The last meet of regular season competition for the men’s and women’s track and field teams took place this weekend at the Cornell Invitational at Kane Sports Complex. The Red put together a total of 20 wins in various events and almost 30 IC4A qualifying results.
The coaching staff for both programs said they were happy with the overall results from the competition.
“Though we had limited entries since many of our top athletes rested, we were excited about our results. Several athletes improved their seedings for the upcoming conference meet and hit seasonal bests,” said Rich Bowman, the head coach of the women’s team. “[Junior] Katie Woodford ran a huge personal best in the 400 meter race as did her twin sister Emily in the 400 meter hurdles. [Sophomore] DeeDee Akpaete ran an outstanding 200 meter race, and many others including [sophomore] Claire DeVoe [in the 800 meter] and [junior] Alesha Knudson [in the 400 meter] were exceptional.”
The men’s team also had its fair share of stand-out performances. Senior co-captain Stephen Mozia won the discus competition and earned second in both the shot put and the hammer throw event. Other highlights came from senior Montez Blair, who won the high jump event and senior Dan Scott, who took the triple jump crown.
Many of Cornell’s notable track and field athletes had the weekend off, however, to prepare for dominance in the championship season.
“Having a small meet which is non-scoring lets us be a bit more selective as to what our needs are a week before the championship season begins,” Bowman said. “In most instances, we are working with each individual athlete to prepare them for the weeks ahead. Some need rest, some need to compete in another event to help sharpen them up for their natural race. A small meet at home helps us meet the athletes’ needs much better.”
Senior co-captain Bruno Hortelano-Roig said his weekend off was important for preparation for next weekend’s Outdoor Heptagonal Championships.
“This coming weekend is the most important, and taking the weekend off was key to getting ready to be in the best shape that I can be,” he said.
The team is ready to leave everything on the track, Hortelano-Roig said.
“The team is ready to show up at Heps, and to show the league how strong Cornell University track and field is this year,” he said.
With the long and strenuous season now at a close, the teams still have the major goals of success in the post-season in mind. However, there is also time for reflection on the team’s successes this season.
“It’s hard to center on one accomplishment. The outstanding depth of overall performance has been [exceptional]. We have qualified a record number of athletes to the ECAC Championships, over 45 athletes and three relays,” Bowman said. “This is usually a good measure of the teams overall talent levels. We should have at least 18 athletes heading to Jacksonville for the NCAA East Regional, which also will be a record.”
The men and women on Cornell’s track and field teams will need to take on the challenge of performing at Heps, as well as managing factors such as finals week and Slope Day, Bowman said.
“Exams have always had a connection with our championship season — professors have been fantastic in helping reschedule. We’ll have a quiet bus coming back on Sunday evening for those that have exams on Monday morning. Clearly it can be a problem if we let it, [but] most have prepared ahead of time for conflicts and thought clearly ahead.” Bowman said. “This is the first Slope Day in years that our athletes can attend. We hope they enjoy the music and spectacle, but anything alcohol-related is of course a breach of our team and athletic code of conduct.”