March 28, 2008

Spring Schedule Gives Women Time to Shine

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If past performance is any indication, the women’s track team has a talented team this year. With recent strong performances and NCAA Regional qualifiers at the California State Northridge Invitational, the UC Irvine Classic and the Indoor Heptagonal Championships in March alone, this year’s standouts are looking to build on success earlier in the year.
In the 800, sophomore Katie Murdoch has been establishing herself as a real force for the women. With strong showings earlier in the year, Murdoch is a young, growing talent. Dealing with injuries in her freshman season, Murdoch still bounced back as a top performer to earn All-East honors in the outdoor season, while running the lead-off spot for a record 4×800 time for the freshmen in 2007.
In pole vaulting, sophomore Natalie Gengel is seemingly one of the most prominent figures on the women’s squad. She placed third at the California State Northridge Invitational, and her performance qualified her for the NCAA Regionals for the second year in a row.
Junior Maria Matos also qualified for NCAA Regionals at Northridge. 2007 was a fantastic year for Matos, but in 2008 she set her sights not only again qualifying for the NCAA championships, but on making the NCAA finals as well. During her tenure at Klein Oak High School, Matos was ranked by Track and Field News as the top high school discus thrower in the country with her 166-5 throw until July, when a fellow Texan beat her by two inches.
In the jumps category, junior Jeomi Maduka will be headed to NCAA Indoor championships. Her first time at the indoor NCAA championships and her second NCAA meet overall, she finished eighth for All-American honors at the outdoor championships in 2007. Maduka has won six Ivy League titles in her first two years at Cornell and holds 12 school records. She garnered NCAA All-America status at the outdoor championships and is currently qualified in the long jump for the 2008 United States Olympic Trials.
Even though the Red women are not ranked in top-25 nationally, their next meet will be April 5 at the Quaker Invitational in Philadelphia. They are going in with strong success and motivation from previous meets — especially after winning four events at Northridge last week. Other notable, upcoming meets are Penn Relays, the Heptagonal Relays, the ECAC Championships and the capstone NCAA Regional championships. The women are hoping to continue the success from earlier in the year, but one thing is for sure — it will be hard to top.