April 16, 2004

Track Battles Lafayette

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The Red track teams might be the best things at Cornell that you’ve never seen. With only a few home meets during the indoor and outdoor seasons, the Red must travel around the country in pursuit of worthy competition. The teams will continue to rack up the frequent flyer miles or — more appropriately — the frequent bus miles when they roll into Easton, Pa., for the Lafayette Invitational this weekend. A week after splitting the squads to compete in Sea Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., and at Bucknell Outdoor Classic, the Red is looking forward to a less stressful weekend.

“This is a lower key competition from last weekend,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor. “It’s a chance for some guys to take it a little easy, but there are other guys who are trying to bang out good performances in what we hope will be some good weather.”

Although a less stressful weekend, the Red will face some very strong competition.

“In and of itself one school might not do much,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “But there are a lot of events and everyone is going to contribute in some way to some an event. We hope all events will be competitive. They are not going to score the meet. We’re not trying to beat people, so much as have good throwing, good jumping, and good running events so people can move themselves forward.”

Last weekend in Knoxville, the Red competed against a field that included top Division 1 opponents. For the men, Mr. Consistency, senior Giles Longley-Cook placed eighth in the hammer throw and qualified for the NCAA regionals. In the 800-meter, senior Aldo Gonzalez may have placed 20th, but his time of 1:51.37 qualified him for the Intercollegiate Association of Amateur Athletes of America (IC4A) championship. Freshman David Pell placed second in the high jump at 6-8 3/4 while classmate Kofi Ofori-Ansah placed fifth in the triple jump. The distance medley relay team placed fifth at 9:56.51, the 10th best mark in school history.

The other half of the men’s squad was at Bucknell, where a remarkable 10 of 12 men set personal records in distance events. In the 1500-meter, sophomore Ross McGowan finished seventh with a personal best 3:57.03. McGowan is a daze staffer. The steeplechase was won by freshman Aaron Arlinghaus in 9:19.91 and classmate Brad Baird finished fourth. Junior Emory Mort cruised into a second place in the 10k in 30:22.15. Senior Ethan Albrecht-Carrie was an IC4A qualifier in the decathlon, amassing 6,264 points, the third most at Cornell all-time.

Despite all the success, Taylor continues to push the team hard.

“We have four weeks between this weekend and Heps,” Taylor said. “Four hard practices away. Even though it’s the midway point chronologically, training wise we are 95 percent of the way there. Over the next couple weeks we’re going to sharpen and let people recuperate.”

The ultimate goal remains Heps and being fully prepared for the competition.

“There are days when I’m a really harsh critic of that,” Taylor said when asked about the progress the team has made towards this goal. “There are days when I think that we’ve made about as much progress as we could make. There are days when the seniors on the team, when they’ve accomplished so much, need to focus on finishing their legacy.”

The women also had a very successful weekend. In Knoxville, the 4×100, 4×200, and 4×400 relay teams composed of junior Kari Steed, senior Hannah Garrity, freshman Cameron Washington, and junior Shonda Brown were outstanding. In the 4×100, the team set a season best mark of 47.43, eighth best all-time at Cornell, and qualified for the ECAC championship. The same group competed in the 4×200, finishing in 1:38.49 — second best at Cornell all-time.

Rounding out a busy day, the team placed eighth in the 4×400. Their time of 3:41.32 was second best all-time at Cornell and fast enough to qualify the team for the NCAA regionals. Washington ran the 400-meter in 55.39, setting a personal record and qualifying for the ECACs. Juniors Alyssa Simon and Stacey Nadolny also qualified for the ECAC championships in the steeplechase and the discus, respectively.

At Bucknell, the Red continued to shine. Six women set personal records. In the steeplechase, sophomore Angela Kudla and freshman Robyn Ellerbrock set personal records. Ellerbrock finished in 11:08.17, beating her own freshman record. The 5k was equally productive, as sophomore Emily McCabe, sophomore Christy Planer, and senior Christine Eckstaedt set personal bests.

As the team marches through spring, it continues to improve.

“Despite the weather, I would have to say yes,” Duesing said when asked if he was pleased with the progress of the team. “I know if you were to ask a lot of the individuals they would express frustration because they want to be faster. But that’s okay. I tell them limitations in sport are self-imposed, so strive and continue to strive to be better.”

Archived article by James Rich
Sun Staff Writer