February 14, 2012

TRACK & FIELD | Players Strive for Heps Teams Spots

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It’s crunch time for many members of the men’s and women’s track and field teams, with the Heps meet hosted in Barton Hall less than two weeks away. With multiple coveted spots on the final Heps teams still up for grabs, it all comes down to the Deneault Invite, hosted at Barton Hall this Saturday.

The Red is coming off a strong performance at the Kane Invite, which the Red hosted at home on Feb. 11. The women’s team won 11 events, while the men claimed eight at both this meet and the St. Valentine’s Invite at Boston University. Freshman heptathlete Jon Hanninen was impressed with how the Red did as a team.

“As a whole it was awesome. We had [sophomore] Tommy Butler go over seven feet [in the high jump],” he said. “We had a couple good performances in the 400 and the 500. We had three guys in the hurdle final. We had [sophomore] Stephen Bell win the long and triple jumps as usual. All around we’re finally seeing guys coming into form and getting ready for Heps.”

Sophomore short sprinter Chris Bain, who sat out the meet due to an injury, was still present at the meet to support his teammates.

“I thought it was a great meet,” he said. “I was really happy to see some people who hadn’t done well early in the year really come out.”

In addition to Butler’s performance, the rest of the men’s team finished strong at the Kane Invite. In the throws, freshman Stephen Mozia and senior Bob Belden finished first and second, respectively, in the shot put with throws of 58-5.25 and 55-9.25, respectively. In the long jump, Cornell swept the Top-3 spots with sophomore Steven Bell, senior Chase Aaronson and sophomore Montez Blair jumping 23-4.75, 23-3.5 and 23-0, respectively. On the track, senior Brian Freitas won the 500 with a time of 1:04.80. At the St. Valentine’s Invite, the Red had IC4A qualifiers in the 800, the mile and the 5000.

The women’s team won 11 events at the Kane Invite. In the field, senior co-captain Melissa Hewitt won the long jump with a leap of 20-3.75, junior Claire Dishong claimed the pole vault with a vault of 12-1.5 and junior Victoria Imbesi took first in the shot put with a throw of 47-2.25. Senior Kelsey Reimnitz won the 400 with a time of 57.71, freshman Jade Williams took the 1000 with a time of 2:57.77 and freshman Tess Berghoff placed first in the 800 with a time of 2:15.90.

This upcoming weekend the Red is hosting the Deneault Invite in Barton Hall, in what should be an important weekend not only for those competing, but also for those who are going to sit out the meet. In preparation for Heps, some of Cornell’s top athletes will not compete on Saturday, opting instead to take the weekend to rest and get ready for the following weekend. These athletes are taking much needed time to not only nurse injuries, but also to mentally prepare themselves. Senior co-captain Dan Hagberg said how important it is for himself and his teammates to take advantage of the time leading up to the Heps.

“These two weeks are [really] important. We always treat ourselves as athletes first but it’s exponentially so during these next couple weeks,” he said. “You really [have to] worry about what time you’re going to bed, and what time you’re waking up. It’s about refining all the hard work that we’ve put in throughout the entire year.”

For others, however, this meet is one last chance to show what they can do to help the team, as well as to secure a spot on the Red’s Heps team. Sophomore middle distance runner Will Weinlandt is one of those athletes who said he not only wants to perform well to qualify for Heps, but also ensure the betterment of the team as a whole.

“If I don’t make it that means someone else ran a faster time and is in better shape, which is great,” he said. “This is our last real chance to put it on the line to see what we can do, and this will be the meet that determines what kind of shape we’re in going into the [Heps].”

Bain spoke about the excitement behind the Deneault Invite, not only for himself, testing out his hamstring in preparation for Heps, but to also watch his teammates perform.

“I think I’m most excited to see the guys that are still on the bubble get after it, because I remember when I saw that as a freshman last year,” he said. “You could see the intensity in the eyes of the guys [who] wanted to make the team.”

As always, the Red is hoping for a strong show of support from its fellow Cornellians. Freshman heptathlete Jon Hanninen said students should take the time to come out to Barton Hall and support their track team.

“I really think that track isn’t one of those glory sports,” he said. “If [students] were to just come and see the fire and the passion that all of our guys lay out on the track, just the intensity of a track meet when the finals are running on the track. There’s not much that can match that in sports.”

Hagberg expressed how excited he is about his last indoor Heps.

“I can’t wait, it’s going to be an amazing time.”

Original Author: Juan Carlos Toledo