Here is where a chess game begins. If Princeton is to maximize its scoring potential, Coach Fred Samara is going to need to successfully place his stellar distance crew into the right races. It’s an educated guessing game. Just last week on the same Franklin Field oval, Princeton and Columbia asserted mile dominance by finishing 1-2 in the 4xMile Championship of America over the likes of Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Georgetown and Texas A&M.
But you can bet that those teams won’t stuff all of their milers into the 1,500m at Heps. In fact, will Princeton be able to bring Peter Callahan off the bench for big points? Callahan twice dipped under four minutes indoor, but has yet to register an outdoor time. Depending on the conditions, there are at least a half-dozen Ivy runners able to run in the 3:40 range, including Columbia’s Kyle Merber and Princeton’s Joe Stilin, each of whom broke four minutes for the mile indoors. But Heps’ races are typically tactical, more focused on theater than speed. We’d love to see someone destroy convention by going hard from the gun.
Will Stilin even run the mile? He and Brown’s Dan Lowry have each posted Heps’ all-time top 10s in the 5,000-meter run while Harvard’s James Leakos and Princeton’s Chris Bendtsen are also under 14 minutes. Moving up to the 10k, Ethan Shaw of Dartmouth has the best time of the season (29:17.89). Shaw won Heps’ cross country in a narrow victory over Merber on a horrible weather day in Princeton. The day started with a cold rain and ended with blizzard-like conditions. Philly in May will be much more mild, perhaps to Shaw’s chagrin. Others in the 10k mix include Cornellian Brett Kelly, Columbia’s Mike Murphy and Princeton’s Alejandro Arroyo-Yamin. And what might veteran Brian Leung be able to do to help the Orange cause?
The steeple? If Donn Cabral runs it, he will be the prohibitive favorite to win it. After all, he has run in the 8:30s and earned All-America status in the event. Cabral’s teammate Connor Martin and Columbia’s John Gregorek are each sub-nine guys ready to take the crown if the opportunity arises. — Brett Hoover