Teams and athletes aspire to set records at every level, and the Cornell track and field squads were no exception this past weekend.
The first meet of the weekend for the women was Friday at Boston University’s Valentine Invitational. At the same time, some other members of the women’s team traveled to Staten Island to participate in the Fastrack Invitational.
Women’s head coach Artie Smith commented on how he strategized this weekend by sending certain individuals to participate in specific meets.
“After our team title at Penn State last weekend, the focus this weekend was for athletes to compete at the best venue for their particular event as they sought seasonal and personal bests as well as postseason qualifying marks,” he said. “Staten Island provided a terrific facility for our field eventers and we took our top runners to Boston University, which has one of the fastest indoor tracks in the world.”
The first of many records to be broken over the weekend was a program-best mark from senior co-captain Ellen Shepard in the 200-meter sprint. She broke a 16-year-old record set by Cornell Athletics Hall of Famer Katy Jay ’03.
Not to be outdone, freshman Leya Salis broke a 28-year-old record in the 1000-meter race, which had been set by Cornell Hall of Famer Loren Mooney ’93.
“Since I am a freshman, I am new to the collegiate competition and racing environment,” Salis said. “My teammate [senior] Shannon Hugard and I were seeded in the fastest heat … Being able to race such high level athletes allowed me to grow as an athlete.”
Finally, senior co-captain Kate Gulbrandsen had an outstanding high jump in the team’s meet Sunday.
“My goal is to win the Ivy League championship high jump competition as well as get a personal best during the competition,” Gulbrandsen said. “I jumped [5 feet, 8 inches] last week, and [5 feet, 9 inches] this week. So, my goal … is to jump even higher.”
Moving into this week, Smith commented on his goals for the team and on his aspirations for each upcoming practice.
“We will continue to move forward, get healthy, and keep our focus on the steps we need to take in each of the events to keep improving,” he said.
The men’s team also impressed this weekend. They participated in the same meets as the women’s team. On Friday, when competing in Boston, junior Austin Lyons scored a personal best of 8.04 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.
“The biggest performance [of this weekend] would be from [Lyons],” said men’s coach Adrian Durant. “His time of 8.04 in the 60-meter hurdles is No. 5 all time at Cornell.”
Senior Michael Wang emerged with a new personal best of 4:13.91 in the mile.
“We’ve been doing a lot of mile pace workouts in the past few weeks, and I think that’s helped make me comfortable with the speed and difficulty of the race,” Wang said. “It’s sort of slowed things down for me and helped me stay relaxed, smooth, and decisive on the track.”
Senior Michael Smith also had an notable weekend, placing seventh in the Ivy League with his 800-meter score of 1:52.43. He also gained a new personal best of 1:04.32 for the 500-meter race.
Senior Myles Lazarou scored 2.04 meters multiple times in the high jump, which is his season’s best. The height won him Sunday’s meet.
“I feel like I’m moving towards my goals and should [be] able to get myself above 2.14 meters by the time the Ivy League Championships roll around,” Lazarou said.
“With our Indoor HEPS Championship coming up on the 24th all we can do now is stay sharp,” Durant said. “All of the work is already done, the top priority now will be staying healthy.”
Next weekend, both men’s and women’s teams will remain in Ithaca to compete in the Marc Deneault Invitational in Barton’s Hall.