"It was a rebuilding year"

How many times was that phrase uttered by a Harvard athlete or coach, written in The Crimson or groused by a fanatical alum? Too many to count.

Although the age-old rebuilding cliche is usually reserved for teams not having the best of times, it had a very different meaning for most Harvard teams in 1994-1995. An array of talented new faces poured the foundation for what could be the coming of a golden year for the Harvard Department of Athletics.

Freshman athletes this year had possibly the greatest impact on Harvard sports yet. Harvard sports teams from football to squash built for the future, each with its share of outstanding newcomers tempered by wily veterans. It was the passing of the torch to a new brand of Harvard athletes.

And the freshmen have the hardware to prove it: six Ivy League or Eastern Regional Rookie of the Year Awards.

Emily Stauffer began the hit parade, picking up the trophy for the top rookie for women's soccer. Stauffer lead the Crimson in scoring and helped propel the squad to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1984.


Sophomore running back Eion Hu (he's still a rookie, because he played on Harvard's freshman football team in 1993) was next. Hu captured Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors in football and became only the second Harvard player ever to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Daniel Ezra picked up where Hu left off, winning the top rookie award in squash. Ezra placed second to junior teammate Tal Ben-Shachar at the squash individual national championships.

Wrestler Dustin DeNunzio was the Ivy League's outstanding rookie on the mats. A high school All-American, DeNunzio capped off his inaugural season with a sixth place finish at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Tournament.

Allison Feaster made an immediate impact on the women's basketball team, notching her Rookie of the Year award and finishing in the Ivy League's top three in scoring and rebounding.

Men's tennis standout Philip Tseng not only picked up the Rookie of the Year award, but was also a unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection.

And there are more, who went unrecognized by their respective selection committees but made substantial contributions: softball's Tasha Cupp blasted onto the Ivy League scene, quickly becoming one of the Ancient Eight's top pitchers; swimmer Brian Younger won the high-point award at the Eastern Sprints in his first year of competition; diver Lara Jacobson placed second at Easterns and earned a U.S. Olympic team try-out with a sixth-place finish at the Mobile Diving meet; potent Mike Ferrucci waited just eight seconds into the lacrosse season before notching his first goal.

To borrow from ABC Wide World of Sports, Harvard teams felt "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat." Freshmen were more involved than ever. Without further adieu, the 10 benchmark Harvard sports moments from 1994-95.