The men’s and women’s track teams travel to Philadelphia this weekend for the Quaker Invite, where they will compete against several accomplished teams in a non-scoring meet.
This weekend will be the first of several where the Red will compete at Penn, a track the Cornell squads have come to think of as their second home during the outdoor season. The majority of the Red athletes did not compete at the Ithaca College Invitational last weekend, meaning that Quaker Invite will mark their return to the track after a weekend of rest.
Early season performances thus far have indicated the two Cornell teams, both defending Heps champions in outdoor track, are in top form to defend their titles. Several record-breaking performances were set during the teams’ California trip, and many IC4A and ECAC qualifiers and a handful of NCAA regional qualifiers emerged on the track and in the field.
Last year’s Quaker Invite saw a number of first-place finishes from the Red, including senior co-captain Linda Trotter in the 400 meters and junior Morgan Uceny in the 800 meters. On the men’s side, sophomore Jimmy Wyner was victorious in the 800, classmate Aaron Merrill won the 400-meter hurdles and junior Brad Baird captured the 3,000-meter crown.
This year the women should continue their dominance. Along with Uceny and Trotter, several other women have already made significant contributions to the team. Senior Jamie Gruebel broke the school record in the heptathlon two weeks ago, and although the event is not contested at the Quaker Invite, Gruebel had set personal bests in five of the events contested in the decathlon and will have the opportunity to compete in them individually this weekend. Freshman Maria Matos broke the school and Ivy League records in the discus last weekend in the pressure-free environment of the Ithaca College Invitational, posting a throw of 168-10.
For the men, top-notch performances have come from Baird in the steeplechase, as well as the triple-jump tandem of sophomore Muhammed Halim and junior Rayon Taylor, all of whom had NCAA regional-qualifying performances in only the second meet of the outdoor season. Junior David Pell set a new school record in the high jump, leaping 7-0 1/2 to surpass the NCAA regional standard.
Both squads will be in the hunt to add to this list of accomplishments in Philadelphia this weekend. As the outdoor season is still in its beginning stages, the addition of new events on the track and in the field will continue to effect the dynamics of the meet, as individuals who specialize in events only offered at the outdoor meets, such as javelin and the steeplechase, continue to hone their performances.