The men’s and women’s track team will host Buffalo, Syracuse, Colgate and Ithaca College this weekend in the Upstate Challenge.
Both the men’s and women’s squads won the Upstate Challenge last year, easily cruising away from the competition by a considerable margin. Last year saw a plethora of wins and impressive performances on both the track and field and the Red hopes to continue the trend.
“We have a very strong, deep team,” Taylor said. “Each of the other teams has a number of good kids, but I don’t know if that have the same high caliber of athletes across the board.”
Select men will compete in the heptathlon while two women will participate in the pentathlon beginning today.
Senior co-captain Vito Spadafino was third in the heptathlon last year, and hopes to better his score.
“If things go well, he could be looking at the school record,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
Spadafino has the third-best score all-time at Cornell (4,784), only 207 points away from the school record of 4,990.
Two women will compete in the pentathlon. Senior Jamie Greubel will look to improve, as she has shown strengths in each of the five events contested throughout her career. Greubel’s greatest strength lies in the hurdles, but she has been making improvements in the long and high jumps recently.
“Jamie has had a terrific fall and early season,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing.
Freshman Troy Mullins will make her debut performance in the pentathlon this weekend.
The men just finished a block of hard training, and Taylor noted that the team may go in to the meet sore and tired.
“I am looking for them to compete at a high level even if they don’t feel well,” Taylor said.
Sophomores Saidu Ezike and Jordan Lester dominated the sprints and hurdles in last year’s event, and have continued to improve since. Junior Evan Whitehall, who won the pole vault last year, along with classmate David Pell and senior co-captain Pat McDonough in the high jump will give the Red scoring power in the jumping events.
The tandem of junior Rayon Taylor and sophomore Muhammad Halim have already had impressive seasons in the triple jump, with both making the IC4A qualifying standard already.
The women have also seen success already this season and hope to continue this weekend. Senior co-captain Sheeba Ibidunni was second in the weight throw last year, but has already improved on her personal best by over three feet and met the NCAA provisional standard. Her throw of 62-10 at the Cornell Relays on Dec. 4 was the best in league history for the event.
Freshman Jeomi Meduka has had an incredible start to her first season at Cornell, already breaking school records in both the long and triple jumps while also competing on the women’s basketball team.
Also to watch will be junior Sarah Wilfred in the high jump, senior co-captain Linda Trotter in the 400-meter and junior Nyam Kagwima in the distance events.
“Most people should be competitive in their events,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “I really just expect them to work hard.”
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer