April 17, 2009

Red Will Team With Penn To Battle U.K. Track Teams

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Both the men’s and women’s track teams have been sleeping with the enemy this past week, metaphorically speaking. Cornell has been hosting the Oxford and Cambridge squads since Tuesday as they get set to compete in the traditional biennial Cornell-Penn vs. Oxford-Cambridge meet this weekend in Philadelphia. Those on the Red’s squad who do not make the trip to Franklin Field will travel this weekend to Cortland to compete in the Cortland Invitational.
For over a century, the Cornell track team has united with its counterpart at Penn to compete against the two British universities. The meet will be scored according to traditional British rules in which each event title will be worth one point. There are 19 total points that can be accumulated.
“I am really excited,” said junior hurdler Jessica Weyman. “[The Oxford-Cambridge team is] so nice and have been staying with us for the past few days. It will just be great to compete against teams from other countries. I think it will even be better next time going there. It’ll be nice to see what they bring to the table.”
Oxford and Cambridge competed in a match against the combined Yale and Harvard track squads last weekend in New Haven. Although they are rivals during the season, the Cornell and Penn pairing has demonstrated to be a formidable foe over the years. The Red and the Quakers are the only Ancient Eight tandem never to lose to the Oxford-Cambridge team.
“It’s a tradition that’s been going on for a while,” said senior co-captain Garrett Huyler. “The Cornell team ended up going to Oxford and Cambridge during my freshman year. It’s a more relaxed meet because you’re competing against teams that you have never seen before. Guys are usually just having fun and trying to get to know people from another culture.”
Last weekend in Tennessee, Huyler placed second in the Sea Ray Relays high jump with a clearance of 7-0 1/2, ensuring him a spot in the NCAA Regionals. The rest of the squad was equally impressive as the men’s team came away with 19 IC4A qualifiers and three NCAA Regional qualifiers.
Not to be outdone, the women’s team produced 12 ECAC qualifiers and six NCAA Regional qualifiers. Unfortunately for Weyman, she was a mere 0.1 tick away from posting a Regionals qualifying time.
“We compete at Penn a lot,” Weyman said. “It is not the first time we will be on this track because we also have the Penn relays next week and we have competed there earlier this season. It is supposed to be a really nice weekend and everyone is looking to get some really good times and maybe qualify for things they haven’t done yet. I’m hoping to qualify for Regionals this weekend.”
The meet should also provide good preparation for the Heptagonal Championships, which will be held at Franklin Field later this season on May 9 and 10.
“Most of the top guys are going to the Penn meet because we have the Heps at Penn this year also,” Huyler said. “Coach [Nathan Taylor] wanted us to get some practice on that track. There have been a few guys, who were injured, and may be competing this weekend, so hopefully they will do well. We’ve had a few tough weeks of training.”
Weyman echoed Huyler’s sentiments.
“My head coach, [Lou Duesing] always says, ‘Whatever opportunities you have, you have to seize them. Don’t let them just pass you by,’” Weyman said. “We want to run a really good meet and it’s the [track] that we are going to be competing on for Heps.”