February 27, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Track Travel to Harvard for Heps

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The men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Harvard over the weekend for the Heptagonal Championships — “Definitely the biggest meet of the year from a team standpoint,” according to senior co-captain Andrew Miller. “Everything that we’ve done so far has been working towards this meet and the next two weeks.”
On the men’s side, the Red has won four of the last six Ivy League titles and enters this year’s competition fresh off a historic performance in 2008. A year ago, Cornell outpaced second place Princeton en route to a meet-record 205 points.
Senior co-captain Jimmy Wyner leads a talented group of mid-distance and distance runners, whose performances will be critical in the Red’s quest to repeat as champions. Earlier this month, Wyner posted a 4:01.67 time in the mile and completed the 3,000-meter in a school-record 7:59.31. Two weeks ago at the Virginia Duals, senior Andrew Levy fell to Columbia sophomore Jeff Moriarty by .04 seconds in the 800-meter. Levy, however, owns the fastest 1,000-meter time in the Ivy League, courtesy of his 2:24.31 performance at the Penn State Open in January.
Miller, senior Zachary Hine and junior Charles Hatch account for some of the Red’s remarkable depth. Miller and Hatch own the second- and fourth-best mile times, respectively, in the Ivy League this season, while Hine ranks just behind Wyner and Dartmouth senior Ben True in the 3,000-meter.
Yale senior Murat Kayali is among those impressed with Cornell’s mid-distance runners. “Since I’ve been here, they’ve been very consistent at the Heps level,” said Kayali.
Senior Sage Canaday and sophomore Nate Edelman look to grab the top two spots in what will be a competitive 5,000-meter race. They will face stiff competition from pair of Dartmouth juniors, John Schroeder and Chris Zablocki. Less than three seconds separates their personal records — a tiny gap in an event that takes over 14 minutes to complete.
The Red will look to the field to accumulate additional points. Heps will mark senior jumper Garrett Huyler’s last appearance in Ivy League play. He hopes to cap his illustrious career by defending his 2008 high-jump crown against his rival from Princeton, junior Justin Frick.
“He and I go way back,” said Huyler. “We’ve been jumping together for the past two years. The first time we jumped together in an Ivy League Championship, I won. Then he won the next two and then I won the last one. It’s always fun to jump against him.”
But Huyler, who already holds the Cornell indoor (7-1) and outdoor (7-2 1/2) high jump records, is eying more than just a victory over his friendly foe.
“I’m hoping to go 7-2 even, said Huyler. “Hopefully it’ll get me to the national meet.”
Cornell’s women’s squad fell to third place in 2008 after winning Heps every year from 2003 to 2007.
Few individuals at Heps are as accomplished as senior jumper/sprinter Jeomi Maduka, who holds the top Ivy League marks in the 60-meter, 200-meter, triple jump and long jump. Maduka was a two-sport athlete before this season when she gave up basketball to concentrate on track and field.
The rest of the Red’s sprinters must turn in strong performances in order to bring a title back to Cornell. Maduka, along with freshman Melissa Hewitt, senior Janice Nsor and junior Krystal Williams, boast the top four 60-meter times in the Ivy League this season.
Williams, who is competing in her first Heps, is “looking forward to sweeping [the event] this upcoming weekend.”
Few on the team would expect anything less.