Men’s and women’s track both finish third at Ivy League Heps

| 2/29/16 6:30pm

The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, known to coaches and athletes as “Heps,” is the culmination of months of intense training and preparation for the men’s and women’s track and field teams. Hosted at Cornell University’s Barton Hall in Ithaca, New York from Feb. 27 to 28, the meet is unlike any other for the Big Green athletes.

“We begin the year with a plan, and for many of the athletes, when you take out [the athletes who also compete for the cross country team], this starts in September,” women’s head coach Sandy Ford-Centonze said. “Every year, there’s always that one goal, and that goal is the Heps.”

Corey Muggler ’17, who took first in the long jump and fifth in the triple jump, said that his performance at the meet was as much mental as it was physical.

“I did a lot of visualization in the nights leading up to the meet,” Muggler said. “The meet atmosphere was also very intense so I tried to feed off this energy to get fired up for every jump.”

Both teams were rewarded for their hard work and preparation with third place finishes. The men’s third place finish was the team’s first top four performance in five years.

“I’m very proud of this team,” men’s head coach Barry Harwick ’77 said. “Finishing third was about as high as I thought we were going to finish, so it’s very gratifying to see us do well.”

The men’s team performed especially well in the jumping events. Leading the way was Muggler, whose first place finish in the long jump in 7.47 meters on his first attempt and his fifth place finish in the triple jump with 15.28 earned him the men’s Most Outstanding Field Performer of the Meet honor.

Also performing well in the field events were Max Cosculluela ’17, who set a new school record in the men’s pole vault with a 5.12-meter vault and earned himself second place in the event, as well as Justin Donowa ’19, who placed second in the triple jump with a 15.57 leap.

The highlight on the track for the men’s side was Joey Chapin ’16’s performances in the 3000-meter and the 5000. Chapin won the 5000 on Sunday afternoon in 14 minutes and 25.96 and placed second in the 3000 on Saturday night in 8:08.47.

Chapin said the 3K was a tough loss, since he took the lead in the last lap.

“Somewhere in the last 30 meters, [Ben Rainero of Cornell] came up beside me and eventually out-leaned me at the line. It was a fantastic race on his part and it stings a little, but it’s hard to be mad about it,” Chapin said.

The 5K was more tactical.

“I was not sure about how my legs would respond from the 3K the day before so I bided my time waiting for the race to string out as much as possible,” Chapin said.

Other strong performances on the men’s side included a third place finish by Tim Gorman ’16 in the mile in 4:14.49 and a third place finish by Amos Cariati ’18 in the 500 in 1:04.73.

The women’s side earned strong wins from Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16 in the high jump, Dana Giordano ’16 in the 3000 and Helen Schlachtenhaufen ’17 in the mile.

Whitehorn won the high jump for the third time in her career, clearing 1.84 on her third and final attempt at the height. She also placed sixth in the women’s 60 dash in 7.56.

Competing in the two events simultaneously made for a busy day.

“She jumped, cleared, and had seven minutes to get over to the 60 and get her spikes and blocks,” Ford-Centonze said.

Giordano also won the 3000 for the third consecutive year at the Heps. She barely edged out Natalie Schudrowitz of Brown University and Courtney Smith of Harvard University, stopping the clock at 9:16.37 compared to Schudrowitz’s 9:16.74 and Smith’s 9:17.10. Giordano also placed third in the 5000, finishing in 16:29.19.

Ford-Centonze was impressed with Giordano’s determination throughout the season.

“She’s been battling back from a foot injury, but she went out there with pride and determination to win the 3K,” Ford-Centonze said.

Schlachtenhaufen won a tight mile race, finishing in 4:53.44. The first four places were separated by 26 hundredths of a second.

“It came down to the last 50 meters, and when I saw that opportunity, that it was within my reach, I just went for it,” Schalchtenhaufen said.

The athletes seemed to reiterate the importance of confidence and mental visualization going into competition.

“Mentally, the biggest thing for me was to be confident and calm on the starting line, which is something I have been working on all season,” Schlachtenhaufen said.

According to Ford-Centonze, Whitehorn is ranked tenth in the country in the high jump and will most likely qualify for the NCAA Championships. Harwick added that Giordano will also probably qualify for the 3000.

Apart from Whitehorn and Giordano, however, the rest of the team will take some time off and then return to competition over spring break.