After dominating their respective fields in the Cornell Challenge this past week, the Red men’s and women’s squads seem poised to continue their prowess at the annual Cornell/Harvard/Brown tri-meet tomorrow in Massachusetts. As both squads continue to accumulate victories on their way to a hopeful Heps championship, finishing well tomorrow against these rivals will be a top priority.
“Both Harvard and Brown have six or seven very high quality athletes,” coach Nathan Taylor said. “Brown won its first Heptagonal championship ever during cross country this year so their distance kids are very strong. They also have the defending outdoor champ in the high jump as well as some strong sprinters and hurdlers.
“Harvard’s main strengths are in the jumps and [they] will go head to head with Cornell in those events.”
While clearly acknowledging the tough competition the Red will face this week, Taylor is supremely confident that the effort will certainly be there from his stars.
“We are trying to train through many of the midseason meets and this week will be no exception,” added Taylor. “I still expect the guys to go after it in every event.”
Taylor confirmed after last week’s Cornell Challenge that senior Tyler Kaune and junior Ryan Schmidt, who met the IC4A qualifying standards with their jumping performances, were able to lead the squad and excel in competition. When asked for his thoughts on who would step it up in Boston, he mentioned that excellence must come from a variety of sources.
“The pole vaulters and hurdlers have the most to prove this weekend and our younger distance runners need to get on the ball,” said Taylor.
On the field performance is certainly important, but Taylor understands that to be a truly successful track program — one that is very competitive year-round — a team must have charismatic and rallying leaders.
“Each one of our captains does a good job of rallying the guys in his event area,” Taylor explained. “The guys that work hard gain the respect of their teammates even if they are not the most outstanding performers.”
“I would expect a very spirited and competitive meet, since it has been that way every year we’ve done it,” said coach Lou Duessing, referring to this weekend’s matchup.
The women’s squad has been in control all season. A first-place finish at the Cornell Challenge, a second-place spot at Penn State, and numerous other victories are what Duessing and his girls hope will build up towards a championship season. Yet, Duessing knows that this week’s meet will not be a cakewalk.
“Each team has strengths and weaknesses, strong events and weak events,” said Duessing. “In the case of Brown and Harvard, their strengths are different — so the challenge in each event will come from one or the other team, if not both. Brown has won many indoor titles and has some tremendous strength in events where we feel we’re pretty strong — so they will be very challenging.
“The same can be said for Harvard. They have excellent throwers, a strong mid-distance group, the league champion in the hurdles — so they will present numerous challenges as well.”
Duessing admitted that he certainly relies on his captains to provide the crucial leadership down the stretch of the season.
“The four captains do an excellent job,” said Duessing. “Merili Mosley and Hannah Garrity work with the sprint hurdle group, Stacey Nadolny with the throws group and Ann Hansgate with the middle distance and distance group. The jumpers are not left out of the formula and spend a great deal of time with the sprinters and hurdlers.
“Communication and camaraderie are real strengths of this team — and has been for several years.”
The women’s squad is still looking to build on the successes of the past few weeks and work their way to a title. This weekend, they will need a team effort to be executed throughout the day.
However, with the confidence of their successful coach, tremendous on the field leaders, and experience of past success, this team seems poised to put the required effort needed for a victory.
Archived article by Josh Fox