The Red has high expectations for itself this spring. After finishing third in the Heptagonals last year and improving its team ranking to 29th in the country, Cornell has a legitimate shot at making a run for the Ivy League title. Under the direction of coach Nathan Taylor, who has 27 years of coaching experience, the Red has a committed coaching staff that is determined to guide each athlete to his greatest potential.
“I would like the team to be strong in every event. This year is particularly exciting because we have a shot to be strong in every event,” Taylor said.
The team is tremendously potent, and the field events lead the way. Returning senior Jeremy Blanchet (35lb. weight) and sophomore Travis Offner (pole vault) both qualified for nationals during the indoor track season. Senior Max King was an NCAA qualifier in the steeplechase last season. Also, several other athletes on the team have the potential of getting to that level.
Junior Dan Dombroski joined King in the finals of the 5000m run at the IC4A Championships during the indoor season, and Dombroski took All-East honors. At the same event, Offner reached 4.80m in the pole vault, earning himself an All-East nod in the process. Blanchet also was named All-East.
King feels he is on a well-rounded team and is confident that if the team stays healthy, it will be a force in the League.
“[The team] has a good chance of winning Heptagonals, if we perform to our potential,” he commented. “[On a personal level] I am making a run at All-American and shooting for 8:30 minutes [in the 3000m steeplechase].
Behind the Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, and WAC, the Heptagonals are the sixth most competitive track league in the country. Within the Heps, rivals Penn and Princeton have extremely competitive teams. Penn alone has five potential All-Americans spread across the field.
Senior Dan Meehan is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead, especially from Princeton, which won the 2002 indoor track championship three weeks ago.
“It is important that the entire team steps up, because we have a chance of winning outdoor Heps,” Meehan, who ran a personal best 1:53.48 in the 800 prelims at IC4As, noted.
Going back to Cali
The Red looks forward to starting its season on a positive note. During spring break it will travel westward, to sunny California. Upon arrival Cornell will compete in two meets in ten days. The first stop will be the College Classic at Long Beach State, which is a national meet where teams from the Mountain region and California compete. That meet will begin on March 16.
The second meet will be the Irvine Invitational at the University of California, which will begin March 23. Last year, Cornell won both the Long Beach Classic and the Irvine Invitational.
Overall, the Red is looking forward to building on last year’s success. A solid freshman class, along with the leadership of some talented upperclassmen, should mean another competitive campaign for the Red.
Archived article by Joe Licitra