April 14, 2008

Track Combines for Six Titles

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After a strong showing at the Penn Invitational last weekend with seven event wins for the women’s track team and 22 top-5 finishes for the men’s track team, the Red continued its success at Bucknell on Saturday in both running and throwing events.
With standout performances from juniors Erik Roneker and Maria Matos, the Red established its power in the throwing events. Great running and jumping marks for both the men and women in the triple jump, 1500 meter, 5000 meter, 10000 meter, hurdles and the 3000-meter steeplechase also helped to launch Cornell to the top of the standings with wins in six different events.
The Red men were led by Roneker. He had a huge day, winning in both the shot put and discus. With a shot distance of 16.77 meters and a hammer mark of 55.86 meters, Roneker contributed to two of the six total Red victories at Bucknell. With hard work at practice, Roneker is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the throwing circle. [img_assist|nid=29829|title=Throwing it down|desc=Thrower junior Erik Roneker had a standout performance at Bucknell, winning both the shot put and discus events for the Red.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“[Roneker] won two events,” said senior distance runner Sage Canaday. “He’s just a really good athlete. I see him in the weight room all the time, just lifting incredible amounts of weight.”
The men’s team’s runners and jumpers had to deal with keen competition and poor weather conditions. After delays for inclement weather, some athletes had trouble adapting to the rough conditions.
“Friday night, we had to wait because there was a lightning delay,” said Canaday. “So we had to wait like an hour to start the race. It was pretty rough conditions. It was raining hard, lots of wind, pretty humid — not ideal conditions at all. … My time was a little subpar, but I attribute a little of that to the bad weather.”
Top performers for the men included the athletes in the triple jump, 1500, 5000 and 10000. Sophomore Duane Teixeira dominated the men’s triple jump with a final distance of 15.15 meters, edging out East Stroudsberg sophomore Drew Miller for the win. An impressive second-place run came from senior Jason Brown in the 1500, only getting beat by a little less than four-tenths of a second by Maryland’s Mike Cator. Canaday also placed second in the 5000, while senior David Krause and junior Sam Luff both achieved personal bests with their respective third- and fourth-place finishes in the 10000.
“Our guys did really well in the 10000,” said Canaday. “That was probably the highlight of the day for the distance runners. Sam Luff and David Krause — they ran big personal bests and probably have the best times in the Ivy League this season.”
The women’s squad also benefited from an all-star throwing performance from Matos. With a win in the discus at a distance of 49.95 meters, and a second-place mark in the shot put with a throw of 13.58 meters, Matos continues to put herself on top of the leader board for throwing events. All in all, Matos is getting into a steady rhythm and is starting to become satisfied with her throws.
“I was pretty happy with both of my events — the shot and the disc,” Matos said. “Overall, I had one really good shot throw, but I still want to work on it a little bit more, though. Disc I was pretty happy with.”
Freshman Cassie Schweighofer (13.38 meters) followed right behind Matos in third, while senior Maria Telloni (13.16 meters) grabbed fourth, making the shot put a Cornell-controlled event. Matos attributed the throwers’ improvement and consistency to strategized practices that build on strength, speed and technical skill.
“Usually during the week, [throwers’] workouts depend on the number of events,” said Matos. “We usually have a day for lifting and plyometrics, among other practice techniques. Now that we’re in season, we lift three or four days depending when people compete, either Friday or Saturday.”
The hurdle and steeplechase were also strong points on the day for the women. Junior Emily Newton won the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:04.59 over second-place Bucknell freshman Jamie Leacock. Cornell also did well in the 100-meter hurdles, with freshman Lauren Tanz coming in second with a mark of 14.65 seconds. Lastly, sophomore Erin Roberts was able to beat the field in the 3000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:53.9, with junior Emily Bartlett following in second at 11:06.9.
Now that the track teams are back into the swing of workouts and competitions, conditioning and technique are becoming more and more crucial as the season continues. Sometimes, intertwining effective rest with strenuous practices can be a thin line to successfully walk.
“We’re really focusing in on doing specific workouts to get us ready for the championships later in the season,” said Canaday. “So we’re doing some high-intensity workouts, and we’ll try to rest up in between meets.”