March 3, 2008

Men’s Track Is Ivy Champion

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Men’s basketball was not the only Cornell squad to capture an Ivy League Championship over the weekend. Yesterday, the men’s track team captured the indoor Heps team championship at Barton Hall. The Red have won seven of the last eight Ivy League titles, winning for the third time in four years indoors to go along with four consecutive outdoor championships. The women were not as fortunate, however, as their streak of 12 consecutive Heps titles came to an end at the hands of Princeton.
The men accumulated a team score of 205 points, well ahead of second place Princeton, which tallied 149. Yale and Dartmouth finished third and fourth, respectively, with scores in the 50s.
The Red set the tone for the meet by dominating the sprint events. Senior Jordan Lester got the Red off to a strong start by winning the 60-meter dash. His classmate, Adam Seabrook, followed up by leading a 1-3 Red sweep of the 400-meter sprint.
Senior Saidu Ezike had another dominant performance in the 60-meter hurdles. His time of 7.90 seconds was not only the strongest time yesterday; it was the strongest in the history of Heps. Another senior, Aaron Merrill, had a very busy day on the track. He placed second to Ezike in the hurdles, captured second place in the 500-meter dash and was part of a victorious Red squad in the 4×400 meter relay.[img_assist|nid=28462|title=Best foot forward|desc=Muhammad Halim competes in Barton Hall during the Heptagonals on Saturday, March 1.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Junior Zac Hine led Cornell in the longer distance events. He won the 5000-meter run and placed fifth in the 3000-meter event.
In the high jump, junior Garrett Huyler tied Princeton’s Justin Frick by clearing 2.14 meters, but Frick won based on misses. In the pole vault, Cornell won out in a similar tie, as sophomore Josh Kirkpatrick beat out Yale’s Eric Depalo.
Senior Muhammad Halim won the men’s Outstanding Athlete Award after dominating the long jump and triple jump events. He won the long jump in convincing fashion, finishing a quarter of a meter in front of teammate Duane Teixeira, a sophomore who finished second. Halim was even more dominant in the triple jump, where no competitor came within one meter of his best distance. Teixeira finished third in that event.
Junior Erik Roneker continued his excellence by winning the weight throw and placing third in the shot put. In total, Cornell won nine events, easily the most of any of the eight competing schools. Those nine event wins paved the way for the decisive team victory.
“I was extremely happy with how we did,” Merrill said. “On paper, it looked like it was going to be really close [with Princeton], but we came to compete and they didn’t and that’s what it came down to.
In a closely-contested women’s Heps, Cornell finished third with 100 points. Princeton and Brown earned the top-2 team totals with 114 and 107 points, respectively. No other team accumulated more than 46 points.
The Red benefited from an astounding performance from junior Jeomi Maduka. Maduka’s biggest competition in her three events was history, as she challenged meet and Barton Hall records in the 60-meter hurdles, the long jump and the triple jump en route to winning the women’s Outstanding Athlete Award.
Maduka, who also excels on the basketball team, shattered the meet record in the long jump by jumping 6.45 meters. No other competitor even threatened to reach six meters. In the triple jump, her distance of 13.15 meters came much closer to setting a new meet record than any of her competitors came to catching the Cornell standout.
Maduka got the squad off to a strong start on the track by running the 60-meter hurdles in 7.58 seconds. Maduka won the event, coming within one hundredth of a second of tying the meet record and within two hundredths of a second of matching the Barton Hall record.
The Red’s success on the track was short-lived, as Cornell was unable to earn a top-2 finish in any of the other individual running events.
The Red did have success in the relay events, winning the 4×400 meter relay and placing second in the 4×800 event.
Sophomore Natalie Gengel continued her stellar season by winning the pole vault once again. She was the only competitor to clear 3.90 meters.
Junior Maria Matos, who finished fourth in the shot put, won the weight throw with a distance of 18.35 meters.