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Dividing and Conquering

Saturday, March 22, 2008

When Cornell recruited Jeomi Maduka, it was primarily for her ability to jump horizontally, not vertically. Track, not basketball, seemed to be her best sport.

Cornell's Jeomi Maduka is the Ivy League player of the year in basketball and an all-American long jumper in track.

"I kind of thought she'd try basketball for a month and come back and do track," said Lou Duesing, the longtime women's track coach at Cornell.

Instead, Maduka has split her time between the sports with stirring results. A 6-foot-1 junior forward, she is the Ivy League basketball player of the year and a primary reason the Big Red (20-8) has reached the N.C.A.A. women's tournament for the first time. On Sunday, Cornell will face Connecticut, the No. 1 overall seed, in the first round in Bridgeport, Conn.

Last weekend, before leading Cornell to an Ivy playoff victory, Maduka finished eighth in the long jump at the N.C.A.A. indoor track and field championships. She has qualified for this summer's Olympic trials with a personal outdoor best of 21 feet 4 inches. Twice this season she has competed in a track meet in the morning or afternoon and played a basketball game at night.

For Jere Longman's full story from the New York Times, please click here.