Following a disappointing end to an indoor season riddled by key injuries, Cornell men’s track and field looks to set the tone for a strong spring season at the Penn Invite on Saturday.
“[The Penn Invite] is a great opportunity to see where we are going into this season,” said head coach Adrian Durant. “Our guys have been working very hard since the indoor HEPS and are excited about having a big outdoor track season. We’ve always performed better during the outdoor season than the indoor season.”
The disappointment that resulted from the indoor season will help push the Red forward, Durant said.
“The desire to come back after a tough loss indoor is a big motivating factor,” Durant said. “Our guys are not happy with how indoor turned out and are working hard to have a different result outdoor.”
Though the team hopes to set off the season on the right note, both Durant and captain Zach Menchaca are keeping their sights set on long term goals — the Ivy League Outdoor HEPS Championship meet.
“This meet is essentially a tune up for us,” Durant said. “We haven’t competed in a while, so it will be beneficial to get back into the competitive mindset.”
This season promises to be one of growth, according to Menchaca.
“I believe that the majority of our athletes have the potential to make huge jumps this season,” Menchaca said. “This will be a very competitive season for us, not just within the Ivy League, but especially within the team. There are only 33 spots that we can take to the Outdoor Ivy League Championship, so the battle to secure a spot begins.”
In addition, with several athletes returning from injury and anxious to get back to competition, the team is looking to be finally healthy entering the new season.
“Injuries are a normal part of our sport but certainly can have a negative impact on the team as a whole,” Durant said. “Now that some of our key players are returning from injury, they should help rally the team going into the outdoor season.”
The first outdoor meet of the year represents a chance to set the tone for the team in the future.
“One of my main focuses this outdoor season for the team is to compete and work as a team to build a stronger team dynamic that can be passed down on the team for years to come,” Menchaca said. “It’s all about trusting the process and believing in your training.”
Cornell has performed exceptionally during the outdoor season in the last 15 years, never finishing worse than second place in the Ivy League HEPS championship. The Red hopes this season will be no exception.
“We’re focusing on staying positive, competing hard and staying healthy,” Durant said. “If we do these three things well, we have a good shot at winning the outdoor HEPS championship.”
The Penn Invite starts off Saturday with field events beginning at noon and running events beginning at 1 p.m.