January 28, 2008

M. Track Prevails; W. Track Falls Short

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The men’s and women’s track teams continued their impressive starts to the season with strong showings at the Harvard Select Meet on Saturday. For the second consecutive weekend, the men prevailed against a field of challengers.
After easily winning the Upstate Challenge on Jan. 19, the Red faced much steeper competition this past weekend in Cambridge, Mass. UConn won five events en route to amassing 152 points as a team. Cornell trailed the Big East foe most of the day, but a late surge allowed the Red to finish with 163 points and a team victory.
“It was nice to win, but we didn’t have the great performances that we wanted,” said junior high jumper Garrett Huyler. “[We had] a bunch of average performances and we were looking for some standout performances.”
Cornell and UConn were still neck and neck heading into the weight events before junior Erik Roneker literally launched the team to victory. He placed second in the shot put and subsequently was victorious in the weight throw to secure the victory. The 18 points he earned in those two events decided the match. Also, his 19.51 meter weight throw was an NCAA provisional qualifying feat.
Cornell dominated the 400-meter dash, claiming each of the four best times. Senior Adam Seabrook won the event in 48.38 seconds. He was directly followed by senior Aaron Merrill, junior Marcel van Eeden and freshman Brian Freitas. Red sprinters also earned a victory in the 4X400 meter relay and the distance medley competition.
In the high jump, Huyler matched his own school record, met NCAA provisional standards, and earned a victory with a mark of 7 1/4 feet. Sophomore Jay Pierce and junior Jim Smith finished third and fourth in the event, respectively.
“It’s nice to finally be consistent,” Huyler said. “I’ve jumped over seven feet three weeks in a row.”
The women had a more balanced effort than their male counterparts, placing in the top-2 of nine different events. However, they were unable to secure a team victory largely because they only won two events.
Sophomore Natalie Gengel was the only individual winner for the Red. She tied her own school record by winning the pole vault with a clearance of 12-5 3/4. Gengel was surprised to be the team’s only individual victor at the meet.
“I was very surprised,” she said. “It felt great to help the team out.”
The Red’s other victory came in the 4×400 meter relay. Many of the events seemed to follow a theme on the women’s side, as there were six different events in which the Red finished second to Brown. Not surprisingly, Cornell finished second to Brown in the five team field, as the Red totaled 135 points, nine fewer than Brown.
“[Finishing second is] pretty disappointing, but I’m pretty confident in our team to pull through at the HEPS meet March 1,” said sophomore runner Lindsay Broyhill.
Gengel echoed her classmate’s statements.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t win, but we still have a long ways to go,” she said. “Not everyone had their best performance. I know we can beat Brown.”