The men’s and women’s track teams prevailed over tough national competition and chilly weather to earn three first place medals and 16 top-15 finishes at the historic Penn Relays held in Philadelphia this past weekend. Roughly 100,000 spectators — the fourth largest crowd in event history — watched from the stands of Franklin Field over the meet’s four day running.
One individual and two Cornell relays captured first-place medals. Taking gold for the men was junior Tyler Kaune, who won the collegiate Eastern long jump championships with his leap of 24-1. Leading the women was the 4x400m relay team composed of sophomores Kari Steed, Jessica Brown, and Shonda Brown, and senior Katy Jay.
The 4×400 team captured two victories, one in the ECAC division and one in the Heptagonal division of the meet. In the final leg of the ECAC championship, anchor Jay pulled ahead of Georgetown’s team in the final steps of the race to finish four seconds ahead of the Hoyas in 3:40.38. The team’s margin of victory was considerably greater, however, in the Heptagonal race, as the women beat their hosts, the Penn Quakers, by over five seconds, crossing the line in 3:43.37.
In addition to these gold medal winners, the men’s team boasted nine top-10 finishes, and the women’s team delivered similarly outstanding numbers, placing seven athletes in the top 15.
On the field, senior Scott Benowicz’s 219-3 foot javelin mark fell just shy of first place. Also, Kaune’s teammate in the long jump, junior Jason Hart, placed eighth in the Eastern championships while junior Travis Offner tied for ninth in the pole vault. Senior thrower Derek Kingrey further boosted the Red with his seventh-place finish in shot put.
Several runners also delivered valuable finishes. Sophomore Emory Mort placed sixth in the steeplechase with a time of 9:11.87, and junior Ethan Albrecht-Carrie ran the fastest time in the 100m portion of the decathlon (11.18) en route to amassing 6,161 total points and seventh place in the meet. In the Heptagonal division of the Relays, the men’s 4×400 team finished three seconds behind the Quakers’ squad, crossing the finish line in second place, and the distance medley squad gave the team another second-place mark, coming in less than a second after Oklahoma State’s team.
Coming through for the women with top finishes were the distance medley relay team, 4x800m relay team, sophomore Kate Boyles in the 5000m run, senior Sarah Herskee in the discuss, and juniors Ib Stanley-Ikhilioju and Kalifa Pilgrim in the triple jump.
Sophomores Lauren Graham and Sarah Coseo, freshman Linda Trotter, and junior Natalie Gingrich took their distance medley relay team to a silver-medal finish in the collegiate championship, coming in at 11:41.92 — just 53 seconds behind event champion, Oklahoma.
Members of the 4x800m relay team, sophomores Carrie Richards, Alison Koplar and Jessica Brown, senior Natalie Whelan set a new school record and led their squad to an outstanding eighth-place spot in the Championship of the America division, beating out major national powerhouses West Virginia and Florida in the race.
Boyles ran a strong 5000m, finishing 12th overall in 16:47.50. Teammates Stanley-Ikhilioju and Pilgrim gave the Red two top-15 finishes in the triple jump, finishing the meet in 11th and 14th places, respectively.
“I was extremely happy with how the team, and particularly the relays, did,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing.
In many events, Cornell beat out Ivy and Eastern rivals, whom they will face in the coming weeks during the Heptagonal and Eastern championships.
Showing confidence in his team and a positive outlook for the rest of the season, coach Duesing said, “The fact that we competed so well against other Heps schools is a good sign, and we’re moving in the right direction. I have confidence in how the kids will go into these meets.”
Archived article by Everett Hullverson