Consistency wins championships. And for Cornell, it has become the key to building a dynasty.
The Big Red repeated as Ivy League champions in Hanover, N.H., Sunday despite a strong push from Princeton, who fell short for the second year in a row. Yale finished fifth overall, riding strong showings in each of the weekend’s three relays.
Cornell’s depth could not be matched as the weekend wore on. Although athletes from three other schools set meet records, the Big Red gathered points wherever they could and capitalized on unmatched team contributions. Cornell won only two of the weekend’s 19 events, but still managed to score 122 points to outpace the Tigers’ 102. Penn followed with 98, trailed by Brown (88) and the Elis (66).
Shomari Taylor ’06 said pure size makes a difference in a meet like Heps, where being able to fill slots and scrape together seemingly insignificant points for lower placings can significantly affect a team’s overall score.
“I think it’s just a matter of numbers,” Taylor said. “They just have so many guys, more depth.”
But Jared Bell ’09 suggested that recruiting is also approached differently at Cornell, which comprises both publicly-funded and privately-funded schools with different standards, both academically and financially.
“Since they have two schools, they can attract a lot more athletes,” Bell said. “They can get in with easier academic standards, and they can get those kids more money.”
Penn’s Courtney Jaworski claimed Athlete of the Meet honors with a pair of victories and a meet record. His time of 4:04.34 in the mile was the best in Heps history. Jaworski followed that win with a second-place finish in the 800 and a major role in Penn’s 4 x 800 relay victory. The Bulldogs placed third in that relay.
After a few disappointing performances on Saturday that left the Elis out of some of Sunday’s finals, it appeared the meet could be turning sour. Connor Kilpatric ’08, who contributed to the 4 x 800 team’s third-place standing, said Sunday brought a sense of urgency that helped the team turn its luck around.
“It was up and down for us this year at Heps,” he said. “We were disappointed after Day 1, but we were definitely all pretty pleased with how we ran in the relays on Sunday to help pick up the slack. It didn’t hurt that we were all rested, too.”
In addition to a strong showing in the 4 x 800, the Elis also claimed third in the 4 x 400 and first in the distance medley relay. The medley team of Bell, Dan O’Brien ’08, Matthew Boshart ’08 and Pat Dantzer ’06 edged Dartmouth at the finish with a time of 9:58.59. The event marked the Bulldogs’ lone win of the weekend.
Dantzer took the baton as the anchor, running the mile leg that caps the relay. He kicked it into gear and claimed first place with less than a half mile remaining, then scorched the final 800 meters in exactly two minutes. Dantzer’s form has improved immensely during the winter, just months after a diagnosis of anemia helped explain the cross country captain’s mysterious decline during the fall.
“Pat’s anchor of the DMR was extraordinary,” Kilpatric said. “It was really frustrating for us and obviously for him watching him struggle in cross [country]. Seeing the way he has bounced back has been great.”
Dantzer added a third-place finish in the 3,000-meter run to his heroic last leg of the DMR. His time of 8:13.45 was Dantzer’s second-best ever indoors and just over a second slower than Tiger Davind Nightingale’s, the winner.
Several other individual performances highlighted the meet for the Bulldogs. Jihad Beauchman ’06, likely the best all-around jumper in Yale history, secured second place in the high jump with a height of 2.06 meters. The jump was an inch and a half short of three-time league champion Ray Bobrownicki, who won with a 2.15-meter effort. Beauchman followed his second-place finish by claiming fifth in the triple jump.
Kevin Alexander ’06, who helped the 4 x 400 team to its third-place position, turned in a strong showing on his own in the 400-meter dash. Alexander’s time of 48.43 seconds gave him second place overall. Unfortunately for Alexander, Columbia junior Erison Hurtault stole the show with a meet-record 47.07 in the finals. Hurtault’s exceptional performance did little to help the woeful Lions, who settled into last place.
Finally, thrower John Langhauser ’07 continued an impressive season with a pair of solid efforts in the shot put and weight throw. Langhauser took second in the shot put with a throw of 16.07 meters, the fourth-best of his career. Then, in the weight throw, Langhauser unleashed a 16.88-meter heave, good for fourth place.
“He’s had a huge improvement in everything,” Taylor said of Langhauser. “He’s put in the work. Everyone knew it was coming; it was just a matter of when.”
Unfortunately for the Elis, all the pieces did not fall together perfectly. A few major falters on Saturday ended up costing the Bulldogs come Sunday afternoon despite the best efforts of the relay squads to carry the load.
Still, Taylor said the team was not too disheartened with a fifth-place finish.
“Going in we felt we could get in the top three,” he said. “But as a team I think we did pretty well. It was worse than we may have planned, but overall we scored 66 points and that’s not too bad.”