January 24, 2001

Tracksters Focus on Training For Season During layoff

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Unlike most teams, the men’s and women’s track & field teams didn’t have a string of competitions to look forward to during the winter recess.

Instead, after the Cornell Relays on Dec. 2, the Red was out of action for almost six weeks. Its biggest challenge was simply keeping in shape before the heart of the indoor season kicked into gear.

“When you have that much time off,” explained men’s head coach Nathan Taylor, “it really challenges an athlete’s maturity.”

However, before the coaches sent their athletes home with regimented workout schedules, the Red hosted fifteen schools at Barton Hall for the unscored Cornell Relays.

For the men, sophomore Quinton Carew set a school record in the 60 meter dash. Nick Morgan finished first in the 55 meter hurdles while sophomore Brett Coffing took the top spot in the shot put. And in the distance events, junior Geoff Van Fleet and classmate Max King earned first and second in the 5000 meter run.

On the women’s side, sophomore Caitlin Ramsey and freshman Merili Mosely took first and second in the 55 meter hurdles, with sophomore Katy Jay crossing the line first in the 55 meter dash as well as 300 meter dash. Both of Jay’s wins were school records. Senior Karen Chastain and sophomore Sarah Herskee claimed the top two spots in the weight throw. In addition Herskee won the shot put competition. In the field events, Cornell garnered first place in the long jump (Liz Ferguson) and triple jump (Danielle Brown).

For the six weeks after the Cornell Relays, the Red had the opportunity to kick back and relax (and complete the workouts the coaches handed out).

“We knew they [weren’t] going to do everything,” Taylor said. “But a mature athlete will do a majority of the workouts.”

“By and large, I thought that the team did well [during break],” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “A number of the them took advantage of the time away from school.”

When the team returned to Ithaca, it was met with the prospect of traveling to University Park, Pa., for the U.S. Track Coaches Association Series meet.

The men finished fourth behind Penn State, Seton Hall and Villanova.

Rookie Travis Offner won the pole vault, jumping 16’2.75″. Classmate Tyler Kaune added second place in the long jump with a mark of 23’03.25″. Van Fleet took third in the mile run while junior Jeremy Blancher earned third in the weight throw.

In the women’s competition, Cornell also claimed fourth, behind the same teams as the men.

The Red was led by seniors Jamie Reed and Sonya Negriff and sophomore Molly Dickens, who combined to sweep the top three spots in the pole vault. In the mile run, seniors Meredith Freimer and Kim Chatman crossed the line in third and fourth place, respectively. And in the distance medley — one of the Red’s strongest events — the team placed second.

Duesing commented that the break Red’s level intensity was not interrupted by the break.

“I’ve been very pleased with the [team’s] competitiveness,” he said, adding, “It was obvious that a number of people did a good job of not letting the time away let them get down.”

With the men and women both having taken first place at the Six-Way meet, and the Red traveling to Boston next week for a meet with Harvard and Brown, the team will now have to shift its focus from training to the heart of its schedule.

Said Duesing of the upcoming meets, “It starts getting real serious right off the bat.”

Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj