The countdown is on. There is just over a week to go until the track and field teams arrive in Annapolis for the Heptagonal Championships. A week later, the athletes will travel to Princeton; the men for the IC4As and the women for the ECACs. In a little more than two weeks, the fate of this year’s season will be decided. Only the thrill of victory and personal best times will justify the end of a successful season, and the end of so many exceptional amateur careers.
But, there is still some time before the team seals its fortune. There is still one chance left to improve and prepare for the most important meets of the season. This weekend, the track and field teams welcome Cortland to Ithaca for the Cornell Invitational.
Women’s coach Lou Duesing knows it is crunch time.
“This meet is a tune-up,” said Duesing. “Most of the athletes will just run one event to stay sharp, and no score will be kept. We’re going to use it to get ready for the Heps.”
The Heps are the most important meet of the season. The Red will be competing not only for bragging rights, but to do justice to the success it experienced this year. Both the men and women have had one of their best seasons ever. The only thing left to do is hit the track and prove it one last time.
Duesing knows how it feels to end the year knowing that you just missed.
“We were fourth at the outdoor Heps last year” remarked Duesing. “We were disappointed because we were actually closer to first than we were to fifth. Everyone looked at their own performances and thought they could have done a little more. This year, we are confident, but we are mindful that it doesn’t take much to finish out of the money. That’s why we work on the little things.”
Following the Heps, qualifying men and women will compete in the IC4As and ECACs, respectively. The meet in Princeton will be the last chance for the athletes to shine, and for many, a final farewell to the sport they love. Only a lucky few will make it to the NCAAs.
With the end of the season just around the corner, the teams have enjoyed the success garnered over the year, but more importantly the spirit of collegiate athletics.
“I’ve been at Cornell for 12 years and I can’t remember when I’ve had more fun,” confessed Duesing. “It’s not our success, it’s the student athletes. Their hard work, competitiveness, and unwillingness to accept second best has been inspiring. Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, it has been a great year.”
Archived article by Adam Matthews