The men’s and women’s track teams will implement a strategy of divide and conquer this weekend, as the majority of each team will travel to the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, Penn., and a smaller, more select number of athletes will attend the Sea-Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn.
Each squad will send about 15 of its members to Tennessee to compete against a number of track and field powerhouses, including Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.
“It is really good competition and better weather,” men’s head coach Nathan Taylor said. “After running in 40 degree weather and rain last weekend, it will be nice.”
In past years both the men’s and women’s squads have seen a lot of success at the event. Last year the men’s 4×800 team posted a third-place finish in a highly competitive field, while junior Rayon Taylor was third in the triple jump. The women fared equally well, winning the 4×800 in record-setting time. Junior Morgan Uceny in the 800 meters and classmate Sarah Wilfred in the high jump were among the top individual finishers, placing fourth in their respective events.
“Last year, we had a number of kids who were top-5 in events,” Taylor said. “Most of them are coming back this year, and have a very good chance at doing well again.”
Along with Taylor, sophomore Muhammed Halim, juniors Evan Whitehall and David Pell, and senior Gordon Hall will be among those representing the Red.
Most of the athletes attending the Sea-Ray Invitational will be sprinters and jumpers, as that is where the toughest competition will lie at the meet.
The Bucknell meet will feature distances runners, decathletes, and throwers, including junior steeplechasers Brad Baird and Aaron Arlinghaus.
Whereas most of the teams in Tennessee will be from southern and mid-western states, the competition at Bucknell will come from more familiar northeast schools. Last year, the men had 18 top-10 finishes while the women excelled in the distance events, claiming a number of top finishes and numerous personal records.
Both the throws and distance events have been areas where the women have excelled all year and in which they hope to continue to dominate this weekend at Bucknell. Senior co-captain Sheeba Ibidunni, along with freshman Maria Matos and junior Danielle Dufresne have all improved greatly during the season in each of their events. Matos set an Ivy League record in the discus only two weeks ago. The 800 meters and the 1,500 meters have been some of the deepest events for the women thus far this season, as a strong group of close competitors within the team has emerged in the past few weeks.
Both near and far, the goal for the track teams this weekend is to continue their string of successful outings this season.
“We have high aspirations for the weekend,” Taylor said.
Archived article by Erin Garry
Sun Staff Writer