April 10, 2009

Cornell Track to be Represented at Bucknell, Tenn. Invitationals

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This weekend, both the men’s and women’s track teams will be represented by competitors at the Bucknell Invitational and the Sea Ray Relays at the University of Tennessee.
Both squads are coming into this weekend after impressive showings at last weekend’s Penn Invitational. At Penn, the women’s team produced five event wins and more than 20 top-5 finishes. Lou Duesing, the head coach of the women’s team, thought that his athletes competed remarkably well in Philadelphia, particularly considering the challenging weather conditions.
“Given the conditions, I thought the people last week performed quite well,” Duesing said. “It was extremely windy which made it very difficult for a lot of events. Even when you have a tail wind, it can really throw you off for the long and triple jump and the hurdles and those sorts of things. It can kind of blow you past your mark or into a hurdle. Given all of that, and running against the wind in the oval races, I thought people performed very well.”
On the men’s side, the Red came away with a total of seven event victories and more than 25 top-5 showings. Mark Bilyk, assistant coach of the men’s team, believes that those results bode very well for success in this weekend’s meets.
“I think the expectations are that we continue to build upon the success that we have had so far in the early spring season,” Bilyk said.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s meets, the coaches are expecting some further difficulties from the weather conditions, as can be expected in almost all outdoor track events.
“With outdoor track, it’s hard to have any kind of consistency because conditions change,” Duesing said. “Tail winds, cross winds, rain, cold — all of those things either combined or individually can make it very hard. I think that people are very accepting of the variations of the weather and don’t let that bother them. That is exactly what I would expect them to do: get up, get after it, and make the best of it.”
With portions of each team headed to different parts of the country, it becomes even more difficult for the coaches and athletes to predict what type of conditions and competition are awaiting them.
“The team is split: a portion of the team is going down to Tennessee to compete, some of the jumpers, sprinters, and hurdler types will be there,” Bilyk said. “Obviously we expect them to do very well but they will be up against a lot of tough competition because there will be a lot of southern schools there.”
The women’s squad also has big expectations for their Tennessee contingent, as senior Jeomi Maduka will be there competing, as well as the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams, and some jumpers.[img_assist|nid=36735|title=Leap of faith|desc=Sophomore Kimberly Lienhoop competes in the long jump at Barton Hall on Feb. 14.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
“Jeomi to a certain extent is a microcosm of the whole team and I’m very happy how hard they are working and as a coach, you want to see that hard work pay off,” Duesing explained. “This team has consistently done that and I would expect them to do the same this weekend. In Tennessee, I know the 4×100 and the 4×400 relays are excited, Natalie Gengel is excited about the pole vault. All of the individuals that have gone down there are looking forward to the opportunity.”
Duesing has big goals and expectations this weekend for all of his athletes, both those competing in Tennessee and those at Bucknell, as he predicts that they will pick up right where they left off in Philadelphia.
“At the risk of sounding too optimistic, any event that we are in, I would expect people to rise to the occasion,” Duesing said. “Realistically, some are going to do it and some will fall short. Going in I have no idea who to expect—who’s likely to fall short or have that personal best type of performance.”