Bolstered by a plethora of returning stars and driven to improve on last year’s performances, the men’s track team sits chomping at the bit, poised to take the Ivy League by storm this winter.
“I have high expectations for the team this year. We want to finish in the top three at indoor Heps, and we can if things work out the way I think they will,” head coach Nathan Taylor said of his outlook for the season.
Senior co-captain Scott Benowicz escalated the team’s goals, saying, “We have high hopes this year. Obviously, we want to be league champs.”
Junior co-captain Jason Hart, echoed his teammate’s sentiments
“In the Ivy League, there is only one goal as a team and that is winning the Heptagonal championship.”
To achieve their goals, Taylor and his team will count on the returning members of last year’s squad, including 28 IC4A qualifiers and 25 Heps scorers, to set new personal records and dust the competition.
Benowicz, senior Mike Kiselycznyk, and juniors Jason Hart and Rahim Wooley will lead the pack. Benowicz, who specializes in the javelin, improved his throw by 20 feet last year, setting a mark of 220-02, which placed him second on Cornell’s all-time list and qualified for the NCAA championships. Kiselycznyk, the top 400m runner on the team, will try to drop his time of 49.12 in the race and anchor a solid 4×400 squad that took second at Heps last year. Hart, an All-Ivy standout who placed second at Heps last year in the long jump, will settle for nothing less than a championship this season. And, finally, Wooley, whose 100m (10.69) and 200m (21.43) times rank him eighth and ninth, respectively, on Cornell’s all-time list, hopes to continue the success he had last year in those events.
Led by their captains, a talented group of underclassmen will also play a major role in the team’s success. Junior pole vaulter Travis Offner, who currently holds the Cornell record in his event, won at Heps last year, making him the first Cornellian to do so in the last 50 years. He also qualified for the NCAA championships.
Sophomore thrower Zach Beadle, who stepped into the spotlight by placing fifth at Heps as a freshman last year, worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger, as he works toward his championship goals. Rounding out the long list of top performers is sophomore Bruce Hyde, who ran the fastest indoor mile at Cornell last year and will work to score points in distance events for the Red this season.
Despite its depth, the team’s success still hinges on the health of its runners.
“We had a lot of injuries last year and that hurt us. If we want to move forward this year, we need healthy guys,” said Taylor.
Benowicz added, “A lot of our success comes down to how healthy we are.”
To reduce its chances for injury and increase the likelihood of winning Heps and sending runners to NCAA’s, the team has trained since the end of last season to build a solid foundation of strength, flexibility, and conditioning.
“Our workouts began only a month after last year’s season officially ended. And up until now, the entire team has been out on the track five and sometimes six days a week working to perfect their technique,” said Hart. “Collectively, our team works hard year round so that we can better our spot in the league and get that Heps title.”
With its sights set high, its talent pool running deep, and its work put in, this year’s team promises to deliver.
Archived article by Everett Hullverson