April 3, 2009

Track Heads to Quaker Invite

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The Cornell track and field teams will see action tomorrow in the Quaker Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania. The meet comes on the heels of a weeklong training trip to Irvine, Calif., which concluded with the UC Irvine Spring Break Invitational.
The Red’s intense practice schedule will help the team perform at its peak later in the season, but it has left many sore and fatigued.
“At Irvine, it’s usually just a long week of training,” said junior thrower Scott Jaffee. “We have two-a-days there and we train pretty hard, so we’re pretty tired by the end.”
Still, Jaffee finished third in the discuss throw at 158-2, five spots ahead of teammate Bob Belden. Just a freshman, Belden was even better in the shot put, recording a throw of 54-4, good for fourth-best in the Ivy League this season.
If its early season performance is any indication, the Red will put forth a dominant group of sprinters. On the men’s side, senior Nathan Crabtree won the 100-meter in an IC4A-qualifying 10.90 seconds, and the 200-meter in 21.83. Crabtree continued his success in the 4X100 relay, teaming with junior Josh Kilpatrick, sophomore Cory Boyd and freshman Ken McClain to run 41.89 at Irvine. The senior is encouraged by the result.
“I foresee us possibly going to Regionals, if we get everything right,” Crabtree said.[img_assist|nid=36540|title=Meet me on the track|desc=The Cornell track and field teams will descend on Philadelphia this weekend to compete in the Quaker Invitational, taking place on the same surface as the Ivy League championship meet later this month.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Not to be outdone, the quartet of senior Janice Nsor, freshman Melissa Hewitt, junior Krystal Williams and senior Jeomi Maduka won the 4X100 relay in an Ivy League-record 45.71. The time was just .01 seconds off the NCAA Regional-qualifying criterion.
“We can run a lot faster than that,” Maduka said. “That was our first meet where all four of us were on the relay together. It really says something that we broke that record so easily.”
While Maduka sat out the individual events to recover from her exhausting indoor season, her teammates entered the Cornell record books. Hewitt posted the third-best 100-meter time ever among Cornell athletes, winning the race in 11.89 seconds, and Williams’ 12.14 puts her ninth on the list. Though Maduka will compete at the Texas Relays this weekend, the Red will bring plenty of sprinting firepower to Penn.
While the stakes are relatively low at the early season meets, players acknowledge that the races have long-term Ivy League implications. Junior hurdler Jessica Weyman sees the Quaker Relays as invaluable preparation for the Ivy League championship meet, which will occur on the same surface later this month. According to Weyman, the track is oddly-constructed and often poses problems for those who have never run on it.
“They wanted to add more lanes, but instead of putting them on the outside like you would normally think, they added lanes in the middle,” Weyman said. “So to run in lane one, you actually run more than one lap. It can be difficult to run on if you’re not used to that kind of thing.”
One element of the track that the Red won’t complain about, however, is its fast surface. Expect some good times this weekend.