The warm spring weather has finally arrived, and with it has come the best track and field performances of the year. The Cornell men’s and women’s teams each split their squads between the prestigious Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee and the Bucknell Invitational, and produced some of the finest displays in Cornell’s history. The women had a remarkable 19 ECAC qualifiers, five NCAA Regional qualifiers, and smashed two school records. The men were equally dominant, with 14 IC4A qualifiers, six NCAA Regional qualifiers, a school record, and multiple Cornell top-5 all-time displays.
“I think it’s the best first day we’ve ever had down there,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “We won a distance medley [relay] and a 4×800 and we’ve never done that at the same time.”
The distance medley relay battled to win the event in 11:23.96. That time was the fourth fastest in Cornell history. Even more impressive was the 4×800-meter relay team, whose time of 8:38.21 shattered the school record by nearly five seconds, and beat the field by more than 20. Seniors Carrie Richards, Alison Koplar and Jessica Brown gave sophomore anchor Morgan Uceny a huge lead that Uceny easily increased, producing the fastest time in the country this year.
“In the 4×8[00-meter relay], that’s the fastest time ever run by an Ivy-League team,” Duesing said.
The squad’s 4×400-meter relay also had a top notch performance, missing the school record by only .04 and finishing 8th, but the Red was the fourth best collegiate team. In addition, the 4×100 squad ran 46.86 for 14th place, and the 4×200-meter relay ran 1:38.40, good for 11th place.
Individually, Uceny and senior Amber McGown qualified for the NCAA Regional competition with their outstanding times. Uceny continued her fantastic season by placing fourth overall in the 800-meter run, but was the fastest collegiate athlete in the race at 2:06.26, a personal record. In the 1500-meter, McGown had a two second P.R. in placing sixth (4:26.41). Senior Shonda Brown was sixth in the 400 hurdles (59.84), besting the NCAA Regional standard, while sister Jessica also beat the 800-meter NCAA Regional standard (2:09.41), good for 10th in the event.
In the field, high jumping sophomores Sarah Wilfred (4th place) and Shawna Rossini (7th) both cleared 5-7, qualifying for the ECAC championships. Other ECAC qualifiers were Koplar in the 800-meter (2:10.17), Richards (4:29.24) and Coseo (4:31.02) in the 1500-meter. Also qualifying were sophomore Stephanie King (14.15) in the 100-meter hurdles, and junior Linda Trotter (54.92) and sophomore Cameron Washington (55.77) in the 400-meter.
Not to be outdone, the Cornell men also turned in fantastic performances against some of the country’s toughest competition in Tennessee. The 4×800-meter relay battled to finish third behind Tennessee and Illinois — running the third fastest time in Cornell history (7:26.22). The 4×400 raced to a time of 3:12.83 for ninth overall, giving the quartet a good picture of where they stand in the entire nation.
Individually, freshman Jimmy Wyner placed fourth in the 800-meter, setting a Cornell record of 1:48.64. It’s also the second NCAA Regional qualifier for Wyner, who bested the 1500-meter standard already. Senior Oliver Tassinari also beat out the 1500-meter NCAA Regional mark, placing third in a spring-season best 3:47.63.
Senior Emory Mort placed second in the invitational 3000 steeplechase, recording a time of 8:52.09. His run was the third best all-time at Cornell, and a four-second p.r. Sophomore Rayon Taylor placed third in the triple jump (50-5 1/2), with both Mort and Taylor qualifying for the NCAA Regional.
In the 400-meter hurdles, freshmen Adam Seabrook placed 10th (52.68) and Aaron Merrill 11th (53.33), while sophomore Kolby Hoover finished in 13th (53.40). Sophomore Brian Mongeon (1:51.28, 15th) and junior Gordon Hall (1:51.61, 16th) ran well in the 800-meter, and sophomore David Pell finished fifth in the high jump. All six qualified for the IC4A’s. Cornell’s squads at Bucknell also performed very well, with both teams earning 18 top-10 finishes. The women raced well, with junior Emily McCabe winning the 5000-meter in 17:05.51. Sophomore Christy Paul (17:53.00) and freshman Betsy Sensenig (18:33.07) had personal bests.
Junior Jamie Greubel set a Cornell record in the Heptathlon by nine points, scoring 4900. Greubel was just 22 points behind first, earning her second place. Junior Katie Regan won the pole vault, and freshman Joan Casey was fifth. Casey also earned fourth in the 100-meter hurdles in a seasonal best 14.96.
In the field, Sheeba Ibidunni and sophomore Danielle Dufresne both qualified for the ECACs. Ibidunni was also sixth in the shot put in 43-5 3/4. Sophomores Robyn Ellerbrock (4:48.04) and Mary Maleta (4:48.88) placed first and second respectively in the 1500-meter.
On the men’s side, Hyde ran 3:45.13 in the 1500-meter, earning him second place, an NCAA Regional qualifying berth, and Cornell’s third fastest time ever. Freshman Ian Ward placed second in the steeplechase (9:17.68), and sophomores Brad Baird (14:45.76), Rick Lader (14:56.55) and David Shenk (14:54.43) earned p.r.’s in the 5K.
Senior Zach Beadle won the shotput in a NCAA Regional qualifying while junior Derrick Bass bested the IC4A standard in the javelin with a heave of 191-3 (3rd place). Classmate Vito Spadafino’s decathlon (6272 points) was good for second in the meet and fifth all-time at Cornell. Senior Sam Mackenzie placed second in the 800-meter (1:54.17) and Ward earned fifth in the 800-meter with a p.r. time of 1:54.91. Junior Pat McDonough was second in the high jump (6-7), and sophomore Shane Messner threw 145-2 in the discus — good for second place.
Archived article by Josh Perlin
Sun Staff Writer