The men’s track team has an abundance of talented field athletes and this year has seen its share of breakout performances among those team members. One of those athletes who is enjoying a true breakout season is junior pole vaulter Evan Whitehall.
A winner of two major Eastern indoor events this year, Whitehall is a strong contender for an individual title heading into the major events of the outdoor season.
Whitehall arrived at Cornell as a two-time Washington state champion. He managed some fine performances in his first year, but really came into form during his sophomore year as he continually improved his marks – eventually winning the outdoor IC4A championships.
But this season, Whitehall has easily bettered his sophomore results and emerged as one of the Red’s top athletes. His indoor season was highlighted by title-winning vaults at both the IC4A indoor championships and at the Heps, with clearances of 16-8 3/4 in both jumps.
Whitehall then began the outdoor season in California, where he won titles at both the Long Beach State Invitational and the UC-Irvine Classic. Returning back east, Whitehall took third at the prestigious Sea Ray Relays, where he cleared 16-6 3/4 – good enough to qualify for NCAA regionals.
Whitehall seems to do his best work in the biggest events, shining when the competition is stronger and when the environment is more intense. Indeed, almost all of his top marks have come at either the Heps or IC4A championships.
The junior will now look to better his solid work from last year in the important late-season outdoor meets, including the Penn Relays this weekend. Whitehall cleared 16-0 3/4 at last year’s Penn Relays, and he took second at the outdoor Heps last jump with that same mark. His best performance came at the end of the year, when he won the 2005 outdoor IC4As with a vault of 16-6.
Meanwhile on the women’s team, freshman Jeomi Maduka has continued to present her case as one of the best all-around athletes at Cornell.
In the outdoor season, Maduka has turned in some of the best freshman results of in the history of the program – and not just in one event.
At a dual meet with Penn last weekend, Maduka – who is also a member of the women’s basketball team – won the long jump, the triple jump and the 100 meters with a time of 12.37 seconds in rainy conditions. She took third in the 200 meters, finishing the race in a time of 25.43. Maduka also helped the 4×100 relay team to a season-best time of 46.76 seconds.
The week before, Maduka turned in a couple of very strong results at the Sea Ray Relays. She set a school record in the long jump with a mark of 20-1 3/4, which was also an NCAA regional qualifying mark and was good enough for fourth place against very strong competition. Maduka took seventh in the triple jump with a freshman-record mark of 41-8 3/4.
The rookie had already qualified for the NCAA regionals earlier in March, when she won the both the triple jump and the long jump at the Long Beach Invitational, with marks of 40-11 and 19-9, respectively.