iHeps12 — Men’s Middle Distance

Okay, calling the 400-meter dash ‘middle distance’ is a bit odd, but so is the series of events featured in the men’s program at Heps. No 200, but bang, we have a 400, 500, 800 and 1k. The women have just the two NCAA races in this area, the 400 and 800. So we call an audible, throw these events together and do our best to pull it off. The prohibitive favorite in the 400 would have been Princeton’s Austin Hollimon, but he has opted to take the semester off and train for the London Olympics in the 400m hurdles, an event he has never run as a collegian. Without him in there, the field opens up, but another Princetonian — sophomore Tom Hopkins — moves into the role of the favorite. He is the only Ivy runner under 48 indoors this season. Yale senior Matt Bieszard is the only other Leaguer to go sub-49 (48.40), but Cornell has about half of the League’s top 10 this winter and could negate Hopkins’ points. It is a crap shoot to handicap the races before the coaches make the entries public, especially in this busy segment of the card. There are nine guys within a second of Columbia sophomore Harry McFann in the 500m dash (1:03.76), but who will run where? Some of the runners to watch include Harvard senior John Dingus, Cornell senior Brian Freitas and Columbia soph Billy Kovalczyk. As we slide up to the 800, we’d love to see a battle between two juniors — Princeton’s Russell Dinkins and Cornell’s Nick Wade. How close is that race? The two share the League season best at 1:49.92. There are a gaggle of freshmen looking to score here, the likes of Cornell’s Rutger Admirand, Princeton’s Bradley Paternostro and Columbia’s Brendon Fish and Connor Claflin. The 1,000 will be difficult to predict, but we hope that neither Princeton’s Peter Callahan (2:20.78) or Columbia’s Kyle Merber (2:22.52) wins here. That’s because we want them to matchup in a potential Heps’ dream mile. The fastest time outside of those two is Brown junior Erik Berg’s 2:23.39. — Brett Hoover

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