Fighting off cold temperatures and wet conditions on South Hill, the men’s and women’s track teams gave strong performances at the Ithaca College Invitational Saturday. The low-pressure meet against mostly Division III schools afforded many underclassmen a rare chance to compete, with the teams taking home a combined total of 22 event titles.
“Scoring high places in meets is sort of a relative thing,” said head coach Nathan Taylor. “Against teams like Ithaca and the ones that come to that meet, it’s not worthwhile for our top kids to even compete.”
While temperatures in the low 30s posed a challenge, the Red men still came away with eight event titles and four IC4A qualifiers.
“It’s pretty tough to step up in that weather,” Taylor said. “We didn’t enter that many men in the meet, but certainly the hammer throwers and discus throwers did very well.”
These throwers included freshmen Jesse Braun and rookie sensation Stephen Mozia, who led the men to a number of impressive results, including all four IC4A qualifiers. Mozia won the shot put and discus, while Braun placed second in the discus, the shot put and the hammer.
“I did what I have to do, but there’s always room for improvement and I think I could really improve as the season goes on,” Mozia said.
Over on the track, junior Zach Zeller and sophomore Nick Athanasopoulous claimed first and second in the 110 hurdles, respectively, while the 4x400 team of seniors Tom Randall and Steve Wexler and freshmen Mike Rabbitt and Zach Flood took first with a time of 3:33.61.
The Red also dominated the long jump, with sophomore Hercules Stancil leading freshman Han Wei Chew, Athanasopoulous and junior Jourdan White in a sweep of the event. Freshman Steven Pawiak and sophomore Casey Leamon each cleared 13-11.25 to take first and second in pole vaulting, respectively.
Meanwhile, the women brought home 14 event titles and two ECAC-qualifiers. Again, an unusual number of underclassmen dominated the results, with freshmen and sophomores sweeping the jumping events and making their mark on the track. Sophomore Sarah Sherman took the high jump and freshman Lindsey Enders won pole vault, while sophomores Dominique Corley and Kelley Roach brought in wins in the long jump and triple jump, respectively.
“Any meet where the younger kids get to compete is a great opportunity,” Taylor said. “About three weeks from now, most of the kids that competed at Ithaca College won’t be able to get into the meets. It’s not that they’re bad track athletes, it’s that competition gets ramped up more and more as the season goes on.”
The two ECAC qualifiers came from junior Victoria Imbesi and senior Erin Rossi. Imbesi commanded the shot put with the No. 2 outdoor performance in Cornell history at a whopping 47-3.75 heave, while Rossi won the hammer at 167-10. The Red also shone on the track, filling the first 11 places in the 1500, as well as taking the 100, 200, 800, 3000 steeplechase and 400.