on the same road, we drove past Blue Ball National Bank (I double checked). Oddly enough, had we continued past Reading we eventually would have found ourselves in, yes, Intercourse, Pa.

7. The top-1,500 time in collegiate outdoor track this spring belongs to a former cricket and rugby player from New South Wales, Australia. Paul Hoffman of Idaho State ran a 3:39.26 in the "metric mile" at an invitational meet in Provo, Utah, last month. Hoffman's best actual mile time is a 4:02.

That the top collegiate miler in the U.S. is not from the U.S. is hardly an anomaly. The past four best-1,500 times have belonged to an Aussie (Hoffman), a South African (Alistair Cragg, Arkansas, 2003), and a pair of Kenyans (Kip Kangogo, BYU, 2002, and the late David Kimani, Alabama, 2002). Only Kimani matched Hoffman's feat of eclipsing 3:40, running a 3:39.35.

The last miler to run faster than Hoffman's 3:39.26? Colorado State's Bryan Berryhill, who won the 2001 NCAAs with a 3:37.05. Berryhill is from Medford, Oregon.

8. Congratulations to basketball player Brittany Kroon of Seattle Pacific University, who recently won the Honda Inspiration Award. The 6-foot-4 junior helped the Falcons to a 30-3 record this season averaging 9.5 points. 7.1 rebounds per game and was the only player to start every game. The Wasilla, Alaska, native was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis and underwent a liver transplant after her freshman year. Kroon is one of only two known liver transplant patients ever to go on to compete in NCAA athletics. The other was Corinne Carson, a basketball player at Marymount (Va.) who was a Kodak Division III All-America in 1996 and 1997.