May 3, 2011

Cornell Track and Field Team Holds its Own Against Competition at Penn Relays

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The Penn Relays are the oldest and largest track and field competition in the United States, and have been hosted annually at Penn since April 21, 1895.  The event, in addition to drawing thousands of spectators, attracts elite runners from all over the world, and is widely considered to be a great way to gauge relative speed.

Sophomore Kelsey Karys, a distance runner who placed fourth in the 3000-meter championship distance for the second straight year, noted that although the event is not the main focus of the season for the Red, it is still a very important part of it.

“It is really exciting and historical, and pushes all of us to see how fast we can really be against top competition,” Karys said.

The women’s team had the most success in Philadelphia, Pa., earning Cornell a Penn Relays Wheel in setting a school record in the shuttle hurdle to go along with nine ECAC qualifiers, six Top-10 finishes and strong performances in the Championship of America 4 x 800, sprint medley relay and distance medley relay.

Without a doubt, the highlight of the day came from the shuttle hurdle relay team on Friday as junior Dani Silas, senior Lauren Tanz, junior Taylor Baird and junior Karen Schillinger finished eighth overall and the best  of any ECAC team.  Their performance, which set a school record, also won them a coveted Penn Relays Wheel.

“[It was] a good week for the women’s team,” said junior Ailish Hanly. “We are really excited going forward, and have a lot of momentum for the championships.”

On the men’s side, there were a few impressive individual performances as well as a good showing by the 4 x 800 team, but the results did not meet the expectations that the Red had set going into the event.

“The Penn Relays did not go as well as we hoped,” said senior co-captain Cody Boyd. “There were some last-minute changes and some guys didn’t practice as much as they wanted.  The weather didn’t help either, as it messed with our warm-up routine.  It was pretty frustrating.”

Perhaps the biggest disappointment came from the talented 4 x 100 team, composed of freshman Kinsley Ojukwu, sophomore Jedidiah Adarquah-Yiadon, senior Andy Ahart and sophomore Bruno Hotelano-Roig.

After a strong showing on Friday —  the team ran 41.09 to finish second in the heat and advance to the Eastern final on Saturday — the unit lost its shot at a Penn Relays Wheel with a dropped stick in the second exchange.

Despite these results, both teams moved on from their performances in Philadelphia to post a strong showing in their final Heps tune-up at the Big Red Invitational on Sunday, where the team competed against several colleges and club teams.

Next up for the Red is the Outdoor Heps, which will be hosted at Yale this year.  The meet will be held this weekend, and Cornell will look to assert its dominance once again and be crowned outright winners.

Original Author: Nicholas Rielly