February 1, 2006
Ever since the track program decided to split into a men’s and women’s squad five years ago, both teams have not only experienced unparalleled success in the Ivy League but also have established themselves as one of the finest collegiate programs in the nation.
Under the tutelage of head coach Nathan Taylor, the men’s team has won two of the last three Indoor Heptagonal championships, finished in the ranks of the top-25 teams in the nation each of the past five years and has sent dozens of athletes to the NCAA championships.
The crux of this success has been a team philosophy, which combines hard work, dedication and outstanding character. Senior co-captain Gordon Hall better exemplifies these qualities than any other member of the team.
Although Hall began his collegiate career without making much of an impact, over the past three seasons he has progressed exponentially, establishing himself as one of the premier middle-distance runners in the Ivy League – earning the title of co-captain for his senior season.
As a standout in the 800-meter event at Warwick High School, Hall lettered a total of six times and led his team to two consecutive district titles. Despite this success, however, Hall had difficulty adjusting to the training regimen at Cornell.
“Often times many talented young men – like Gordon – struggle to train like a college athlete and their performance suffers. The ante is dramatically increased at the college level and much more is expected of them,” Taylor said.
Beyond this adjustment period, Hall was also forced to fight through a freshman season in which he suffered a series of debilitating injuries. Just after recovering from an ankle sprain, which he injured during his first practice, Hall returned to action only to sprain the same ankle again.
By the time he was declared completely healthy in late November, all of his competitors and teammates were in far superior shape, which put Hall at a serious disadvantage the rest of the season.
“I got to a point that season when I was running so poorly that I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to compete in collegiate sports again. But eventually I told myself that I would not let my final season be like this, and rededicated myself to getting in prime shape,” Hall said.
Mid-distance coach Robert Johnson jumped at the opportunity to improve Hall’s condition and designed a comprehensive workout for him to use throughout the outdoor season and over the summer.
The following season Hall became a different runner and began his ascension to becoming one of the finest middle-distance athletes in the Ivy League.
By the end of his indoor season the following year, Hall had improved his split time in the 4×800-meter relay to 1:52.5, over two seconds better than his freshman year personal best. His success continued into the outdoor season when he ran a points-scoring mark of 1:51.7 in the 800-meter at Heps as well as a time of 1:50.7 at the IC4As.
“One of the biggest contributors to my success at the end of the season was coach Taylor’s support,” Hall said. “He pulled me aside after a meet and told me that he knew I was a better runner than I had been showing, I just needed to trust my abilities. The very next race I set a personal best time.”
The following season he hit the ground running and immediately found his way into the Cornell record books. By the end of the indoor season, Hall had compiled an indoor school record time of 1:51.93 in the 800 and was a vital contributor to a distance medley team which was among the top-5 in the nation.
Furthermore, Hall ran a split time of 1:49.8 as a member of the 4×800 relay squad that posted the best time in the nation, good enough to establish a new school record and capture an IC4A championship.
Following a similarly successful outdoor season, Hall was selected by his teammates as a co-captain for his senior year.
“I think I was selected as captain because my career has been representative of the kind of team that we want to be, one which excels not through natural talent but through an undying work ethic and dedication to the team,” Hall said.
Due in large part to his incredible work ethic, both Hall and coach Taylor have very high expectations for the senior co-captain throughout the remainder of the indoor season.
“I will look for Gordon to score big at the Heps, and possibly even qualify for the NCAA championship in the 800-meter. He needs to shave just about two seconds off of his time, something which I know he is capable of,” Taylor said.
Archived article by Lance WilliamsSun Staff Writer
February 1, 2006
It’s still early in the Ivy League race, but that didn’t mean there was any lack of exciting games or upsets this past weekend in men’s basketball action. Yale knocked Harvard out of the top spot, handing the Crimson its first conference loss, while Dartmouth continued its free-fall to the bottom of the league standings. First-place Penn and fourth-place Princeton were safe from their Ancient Eight opponents, but that couldn’t protect them from St. Joseph’s and Davidson, respectively. Here’s a look at action from around the Ivy League this past weekend.
Brown 73, Dartmouth 70 (2 O.T.)
The Green (2-15, 0-4 Ivy) looked as though it might earn its first conference victory on Friday night at Brown’s Pizzitola Sports Center, as it led for most of the second half. However, the Bears (6-11, 2-2) capped a late rally with a jump shot by Luke Ruscoe to tie the score, 55-55, with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. Brown continued its run in the first overtime period, taking a six-point lead, but Dartmouth refused to fade away, forcing a second overtime when Calvin Arnold made his only basket of the game with 16 seconds left on the clock to tie the score at 64. Damon Huffman had two 3-pointers for the Bears in the second overtime, including one with 2:07 left to give Brown a 71-67 edge. Leon Pattman cut the lead to one with a 3-pointer of his own for the Green, but Marcus Becker and Ruscoe each connected from the charity stripe to ice the win for the Bears. Keenan Jeppesen had a career-high 25 points for the Bears to go along with three assists and six steals. Scott Friske and Huffman had 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Brown. Dartmouth was led by Mike Lang, who came off the bench to pour in 21 points, while Pattman added 12 points and Jon Ball had 11.
