In its first year with head coach Artie Smith ’96 at the helm and coming off a season full of setbacks, the Cornell women’s track and field team is looking forward to facing its challenges head-on this season.
With Smith replacing long-time head coach Rich Bowman, the new head coach hopes to use the upcoming season as an opportunity to realign the objectives of the many different event groups in the team.
“This is actually the first time all of our event groups will be on the same schedule and pointing toward the same objectives,” Smith said. “It will be a challenge in the coming weeks for each athlete to stay on task given the demands of final exams and switching gears in going home, but I have confidence our group is up to that task.”
With the focus set on uniting the diverse roster of athletes, one can look to this year’s senior captains as a testament to that goal. This season has a unique group of runners in that each captain represents a different event group: Taylor Baker for Throws, Kate Gulbrandsen for Jumps, Shannon Hugard for Mid-Distance, Taysia Radoslav for Hurdles and Ellen Shepard for Sprint.
“All of our event groups have been putting in great work all fall and they are excited to see the fruits of their labor,” Smith said. “At the same time, this is also the first step in a long competitive season and I’m eager to see what things we’ll want to work on and improve based on the results of the first meet.”
Thankfully, the Red’s task will be made that much easier with the availability of Barton Hall this year — a luxury which was not afforded the team last year when the facility underwent renovations. With increased convenience in practice, the squad will be shooting to improve upon last season’s fourth place at Heps.
Of course, Cornell will first look to evaluate itself against the field during its first meet, the Greg Page Relays, on Saturday, Dec. 2 at Barton Hall. Formerly the Cornell Relays, the meet’s name was changed to honor Greg Page, the founder of the Cornell women’s team, and typically boasts high attendance with alumni of the program.
“The momentum from our first competition really propels us through winter break training until we come back together for early January training and competitions before classes start again,” sophomore Ciara Roche said.