February 1, 2007

Freshmen Lead Way for Track

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With only two meets under their belts, the freshmen on the men’s track team have already made their presence felt. In the team’s two scored competitions, the freshmen have combined to win five individual events, while placing second in four others.

Leading the charge for the freshmen is mid-distance runner Owen Kimple. In both the Upstate Challenge and the tri-meet against Harvard and Brown, Kimple won the 1000-meter race. He explained that in college there is more pressure to perform at a high level, which has allowed him to enjoy the competition and remain motivated to run faster.
[img_assist|nid=21046|title=Game face.|desc=Freshman Owen Kimple (center) competes in the Upstate Challenge on Jan. 20.|link=none|align=left|width=83|height=100]

“I set a personal best each time [2:30.80 in the Upstate Challenge, then 2:28.08 in the tri-meet],” Kimple said. “It’s been a really great transition from high school to the college racing style. It’s a lot different, but I like [college racing] a lot more.”

Another standout freshman is London, Ontario, native Joshua Kirkpatrick. In the Upstate Challenge, Kirkpatrick placed second in the pole vault, one spot ahead of classmate Richard Zamora and second only to his teammate, senior Evan Whitehall. One week later, at the tri-meet, Kirkpatrick cleared a height of 4.55 meters, winning the event by a margin of 0.15 meters.

While Kirkpatrick has impressed in the pole vault, Douglas Cloninger has made his impact sprinting. He followed a fourth-place finish in the 60-meter dash at the Upstate Challenge by winning the event at the tri-meet.

The only other freshman to win an individual event at one of the team’s two scored meets is Dale Taylor. Taylor finished one half second in front of Syracuse’s Ben Torvik in the 3000 meter race at the Upstate Challenge.

Later in the day, freshman Charles Hatch had his coming out party, finishing third in the 1000- meter race. The following week, Hatch posted a personal best 4:13.67 mile, good for second at the tri-meet.

“I think my season started off well,” Hatch said. “I am at a good starting point and if I can keep building on that, I’ll be ready for the big races later [in the season].”

The tri-meet also saw Michael Kippins place second in the 500 meter race.

“Mike [Kippins] has really been running well,” said Ben Yeh, also a freshman.

Despite not placing in the top three in any event yet, other freshman such as Brad Bogdan, Wesley King, Jay Pierce and Duane Teixeira have nonetheless made an impact already this season.

According to Kimple, the freshmen squad has yet to meet its full potential, a sentiment echoed by his teammates.

“I think we have a real strong core of freshman to build on, a great coach who seems to know what he’s doing, and a solid recruiting class coming in next year that will help us,” Kimple said.

“I don’t think we are going to see the results now that we will see in a couple of years,” Hatch said. “We are building a very strong program.”

“Cornell has always had a strong program,” Yeh said. “It will stay strong.”