Another successful weekend leaves the Cornell men’s track and field team in midseason form just two short weeks away from Ivy League Outdoor Championships on May 7.
Cornell sent athletes to Princeton for a meet this weekend, but kept a contingent at home to compete in Ithaca on Saturday. Neither meet was scored, but each can be used to measure where the team stands in individual events. The Larry Ellis Invitational — hosted by Princeton — featured a highly competitive field, but the Red held its own, earning top honors in several events.
Senior Ben Rainero dominated in his distance run, winning the 5K by over ten seconds with a time of 14:04.27. In sprints, senior Max Hairston took first in the 110 hurdles at 13.95, freshman Zach Menchaca placed third in the 100-meter and classmate Alex Beck took finished third in the 200-meter.
Beck and Menchaca joined seniors Ryan Hynes and Larry Gibson to help the Red secure first in the 4×100 relay, defeating a highly competitive Princeton group in its own turf and setting a new meet record at just over 40 seconds.
Sophomore Myles Lazarou took third in the high jump, and classmate Alex Rodriguez had another big day in the long jump to finish in second place.
Head coach Adrian Durant said he was pleased with his team’s results at the Ellis meet.
“It went very well,” he said “There were so many excellent performances.”
Ivy Heptagonals — the league’s championship meet — will be held at Princeton, so Durant felt it was more important to get a feel for the venue than to look at overall performances just a few weeks before returning for the biggest meet of the outdoor season.
“This weekend was not so much about seeing where we stand at this point as it was about going to the facility where Heps will be held and getting a feel for it,” he said.
Back in Ithaca, Cornell competed in the Upstate Challenge at the Kane Sports Complex on campus. The Red hosted several area schools like Syracuse, Colgate and Canisius.
Many of Cornell’s top field athletes stayed home, and several of them excelled at Saturday’s meet. Freshmen Edgar Eason III and Kevin Benson each took second in the pole vault and the shot put, respectively. Sophomore Jacob Shaffer won the discus with a throw of just under 50 meters.
Junior standout Rudy Winkler dominated the hammer, winning by almost 15 meters ahead of classmate Martin Murillo. In the javelin, senior Rob Robbins’ throw of 71.59 meters topped the field and was good enough for first in the Ivy League so far this year. It was also the longest throw in history of Kane Sports Compex.
The event was Robbins’ first in two years and Durant commended Robbins’ efforts.
“Rob Robbins’ reestablishing himself as the top javelin thrower in the league really stood out to me this weekend,” Durant said.
On the track, freshman Jonathan Avery won the 100-meter by just .01 seconds. He also took first in the 200 to complete his big day. Junior Will Gibson was the runner-up in the 400.
With Heps approaching quickly, Durant said he got just what he wanted from his team in both meets.
“This was the type of weekend that you’d hope for being just two weeks away from Heps,” he said. “Being able to compete and do well against the other Ivy schools this weekend should give us the momentum that we need going into the championship season.”
On Thursday, Cornell will send a select group to compete at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Durant’s main focus, however, has clearly switched to two weeks from now.
“A small group of guys will compete at Penn, but for the most part we will be saving everything up for the Heps,” Durant said. “They can’t wait to get going.”