The outdoor season is in full swing for the Red as the men’s and women’s track and field teams are poised to make another run at the Heps title. Both teams are progressing well this season now less than three weeks away from the Heps outdoor finals.
This past weekend the Red is coming off a strong performance at the Bucknell Bison Outdoor Classic, where the men’s team claimed six events and the women’s team won five events this past weekend. Women’s head coach Rich Bowman was pleased how his athletes performed at the Bucknell meet.
“It went very well,” he said. “This was by far our best meet of the year. The momentum is building; we had a lot of wonderful things happen.”
Junior middle distance runner Will McFall noted that a lot of Cornell athletes set personal records at Bucknell, something he attributed to the coaching staff.
“We set a lot of [personal records] so that’s good looking forward,” he said. “I think it’s important to attribute it to our coaches. It’s a long process that literally begins mid-summer and it’s really starting to pay off now with what we’re doing.”
The Bucknell meet had a large field of competitors, some more competitive than others, according to men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
“It had about 30-35 schools there,” he said. “The most competitive schools were Penn State and Bucknell.”
The men’s team saw a number of strong performances, including event wins by senior Ken McClain in the 400 hurdles, senior co-captain Dan Hagberg in the 110 hurdles, sophomore Montez Blair in the high jump, Peter Roach in the pole vault, and in both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Freshman thrower and indoor NCAA finalist Stephen Mozia placed third in the discus and fourth in the shot put. The 4x100 relay team of sophomore Chris Bain, junior Jedidiah Adarquah-Yiadom, senior Chase Aaronson, and sophomore Kinsley Ojukwu ran a time of 40.77 for the seventh best time in Cornell’s track and field history.
The women’s team saw five event wins including junior Victoria Imbesi in the javelin, junior Claire Dishong in the pole vault, sophomore Devin McMahon in the 10k, senior Megan Brown in the 3k, and in the 4x400 relay comprised of sophomore Ryan Woolley, senior Kelsey Reimnitz, junior Libby O’Brien, and senior co-captain Molly Glantz. The women’s team saw 19 ECAC qualifying marks and seven alterations to Cornell’s all time top 10 lists.
With the Heps meet approaching, the teams must continue to progress in order to be fully prepared to go after the outdoor title. Taylor expressed that he was generally pleased with the progression of his team to this point in the season.
“It’s been pretty good,” he said. “I think we’ve had most of the areas of the team do reasonably well. There have been some exceptional performances. I’m pleased with the general progress of the team.”
According to McFall, although the team is not ready yet, they will be by the time Heps comes around.
“I don’t think we’re ready yet, but we’re getting there and we’re on the right track,” he said. “We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, but it’s important not to get complacent.”
For some of Cornell’s athletes, the difference between qualifying for an important meet or not can be as seemingly minimal as just a few seconds. Athletes like freshman middle distance runner Jade Williams are working to cut those seconds off to qualify for important meets for their team.
“I’m hoping to get to regionals this year,” she said. “So I really need to knock a second or two off of my 800 to qualify.”
Bowman offered an interesting perspective on how the progression of these teams works.
“It’s a little bit like a puzzle,” he said. “All the different little pieces are starting to come together, and don’t really have that puzzle put together, but each week we have a different piece come up and do big things.”
Up next for the Red are two meets this weekend. Some of Cornell’s athletes will travel to the Princeton Invite hosted at Princeton, while the rest of the team will travel to the Upstate Challenge hosted in Buffalo. As the first scored meet of the season, Bowman felt that his team will come closer together.
“This is our first scored meet,” he said. “So I think people will really come together.”