Congratulations to the women’s track and field team, this year’s Cornell Cup champions! Red Key, an honor society for athletic leaders on campus, hosts Cornell Cup as an inter-athlete contest which encourages competition and community involvement among Cornell’s student-athletes. Teams earn points based on their winning percentage, team GPA, community service contributions and participation in Red Key or SAAC events, which range from supporting other teams in the stands to donating unused hotel toiletries after away games.The track team represents an outstanding group of student-athletes for whom Cornell Cup activities come natural. During the fall semester, the team averaged a 3.25 GPA, which it credited to their coach’s emphasis on the importance of academics. To conclude a successful indoor season, the women placed fourth at the Ivy League championships, and then came back a week later to place second at the ECAC meet.As defending Outdoor Heptagonal champions, the women look forward to the spring championship season.“It’s a long season, so our team always tries to peak in the spring,” said senior co-captain Kim Standridge. “There are more events during the outdoor season, so winning the Outdoor Heps really proves which team has the most depth.”The track and field team will compete at the Outdoor Heptagonal Championship next weekend, but the season will not conclude until June.Last semester, the men’s and women’s teams organized several community service events. After starting off the fall with an event hosted by the non-profit organization Feed My Starving Children — where they boxed lunches that were sent to over 70 countries around the world — they participated in Cornell’s annual Into the Streets public service day. Despite the cold weather, the team came prepared to work one early Saturday morning — cleaning, raking and weeding the sidewalks along Route 13.In October, men’s track senior captain Chris Tait and junior Molly Glantz reached out to the Greater Ithaca Activities Center and held a mini track clinic for its fifth-grade track team. The kids were very hardworking and enthusiastic, and the team noted how awesome it was to watch them improve over a couple hours.By the end of the day, the kids had received Cornell track and field T-shirts and were officially a part of the inaugural Cornell Track Club. The GIAC youth came to the first track meet in December and ended up being one of the best cheering sections Barton Hall has ever seen. To round the semester, both the men’s and women’s teams decided to take part in Adopt-a-Family and purchase clothing, toys and food for two families. With the contributions from the canned food drive they held at the first meet and over $350 by team members, they were able to purchase and wrap gifts and food for two families.Despite the busy schedule of the indoor and outdoor seasons, the team has made time to participate in service activities. One of its biggest events was a clean-up of Barton Hall’s track center and weight room; however, the team is most proud of its spur-of-the-moment efforts after the disaster in Japan hit on March 11. Members of the team quickly decided to hold a bake sale, raising $200 that it sent to Save the Children.To round out the year, the fifth-grade track team from GIAC attended the home meet yesterday to cheer on the athletes. Next year, the women plan to keep up their events with the GIAC kids to continue contributing positive models for the youth of Ithaca. Finally, on May 10, the team will head to Robison Alumni Fields to participate in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament held by Red Key. All of the money raised from the tournament will go to Gadabout, the Ithaca transportation service for the elderly. So far the track team has four teams signed up and challenges any and all teams that attend!The last year has truly been a rewarding experience for members of the women’s track team, which was able to make a tangible difference on the lives of others. Winning the Cup was never the priority, as sophomore Kelsey Karys explains.“We put a 100 percent priority into anything we do, whether it is academics, community service projects, running, jumping or throwing,” she said. “It wasn’t really about winning the Cornell Cup; it’s just what we do.”That attitude helped the women’s track team come out ahead of many other teams this year. Thanks again to all the members of both the men’s and women’s track team who lent a hand!
Original Author: Mack Lewnes