December 1, 2011

High Hopes for Season Ahead

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With the beginning of the winter season for the men’s and women’s track and field teams less than one week away, the Red is poised to provide fans with another strong performance by both teams. Both teams captured the Heps first-runner up spot in the spring outdoor season, and are confident that they will perform just as well, if not better, this winter.

“I think our team has the potential to be the best team Cornell has ever had,” said senior captain Nick Huber, who participates in the heptahalon.

According to Huber, the team has a strong mix of seasoned veterans in addition to a solid incoming freshman class. According to Huber, team captains play crucial roles in motivating their teammates, especially regarding the younger, less experienced athletes.

“We encourage the young guys as well if they need advice, we talk to them before events,” he said.

The Red should stand to benefit from the experience of the team veterans, especially in preparing for the upcoming season.

“We’ve been working out all throughout the fall, we’re really excited about that,” said senior hurdler Danny Hagberg.

As the returning Heps champion for both the 60 and 110 meter hurdles, Hagberg says he is looking forward to the season, as he is hopeful for another strong performance.

The men’s and women’s teams must not only train to compete physically, but also prepare themselves mentally if they want to compete at a high level this winter and in the spring.

“Ninety-nine percent of track and field is getting in the right state of mind for your event,” Huber said.

After eight consecutive seasons of clinching the top title at Heps for the men’s team, and eight of the past nine seasons finishing in first for the women’s team, both teams ended their seasons in second this past spring, an experience Hagberg described as disheartening.

“We did very well as a team,” Hagberg said. “But, it was a wake up call that we’re not invincible.”

Huber echoed a similar sentiment, while still expressing the common feeling among the teams that they want to use that finish as motivation to perform at an even higher level this season and into the spring.

“We’re ready to get after it this year,” Huber said.

“As always, [our goal is] trying to get as many people to go to nationals,” Hagberg added, when discussing the goals that the track team is setting for itself in the upcoming weeks.

One goal that both Hagberg and Huber agreed on was bringing back another Heps title to Cornell as a collective team.

Aiding the Red in its hopes for another title is the team’s current state of health. Both Hagberg and Huber are confident in how healthy the teams currently are as they head into the season, with no major injuries of speak of.

“As of right now we’re really healthy,” Hagberg said with confidence.

Both seniors stressed how important injuries and team health are, emphasizing how the uncertainty of one’s health can be a major concern.

“The one thing about track is that anything can happen on any given day,” Hagberg explained.

The track and field teams are looking forward to a number of important meets this season, including the Cornell Relays this Saturday, Dec. 3rd in Barton Hall. Arguably, the meet that the team is most excited about is this season’s indoor Heps, which will be hosted by Cornell on Feb. 25th and 26th. Students should take advantage of the opportunity to see a track meet at Cornell, something that few have the chance to do, according to Huber.

“The Heps meet is at Cornell this year,” Hagberg said. “We’re all very excited about that, we want to bring home the title this year. It would mean a lot to the seniors.”

Original Author: Juan Carlos Toledo