The men’s and women’s track teams returned home for the weekend when they competed in the Cornell Invitational against athletes from several smaller schools, including Ithaca College. Each squad took a different approach to the weekend, with the men sitting many of their most accomplished performers to give the opportunity for underclassmen to shine while the women participated in full force to gain more competitive experience before more important meets.
Although the Invitational may not have provided the women with the same caliber of competition as in previous weeks, many individuals had strong performances as the Red won 13 events and had three ECAC qualifiers at the end of the day.
“Everything is a learning experience,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing. “Everything is an opportunity to get better. Some people did a great job of using this meet to their advantage.”
Senior co-captain Sheeba Ibidunni bettered the ECAC standard in the weight throw, winning the event in 62 feet and 3 1/4 inches, only two centimeters short of the NCAA provisional standard. Freshman Maria Matos was second in the event, heaving the weight 51 feet, 2 1/4 inches in just her second time ever competing in the event. Also throwing well was sophomore Maria Telloni, who won the shot put with a personal record throw of 44 feet, 1 1/4 inches.
Other notable performances included sophomore Angelica Gregory in the 1000 meters, who surpassed the ECAC standard with her time of 2:57.1, and junior Sarah Wilfred in the high jump (5 feet, 7 1/4 inches). Senior Emily McCabe ran an impressive mile, finishing in 5:02.61, nine seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. The trio of junior Christina Cossell, classmate Cameron Washington and freshman Tameka Royal went 1-2-3 in the 300 meters, an event not contested in the ECAC championship meet.
While the rest of her teammates remained in Ithaca for the weekend, junior Morgan Uceny traveled to Notre Dame, where she competed at the Meyo Invitational. For the second consecutive weekend, Uceny met the NCAA provisional standard in the 800, clocking 2:06.81 for fifth place.
A relatively young group of men competed for the Red this weekend, winning nine events and posting two qualifying finishes for the IC4As.
“We had a lot of kids who really stepped it up,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor. “They were very encouraged by their performances.”
Sophomore Aaron Merrill met the IC4A standard for the first time this season with his time of 1:05.12 in the 500 meters. Junior Shane Messner also qualified for the IC4As in the weight throw for the first time in his career, throwing 55 feet, two inches for the win.
Sophomore Jay Harding, who missed the majority of last season due to a stress fracture, won his first collegiate 800 in 1:56.84. Classmate Mike Fox won the 60-meter dash in 7.04 seconds. Junior Brandon Earle also performed well, winning the 60 hurdles in 8.28 seconds. In the field, freshman Garrett Huyler won the high jump with a leap of 6 feet, seven inches.
“The guys put in a lot of really good work,” Taylor said. “I can see now that they can compete at a higher level and really make a difference.”
Up next for the Red is the highly competitive Penn State Invitational on Friday and Saturday. Those athletes who do not attend Penn State will remain at home for the Robert J. Kane Invitational on Saturday in Barton.