April 24, 2009

Track Stays Home to Host Big Red Invitational

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The track team will continue its march to the postseason with the Big Red Invitational this Sunday. The Red will compete against several local schools in what will be the second-to-last track meet held at Cornell this season.
Several of Cornell’s athletes will not compete at the event because of the ongoing Penn Relays. The prestigious event in Philadelphia began Wednesday and will continue into the weekend. Even though some of the top performers for the Red will not compete at the Big Red Invitational, the meet still has important postseason implications for Cornell.
“It’s going to be a spot for some guys on edge about going to the conference championship meet to prove themselves,” said junior Charlie Hatch.
With just two weekends to go before Heps, the Red coaches are in the process of whittling down their roster to the list of athletes who will compete for the Ivy League Championship.[img_assist|nid=37184|title=The long run|desc=After a long season, the track team will host the Big Red Invitational at home on Sunday. Some of Cornell’s athletes are at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia.|link=node|align=right|width=|height=0]
“For people that haven’t been having as great of seasons as they would have wanted to have, this is one of the last chances to show what they can do and try to make the team for Heps,” said senior Maria Matos.
Matos will compete in the discus throw. She is hoping to use the match as preparation for the postseason, which begins two weekends from tomorrow.
One of the perks of the invitational is that it will be the first event all season that nearly the entire team has attended. Even those members of the Red participating in the Penn Relays are expected to return to campus in time to watch –– if not participate in –– the invitational.
“Usually [the team is] split up, or only a limited number of people can travel to an event,” Matos said. “Not everyone can compete, but this will be the first meet where the whole team will be together. It will be really nice to have everyone there.”
Senior high jumper Garrett Huyler is competing in Philadelphia, but he plans to help out as an official in the high jump when he makes it back to Ithaca.
“It will probably be the first weekend all season that everybody has been together at the same meet,” he said. “It will be exciting for everyone to be together.”
Many members of the team are looking forward to the opportunity to watch some of their teammates who they do not often get to see in competition.
“We’ll get to see what progress the people have made that we haven’t gotten to see,” Matos said.
The Red should benefit from competing at its home course.
“Without traveling, you’re a little bit more rested,” Huyler said. “Also, you practice [on the same course], so you’re more used to it.”
Competing at home should also help to create a low-pressure environment for the athletes.
“I think everybody is generally more relaxed [at home],” Hatch said. “A home meet is just very routine. It’s a lot more low-key. That makes things a lot easier.”