It was another very successful weekend for both the men’s and women’s track and field teams, as Cornell athletes shined in Barton Hall during Saturday’s Robert J. Kane Invitational. While the meet was not scored, both teams tallied numerous first place finishes and built on previously established momentum coming into the meet. Elsewhere, top athletes flourished and Austin Jamerson broke the men’s heptathlon school record with a score of 5,654.
The Cornell women took home seven first place finishes, along with over 30 top-5’s and several ECAC qualifiers. Head coach Richard Bowman said he was pleased with his team’s performance and pointed to the hard work and productive practices that have together contributed to the team’s newfound momentum in recent meets.
“It’s a neat thing to feel that momentum start to build, and I think we’ve got that going right now,” Bowman said.
As many of the Red’s top runners traveled to Boston University over the weekend for the Terrier Classic — at which they also performed exceptionally — the team fared particularly well in field events, with freshman Leena Morris leading the way for the Red’s throwing group.
Sophomore Michaela Smith placed first in the shot put, ahead of three fellow Cornellians, while classmates Kate Gulbrandsen and Claudia Dabrowski along with senior Gaynelle Boham earned top honors in the high, long and triple jumps, respectively.
Though not surprised with his athletes’ performances, Bowman said he continues to be “very excited about what the field events bring to the team,” which only add to their expectedly well-rounded group of runners.
Despite recent victories and lofty expectations for the young season, the coaching staff has tried to keep its team’s focus on the short term.
“We’ve got a lot of good expectations,” Bowman said. “We have to take it one week at a time though.”
The men had great success at home as well, winning 11 more events along with 23 IC4A qualifiers and sweeping first, second and third in multiple events. Particularly convincing in their performance were the sprinters.
Freshman Zach Menchaca took home two individual wins and anchored the 4×400 relay to a first place finish. His time of 6.84 seconds in the 60 meter sprint sits at ninth in school history.
Head coach Adrian Durant commended Menchaca’s continued success.
“He’s been running very well all year,” Durant said. “It is really impressive.”
Sophomores Miles Lazarou and Alex Rodriguez both won first place in high jump and long jump, respectively, and the triple jumpers captured five of the top six spots behind junior Bobby Plummer in his return from injury.
Durant said he motivated his players in practice earlier in the week and challenged them to bring awareness to the program.
“I told them in practice last week that we’ve been working hard and now it’s time to put some performances out there that will open up some eyes and shock the rest of the league a little bit,” Durant said.
Saturday’s performance certainly will not hurt.
Cornell also sent several male athletes to Penn State, where junior Austin Jamerson broke the school record in the heptathlon. He scored 5,654 points, ranking second best all-time in the Ivy League and solidifying his 11th place rank in the nation. If Jamerson continues to perform, he will participate in the NCAA championships a few months from now.
Both the men and women’s teams will send large contingents to State College, Pennsylvania this coming weekend, looking to continue their recent success in a highly competitive, two-day scored meet.