The Cornell track and field teams turned in another strong case toward their claim for national prominence, but this time they did it before a three-day crowd of over 100,000 at the vaunted Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa.
Women’s head coach Lou Duesing trumpeted the meet as one of the best in his tenure.
“In my 11 years, this may have been the most successful [trip to the Penn Relays] across the board,” an exuberant Duesing remarked.
As has been its hallmark all season, Cornell was able to exploit its remarkable depth — reflected by its success in a variety of events.
The Red claimed the fifth spot in the 4×100 relay, finishing top among the five Heptagonal schools at the event.
But the most prized accolade of the weekend came in the 4×800 Championship of America. The Cornell tracksters submitted a stunning effort good enough for seventh place in a field of national powerhouses including Georgetown, Florida and Stanford. Adding to the drama was the performance of rookie Ann Hansgate, who set a personal record of 2:11.5 in her leg.
The results are indicative of Cornell’s climb to the upper echelon of collegiate track programs. The latest Track and Field News Poll shows the Red in the top 10. A feat made more impressive in light of the fact that the sport is one of the most prolific, with over 300 programs in Division I.
One of the team’s strengths has been its balance of youth and veteran leadership, and that bore out once again in Philadelphia.
Duesing sent an all-freshmen distance medley that crushed the former school freshmen record by 20 seconds.
The seniors complemented the efforts well in the field events.
“Everywhere we went, people were performing at high levels,” lauded Duesing.
Senior Karen Chastain continued to be a dominant force, picking up a second place finish in the discus and taking the fifth slot in the hammer. Classmates Jamie Reed and Danielle Brown finished fourth in the pole vault and eighth in the triple jump, respectively.
Cornell also watched the record in the shuttle hurdle relay tumble on the strength of a solid young team consisting of freshmen Merili Mosley and Dani Aretino, sophomore Caitlin Ramsey and junior Betsy Swan.
A crew of athletes who either did not travel to the Penn Relays or finished early competed in the Cornell Invitational. The hosts picked up the top spot in 10 of 19 events. Scoring was based on individual performances.
Sophomore Sarah Herskee led Cornell with wins in three events. Duesing noted that she did a “great job” in the discus event where she recorded a 143-7. Swan, Reed and sophomores Christine Diaz and Natalie Whelan along with freshman Mariann Totino and Lauren Kilduff all found their way into the winner’s circle.
On the men’s side the results were no less impressive.
The Red sported top 10 performances in eight events at the Penn Relays, highlighted by junior Max King’s eighth place, national-qualifying showing in the steeplechase — an event brimming with the best athletes in the nation.
Cornell also claimed a trio of third place honors thanks to the efforts of senior Nick Senter in the long jump, classmate Pete Ippel in the high jump and freshman Travis Offner in the pole vault.
“It was an awesome meet. Anytime you have the opportunity to compete in front of 50,000 people, it’s pretty exciting,” offered men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
Freshman John Corley garnered praise from Taylor for his 4:08 mile. Corley was part of the 4xmile team that placed 18th in a strong field.
The team is currently ranked No. 20 nationally.
The men also fielded a team at the Cornell Invitational.
Junior Scott Lundy picked up second place in the pole vault while freshman Didier Lecorps won the discus.
The challenges don’t get much bigger than what next awaits the men — a trip to the Heptagonals at Princeton.
“[Next] weekend is what we have been working for,” said Taylor.
Archived article by Gary Schueller