The men’s and women’s track teams will have their last opportunities to prepare for the upcoming indoor Heptagonal championships during this weekend’s Marc Deneault Invitational at Barton Hall.
The meet will feature many of the same Division II and Division III teams which competed in last week’s Robert J. Kane Invitational, including local rival Ithaca College and defending Division III national champion SUNY Geneseo.
If the results from last weekend’s action – which included a total of eight event wins and a combined 27 IC4A and ECAC qualifying performances – are any indication of how the Red might perform at the Deneault Invitational, Cornell looks to be in the driver’s seat for the meet.
Although the team has its sights set on the Heps, members of both the men’s and women’s squads were quick to underscore the importance of the competition.
“This event gives our athletes an opportunity to get into a rhythm and sharpen up their techniques in a competitive environment for the last time before it really counts,” said women’s head coach Lou Duesing.
On the men’s side, head coach Nathan Taylor is taking a cautious approach to the meet, resting many of his top performers in preparation for the indoor championships.
“I have found that by giving them a slight break, many of my athletes’ bodies will hyper-compensate and allow them to peak at just the right time,” Taylor said. “In this way they will be both in peak physical condition and rested.”
As a result Taylor plans to only use his top performers in events which require a tremendous amount of complicated technique – including the hurdles, pole vault and weight throw.
With as many as five spots remaining on the Heps roster, however, he will keep a close eye on the action.
“Many people on this team have the ability to score at the Heps. In fact almost every year someone who barely made the roster will make a huge impact at the meet,” Taylor said. “I am simply looking for the best individuals in any event to take down there; many spots are still up for grabs.”
Members of the squad who might be primed for a breakout performance include sophomore Michael Fox in the 60-meter dash, classmate Bryan Holland in the weight throw and freshman Jim Smith in the high jump.
Meanwhile the women’s squad is taking a slightly different approach to the meet, emphasizing repetition as the key to preparation.
“It is important for all of our athletes to continue to practice their technique before the Heps,” Duessing said. “We can never completely eliminate injuries from the equation so if they happen, they happen, but we just want to prepare the best way we know how.”
All members of the women’s squad except long distance runners will compete in the event, even though many athletes might be limited to one event.
Furthermore, just like its male counterpart, the women’s squad has several spots remaining on its Heps roster.
“We probably have 40 athletes which every other team wishes they could bring to the Heps,” Duesing said. “But since I can only bring 33 down there, I will have to make some tough decisions.”
Duesing pointed to the high jump, the weight throw and the 800-meter as events in which athletes are on the verge of breaking through preformance-wise and making a Heps roster spot.
This event is also particularly special for many members of the Red program, as it commemorates the life of former Cornell track star Marc Denault, who died in a tragic car accident in 1999 during his sophomore season.
“Marc was a special kid and athlete. This event is a great way to remember his time on this earth in a positive and inspirational manner,” Duesing said.
Archived article by Lance Williams
Sun Staff Writer