April 21, 2008

Track Breaks Records in Several Events on the Road

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The track team is of one mind when it comes to breaking records, as several members of the team achieved scores over the weekend which were on the level of the world’s best or the best in Cornell’s history. Splitting between the Moravian Invitational in Allentown, Pa., and the Cortland Classic in upstate New York, the men and women combined for 21 event wins, 11 NCAA Regional qualifiers, 10 ECAC qualifiers and 18 IC4A qualifiers for both meets.
Sprinters and jumpers competed at the Moravian Invitational, with the men netting six NCAA Regional qualifiers, 15 IC4A qualifiers and five event wins on the day. The men were graced by not only great performances on the weekend but complimentary weather as well to help boost them to the top of the standings.
“Overall, I feel like we did fairly well,” said senior sprinter Neil Baker. “We were really lucky with the terrific weather we had. It was definitely better than the cold. It was pretty warm and it wasn’t that windy, so I think that contributed to our success [at Moravian].”[img_assist|nid=30061|title=See it to believe it|desc=Junior Jeomi Maduka and her teammates ran a personal best in the 4×100 relay in Pennsylvania|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Senior co-captain Muhammad Halim stole the spotlight at Moravian, tying a Cornell record in the triple jump with a mark of 52-8 1/2 — this was one of the top marks in the nation for the entire year. Another impressive jumping performance came from junior Garrett Huyler who cleared 6-10 3/4 to win the event.
“Definitely one of the highlights for the weekend was Muhammad Halim’s triple jump,” Baker said. “He tied a school record with 53-8. It was pretty impressive. Van Eeden also did really well in the 400 with 47.6.”
The men have scored some great times in the hurdles this year, and Saturday was no different. Seniors Saidu Ezike and Aaron Merrill placed first and second, respectively, in the 110 hurdles. Merrill crossed the finish line in 14.18 seconds, while Ezike was right behind at 4.22 seconds, respectively. Merrill also placed first in the 400 hurdles with a time of 51.49 seconds, just ahead of senior Adam Seabrook. Junior Marcel Van Eeden’s time of 47.63 seconds in the 400 was the seventh-best time in Cornell history.
The Red women also competed well at Moravian — with junior Jeomi Maduka leading the way with a school-record jump of 21-7 1/4. The jump passed the Olympic A trials standard, making her jump one of the top-10 jumps in the world for this year. The team also improved in the 4×100 relay, where Maduka, junior Janice Nsor, sophomore Megan Williams and senior Joan Casey ran a personal-best times of 46.6 seconds. Freshman Kim Lienhoop and sophomores Natalie Gengel and Jessica Weyman achieved second- and third-place finishes in the triple jump, vault and 400, respectively.
With the middle-distance runners, distance runners and throwers at Cortland, the Red women were able to perform well at both meets over the weekend. At Cortland, the women won eight events on the day, with six ECAC qualifiers and a NCAA Regional qualifier.
Consistent junior Maria Matos dominated her throwing events, throwing a 164-9 in the discus for a victory. Along with senior Crystal Thomas (147-7) and freshman Cassilyn Schweighofer (143-8), Matos led Cornell to a 1-2-3 sweep in the discus.
“The [Cortland Classic] was a really good meet,” said junior distance runner Emily Bartlett. “It’s definitely hard to get [personal records] all the time, but all in all, I thought everyone competed really well.”
Bartlett won the 3000 steeplechase with 11:08.34, while senior Anjelica Gregory won the 1500 with a personal record of 4:33.23. Freshmen Katie Sullivan (10:15.92) and Caroline Schultz (10:17.74) were also able to finish on top in the 3000, placing first and second respectively.
“[At Cortland], it was hard to gauge how we were doing on the whole because the teams were split up between two meets,” Bartlett said. “Since not everybody was there, we couldn’t really get a sense of how well the entire team was competing.”
Finally, the men had memorable throwing performances at Cortland. Sophomore Scott Jaffee got the fifth-best throw in Cornell history with a first-place throw of 170-11 in the discus. Also, junior Erik Roneker won two throwing events in the hammer (190-2) and the shot put (54-4 1/2).
With the great weekend that the men and women had at both Moravian and Cortland, the Red is taking a day-by-day approach to just improve their personal records each week.
“Mostly, I just want to drop times each week,” Baker said. “I’m coming back from injury, so I just want to continue to improve my [personal records] every time I compete. … It’s great to see every member of the team improving their [personal records]. After this weekend and how we’ve improved, we’re looking pretty good for the outdoor Heps.”