The men’s and women’s track teams will kick off their winter seasons tomorrow at the Cornell Indoor Relays. The event will host 15 squads from throughout the region, including teams from all three collegiate divisions.
Although local Division I rivals Binghamton and Syracuse will be competing at the meet, men’s head coach Nathan Taylor is less concerned with the competitive portion of the event and sees it as more of an opportunity to benchmark how prepared his team is for the upcoming season.
“This meet is like the first quiz in a really big class. It is the first chance we’ll have to see how well fall training prepared our athletes for the season as well as the first opportunity for our freshman to run with Cornell on their jerseys,” Taylor said.
Both the men’s and women’s teams have been undergoing rigorous training regimens, practicing and working out as a team up to five times a week since the beginning of the semester.
“Track is a unique sport in that maximum performance is dictated exclusively by preparation at maximum speed,” Taylor said.
Both teams have high expectations coming into the year, as they have combined to win six of the last seven indoor Heptagonal championships over the past several years.
The men’s team will be led by junior Evan Whitehall in pole vault, sophomore Saidu Ezike in sprinting events, and senior co-captain Vito Spadafino in the decathlon.
Whitehall, who was last year’s IC4A pole vault champion, qualified for the NCAA championship and was both an All-Ivy and All-East selection.
Ezike is coming off an impressive freshman campaign, in which he captured the Heps 60-meter high hurdle championship with a time of 7.98, setting both a school and Heps record in the progress.
Spadafino will provide crucial senior leadership, as he looks to improve upon a year which saw him capture points in the Heps and qualify for the IC4As.
The women’s team, which has captured the last four Heps indoor championships, also looks poised to thrive at the event.
The Red will be led by senior co-captains Linda Trotter and Sheeba Ibidunii, both of whom were All-East selections in the 400-meter sprint and 20-pound weight throw, respectively. It will also rely on two-time league champion hurdler, junior Stephanie King, to provide her share of valuable points.
Women’s head coach Lou Duesing is also less concerned with how his team finishes, placing more emphasis on whether his athletes perform up to their potential.
“In every event our expectation is that our athletes will take advantage of their opportunities provided for them,” Duesing said.
Archived article by Lance Williams
Sun Staff Writer