1.01 seconds and one centimeter.
It was those fractional measurements that separated the men’s track & field field from the fifth place it earned at the Heptagonal Championships this past weekend from the second place it could have easily swiped.
While it finished with 68 points, the Red was only 16 points behind Penn, which took second. Princeton was the class of the competition, garnering a whopping 118 points to easily outdistance the rest of the field.
“I don’t think anyone’s overjoyed with the performance,” said senior tri-captain Pete Ippel, who placed third in the high jump. “We’re all hurting from the fact we were seconds away from second.”
But the men’s fifth place belies the fact that their performance over the weekend was their best Heps in several years. Not since Cornell won the competition in 1985 has it scored as many points.
“It’s very encouraging, considering that the team was last in the league two years ago,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
Ippel, who has clear memories of the team scoring just 20 points his freshman year and finishing last, realizes that this Heps could be a watershed moment for the program.
“It’s one of the turning points,” he noted. “We’re in the mix [with the other Ivy League schools], and that’s something we haven’t been in for a while.”
The pole vault was a key event for the Red. Junior Scott Lundy took second with a a jump of 16’0′.75 while freshman Travis Offner finished fourth, clearing 15’9′.50.
“It’s a very competitive vault,” Taylor explained. “I thought [Lundy] did particularly well.”
In the throws, Jeremy Blanchet earned second in the weight throw while Brett Coffing took third in the shot put.
Senior tri-captain Nick Senter also helped lead the Red’s strong showing in the field, capturing third in the high jump.
On the track, senior Chris Ondrak set a school record in the 800 in qualifying trials on Saturday and came back the next day to place fifth in the finals. Senior tri-captain Colin Moore and freshman John Corley took fourth and seventh in the mile, respectively. And the distance medley — composed of Moorem Corley, Matt Murnan, and Geoff Van Fleet — crossed the line in second.
“This is a good starting point,” Ippel said about the team’s future outlook. “Everybody’s fired up to do more outdoors.”
On the women’s side, Cornell placed fourth behind Brown, Harvard, and Yale.
Once again, it was a matter of fractions of a second and few centimeters costing the Red a higher finish.
“Had some things gone our way, I think we could have gotten third,” said women’s coach Lou Duesing, adding, “Had everything happened right, we might have even challenged for second.”
The team’s performance showed that it is currently peaking, recording a staggering 28 seasonal bests.
Leading that list was Carlan Gray who trimmed off 44 seconds from her previous personal best in the 5000 on her way to finishing fourth at Heps.
More astonishing, she was ranked 15th in the league coming into the meet. She even set a personal best for 3000 meters during the race.
“In terms of coming to the meet and going to war and digging deeper than ever before, that’s hard to beat,” Duesing said about Gray’s performance. “That was huge. It was just a phenomenal effort.”
In the pole vault, Jamie Reed placed third but also set a new school record with a jump of 11’9″.75.
“That’s the best she’s jumped [ever],” Duesing said.
Jessica Parrot also set a personal record, besting her previous 3000 meter time by 14 seconds on Sunday.
And Emily Eigel, who wasn’t even ranked in the top-15 in the conference in the shot put, came in second. In the process she topped her prior best throw by a three feet. In the same event, senior Karen Chastain also bettered her season best performance by two feet on her way to finishing third.
Katy Jay placed second in both the 60 meter dash and the 200 meter dash. Meanwhile, the 4×800 meter relay — made up of Halle Watson, Meredith Freimer, Natalie Gingerich, and Kim Chatman — was first with a time of 9:06.13.
Said Freimer about the Red’s finish, “It was a really good effort for our team.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj