The outdoor track and field season is already approaching its close, with the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championship coming up this Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8. The Red is headed to Yale’s Dewitt Cuyler Complex this weekend with high hopes and expectations to take the top spots on the podium. Cornell has demonstrated throughout the season that it is represented by strong competitors in many events, contributing to the expectation for an exciting weekend for the team.
“We’re all really excited,” said Women’s Head Coach Mike Henderson. “I mean, this is going to be the first outdoor HEPS for almost everyone on the team.”
After the 2020 spring sports season was cut short nationally due to the COVID pandemic, and followed by the Ivy League’s absence from the 2021 sports season, outdoor HEPS is finally back. Though the majority of the team has neither competed in the outdoor championship nor ran on Yale’s outdoor track, no one on this team has any diminished expectations for the outcome of the meet.
“It’s going to take some high-level performances for us to compete and try to win during the meet,” said Men’s Head Coach Adrian Durant. “So, we’re looking forward to some really big performances this weekend.”
The outlook based on current performance lists is promising: the Red currently holds top-three Ivy League rankings in seven events on the men’s side and another seven on the women’s side.
Starting with the men’s team, sophomore Tomas Kersulis is ranked third in the 200m and second in the 400m. Already showing success as a sophomore, the future is promising behind Kersulis’ efforts. A push for first place in both events is within reach.
Still on the track, but this time sprinting over hurdles, junior Christian Martin is ranked second in the 110m hurdles and first in the 400m hurdles. He is another athlete pushing for first place in his two individual events.
“There’s the possibility that [they] could win both of their races,” Coach Durant said, “which is typically how you end up as the meet MVP.”
Both Kersulis and Martin are also contributors to the highly ranked relay teams, with Kersulis part of the 4x100m and both Kersulis and Martin on the 4x400m team. Though it is still to be determined if the two will run on the relay teams at HEPS, these two bring a spark that will undoubtedly provide excitement for the weekend.
The 4x100m team is rounded out by Kuune Mini, Domenic Barresi and Smith Charles. The 4x400m is also represented by Fabien De Silva and Angus Dove.
Freshman Damien Hackett is ranked third in the 1500m, another exciting young athlete with a bright future ahead of him.
For the women, the talent runs deep as the Red is ranked highly both in track and field events.
Senior Brooke Overholt is ranked third in the 100m hurdles and first in the 400m hurdles.
“There’ll be a lot of national-caliber runners in that race,” Coach Henderson said. “So it’ll be fun to see [Brooke] compete at such a high level.”
The 4x800m relay team consisting of Sydney Smith, Haily Erkkila, Bella Morzano and Brooke Olson is ranked third in the Ivy League.
Turning to the field, Cornell is well represented by senior Marguerite Lorenzo, who is ranked first in the high jump. Junior Victoria Atkinson also holds the top spot in pole vault, an event that she won at indoor HEPS.
Combining both and truly representing the name of track and field is senior Beatrice Juskeviciute. Juskeviciute is ranked third in the javelin, as well as first in the women’s heptathlon. The heptathlon is a compilation of seven events under one name: 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin and the 800m.
“Beatrice is always great,” Coach Henderson said. “She’s undefeated in her HEPS career and it’ll be exciting to see her up against some stiff competition.”
The Red is headed out of Ithaca on Friday morning and set to compete on Saturday and Sunday. Though the Ivy League will present strong teams, Cornell is expecting to compete intensely and capture many podium spots. The track and field team has been working hard since the beginning of the indoor track season and is ready to showcase its efforts this weekend at the Ivy League Outdoor Heptagonal Championship.