For the men’s and women’s track teams, the success of the 2009-10 season will largely be decided in a 48 hour span at Princeton University in the Ivy Track Championships. For the Cornell men, the magic number is no longer seven, but eight. With a record tying seven titles at Heptagonals over the last seven years under coach Nathan Taylor, the Red is looking to surpass the Penn track team of the 1970’s to reach an unprecedented eighth straight championship this year. The women’s team aspires to achieve similar success, after head coach Lou Duesing’s team finished second at Outdoor Heptagonals last year. The Red had won seven straight prior to 2009, and is looking forward to returning to its winning ways. After a successful tune-up meet at the Cornell Outdoor Invitational over the past weekend, the Red hopes to sustain its momentum for Heps. “As a whole, I thought the team performed great. At most home meets, we are our best competition and sometimes it can be difficult to get pumped for the race. But yesterday, we had many personal records and facility records, not to mention an Ivy League and school record by the 4×100,” said senior Jessica Weyman. At Heptagonals, several relay teams and individual athletes are sure to lead the Red. Both 4×100 sprint teams have highlighted nearly every meet for the Red, and just this past weekend, the women’s team ran the fastest time (45.60) in Cornell history, while the men’s team ran the third fastest in its history, clocking in at 40.91. The women’s 4×400 has been strong as well, winning the Heptagonal race at Penn Relays. Individually, expect All-American senior Duane Teixera to lead the men’s team in jumps; Teixera finished third among the nation’s best college athletes at Penn Relays in the championship long jump. Junior Adrien Dannemiller has been strong in the steeplechase, while junior sprinter Chris Tait, freshman Bruno Hortelano Roig and sophomore Chase Aaronson have been strong in distances from the 100m to the 400m this season. For the women’s team, sophomore Melissa Hewitt has been a standout in sprints from the opening Irvine Invitational to the Cornell Invitational tune up last weekend — setting several Cornell records in the 100m dash at that meet. Similarly, senior Natalie Gengel has been dominant in the pole vault for the Red, along with senior Jessica Weyman in the 400m hurdles. Despite the presence of several superstars on Cornell’s roster, expect every Red athlete to contribute to each team’s success at Heptagonals. “We’ve all put in months of hard training to prepare for this weekend, and we know we are ready to perform at our best. The coaches have carefully selected the team of 36 guys that will compete and score as many points as possible in order to win the team championship,” Tait said.
Original Author: Nathan Lowry