Elis hope to trump Cornell at Heps



While the Ivy League indoor track and field championship includes teams from each of the Ancient Eight schools, the Bulldogs are focusing on just one: Cornell. The Big Red has won the meet two years in a row, beating the second-place Eli women by 15 points last year.

This weekend, Cornell hosts the 2004 Ivy League Heptagonal Games at Barton Hall in Ithaca, N.Y. The Bulldogs will try to deny the Big Red a third consecutive league title.

Cornell appears to have all the advantages. It defeated the Bulldogs by a wide margin in a dual meet, has a larger and deeper team and will compete on its home track. But the Elis believe the quality of their team is superior.

“Cornell has a much bigger team than we do and may be able to take many places in several events,” Rebecca Dickens ’04 said.Ê”We have fewer people, so we need to beat Cornell out for the top spots.”

The Bulldogs’ strengths will be the sprinting and field events. Joslyn Woodard ’06 is the defending champion in the 60-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and the long jump. Katrina Castille ’07 has been running nearly even with Woodard all season in each of those events and should be able to place well in all three.

“I have had to tell myself this week that I have to compete not as a freshman,” Castille said.

Woodard and Castille have the top two times in the Ivies this year in the 60, and are among the top entrants in the 200, possibly one of the most competitive events of the meet. Two Cornell sprinters, Cameron Washington and Johanna Garrity, have run faster than Woodard this year, but only by .07 seconds and .05 seconds respectively.

The Bulldogs’ long sprinters will have their hands full with a Cornell squad that took first, second and fourth in last year’s 400-meter dash. While the Big Red lost star sprinter Katy Jay, newcomer Washington has the best performance in the Ivy League this season, having run 56.06 seconds.

But the Bulldogs should be able to perform well in the 800-meter run. Vanessa Mazandi ’05 has not lost to an Ivy League opponent this year and has continued to set new personal records. Dickens, fourth at Heps last year, hopes to work together with Mazandi to move up this year.

“Mazandi and I need to take first and second in the 800 and then come back and win the 4×800,” Dickens said.Ê”We’ve been talking about this all season, and it definitely won’t be easy because there are many good 800 runners in the league this year.”

In distances greater than 800 meters, the dominance of Yale and Cornell will fade. Princeton and Columbia, whose distance runners placed ninth and 13th respectively at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, should fight for the top spots in the mile, the 3,000-meter run and the 5,000-meter run. Princeton’s top three finishers in the 3,000 at the HYP meet two weeks ago all ran NCAA provisional qualifying times. Emily Kroshus of Princeton, who ran 16:15.54, enters as top seed in the 5,000.

But the Elis are hoping that good performances by other teams such as Princeton and Columbia may be a good thing.

“We actually hope that some of the other schools will be able to beat [Cornell] in certain events and take away its points,” Dickens said.

In the field, the pole vault will be an event in which the Elis should be able to earn a substantial number of points. Molly Lederman ’06 set a school record in clearing a NCAA provisional height of 3.97 meters. She will face a strong challenge from Chelo Canino, a Penn senior and defending Heps champion in the event. Ashley Nolet ’07 has been right behind Lederman and should certainly be able to score.

Lederman is a copy staffer for the Yale Daily News.

Captain and high jumper Lisa Wygant ’04, who has cleared a career-high 1.70 meters multiple times this season, hopes to beat out a number of athletes who have cleared the same height.

In the end, performance lists do not matter, past results do not matter. All that matters is what happens this weekend.

“We go to Heps for one reason,” miler Katie Matlack ’06 said. “And that’s to win.”

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