The Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championships is the meet that both the women’s and men’s track team train for throughout the entire season. This weekend, Cornell’s track teams will be travelling to Philadelphia to compete in the long-awaited Championship meet.
In the 2017 Outdoor Heps Championships, the men’s track and field team placed second overall, scoring 149 overall points. They were barely outranked by Princeton, who scored 156. The third place team, Penn, trailed with a score of 86.
The team’s disappointing fifth-place finish at the Indoor Heps meet earlier this year might add fuel to their drive to compete this weekend.
“It’s no secret that our biggest rival is Princeton, they will come ready to compete,” said men’s head coach Adrian Durant. “But after our disappointing Indoor Heps meet, we’re going into this weekend looking out for every team. They are all our competition and it isn’t wise going into a championship underestimating anyone.”
The Red has had three meets thus far at which it competed against its Ivy League rivals. These events represent the only times the team could review its strengths and weaknesses against the other teams in the conference.
“I am most excited to compete against the two shot put powerhouses of Princeton: Mitchel Charles and Kelton Chastulik,” said sophomore thrower Zach Hawley. “They are great competitors but I hope to outshine them when the throws really count.”
The men’s team has been training diligently in order to succeed at the Outdoor Heps Championships after their less-than-perfect performance at the Indoor Heps Championships.
“Most of our emphasis has been on how to approach competition,” Durant said in regards to their practice regime. “Training is very different from competing and to come out on top you have to be ready for all scenarios. Getting in the competitive mind frame is key to winning.”
The women’s track and field team placed sixth overall in the Outdoor Heps Championships last year, being outpaced by Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Columbia and Dartmouth.
The women’s team placed fifth in the Indoor Heps Championships this year with a score of 75 points. The University of Pennsylvania took away first place.
“Our League is incredibly competitive,” said women’s head coach Artie Smith. “To name only two: Penn was outstanding in winning the indoor Heps and they’ll be hosting the meet and Harvard has won the last 4 outdoor Heps team titles.”
The women’s team has also been working hard in practice to perform the best they can this weekend’s intense championship meet.
“Our focus has been on continuing to improve each week,” Smith said. “At this stage of the season, staying healthy and managing the nicks and bruises that accumulate over the course of a long season are critical to good performances in the championships.”
“We have been working technical skills and fixing up what we have already,” said sophomore jumper Julia Valkos. “At this point it’s about making what we have better to beat out the other competitors.”
Both teams kick off the action on Saturday and will compete through Sunday in Philadelphia.