February 11, 2008

Harriers Dominate Competition at Cornell Invitational

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The men’s and women’s track teams had no trouble dominating the competition at the Cornell Invitational on Saturday. Despite playing host to 25 schools, along with numerous unattached individual competitors, both squads were able to win more than 10 events. The men also set two school records along the way.
The Red women were victorious in 13 different events on Saturday, completely outperforming the other teams at the meet. Freshman Mecha Santos won the 200-meter dash and placed second in the 60-meter dash. Classmate Lauren Tanz finished second in the 60-meter hurdles, just behind senior tri-captain Joan Casey. Casey won the event with at time of 8.85 seconds.
“I was a hundredth of a second off my [personal record] in the 60-meter hurdles, so I was pretty ecstatic about that,” Casey said. “It was the fastest I’ve ever run this early in the season.”
Cornell also dominated in the longer distance events. Sophomore Jess Weyman and Megan Williams finished first and second, respectively, in the 300-meter dash. Junior Erin Payne led a 1-2-3 sweep of the 400-meter sprint, while freshman Kim Standridge led a similar 1-2-3 sweep of the 800-meter run.
Sophomore Kerri Lyons finished first in the one-mile run and her Red teammates claimed the third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the race. Junior Katie Roll easily won the 5000-meter race. Cornell also won the 4X400 relay race.[img_assist|nid=27616|title=One jump ahead|desc=The women’s track team won 13 different events at the Cornell Invitational on Saturday.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Cornell’s success on the track carried over to the field events. Sophomore Natalie Gengel won the pole vault by clearing 3.60 meters. No other competitor cleared more than 3.30 meters. Freshman Kim Lienhoop finished first in the long jump, heading a Cornell group that swept the top-4 spots in the event. Lienhoop also finished second in the high jump. Casey finished second to Lienhoop in the high jump and led the Red with a third place finish in the triple jump.
In the weight events, junior Maria Matos again showed her strength, winning the weight throw and leading a sweep of the top-3 spots in the shot put.
“I thought we had some really good performances,” Casey said. “There were a lot of teams there and I saw a lot of Cornell first place finishes.”
While the men were unable to match the 13 event wins that their female counterparts collected, their 11 wins may have been just as impressive, especially considering that the team broke two school records.
Senior Saidu Ezike set a new Cornell and Barton Hall record by completing the 60-meter hurdles in a lightning fast 7.78 seconds. His time was one of the 10 best in the nation so far this season and a good indication that Ezike has a strong chance of qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Class­mate Aaron Merrill was also impressive in the event, qualifying for the ECACs by finishing in less than eight seconds for the first time in his career.
Ezike’s classmate, senior Jordan Lester, broke his own school record in winning the 60-meter dash in 6.75 seconds. In the triple jump, senior Muhammad Halim posted an impressive 52-1 mark, good for one of the top-10 distances in the country this year. He was denied a victory only because graduated Cornellian Twan Wreh returned to Barton and jumped an astounding 54-0.
Junior Nate Crabtree cruised to victory in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore Mike Kippins led a 1-3 sweep of the 500-meter dash while classmate Kyle Wolpert won the 3000-meter run. Junior Zach Hine crushed the competition in the 5000-meter race. The time gap between Hine and his closest competitor was greater than the gap between second place and 11th place. The Red also won the 4X400 relay event.
Sophomore Jay Pierce bested the field in the high jump while classmate Josh Kirkpatrick won the pole vault. Junior Erik Roneker won both weight events as he destroyed the competition in both the shot put and the weight throw.
“I thought it was alright,” Roneker said of his performance. “I’m looking for improvement every week.”
Roneker was impressed with the school records set by Ezike and Lester.
“We had a couple of school records in the 60 hurdles and the 60-meter dash,” he said. “Any day we get more than one school record is a good day.”