February 15, 2008

Harriers Compete in Prestigious Events

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Coming off an impressive showing in their backyard at the Cornell Open, the men’s and women’s track teams will travel to New York City to compete in the Lafayette and Rider co-hosted event at The Armory and will then face a strong field at the Robert J. Kane Invitational back here in Ithaca on Sunday.
The Red hosted the Cornell Open last weekend and saw the women and men win 13 and 11 events respectively including eight ECAC qualifiers for the women and 11 IC4A qualifiers for the men.
[img_assist|nid=27829|title=Line up|desc=The men’s and women’s track teams will have a busy weekend, competing in two separate invitationals home and away.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
This is the second of three straight weekends of Cornell-hosted events, which concludes with the Heptagonal Championships and kicks off the indoor championships.
“Track is a very long season and the indoor championships are kind of like our midterms and the outdoor championships are like our finals,” said men’s head coach Nathan Taylor.
This is the final warm-up before the “midterms” for the Red and now they have to prove that they are ready for the test with some difficult contests coming up this weekend.
Senior tri-captain Joan Casey has continuously shown her strength this year including her three top-3 finishes at the Cornell Open with hopes to add another great showing back in Ithaca this weekend.
Casey won the 60-meter hurdles with a season best 8.85, qualified for the ECAC after reaching 18-7 and finishing second in the long jump, and placed third with a 37-3 1/4 in the triple jump. Freshman Kim Lienhoop had her own ECAC qualifying performance when she was the only person to finish ahead of Casey with an 18-11 3/4 and a first place finish in the long jump.
Junior Maria Matos, who has been stellar in the shot put and the weights all season, including NCAA qualifying performances, is looking to continue her dominance in those events this weekend as well. She won two events with two more ECAC qualifying marks at the Cornell Open with a 57-3 1/2 in the weight and a 45-3 1/2 in the shot put.
Around 20-25 teams are expected to compete at the Armory. The Red has seen Rider at the un-scored Penn State Relays but this is the first time the Red will face Lafayette this year.
In Lafayette’s only scored event of the season, the Leopards defeated Lehigh for the second straight year in their dual meet.
The Rider women finished 12th and seventh at the Great Dane Classic and Delaware Invitational, respectively, while the men fared slightly better with a ninth and sixth place showing in the two events.
The Cornell men have been on a hot streak lately including wins at the Upstate Challenge and Harvard Select Meet, as well as a very close second place at the Sabock Challenge.
There was no team score for the men last week at the Cornell Open but the men won 11 events and were led by the NCAA provisional qualifying performances of senior tri-captain Muhammad Halim and senior Saidu Ezike. Ezike ran a Cornell and Barton Hall record 7.78 in the 60 hurdles, which places him in the top-10 in the nation. Halim posted a 52-1 in the triple jump, which also placed him in the top-10 in the nation and gave him an NCAA qualifying performance.
“Some of the individual performances and records set have been very impressive,” Taylor said. “This definitely shows our team is on the right track but we still need to make sure that we are staying focused and trying to improve after each meet.”