This story is part of The Sun’s 2017 spring supplement. To view the rest of the supplement, click here.
This past indoor season, the Cornell track and field program faced many challenges. With construction at Barton Hall underway, the teams had no use of an indoor track, and were forced to make do with the circumstances Ithaca’s extended winters might bring.
The incredibly resilient men and women commuted to Ithaca College all winter until the renovations were completed late in the season to go along with the usual demands of being an Ivy League athlete. Not having a track to practice on all winter put them at a disadvantage.
However, when the teams could practice on their home turf once again, they hit the ground running, performing well at indoor Heps, but coming up just short of their goals; the men lost to Princeton 147-101, and the women tied for fourth.
“Losing to Princeton … always hurts,” said senior captain and 2016 Olympian Rudy Winkler. “We all took [it] hard, and [we] have all been training really hard to make a comeback.”
Both teams are chasing a Heps title this spring, and are looking to send as many members as possible to NCAA Regionals. Each group has been performing well and is in a good position for success.
“So far our season has been pretty remarkable,” said women’s junior tri-captain Taysia Radoslav. “We have the depth that a lot of other teams in the league are lacking. Our goal is to perform well at Heps and hopefully come out with the win overall.”
Radoslav was a first-time indoor Heps champion in the 500m this winter, and has kept up her momentum. At the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, she won the 400m hurdles in a season best. The weekend prior, she won the 400m en route to setting a meet record, and in California, she won the 400 hurdles at both meets the team took part in, which came in back-to-back weekends.
While this is promising, women’s head coach Richard Bowman stresses staying in the moment.
“We still have [some] meets to go [before Heps],” Bowman said. “Sometimes if people get too far ahead of their skis they kind of flip over a little bit. So we don’t want to look too far ahead, we just take what we have one step at a time.”
The men’s team is out for redemption, and to defend its outdoor Heps title. Last year it dealt Princeton a devastating loss, 211-157, and was the first team ever to clear 200 points. Several members from that record-breaking squad return this year as the team’s most reliable point scorers, and the Red can likely count on repeated success from Winkler, senior decathlete Austin Jamerson — who competed at indoor NCAAs with Winkler — and junior high jumper Myles Lazarou.
“I would say that we have the potential and the talent on our team right now to win the championship,” said men’s head coach Adrian Durant. “It’s going to be more about who shows up. All that matters is that when you step on the line or step in the circle, you’re ready to go. If our guys can do this, then it’ll be our victory.”
Both squads head to Heps on the weekend of May 6, hosted by Yale this year. Without any more meets left to fine tune, it all comes down to this weekend to finish the season as a team out strong.
“The key to running well in the championships is having each of the different groups come together and all have great days,” Bowman said. “We’re looking for everybody to have those big breakthroughs so they will have that confidence when we get to the conference meet.”