This weekend, the women’s track and field team took to New Haven to compete in the outdoor Ivy League Heptagonals. The Red took 36 women to Heps to represent Cornell, which finished sixth at the end of the two-day event.
Although the weather held out rain-wise, the wind and temperature did not make for ideal outdoor track conditions, especially for a Cornell team that has had limited outdoor exposure this season.
“Several [Cornell] athletes traveled to California for great training and competition in the warm weather,” said freshman Jinjer Pearce. “Unfortunately, we had a very short outdoor season, only consisting of six meets, including Heps.”
The Red left with two school records and three Second-Team All-Ivy performances. Despite having 30 top-10 event finishes, Cornell did not have enough to gain the point tallies that the team needed to push past the other Ivy’s. The final results had Cornell at 59.5, just half a point behind Dartmouth in fifth place. Harvard once again came out on top for its fourth straight outdoor team title followed by Penn, Princeton and Columbia.
The Red’s efforts in the field were notable with seven scoring efforts to go along with an additional six field event finalists.
Freshman Claire Kao put the Red on the board first in Saturday’s pole vault. She earned a fifth-place finish of 12’6.25” in the midst of strong winds, which had made the event more difficult. Sophomore Grace Smith, who tied for fourth, and junior Kate Gulbrandsen, who tied for sixth, both cleared 5’6.5” in the high jump to earn points for the Red.
Junior Taylor Baker had an impressive weekend, earning her spot in three finals overall. Her personal record in the shot put was just the beginning to her fantastic performance. She placed sixth in the discus at 145’2” and seventh in the hammer with yet another personal best of 175’7”, good for fifth all-time at Cornell.
“Some of biggest highlights [of the weekend were the] school record performance by [freshman] Brittany Stenekes at 100 meter hurdles and the 4 x 100 relay that also set a new school record,” said head coach Rich Bowman. “[There were] great efforts by sprint tandem of Adrian Jones and [junior] Ellen Shepard as well as [junior tri-captain] Taysia Radoslav who had a fantastic run in the 400 meter hurdles.”
Radoslav teamed up with sophomores Ellery Biando and Kat Quingley as well as Pearce to grab the second-place finish in the 4×400 meter relay. Radoslav ran in 53.1 while Bianco ran a 57.6 second leg before Quigley ran her portion of the race in 55.49 seconds. Pearce then brought the stick home in 56.06 seconds, earning the team a second place run of 3:42.51.
Senior tri-captain Adrian Jones had one of the best sprinting weekends in school history, closing out her final Heps strong. With the help of Quigley, Stenekes and Shepard, the group was able to work together and run 45.01 in the 4×100 meter relay, which is a new school record. Jones later broke another school record in the 100 and 200 meter races. With an 11.55w in the 100 meter and a 23.52w in the 200 meter, Jones had herself quite a meet helping the Red bring up its point total.
“Our team has had experience competing against some of the toughest competition — some of the best in the nation,” Stenekes said. “Learning how to challenge ourselves to compete with the best prepared us for Heps.”
The team looks to move forward from its somewhat disappointing finish at this year’s outdoor Heps and will use this experience as a stepping stone to future success.
“After this weekend, we realize that we need to be more focused and dedicated if we want to be a championship team,” Pearce said. “All the talent is there, it’s just the heart and commitment that we’re missing. Our daily life decisions, in terms of eating, sleeping, and social life, must all be aligned with our goal to win. We are a young team, so with these minor changes, there is no [reason] that we can’t be the best team out there.”
As coach Bowman reflected on the outcome of this past weekend, he also looked to the younger athletes to step up and stand out in the future of this program.
“The final Results were not what we wanted, but [we] still [had] some great individual efforts,” he said. “We’ll continue to improve at the ECAC’s next weekend at Princeton. We are a young team, [with] only two seniors scoring this past weekend. The freshman group is amazing holding five school records between them. [I] Look forward to their future maturation and leadership.”
The team will send a contingent of athletes to Princeton next weekend to compete at ECACs as the season comes to a close.