The men’s and women’s track teams, both currently ranked among the top-25 teams in the national power rankings, will bring their prowess and lofty expectations to Dartmouth this weekend for the Heptagonal championships.
Last year, the Red hosted the event and nearly took home two championships. The women’s team did win the title, beating second place Harvard by 12 points and dusting the rest of its competition.
The men’s team looked solid and led all other teams after the first day of competition but was edged out in the final events and took fifth overall behind eventual champion Princeton, second-place Penn and Dartmouth, and third-place Harvard.
This year, however, both squads boast more talent and depth than virtually any squad in Cornell history and stand a legitimate chance of dominating the meet. Already this season, the Red men and women have crushed all of their Ivy opponents and placed highly at tough national competitions consisting of Big Ten, ACC, SEC, and MAAC conference schools.
The crew of Red women will be led by senior captain Katy Jay, who won last year’s Most Outstanding Performer Award, and hopes to repeat her performance. At last year’s meet, Jay won the 60m, 200m, and took second in the 400m race in addition to anchoring the 4x400m relay. Coming into this meet, she has the best 200m time (24.59s) of all the teams competing in the meet.
Accompanying Jay are equally talented runners, jumpers, and throwers who have shown that they will not accept anything less than victories all season long. Junior Merili Mosley is the defending Heps 60m hurdles champion and looks poised to add another title to her resume. Senior Caitlin Ramsey will probably be Mosely’s closest competitor; Ramsey has the third fastest time in the Ivy League so far this year in the event.
In the longer sprints, sophomore Kari Steed ran a blazing 55.23 in the 400m, taking first in that event. But again, Steed’s own teammates will be her biggest competition. Sophomore sisters Jessica and Shonda Brown took third and fourth, respectively, in the 400m last year and have improved dramatically since then.
In the middle and longer distance events, seniors Natalie Whelan and Carlan Gray, and sophomore Kate Boyles will forge ahead for the Red. Whelan has the fourth-best Ivy time in the 800m going into the meet and has a chance to take home the gold. Gray and Boyles both scored points for the Red in the 3k and 5k races last year.
Finally, in the field events, senior Sarah Herskee is favored to win the shot put. Herskee won the event last year and has upped her toss by more than a foot this season. Additionally, freshmen standouts Maria Millard and Amy Donofrio stand a good chance to bring home a few points for the women.
The outlook for the men is equally auspicious.
Field-event athletes will contribute big team points for the Red. Junior Travis Offner and senior Chris Hart currently stand one-two in the pole vault rankings. Offner was last year’s champion in the event, but topped his blue-ribbon performance by over one foot at the Penn State Invitational earlier this year, recording a vault of 17-02.5. Hart is a multiple threat for the Red. Currently, he is just a few inches off Offner’s pole vault mark and will also vie for victories in the long jump — an event he placed second in last year.
Junior Tyler Kaune also presents multiple threats to his opponents. So far this year, he has scored an incredible number of points for the Red, placing top-seven in both the long and triple jumps each time he has competed. He goes into this weekend’s meet as the defending champion in the long jump (23-08) and holding the Ivy League’s best triple jump distance (49-02.75).
Nearly all of the men’s throwing group stands a chance to score huge points. Junior Giles Longley-Cook has won numerous events this season and placed third at last year’s Heps in the weight throw. Favored to win the shot put is junior Derek Kingrey, who lays claim to the biggest throw in the Ivies (57-01.25) going into Heps.
Close behind him are senior Brett Coffing and sophomore Zach Beadle. Coffing took second in the shot last year at Heps, and Beadle worked hard in the offseason to dramatically improve his toss. All of these athletes should compete for the top spots in their events.
On the track, senior Quinton Carew and junior Rahim Wooley are the best hopes for the Red in the short sprints. Carew, in particular, will challenge for first in the 60m. He has the fastest time in the event for the Red this year (6.98) and placed sixth at the indoor championships last year. Junior Mike Nanaszko also hopes to score big points for the team in his event, the 500m. Nanaszko delivered an outstanding performance earlier this year in the event, clocking a 1:05.02, the fourth best time in the Ivies right now.
Senior distance runners Dan Dombroski and Geoff Van Fleet round out the top Red runners. Dombroski scored for the Red at Heps last year, placing fifth in the 5k in 14:47.13 but has dropped his time this year and looks to deliver his best performance this weekend. Van Fleet also scored last year, coming in third in the 3k race.
Pushing these top finishers and scoring for the Red all season long is an additional slew of runners, jumpers, and throwers on both teams who all have a good chance of scoring. Though the list too numerous to mention each athlete individually, every athlete who competes this weekend will give it their best shot and, hopefully, contribute to dual Heps crowns for the Red.
Archived article by Everett Hullverson