A week after sweeping the Heptagonal Championships, the men’s and women’s track teams are now faced with another daunting task: staying at the top.
Both squads will travel to Boston University today for their final tune-up before the NCAA meet a week from now in Fayetteville, AR.
The women will compete at the ECAC Championships while the men will encounter some tough competition at the IC4A meet. Although not quite as critical as the Heps in terms of conference bragging rights, the races in Boston allow Cornell’s athletes another chance to qualify for the national meet.
With roughly 17 spots available in each event for the NCAAs, the men and women refuse to overlook the opportunities this weekend presents.
“This is still a big weekend because there is such great competition,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “Our athletes are going to come in and try to do the best they can.”
The men and the women will not be sending full squads to Boston by any means. After the physical and mental rigors of Heps, both Duesing and men’s head coach Nathan Taylor are reluctant to overwork their athletes before the beginning of the outdoor season.
“We’re sending a little bit of a skeleton squad,” Taylor said. “But we have plenty of guys hoping to establish themselves among the best competitors in the East.”
Only 18 athletes from the men’s squad are making the trip out of the 33 who qualified for the IC4As.
The main objective for the Red will be to shave off some time from the distance-medley race, an event the men’s team hopes to send to nationals. Senior Oliver Tassinari, freshman Adam Seabrook, junior Gordon Hall and senior Bruce Hyde will continue to anchor the distance-medley event.
“For a good amount of us, we are going to try to qualify for nationals,” said senior men’s team captain Adam Sansiveri. “Winning Heps is the greatest thing for the team, but getting to nationals is the gravy.”
Also traveling with the men’s team will be freshman Saidu Ezike, who was named to the All-Ivy First Team this week in the 60m hurdles. Senior Zach Beadle, another All-Ivy selection, will represent Cornell in the shot put.
The women’s team is also looking to build on its successes at Heps, where it captured its fourth consecutive conference championship. The women qualified 36 athletes for the ECAC meet, but not all of them will compete in Boston. However, according to Duesing, the lack of Heps-caliber pressure will not affect his athletes’ performance on the track.
“At Heps, everyone on the team knows we are gearing up for it,” Duesing said. “[At ECACs], there is none of that pressure. We have always seemed to do very well at this meet.”
The Red boasts a few women who are on the verge of qualifying for the national meet. Senior Shonda Brown, who placed second at Heps in both the 800m and 400m runs, hopes to crack the top 17 for a berth to the national meet. Sophomores Morgan Uceny and Sarah Wilfred — both Heps champions — will also compete tomorrow in an effort to secure a bid to the NCAAs.
Wilfred is slated to compete in both the high jump and triple jump.
The national meet will take place March 11-13 at the University of Arkansas.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen
Sun Assistant Sports Editor