February 12, 2007

Track Travels to Penn St.

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With the championship season nearing, the men’s and women’s track teams are trying to gain momentum. With impressive finishes this past weekend, the Red squads did just that. The No. 23 women finished third out of 19 teams, and the men placed sixth among 13 teams at the Penn State Invitational. In addition to the out-of-state performances, the Red also performed well in the Kane Invitational, held at Barton Hall.

“I think this is one of the first meets that all the girls game together,” said senior co-captain Morgan Uceny. “There were so many record breaking performances.”

Uceny bettered the Penn State facility record by running a 1:27:20 in the 600 meters, breaking the track record by three seconds.
[img_assist|nid=21306|title=Fleet Feet|desc=Junior Saidu Ezike (left) sprints his way to a first-place finish in the hurdles, Feb. 10, at the Kane Invitational in Barton Hall.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=94]

“I was very happy by my performance,” Uceny said.

Another great performance was turned in by classmate Toni Salucci, who won the 3000 meters with a school-record time of 9:25:79 — breaking a 13-year-old mark.

“There were a lot of good schools there, especially with teams from the Big-10,” Uceny said. “But our performance showed that even though we are an Ivy League school, we can compete on the national level.”

Back in Ithaca, sophomore Maria Matos had a 1-meter personal record of 57-11, placing first in the weight throw. In addition, senior Karen Snyder won the triple jump with at 38-6 — besting the Regional standard.

Just like the women, the men experienced plenty of success this past weekend in the Penn State and Kane Invitational.

Juniors Rayon Taylor and Muhammad Halim placed first and second in the triple jump, respectively.

“Mohammed and I had a decent day,” Taylor said. “Both of us finally got it together for hour last jump to finish first and second.”

Taylor, who is coming off a string of early season injuries, was able to slightly pass Halim’s mark in the high jump, placing him at No. 6 on the list of the nation’s highest marks.

“It has been tougher than the usual season for me,” Taylor said. “I am fortunate because of the talent of our jumps core, I didn’t have to press or push to come back early.”

Although there were was good competition at the Penn State Invitational, the Red hoped for a better finish.

“I think overall, it wasn’t necessarily what we were looking for as a team,” Taylor said. “But there were a few guys performed well.”

Among those were Halim, who finished eighth in the long jump, in addition to placing right behind Taylor in the triple jump.

“It could be a good event [long jump] for me but I need to work at it a little,” Halim said. “It was a tough day for me, it ended up being a little bit below average, but as my body heals I should be turning in better marks.”

Among others who performed well this weekend were juniors Adam Seabrook and Mike Smayda, sophomore Marcel van Eeden and senior co-captain David Pell.

Seabrook placed second and 10th in the 400 meters and 200-meter race, respectively. Smayda had the No. 3 mark in school history in the 800 meters, and Pell finished third in the high jump.

“We did well; we send a message that we are in control of our destiny,” Halim said. “In the Ivy League at least.”