Ivies Continue Success Against European Foes
The men and women of the Cornell track and field program had a busy weekend after sending squads to both the Transatlantic Series, hosted at Penn, and the Bison Outdoor Classic, hosted at Bucknell.
The Transatlantic Series originally started in 1894, and Cornell joined as a competitor in 1921 to race alongside the Quakers against runners from England’s Oxford and Cambridge. The schools from each respective continent are paired together, and the team from North America got the best in this year’s installment.
“It’s such a historical series that we’ve had,” said women’s senior tri-captain Adrian Jones. “The fact that they’re coming over to have this match and that the fact that it’s been going on for so many years makes it — I don’t want to say that it’s pressure — but there’s a lot of significance.”
Women’s head coach Richard Bowman emphasized the connections that have been cultivated between the teams through this yearly event.
“We made a lot of friends here and we’ll be competing against the same kids a year from today,” he said. “So it’s kind of exciting to renew those friendships and competitive efforts in a year.”
Although the U.K. teams travelled nearly 2,000 miles to come to last weekend’s event, there was a general consensus about the lack of additional pressure due to the added difficulty of making the long-distance journey. Men’s head coach Adrian Durant echoed Bowman’s sentiments.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure other than us wanting to make sure that they have a really good competition and that they enjoy their time with us,” Durant said.
Cornell certainly enjoyed its time, especially since the team claimed many top finishes, series and school records with the competition.
On the women’s side, nine series records were set, the majority of which were by the Red. Freshman Claire Kao set a new series record while also breaking the Cornell freshman record and tying for second all-time at Cornell with the best pole vault in her career at a little over 13 feet. Another of the tri-captains, junior Taysia Radoslav ran the 400m and won, not only taking the series record, but also placing sixth all-time at Cornell and qualifying her for the ECACs.
Several team and seasonal bests were made as well, such as junior Taylor Baker’s second place throw in the discus and junior Claudia Dabrowski’s best long jump on the team, both of which qualified them for ECACs.
Jones in particular competed well in her three events: the 200m, the 100m and the 4x100m. She broke the series record in all, while also placing third all-time at Cornell for the 200m and second all-time at Cornell for the 100m.
“It felt great, but I guess, for me, I’m not really caught up in the records or the times too much,” she said. “I just make sure that every time I’m out there, my main focus is just beating other people and being the best that day. … Having the records was just adding to that, really.”
The men fared similarly, also taking first place in their runs in the Transatlantic Series. Many runners racked up first place finishes, including sophomore Zach Menchaca with the 100m, sophomore Johnathan Avery in the 200m, senior Tobe Attah in the 400m, sophomore Austin Lyons in the 100m hurdles and sophomore Maxwell Comer in the 400m hurdles. A total of 17 events were won by the combined forces of the Red and the Quakers, versus just two accumulated by Oxford and Cambridge.
Both squads claimed first, a legacy that the women have continued since Cornell first started competing in the series.
“Nobody wants to be on the team that loses [for the first time] right?” joked coach Bowman in response to the success in the series. “That’s an added incentive that we want to keep going.”
Additional Athletes Qualify for ECACs at Bucknell
At the same time, the Red sent members to Bucknell for the Bison Outdoor Classic, which was also punctuated with several ECAC qualifiers, top place finishes and personal bests.
Freshman Taylor Knibb ran the 3000m and 5000m for the women, setting first and second bests, respectively. These races qualified her for the ECACs, alongside senior Taylor Spillane, who also ran the 5000m. Other personal bests were set in the 1500m by junior Anne Charles, senior Abbie Bideaux, as well as sophomores Mary Barger, Sarah Masukewicz, Chance Masloff and Jordan Twombly Ellis. The women finished with an overall placing of 17 out of the 20 teams who were running.
The men finished eighth out of the 18 teams who were competing, while also having some impressive showings. Junior Chase Silverman claimed third in the invitational 1500m and sophomore Richard Buchanan finished second in the unseeded 1500m. The Red took first and second place in the triple jump, thanks to leaps by sophomore James Seaton and senior John Enkler.
“Sometimes when we go to a meet, the goal isn’t just to get first: we’re looking ahead,” Durant said. “The goal is to perform better. Of course you want to win, but I don’t look at the Bucknell meet saying ‘Hey, you didn’t win this event so it was a poor outcome.’ If folks are getting season[al] bests and are chipping away at their times, then it’s successful.”
Program Makes Tune Ups Before Heps
At this point in the season, everything is looking towards the final meet: the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. Both squads will be running this weekend at the Larry Ellis Invitational, and the women will be taking on another split weekend, with select members traveling to Cortland instead of Princeton. How the teams compete in these next few matches will determine who will be on the final squads for Heps
“This is two weeks before the conference meet … so this is our last big one,” Bowman said. “We’ll look at both competitions and kind of make a judgement after that.”
The Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton will be held this Friday and Saturday, April 21-22, and the races at Cortland will be held on Saturday.