The men’s and women’s track teams had a busy weekend as they traveled between Boston and New York City to compete against East Coast opponents. The men began the weekend in New York, teaming up with Penn and Princeton to battle Big East rivals Rutgers, Seton Hall and UConn in the inaugural Ivy League vs. The Big East Challenge. Both the men’s and women’s squads faced Ivy League foes Harvard and Brown in Cambridge on Saturday.
In Friday’s Ivy League vs. the Big East Challenge, the men contributed significantly to the Ivy League team’s score. Saturday the Red defeated Harvard but fell to Brown, 73-72.
Pairing the competition with the tri-meet on Saturday gave the men a chance to simulate the two-day nature of the Heptagonal championships held at the end of the season.
“I thought that the performances on Friday were pretty much what they could be,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor. “Saturday was a chance for a lot of kids who aren’t superstars to step up, and they didn’t.”
Although Taylor was disappointed with the loss to Brown, he was pleased with the individuals who took the opportunity to rise to the occasion. And despite excessive travel and lack of sleep, the men had a number of outstanding performances over the weekend.
Sophomore Jimmy Wyner set a school record in the 1,000-meter with a time of 2:24 on Friday. Wyner then ran the 800-meter in 1:52.26 the next day, good for first place and No. 4 on Cornell’s all-time list. Classmate Muhammad Halim jumped a personal-best in both the long jump and triple jump (50 feet, four and 1/2 inches) on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Junior David Pell also had an outstanding weekend, winning the high jump on both days (six feet, 10 and 3/4 inches).
Taylor praised senior Gordon Hall for his running in the middle distance events, along with senior James Connelly in the 800-meter and junior Kolby Hoover in the 400-meter.
The women came out on top against both Harvard and Brown, completing the day with a team score of 82.50 points. Brown followed with 41 and Harvard with 35.50. Over the past 15 years, both schools have proven to be strong contenders in the Ivy League. During that time, any outdoor Heps title not captured by the Red went to either Brown or Harvard.
“This is a fun meet,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “It gives a great preview of the other teams and gives the girls an opportunity to take advantage of strong competition.”
The women used the competition to their benefit. Not only did the Red win nine events, but the women had ECAC qualifying performances in 14 events, two NCAA provisional qualifying performances, and one new school record.
Freshman Jeomi Maduka won both the 60-meter dash and the long jump, easily posting ECAC marks in each event. Maduka and classmate Janice Nsor bested Maduka’s six-week-old freshman record, finishing in 7.70 seconds. Maduka was also second in the triple jump with an NCAA provisional qualifying leap of 41 feet, seven inches. The jump broke the previous school record which she had set. Also, junior Morgan Uceny, an All-American last year, won the 800-meter in 2:08.56, a full five seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Her time also met the NCAA provisional standard.
Duesing noted the close competition in many of the events.
Maduka’s record-breaking jump did not place her in first – in fact, the lead changed hands three times during the event. Brown’s Brittany Grovey (42 feet three 1/4 inches) barely outdistanced Maduka for the win.
“Both people [Maduka and Grovey] were not willing to sit,” Duesing said.
Maduka and Uceny were not the only women with a strong weekend, as the Red performed well across the board.
Senior co-captain Sheeba Ibidunni continued her success in the throwing events, winning both the shot put (42 feet eleven 3/4 inches) and weight throw (59 feet nine 3/4 inches). Classmate and co-captain Linda Trotter won the 400-meter in 56.53 seconds. Junior Sarah Wilfred defeated Harvard standout Becky Christiansen in the high jump, clearing five feet, eight and 3/4 inches for the win and tying the school record for the second consecutive weekend.
“This weekend was very much a team effort,” Duesing said.
“It was one of the times where what people would call an individual sport truly becomes a team sport.”
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer