Fulfilling a tradition that dates back to 1921, the Cornell track & field squad teamed up with Penn last Saturday to take on visiting Oxford and Cambridge in Philadelphia, Penn.
Women’s head coach Lou Duesing saw the meet not just as another competition, but also as a life experience.
“It’s very meaningful to people on both sides of the Atlantic,” he said. “People value it as an educational, sociological, and athletic experience.”
Men’s coach Nathan Taylor agreed: “There’s a tremendous value in the exchange of cultural ideas. They compare notes on school and life. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids.”
Never in the history of exchange have Penn and Cornell failed to defeat their English counterparts. And once again on Saturday, both easily showed the dominance of American track & field.
The weather conditions in Philadelphia — damp and cold — made conditions perfect for distance runners but unfavorable for sprinters.
“That explains why we had so many personal bests from 800 [meters] on up,” Duesing said.
For the women, senior Kim Chatman ran her second-best 1500 ever, finishing first in a time of 4:29.41. In the 3000, sophomore Christine Diaz won, clocking 10:12.78. Both the triple jump and pole vault also went into Cornell’s column, with seniors Danielle Brown and Jamie Reed taking top honors, respectively.
Sophomore Katy Jay also placed well, taking second in the 100.
In the men’s event, Dave Hewlitt and freshman Tyler Kaune were Cornell’s first-place finishers, in the 110 high hurdles and the long jump, respectively.
Also performing well, according to Taylor, were junior Jeremy Blanchet (2nd in the hammer) and sophomore Dan Dambrowski (2nd in the 5000).
Although the Penn Invite may have been a change of pace from the Red’s normal schedule, it was not the most productive competition for a pair of reasons, according to Duesing.
First, although there were approximately a dozen teams competing, in all the events Cornell and Penn had to go head-to-head against Oxford and Cambridge. Consequently, the Red could not test itself against other schools.
Also, Cornell had been on a two week-long hiatus going into the meet, having not competed since Spring Break.
“People might have been a little rusty,” Duesing explained, pointing to less than perfect handoffs in the 4×100 as a prime example.
But the schedule now gets much more difficult, starting with the highly competitive Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., tomorrow.
Duesing said, “These next two weekends will give us a much better read on where people are.”
Archived article by Shiva Nagaraj