February 16, 2007

Track Faces Tune-Up for Heps

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With the Heps next weekend, the men’s and women’s track teams will look to gain momentum at tomorrow’s Marc Deneault Invitational. Some of the schools that will be participating are NYU, Hamilton, St. Lawrence, Keystone College, Wesleyan, Ithaca College and Rensselaer. The meet will commemorate former sprinter Marc Deneault ’01, who passed away seven years ago during his sophomore year after a fatal car accident.

“[Deneault’s] family always comes down to watch,” said women’s track and field head coach Lou Duesing. “We want people to compete in the same fashion that he did as we head into championship weekend.”

Unlike the men — who will have a large number of student-athletes resting — most of the women will be in action in order to maintain routine, except for the high jumpers and triple jumpers.
[img_assist|nid=21433|title=Air raid|desc=Senior pole vaulter Nick Burnett competes at the Kane Invitational on Feb. 3, finishing fourth in the event.|link=none|align=left|width=62|height=100]
“I always find this meet to be helpful,” Duesing said. “Throughout the season, you get into a rhythm of practice and competition. And I don’t want to break that rhythm.”

Even though the competition doesn’t hold as much weight as the upcoming Heps competition, Duesing knows his players will still come prepared.

“By and large, the field is not tremendously tough, but it doesn’t mean people will not go out there and try to do things,” Duesing said. “I encourage everybody to approach it the right way and get what they can out of it. … Why wouldn’t you choose to be more ready? It does not make sense.”

There will be a number of men’s athletes resting over the weekend — including juniors Rayon Taylor, Mohammed Halim, Saidu Ezike, senior David Pell and sophomore Garrett Huyler. While a lot of the men rest, there will be others competing in hopes of making the final cut for Heps — which are limited to 33 participants.

“Some of the men will still be training,” said men’s track coach Nathan Taylor. “This weekend is a chance for some of the guys to stay on top of game and others to really prove themselves.”

Some of the events will be more heavily watched than others, considering that the number of men who are coming close to making the final list for Heps.

“I will be watching the pole vault, the high jump, along with the weight throw and high hurdles,” Taylor said.

One of the men who can make the cut is sophomore Jim Smith. Smith, who participates in the high jump, is hoping to join classmate Garrett Huyler and senior David Pell as a high jumper going to Heps.

“In the last couple of meets, I have not been jumping well,” Smith said. “It has put me on the bubble to go to Heps, but hopefully this weekend I can jump high enough to get off the bubble.”

Smith and majority of the men’s performances should not be affected by the cancellation of practice yesterday due to weather, Taylor said.

“The missed practice had an impact on the middle distance runners because they were expecting a rigorous workout,” Taylor said. “But most of the guys were on a recovery schedule.”