March 26, 2007

Men’s and Women’s Track Teams Succeed in California

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While most Cornell students were in remote locations tanning or home catching up on some needed sleep, the men’s and women’s track team were hard at work. On March 17 and this past weekend, the team competed in the Long Beach’s Jack Rose Relays and the UC Irvine Collegiate Classic. Without having to worry about tests, exams and classes, the team performed well, earning 15 NCAA Regional qualifiers and 34 event wins.

“We just went out there, we didn’t have any class and practiced twice a day,” said senior co-captain David Pell.

[img_assist|nid=22250|title=Leader of the pack|desc=Sophomore Royal Tameka (left) paces the field during a sprinting event in the Kane Invitiational on Feb. 3.|link=node|align=left|width=68|height=100]

The teams saved their best performances for this past weekend, in the UC Irvine Collegiate Classic, where they accumulated 13 NCAA Regional qualifiers and 24 event wins. The reason for the difference can be attributed to the fact that the team came off a long plane trip. Luckily, the team’s travel was not disrupted by the snow too much — unlike many Cornell students — only having to sit on the plane for an extra two hours.

Despite the fatigue from traveling, the Red still had some standout performances in the Long Beach Jack Rose Relays. Senior Robyn Ellerbrock won the 3000 steeplechase, with an NCAA Regional qualifying time and meet record of 10:36.51 — 13 seconds in front of the competition. Sophomore Jeomi Maduka made an early-season statement, winning the long jump with an NCAA Regional-qualifying leap of 19-9 1/2. In addition, Maduka combined with classmates Janice Nsor and Jessica Retelny, and senior Cameron Washington in help 4×100 to a second-place finish and an ECAC qualifying time — on top of her eighth-place finish in the 100 meters.

The men produced four wins in the Relays, along with five IC4A qualifiers. Similar to the women’s team, the men’s 4×400 unit had a good showing. Senior co-captain Kolby Hoover, juniors Aaron Merrill and Adam Seabrook, alongside sophomore Marcel van Eeden, placed first with an IC4A-qualifying time. Also grabbing a victory was senior co-captain Evan Whitehall in the pole vault with a clearance of 14-7 1/4.

“After traveling a full day, we competed well but there was not a lot of standout performances like yesterday [Saturday],” Pell said.

Pell was one of the many Red track members that saved his best for last. On Saturday, at the UC Irvine Collegiate Classic, Pell set a new school record with a high jump of 7-1, an NCAA Regional-qualifying height.

“It is always great to jump well, especially with all the alums that were there,” Pell said.

Junior Saidu Ezike won the 110-meter hurdles, also earning the No. 2 spot in school history. Junior Jimmy Wyner won the 1500 in 3:46.23, No. 4 all-time at Cornell.

Returning to action, from their top-5 NCAA finish in the triple jump were juniors Muhammed Halim and Rayon Taylor. Halim and Taylor placed first and second, respectively, in the triple jump, earning NCAA Regional qualifying marks. Additionally, Halim and Taylor placed first and third, respectively, in the long jump.

On the women’s side, senior co-captain Sarah Wilfred returned to action after her All-American indoor season. Starting right where she left off, Wilfed won the high jump with a mark of 5-10 3/4.

“I felt a little rusty, I didn’t do the best,” Wilfred said. “I just want to get back in the groove.”

The jump qualified Wilfred for the NCAA Regional meet.

“I am happy, I just wanted to get that qualification under my belt,” she said.

Also, improving upon her indoor marks was senior co-captain Morgan Uceny, who bettered her 800-meter dash record with a run of 2:04.17.

Maduka was responsible for three Red victories, earning first-place finishes in the triple and long jump and ran a leg in the 4×400 with classmates Janice Nsor, Jessica Retelny and Cameron Washington. Sophomore Maria Matos won the discuss throw, earning a NCAA Regional qualifier as well.

Many outstanding performances took place during vacation, a time when the team was able to focus solely on track.

“It was very relaxing,” Wilfred said. “Coming back to Ithaca you do have to worry, but it will keep you on your toes.”