Practice has already begun for the women’s track and field squad as they prepare for the upcoming indoor season. This year’s squad hopes to have another solid year after winning both the indoor and outdoor Heptagonal championships last year. They also came in eighth indoors at the Eastern College Athletic Conference leading the Ivy League finishers.
According to head coach Lou Duesing, “The expectations for this year are the same for every season, every year,” as he notes that there is no pressure to continue the success of last season.
The Red lost a few of its important contributors, as three league champions and two of the top weight throwers graduated this past May, but also returns much of its talent from last season in addition to a solid recruiting class. “Everyone is pumped, ready and excited for another good year,” says senior tri-captain Natalie Whelan.
The sprint group will be headed by senior Katy Jay, two-time Heptagonal MVP and Northeast Region most valuable athlete. She is joined by junior Hannah Garrity, who also had a great year as she scored in four events at last year’s indoor Heptagonals.
Sophomores Kari Steed, Jessica Brown, and Shonda Brown all had incredible freshman campaigns, while junior Jill Crispell and senior Conniel Arnold round out the returning members. A group of six talented freshmen will try and add to the Red’s existing talent as they look to make an impact in the sprint group.
Three of Cornell’s leading hurdlers in the 60 and 100-meter races return including 60-meter indoor Heptagonal champion and tri-captain Merili Mosley. Garrity, as well as seniors Caitlain Ramsey and Jamie Greubel complete the short hurdle group. The 400-meter hurdle group is led by second place Heps finisher Shonda Brown who is joined by sophomore Alicia Sim, junior Ashley McMillan and three freshmen.
The middle distance runners also bring together a very strong team building off last year’s success although they will be missing Heps mile champion and 1500 NCAA-qualifier Lena Mathews and Heps scorer Halle Watson. This year’s squad will be lead by senior tri-captain Natalie Whelan, a three-time league finalist in the 800 and was All-East indoors last season in the 1,000. Juniors Ann Hansgate, Natalie Gingerich and Kinsy Miller also had great sophomore campaigns and look to contribute again.
Sophomores Carrie Richards, Jessica Brown, Amber McGown, Sarah Coseo, Jen Meil and Alison Koplar all made an impact in their Cornell debut and look to produce another quality year long with five freshmen recruits.
The distance group will be lead by senior two-time Heps scorer and school steeplechase record holder Carlan Gray. Sophomore Kari Haus and juniors Jessica Parrott, Aliza Cohen, Christine Eckstaedt are also had impressive seasons last year.
The Red’s jump group will be headed by juniors Kalifa Pilgrim, who placed second at the outdoor Heps in the long jump along with Irbralate Stanley-Ikhilioju, who placed third at the outdoor Heps in the triple jump, leading the horizontal group. They are joined by junior Liz Ferguson, the current long jump record holder, and freshman Karen Synder, the New York State triple jump champ.
In the high jump, the Red returns two tough competitors in Jessica Brown and junior Lauren Kilduff, while the pole vault sees the return of senior Molly Dickens.
The throwers for the Red will be led by tri-captain Sarah Herskee, who scored in every throwing event indoors and outdoors last year at the Heps.
Adding to the group will be sophomore Stacey Nadolny, Heps champion in the discus and an ECAC qualifier, sophomore Becky Tucker, freshman record holder in the hammer, and senior Linda Aarismaa. In the javelin, Herskee and sophomore Ginny Lerch will guide the way.
Together, all of the groups work to provide the Red with a young, deep and talented track and field squad.
Herskee added, “Eeveryone is focused on what we can do together. We’re still excited, but we’re taking it one meet at a time”.
The Red begins its campaign on Dec. 7 at the Cornell Relays here in Ithaca.
Archived article by Danielle Nicholson