Yale 82, Harvard 74
The Bulldogs (11-8, 3-1) handed the Crimson (11-6, 3-1) its first league loss of the 2005-06 campaign, leaving Penn alone at the top of the Ancient Eight while these two teams are tied for second place. Yale earned the victory on Friday night at Yale’s John J. Lee Amphitheater using the strength of 64 percent shooting from beyond the arc, as well as a 17-3 run that ran from the end of the first half into the second. Eric Flato hit Yale’s seventh trey of the game with 16:16 left to play to give the Bulldogs a 43-33 advantage. The lead would stretch to 11 points before Harvard mounted a 7-0 run to cut the lead to four. However, the Bulldogs answered with a 7-2 run of their own to earn a 53-44 lead. Yale led by as much as 15 points down the stretch, and although the Crimson was able to pull within six with seconds to play, the Bulldogs held on for the win. Six Yale players were in double figures by the end of the night, led by Sam Kaplan’s 16 points. Caleb Holmes had 13 points, six rebounds, six assists, and three blocks for the Bulldogs, while Dominick Martin chipped in 10 points. Jim Goffredo, this week’s Ivy League Player of the Week, led Harvard with a game-high 21 points.
The Crimson frontcourt was hard at work, as Matt Stehle and Brian Cusworth each had nine rebounds to go along with 13 and 16 points, respectively, before they both fouled out. Cusworth added five blocks, while Stehle notched four steals in the losing effort.
Harvard 72, Brown 58
The Crimson rallied from the Yale defeat quickly, as Goffredo exploded for 30 points – including 22 in the first half – and Harvard ended its road trip with a win over Brown on Saturday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center. While the Bears’ zone defense concentrated on Stehle and Cusworth in the first half, Goffredo and Michael Beal went to work from the outside. Beal contributed seven points to the Crimson’s early, 14-6, lead. Goffredo missed his first 3-point attempt of the night, but quickly found his rhythm, connecting on his next seven shots from beyond the arc to propel the Crimson to a 45-23 lead at the break. Harvard pushed its lead to 59-33 with 12:45 left in the game, and the Bears were unable to mount a legitimate scoring charge as the minutes ticked away. Goffredo added another trey in the second half to fall one short of Harvard’s single-game record. Stehle helped the Crimson down low with 17 points, while Drew Housman had a career-high nine assists while committing just one turnover. Harvard also won the battle of the boards, finishing with a 35-22 advantage on rebounds. Jeppesen led the Bears for the second night in a row, scoring 18 points, while Mark MacDonald added 16 points.
Yale 72, Dartmouth 55
Dartmouth took a 9-8 lead in the early going, but the Bulldogs responded with a 15-2 run and held the Green scoreless for seven minutes to take a lead it would hold onto for the rest of the game on Saturday night at the John J. Lee Amphitheatre.
Dartmouth rookie Dan Biber, who had a career-high 16 points and was the only Green player in double figures, scored seven straight points at the end of the first half to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to eight points heading into the locker room. The Green continued to rally, cutting its deficit to four points with 11:15 left on the clock. Yale, though, answered with a 14-4 run over the next 5:20, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Eric Flato to push the Bulldogs’ lead to 14. The Green never pulled within single digits again, and Yale finished the weekend with a spotless record. Martin led the Bulldogs with 15 points.
St. Joseph’s 47, Penn 44
The latest meeting between these Philadelphia Big 5 rivals featured a defensive battle that was not decided until the final seconds on Saturday night at The Palestra. After the Quakers (10-6, 2-0) jumped out to a 7-0 lead, the Hawks (9-8) clawed their way back into the game, scoring nine of the next 11 points, and the rivals were neck-and-neck from that point on.
The low-scoring contest saw both teams shoot under 40 percent from the field. St. Joe’s Abdulai Jalloh had his only field goal of the game when he penetrated into the lane and connected on a 12-foot jumper with 25 seconds left to break a 44-44 tie and give the Hawks the lead for good. With 8.2 seconds left, Penn’s Steve Danley was fouled while shooting, but missed the first shot. After a timeout, Danley lined up for a second shot, and appeared to miss on purpose in order to give the Quakers the rebound and a chance to tie the game. However, the officials called a dead ball, saying the ball had never touched the rim, and gave the Hawks possession.
Rob Ferguson, who had a game-high 18 points for St. Joe’s, was fouled on the inbounds and went 1-of-2 at the line to give the Hawks a three-point lead. Penn’s Ibrahim Jaaber had the final shot of the game – a 3-pointer in traffic – but it fell short and St. Joe’s walked away with the win. Mark Zoller led the Quakers with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Danley also netted 10. Jalloh also finished with 10 points for the Hawks.
Davidson 65, Princeton 50
Before Sunday night, Davidson (13-7) had won 18 straight games on its home court. After two crucial second-half outbreaks on the offensive end, the Wildcats were able to claim the Tigers (3-12, 1-1) as their 19th victim at Belk Arena. Although Princeton stayed close for the better part of the game, trailing just 39-32 two minutes into the second half, the Wildcats launched a 9-2 run to break away, followed by an 11-0 run midway through the second stanza. The Tigers would get no closer than 15 points for the rest of the night.
Kyle Koncz and Scott Greenman finished in double digits for Princeton, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Three players reached double digits for the Wildcats, as Ian Johnson scored 15 points, Boris Meno had 13 off the bench, and Jason Morton added 12, while appearing in the starting lineup in place of leading scorer Brendan Winters, who was out with the stomach flu.
Archived article by Olivia DwyerSun Assistant Sports Editor