It’s crunch time for the men’s and women’s track and field teams. With the outdoor Heps championship meet less than two weeks away, the Red is progressing through its season with hopes of bringing the outdoor Heps title back to Cornell. Before Heps, however, the Red will compete this weekend in the 117th edition of the Penn Relays — a meet that was first run on April 21, 1895 and remains the longest uninterrupted collegiate track and field meet in the country. According to men’s head coach Nathan Taylor, he is always very excited for the annual race. “Penn Relays is an absolute extravaganza,” he said. “There’s really no meet in the world like it. It’s the largest non-Olympic track meet in the world.”The meet, consisting mostly of relay events, will give the Red another chance to work on perfecting its winning recipe before the Heps meet, according the women’s head coach Rich Bowman. “It’s mostly all relay events — sprint relays all the way up to distance relays,” he said. “It gives us a little tune up before the [Heps] meet. We get to see all the Ivy League schools in this kind of setting, and we get to see each other and how everybody is doing.”This meet will allow Cornell athletes to run in a field of competition comprised of some of the most talented athletes in the country. Senior high jumper Chris Arlinghaus says he is excited to compete against teams he normally does not see during the course of the season. “I’m looking forward to the competition,” he said. “Normally over the course of the season, we compete mostly with teams from the east coast, so it’s nice to see representation from the south and southwest.”Bowman pointed out that this meet will not exclusively feature collegiate athletes. Some of the most celebrated track and field athletes in the world will be competing over the weekend as well. Many American athletes heading to London this summer to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics will also be present.“It’s a little bit awe-inspiring,” Bowman said. “Usain Bolt and some of the other world record holders will be there, so they get to see people from all walks of life, from high school to junior college to college, the [professionals] and even the Olympic athletes.”Beyond the excitement of seeing so many athletes compete, Bowman says he feels that it is a great opportunity to build ties as a team, and to have fun as a team in preparation for the Heps meet. “We want to try and get everybody involved one week before the [Heps] meet,” he said. “We want to have some fun down there.”At the end of the weekend, the Red will be looking directly towards the outdoor Heps finals. Taylor said he feels that if his athletes can perform well this weekend, they will be right where they need to be to go out after the Heps title. “I think if they get some good performances, they’re going to be supremely confident about what’s going to happen at the Heps” he said. “I thought last weekend for a lot of guys was fantastic. We had some huge performance, so [yes], I think we’re headed in the right direction. We’re going to be ready to challenge for the championship.” For senior co-captain Molly Glantz, time has passed quickly leading up to the Heps meet over the course of the outdoor season. “It came a lot quicker than we thought it would,” she said. “We’re just looking to get one more solid race under our belts and go into Heps with the best times we have.”Both the men’s and women’s teams have been building towards the Heps meet, with their eyes on bringing another title to Cornell. Glantz says she has seen her team build up strength and excitement while progressing towards the Heps meet.“Everyone has been building on their achievements every week,” she said. “They’ve been getting stronger, and people are getting excited and ready to go.”Bowman previously spoke about the progression of the team being analogous to the manner in which puzzle pieces are put together to get to the final outcome. The women’s head coach says he is seeing these pieces come together for his team the right way in preparation for Heps. “Every meet that we have, everybody has been getting better and better in different events,” he said. “Again, it’s like all these puzzle pieces coming together to have the final product ready for next week.” In recent years, Cornell has been one of the most dominant teams in the Heps. After last year’s loss in the outdoor Heps finals to Princeton, this time around the Red is looking to restore Cornell track and field to its tradition of winning. Arlinghaus says he is looking to bring back the Heps title where he feels it belongs. “We have a tradition of winning here, so it’s all about bringing back the title,” he said.