February 8, 2008

Track Squads Prepare To Host Cornell Opener

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There’s no place like home for the men’s and women’s track teams as they host the Cornell Open today and tomorrow. It’s the first time the two squads have remained in Itahca since the Cornell Relays on Dec. 1. The Red will host in-state rival Syracuse, among other team.
Fortunately for both the men and women, they will be facing an Orange squad at less than full strength. Part of the Syracuse squads will be in New York City for the weekend at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational.
After impressive performances at both the Millrose Games and the Sykes-Sabock Challenge, the men will try to bring their momentum back to Ithaca. They opened the season at the Cornell Relays and, despite the fact that there was no team score, the Red had an impressive showing by winning 11 events and earning 17 top-3 finishes. Senior co-captain Adam Merrill highlighted the meet by winning two individual events and the 4X400 relay.[img_assist|nid=27519|title=Two steps ahead|desc=Both the men’s and women’s track teams will stay in Ithaca this weekend to host the Cornell Open.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Every event is important and is a stepping stone to the year-end championships,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor. “We’re really looking forward to Heps, IC4As and NCAAs this season. We already have a lot of qualifiers and the guys are really performing well.”
The men’s indoor championships are only three weeks away and will be led off by Heps. Cornell will be hosting Heps, and the men are looking forward to having the home-field advantage.
“We’re really excited for Heps since they are hosted by Cornell this year,” said junior Garrett Huyler.
Merrill, along with fellow senior tri-captains Adam Seabrook and Muhammad Halim, have had NCAA provisional qualifying performances this season. The most recent came last weekend with Halim’s 50-8 3/4 jump in the triple jump at Penn State.
The men have had two meet victories this year at the Upstate Challenge and the Harvard Select Meet and have most recently placed second at the Penn State Relays.
The women also opened at the Cornell Relays on Dec. 1. The Red competed against 17 teams and won eight events, in addition to having 20 top-three finishes.
The Red won its first team-scored meet of the season at the Upstate Challenge and followed that performance up with a second-place finish at the Harvard Select Meet. The Red then finished third at the Seabock Challenge.
Despite the downward trend, strong individual performances have given the Red hope for a turnaround this weekend. The Open is one of the last meets before the indoor championships at the beginning of March.
The women will look for help from junior Maria Matos, who has been exceptional in the weights this season. Matos’ year was highlighted by a 61-7 1/2 throw at the Seabock Challenge, good enough for an NCAA provisional qualifying spot and third all-time in Cornell history.
Senior tri-captains Joan Casey, Anjelica Gregory and Maria Telloni have led the Red so far this season with consistant strong finishes, including Gregory’s fifth-place finish in the 800, an ECAC qualifying performance.