Senior trio leaves lasting legacy at Cornell, aims to do same in college

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Saturday, May 2, 2020 | 10:17 PM


For the better part of the last decade, there probably wasn’t a time when you wouldn’t find Cornell seniors Kaden DiVito, Isaiah Langston and Zaier Harrison together.

“We’re pretty much together at least once a day,” Harrison said.

“This quarantine stuff has kind of slowed it down a little bit,” DiVito said. “But for the most part, I see at least one of these guys every day. But without it, it was an everyday thing. We were always doing something together.”

That won’t change anytime soon. Over the course of the past month, all three committed to continuing their athletic careers at Washington & Jefferson, accomplishing something they’ve all dreamed about since they were kids.

“We definitely talked about (going to college together) a couple of times,” Langston said. “We knew how much better college would be if we were all able to go together. So, to actually have this happen, it’s pretty cool.”

While DiVito and Langston will continue their basketball careers, Harrison will play for the football team. But if the opportunity presents itself, the strong-armed quarterback said he might try to ignite a reunion on the court as well

“I’m going to try to try out for the team, depending on how football goes,” Harrison said. “But if not, I’ll be at all the games.”

Since they were young, the trio has been dreaming of going off to college together. From conversations in the gym and weight room to late-night talks about the future, all three wanted to collectively turn their dream into a reality.

Rather than attack the recruiting process as a group, all three took it on individually so they could find the right fit for themselves.

When all three narrowed down their lists and Washington & Jefferson still remained for each of them, it seemed destined to be.

“It definitely started off independently for all of us. We were all kind of doing everything separately,” Harrison said. “But when it came down to our top colleges, Washington & Jefferson was in all of our top three. So, we just talked about it and we all chose it.”

Starting in pee-wee football, Harrison, DiVito and Langston became friends, but they weren’t the closest at first. That didn’t come until they led their middle school basketball team to an overall record of 29-1 over the course of a two-year stretch between seventh and eighth grade.

“It started in sports in general, but it was kind of from that moment forward that we became best friends,” DiVito said.

Since then, their friendship and their athletic success at Cornell has blossomed. For the past four years, the trio has been at the center of Cornell’s success.

Just this past season, Harrison completed 120 of 218 pass attempts for 2,157 yards and 24 touchdowns as the Raiders earned their first home playoff game since 1983. Harrison also led the Raiders in rushing, and DiVito and Langston were his top two receivers, combining for half of Harrison’s passing touchdowns.

The special part about their success on the gridiron is that the Cornell football program was shut down in 2011. The program was revived in 2016 when the trio entered high school.

The Raiders went 1-17 in their first two seasons before finishing 4-5 in 2018. This past year, the Raiders produced a record of 9-2 and tied Sto-Rox for the Big Seven Conference title. Then, the community gave them a special welcome when they came home.

“We got the police escort. That was really cool to experience,” Langston said.

The trio might have been even closer on the basketball court. As four-year varsity players, they led the Raiders to a 77-27 record. They also contributed to Cornell’s first WPIAL championship game appearance since 2012 this past December at Pitt’s Petersen Events Center.

“This really has been a dream come true,” DiVito said. “We kind of grew up going to all the basketball games. We saw the 2012 team play in the WPIAL title too. And we got to see a lot of football players come through too.”

“It’s just been really cool to see the community kind of rally around us.”

Over the course of the past four years, Harrison, DiVito and Langston developed a special friendship both on and off the court. It led to multiple victories, several late nights and the creation of too many memories to count. But their story isn’t close to finished.

The past four years were just chapter one.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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