December 2, 2008

Depth Will Be Crucial to W. Harriers’ Season

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After recording its seventh consecutive Outdoor Heptagonal Track and Field Championship a year ago, the women’s track team will have its sights on this year’s championship season, which include the Outdoor Heptagonal, Indoor Heptagonal, ECAC and NCAA championship meets. Head coach Lou Duesing will lead the Red for a 19th season and will look to a strong core of returning competitors.
Leading Cornell this year is senior Jeomi Maduka. Maduka, a champion in five events, is coming off a strong summer. She competed in this summer’s Olympic Trials as well as in the North America Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) meet, where she not only won a gold medal, but also posted a personal best by jumping nearly 22-0. The Red will rely heavily on Maduka’s versatility this year.
“Any event that has Jeomi Maduka is going to be a strong event” Duesing said. “If she is not winning something, she is going to be someone who is going to be in second so that makes her a valuable performer and someone who is going to … be contributing an awful lot of points.”
After a strong showing over the last year and a half, Maduka has her own aspirations for both the team and individually.
“Ultimately I want to get to the NCAA track meet and just be able to compete” Maduka said. “And as a team to just continue to dominate in the Ivy League … at the end of last year we did not win Ivy League, which is rare for us so we are just trying to get back to establishing that tradition.”
The Red’s success this season will rely on its depth — Cornell returns seven All-Ivy league performers.
“Our strength as a team through this run of victories has been both our breadth and our depth,” Duesing said. “We are entering every event with people who are likely to score.”
As the Red prepares for the upcoming season, the team is taking advantage of every lifting session, every repetition and every practice to make sure that its potential is fulfilled. Cornell’s philosophy has led to a strong fall practice season and a hunger for another strong season.
“It has been a very, very, very good fall.” Duesing said. “There has been a lot of enthusiasm, they have worked very hard, they’ve approached it in a very serious way. I like all of that about the group. From the standpoint of what we have seen to this point, I could not be happier with how hard people have worked.
“Do I think we have a very competitive team? Yes. I am confident that we will be a very competitive team, and that if a team is going to, other then us, is going to win it then they’re going to have to go through us.”