April 26, 2007

Track to Face Top Teams at Penn Relay

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As Slope Day nears and class attendance begins to dwindle, the outdoor season for the women’s track team is starting to heat up, starting with the Penn Relays begining tomorrow. Approximately 25 members of the women’s track team will be competing in what is known as college track and field’s most historic event. Held at UPenn’s Franklin Field, the Red have a chance to duel with some of the nation’s top teams from power conferences such as the SEC, Big-12 and ACC.
“This is what you work so hard for, to see how well you match up against the other scholarship track schools,” said tri-captain Cameron Washington. “It’s a combination of nervousness and excitement.”
Washington will be apart of several relay squads throughout the meet. Her 4×100 teammate, sophomore Jeomi Maduka, will be looking forward to the opportunity to face some of the nation’s top schools.
“[The meet] gets me really excited,” Maduka said. “To know that I am going to be competing against some of the top schools is great.”
Washington, Maduka and sophomores Janice Nsor and Jessica Retelny will be running the 4×100. Washington will also be competing in the 4×400 with fellow senior tri-captain Morgan Uceny and sophomores Jessica Weyman and Tameka Royal.
While many have predicted teams such teams as Tennessee and LSU to win some of the weekend’s meet, the Red have been favored by the Penn Relay’s official website to win the sprint medley relay. Competing in that race will be Washington, Uceny, Maduka and Retelny. A win would be record-breaking for not only the Red, but the entire Ivy League as it has failed to win a championship 30 years. Also in the mix for the championship will be Miami, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.
While the meet is known for its relay competition, other events will be contested as well. For example, senior Robyn Ellerbrock will be competing in the steeplechase and senior tri-captain Sarah Wilfred will be participating in the championship bracket of the high jump on Friday. Senior Toni Salucci will also be up against some of the nation’s best in the 3k run. Maduka will be adding onto her workload by participating in the triple and long jump. The opportunity to face some of the nation’s elite not only gives the Red an opportunity to perform on one of track’s biggest stages, but it gives Cornell good practice for the all-important Heps meet, which will take place on May 5.
“This is the last meet before the championship portion of the season,” said head coach Lou Duesing. “In terms of the season, by no means is this the end … a Heps championship is always the focus.”
While coach Duesing is looking for improved performances across the board, one event to center on will be the 4×400 relay as all the other Heps teams will be competing in it as well.
From this point on, the track team will be asked to show their best efforts, especially this weekend against some of the nation’s top schools.
“I am pretty excited … this is one of the meets where you are running for all the people in the crowd,” Washington said. “I know everyone [on the team] is going to rise to the occasion.”