April 18, 2008

Track Teams Travel to Cortland, Allentown

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The track teams will be splitting time at events this weekend — the jumpers, sprinters and hurdlers will travel to Allentown, Pa., tomorrow for the Moravian Invitational, while the rest of the athletes will compete at the Cortland Invitational in Cortland, N.Y., on the same day.
Coming off of impressive showings last weekend at the Sea-Ray Relays in Knoxville, Tenn., and the Bucknell Invitational in Lewisburg, Pa., the Red is looking to build some momentum as it travels towards the championships in May. Over both events, the men and women combined for 15 ECAC qualifiers, 17 IC4A qualifiers and seven NCAA Regional qualifying performances.
To gradually improve on the talent they have on the team this year, the track teams are focusing on the basics — technique, footwork, speed and strength.
[img_assist|nid=29987|title=Push it, push it real good|desc=Sophomore Jessica Weyman (right) is coming off a 400-meter hurdle performance last week that placed her seventh all-time in Cornell history.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“The throwers are going to Cortland this weekend,” said freshman javelin-thrower Clarence “Mac” Bishop. “At Bucknell, we were on grass, and I didn’t do too well. I’m really looking to [personal record] this weekend.”
All of the athletes are seeing not only themselves but their teammates develop their skills as well. For the throwers at Bucknell, junior Eric Roneker set himself apart as a double-winner in both the hammer (183-3) and shot put (55-0 1/4), while athletes like Scott Jaffee set personal bests during last weekend’s Bucknell Invitational. Moreover, junior Maria Matos made an impact in two events, winning the discus (163-10) for an NCAA Regional qualifier and placing second in the shot put (44-6 3/4).
“Eric Roneker is one of the best throwers in the country,” Bishop said. “He’s just great to watch. He always has big scores. Scott Jaffee also [set a personal record] at Bucknell, and we’re really seeing him perform well lately.”
The runners and jumpers have also been constantly running faster times and rising higher in the standings over the past few weekends. At the Sea-Ray Relays, standouts included seniors Aaron Merrill (51.82 seconds) and Adam Seabrook (51.99 seconds) in the 400 hurdles, along with senior Saidu Ekize with a personal record of 14.11 seconds for an NCAA Regional qualifier. Other top performers included junior Andy Miller in the 1500 meters (3:46.70) and senior Muhammad Halim in the triple jump (50-10).
For the women, junior Jeomi Maduka won the long jump (21-4) and fell just three centimeters short of an Olympic A Trials Standard. Other highlights included senior Joan Casey in the 100 hurdles and sophomore Jessica Weyman in 400 hurldes, who both placed seventh all-time for Cornell with their marks in their respective events.
“Our success this weekend needs to come from all across the board,” said Bishop. “For our team to do well, we need a great day from everyone.”
“I’ve had good practices this week,” said senior thrower Crystal Thomas. “I actually PR’ed last weekend [at Bucknell], so I’m really hoping to perform well this weekend. We’ll see.”
To do well at both Cortland and Moravian this weekend, all of the athletes for the track team will need to boost their performances to an even higher level. Since jumpers, sprinters, and hurdlers will be at Moravian, and everyone else will be at Cortland, success at each invitational needs to come from all-star times and distances in a variety of events. Cornell track will have to be a total team effort in order to be at the top after this weekend.
“[Wins] are really a collective effort,” Thomas said. “People say ‘there’s no I in team’ all the time, but for us, it’s really true. Everybody needs to step up. As a senior, I don’t want to lose the outdoor Heps, so we really need to try to motivate the rest of the team to consistently perform at the highest level.”