Heading into spring break, both track and field teams were ready to begin a week of preparation in the South Florida sun before competing in their first big outdoor meet of the season. Things did not exactly go as planned – only after flight delays and cancellations, overnighting in New York City and splitting the team on multiple flights, did the Red finally land in Florida. From there, its fortunes improved, as an excellent week of preparation propelled the team to an impressive outing at the South Florida Invitational.
“Everybody handled the delay well,” said Men’s Head Coach Adrian Durant. “We were able to get through it, get in some great weather and get some great training.”
One athlete that was able to take full advantage of the time spent in Florida is sophomore Tomas Kersulis. Kersulis came away with wins in the 400m and 200m runs and his 46.52 mark broke the school record in the 400m. He is also now third all-time for Cornell in the 200m.
“Once we got to Tampa, the weather was perfect,” Kersulis said. “We had some good competition and everyone did how they were expecting or better, so I think it was a successful trip.”
In a field that included bigger schools such as Florida State University, the University of South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth University, the Red was up against quality competition and wanted to make its name known. After winning five events on the men’s side and three on the women’s, Cornell did just that. Though many other athletes did not know anything about Ithaca at the start of the meet, they definitely left knowing Cornell.
Event winners include Kersulis, junior Christian Martin in the 110m hurdles, sophomore Brad Morell in the shot put and sophomore Drew Altemose in the javelin.
On the women’s side, junior Ziling Liu won the javelin, Marguerite Lorenzo won the high jump and senior Brooke Overholt won the 400m hurdles.
“We did our thing, competed, and showed everyone that Cornell is here,” Martin said. “We heard a lot of, ‘Oh wow, that’s Cornell,’ from everyone in the stands. So we’re really getting our name out there.”
Martin was able to excel in the two events that are specific to outdoor track, the 110m and 400m hurdles, which are not run during the indoor season. This spelled good news for Martin, who was able to take second place in the 60m hurdles at the indoor HEPS championships.
Martin believes that as impressive as his indoor season was, the outdoor season will be even better..
Next week, Martin has the opportunity for a rematch against Christian Brown, the 60m hurdles HEPS winner from Princeton. He hopes to follow that with a race against the indoor 60m hurdles national champion Trey Cunningham the following week.
“We have a lot of good competition coming up,” Martin added. “But I know I have way more left in the tank.”
Next up for the Red is another weekend of competition. The team will be splitting up and sending some athletes to the Larry Ellis Invitational hosted by Princeton and others to the Bison Outdoor Classic hosted by Bucknell.
For the outlook on the rest of the season, the track and field team is ready to dive into the swing of competition, competing almost every weekend.
“We’re very excited,” Durant added.