The men’s and women’s track team will start their seasons this Saturday with the annual Cornell Relays. The all day event will be held in Barton Hall and has over 800 athletes participating. Team relays, individual races, and other events such as the long jump, triple jump, and the pole vault will be featured.
Last year’s men’s team took second at the IC4A championships, and the women took third in the ECAC championships. The Red also sent six athletes to the NCAA individual championships.
After practicing since the fall, the team is eager to commence the season and improve upon last season’s marks.
“I’m sure they are excited. It is an opportunity for something other than practice,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
“We have been preparing for a long time. We are all pretty much sick and tired of practice and relieved that the season is here,” said women’s head coach Lou Deusing.
Duesing’s team will try to improve on last year’s performance in the Relays. Last year’s team won two-of-three team relays, and had 15 top-3 finishes in addition to setting four freshman records. Among some of the women’s top performances were sophomores Jeomi Maduka and Janice Nsor, who both set a total of four freshmen records. Senior tri- captain Sarah Wilfred met the ECAC standard with a high jump of 5-7.
“I don’t know what to expect in terms of times, heights and distances,” Duesing said. “But I know it will be a typical Cornell women’s performance, meaning that when it’s time to compete, they come out to play.”
Last season’s success in the Cornell Relays will also be hard to repeat for the men. A year ago, the Red won several individual competitions, placing 15 top-3 finishers while winning all three relay competitions. Last year’s combination of juniors Aaron Merrill, David Mengel, Adam Seabrook and senior Kolby Hoover earned the three team relay wins in the 4×800, 4×400 and the men’s distance medley relay.
“As in a typical first contest it will be hit or miss,” Taylor said.
The men’s track team will have a number of new faces heading into Saturday’s meet with a host of 20 newcomers to the squad.
“The challenge for this first meet will be dealing with all the excitement of the first meet positively,” Taylor said.
But the pressure of introducing new freshmen and hosting its own meet is non-existent according to both coaches.
“No, I don’t think there is any added pressure, pressure starts building toward championship season,” Taylor said.
“Certainly people will be rusty and not in mid-season form,” Deusing said, “but we have always had ECAC qualifying performances and [personal records] in the Relays,” Duesing said.
After the Relays the Red will have break until Jan. 5th to compete in the Southern Tier Collegiate Open, also to be held at Barton Hall.