Both the men’s and women’s track teams have been sleeping with the enemy this past week, metaphorically speaking. Cornell has been hosting the Oxford and Cambridge squads since Tuesday as they get set to compete in the traditional biennial Cornell-Penn vs. Oxford-Cambridge meet this weekend in Philadelphia. Those on the Red’s squad who do not make the trip to Franklin Field will travel this weekend to Cortland to compete in the Cortland Invitational.
For over a century, the Cornell track team has united with its counterpart at Penn to compete against the two British universities. The meet will be scored according to traditional British rules in which each event title will be worth one point. There are 19 total points that can be accumulated.
After surrendering two game-winning walk-off home runs to Harvard and 27 runs to Dartmouth last weekend, Cornell strongly needs an ego boost within the Ivy League. This weekend should provide just the tonic the doctor ordered as the Red hosts the winless Quakers. The two teams will play a two-day four-game series beginning tomorrow at Hoy Field.
This is a most exciting time in the world of sports as another baseball season is underway, we witnessed the coronation of the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball champion last night and Tiger faces the possibility of his fifth green jacket this weekend. However, for some, these events fly under the radar and are overshadowed by “The Grandaddy of ‘Em All,” WrestleMania!
No, I am serious. According to Nielsen Media Research, 15 million viewers tune into the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) weekly television broadcasts. It is routinely cable television’s highest rated programming of the week.
This past Sunday night was equivalent to the Super Bowl or World Series for professional wrestling: WrestleMania XXV.
This was not one of the finer weekends for the baseball program. After dropping a pair of games on Saturday at Harvard, not once, but twice via walk-off home runs, the Cornell offense exploded for 29 runs on Sunday only to lose both games of a doubleheader at Dartmouth.
The Red (4-16, 2-6 Ivy) fell, 6-5, to the Crimson in Game 1 and 7-5 in Game 2. On Sunday, the undefeated Green slugged its way to a 13-8 victory in the opener and a 14-11 victory in the nightcap.[img_assist|nid=36627|title=Best foot forward|desc=Senior infielder Scott Hardinger was 6-for-8 against Dartmouth on April 5.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Top-ranked Yale claimed its sixth consecutive Cayuga Cup in Cornell’s backyard as the Red finished second in two events.
Although Cornell women’s rowing was towards the front of the pack in the Varsity-8 race, it finished third by 5.4 seconds behind Syracuse. The Bulldogs captured the victory with a 6:34.0 mark.
Yale extended its lead with an impressive showing in the second Varsity-8 race, finishing in 6:38.1. Cornell won the Red-Orange battle with a narrow 3.4 second victory over the Orangemen, finishing in 6:54.3.
Syracuse returned the favor in the Varsity-4 race, narrowly defeating Cornell by 4.3 seconds, but failing to surpass Yale for the victory.
If this Saturday’s performance in the Quaker Invitational, hosted by Penn, is indicative of what the future holds, then Cornell should be very excited about its chances in the Ivy League championships, which will be held at the same venue in less than a month. While the men finished first in seven events at the Invitational, the women captured five first-place finishes.
Sophomore Katie Sullivan won the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:54.54. Senior Rachel Kirsch’s time of 11:20.69 was good enough for first place in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Junior Jessica Weyman won the 400-meter hurdles in 1:01.35. Senior Maria Matos won the discus throw with a distance of 49.50 meters, and junior Natalie Gengel won the pole vault competition with a jump of 3.85 meters.
While April Fool’s Day conjures up thoughts of practical jokes and frivolity, the serious sports fan is cautioned not to dismiss the notable events of the day. Outstanding athletic achievement occurred on this date such as John Havlicek dropping 54 against the Hawks in a 1973 playoff game and Wayne Gretzky registering his 103rd assist in 1981 to break Bobby Orr’s single season assist record. Notable athletes from knuckleballer Phil Niekro to Brook and Robin Lopez, who broke Cornell’s heart in the 2008 Big Dance, claim this date as their birthdays. However, it is the unusual events of this date that peak one’s curiousity.
My top five sports related stories of this date include in no particular order:
It might be fair to say that Cornell has moved on since Yale pieced together a walk-off home run in Game 1 and a two-run rally in the final inning of Game 2 to sweep last year’s doubleheader on April 6. However, last season’s heartache will certainly be in the back of the players’ minds as the Red hosts the Bulldogs today at noon in a midweek twinbill.[img_assist|nid=36395|title=Mr, Utility|desc=Sophomore Mickey Brodsky plays first base occasionally, but he will be on the mound against Yale in Game 1.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
We are beginning to see them at every sporting event. They are the worst. Unfortunately, they are becoming the rule, not the exception. Next time the cameraman turns for a shot of the crowd, take a close look and you will see them. They are everywhere, usually in business casual attire, checking email on their blackberry while the rest of the crowd holds its collective breath until the final seconds wind off the clock.
Who would have believed the baseball team would be happy to return to cold and dreary Ithaca after basking in the warm glow of the California sunshine during a nine-game road trip? Dropping all nine contests on the West Coast can make even Ithaca seem like a warm and friendly oasis.