January 19, 2006

Track Teams Set Highs Over Break

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The men’s and women’s track teams opened their seasons with some very strong performances during their first three meets over the past month. Both teams competed in the Cornell Relays Dec. 3, the Cornell Open on Jan. 6 and the Penn State Relays this past weekend.

The women broke four Cornell freshman records and one all-time Cornell record in their first meet of the season. Freshman Jeomi Meduka won both the long and triple jump in 19-0 3/4 and 40-6 1/4, respectively, breaking the freshman record and qualifying for the ECACs. She also won her heat in the 60-meter dash in 7.72, breaking the old freshman record. Later in the day classmate Janice Nsor won the final of the 60-meter dash in 7.71, bettering Meduka’s time by .01 and setting a new record. Senior co-captain Sheeba Ibidunni shattered her own Cornell record in the weight throw by almost three feet with a heave of 62-10. The throw not only qualified her for the ECACs, but was a NCAA provisional qualifier as well.

“[Ibidunni] has been consistently improving over her four years here,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “She works hard, and usually hard work pays off.”

The Cornell Relays showed more broken records for the women, as Meduka bested two all-time Cornell records with leaps of 19-11 in the long jump and 41-5 in the triple jump. Both jumps missed the NCAA provisional standard by only three centimeters.

“It was certainly a pleasant surprise,” Duesing said.

“[Meduka’s jumps] were competitive performances in the league.”

The Penn State Relays provided a change of pace for the athletes, as the format of the event does not emphasize individual performances as much as it does that of the team.

“The relays are great because you can use more people – some of the nervousness that comes in the individual races is lessened,” Duesing said.

The Red fared well at the event, continuing to show its depth as it won four events, was the runner-up in four others, and boasted 20 more top-5 finishers.

The 4×800 team of sophomore Angelica Gregory, freshman Robin Daniels, junior Morgan Uceny and senior Ruth Morgan set a Penn State track record, finishing in first in 8:58.88. Another win came from the distance medley relay team of junior Erin Linehan, classmate Christina Cossel, sophomore Devon Rupley and junior Nyam Kagwima (12:04.19). Their time also qualified them for the ECACs.

Individual wins came from junior Sarah Wilfred in the high jump (5-7) and senior Emily McCabe in the 3,000 (10:04.35). Wilfred’s jump qualified her for the ECACs.

“Penn provided good opportunities, and there was a lot of improvement over the first meet,” Duesing said.

The men’s track team has seen success as well during their first three competitions, proving to have top-notch performers in nearly every event across the board.

The Red swept every relay event at the Cornell Relays and saw five individual titles. Sophomore Saidu Ezike won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.24. Classmate Aaron Merril won the 500 in 1:06.23. Perhaps the strongest performances were seen in the field, as sophomore Muhammad Halim captured the long and triple jumps in 23-7 1/4 and 49-7 3/4. Junior David Pell cleared 6-11 in the high jump, finishing second and equaling his indoor personal record. Classmate Evan Whitehall won the pole vault in 15-3.

The men won eight events at the Cornell Open, led by sophomore Rayon Taylor, who took the triple jump in 50-7 1/2. His jump qualified him for the IC4As and narrowly missed the NCAA provisional mark.

The Red had another round of strong performances at the Penn State Relays last weekend, again showcasing a solid group of accomplished jumpers. Whitehall won the pole vault in a personal best 16-4 3/4, fourth all-time at Cornell. Pell was second in the high jump with 6-10 3/4, third best all-time at Cornell. Halim and Taylor were first and second in the triple jump, leaping 49-7 and 48-9 1/2, respectively.

“We have some of the best jumpers in the country,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor,

“[All four] are in the top-50 or 60 in the country and had strong seasons last year. We have high expectations for the season.”

Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer