Sometimes a short wait can go a long way.
After the men’s tennis team’s mediocre performance last season (6-9 against opponents in March and April), the Red seemed to find its mark last weekend at its first fall invitational, the Cornell Fall Outdoor Invitational, reaching the finals of five of the six brackets and taking the title in four of those.[img_assist|nid=31738|title=Honing in|desc=Sophomore Andy Gauthier gets ready to return a serve. Gauthier won the Flight B Singles title after defeating classmate Connor Sherwood.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
While the focus of the tennis world is shifting away from New York after the end of the U.S. Open, the focus of the Cornell tennis community will shift right here at home this weekend. Ithaca’s own Reis Tennis Center will play host to the Cornell Fall Outdoor Invitational today through Sunday.
The tournament will feature six schools in addition to Cornell, including Amherst, Lehigh and Middlebury.
That laid-back feeling before the end of the school year has been lingering in the air during the past few days. It’s almost May, which, for Cornell students, means Slope Day is right around the corner. For football fans, it means the return of Mel Kiper and the NFL Draft. And for competitive runners, it probably means participation in one of two events: the Boston Marathon or the Penn Relays.
The men and women’s track teams have been gearing up for their most important events of the season, as the Penn Relays will begin today. For three days, this event features notoriously boisterous crowds numbering in the thousands and a legacy of competition that predates Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency.
The men’s and women’s track squads feature seven particular strengths, making them successful and making them unique among Cornell teams.
To qualify for all-American status, an athlete must qualify for the National meet and perform well enough to be considered the top in the country. Cornell houses four such people who accomplished this last year.
2008 has been shaping up to be a special year for Cornell athletics, and the men’s track team is no exception to the trend. Coming off a stellar indoor season in which the team set an all-time points record for an Ivy League school at one meet, the team now looks forward to the outdoor season, which kicked off for some members of the squad in California at the Cal State Northridge Relays on March 15. For veteran Saidu Ezike, who has a better understanding than most about the strides (pun intended) this team has taken over the past few years, the team’s recent success has been little more than a continuation of long-term progress.
The CSA Individual Championships can be viewed as collegiate squash’s version of the Pro Bowl. While the Red fell short of attaining team victory last week at Nationals, they were able to send three of their own to Annapolis this past weekend for the Potter and Maloy Cups. The women competed in Annapolis as well, with four team members comepting in the Holleran and Ramsay Cups.
They squeaked by once this season, but the women’s squash team failed to defeat Williams when it mattered the most, losing to their rival this weekend at the CSA National Championships in Princeton, N.J. The loss in the CSA finals snapped Cornell’s seven-game win streak.
The Red (10-7), seeded second in the B division, was striving for its second consecutive clinch of that bracket.
“We were seeded tenth overall, so we really wanted to win our bracket and beat Williams,” said freshman Izzy Spyrou.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which was for many involved a laid-back day spending quality time with significant others. For the men’s squash team, on the other hand, the holiday marked something arguably more significant — the departure date for the CSA National championships.
“I have a girlfriend, so for me it’s not very good,” said one player. “But obviously, this is Nationals. This is something we’ve been preparing for all year, so we can handle [missing out on Valentine’s Day].”
On Saturday, the men’s and women’s squash teams ended their disappointing regular seasons on high notes.
The men’s team (6-7, 1-4 Ivy) quickly defeated instate rival Hobart, 8-1. With the exception of sophomore Steven Peever’s loss to Hobart’s Nadav Tannen at the No. 1 spot, every Cornell player managed to win their respective matches. Seven of the eight winners recorded shutouts, winning three straight games.
Perfection was the word on everyone’s minds this weekend with the Patriots attempting to complete the first undefeated season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins. And while that goal fell through on Sunday night, two other teams realized perfection this weekend, albeit on a slightly smaller scale. Both the Cornell men’s and women’s squash teams blanked all of their opponents Saturday during the final home match of the season.