December 5, 2008

To End 2008, Red Will Host Relays

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The men and women’s track teams will be competing in the annual Cornell relays this weekend. This indoor meet will consist of 17 teams — including nearby Colgate, Syracuse and Ithaca College — as Cornell looks to continue its recent regional success.
Acting as a building block for the rest of the season, the Cornell relays will be the Red’s first and last meet of 2008. The Red will not compete for a month over winter, highlighting the importance of coming out strong at the relays and showing that it has not lost its stride since last season.
Having won the last six outdoor Ivy League championships and four out of the last six indoor Ivy League championships, the men’s team is expecting to come out strong this weekend.
“This is our opening meet,” said men’s assistant coach Kevin Thompson. “We are just looking for kids to have a good performance. Usually in your first meet kids are eager to run. They are just looking to perform well.”
Despite losing many key seniors from last year’s squad, including a national champion in triple jumper Muhammad Halim ‘08, the men’s side looks to be extremely competitive again this year.
“We lost some very good seniors,” Thompson said. “But we still have a pretty good young team. … We have some great expectations of these underclassmen.”
The women’s team — which has also ran, jumped and thrown its way to the top of the Ivy League in recent years — will rely on the home meet to gauge where they are at after a strong fall practice season.
Though the relays are not scored, they are just as important to the team as any other meet. The squad, acknowledging that its fitness may not be at its peak will still be looking to compete to its highest potential.
“I am not looking for anyone to go out and qualify for the NCAA meet or to set a bunch of PRs and that sort of stuff,” said head coach Lou Duesing. “They’re not there yet. But that is by design, they’re not supposed to be there yet. … When it comes to expectations they really don’t change from the very first meet of the year to the championship meet at the end of the year.”
Opportunity plays a large role on this women’s team — the opportunity to win its eighth consecutive indoor Heps title, the opportunity to have repeat All-Ivy performers, and the opportunity for new athletes to show what they can do.
“I expect them to do two things,” Duesing said. “Appreciate the opportunity that they have. [It is] the only time they’re going to have that opportunity so they want to make the most of it they can. And when it is your turn to compete [I expect] that you give the very best you can at that point.”