In order to analyze the relays, you need to not only see what they have already done this season, but you need to analyze what kind of potential they have as a whole as any member of the team could be a part of a relay squad.
In the men’s competitions, Cornell probably has the best potential of winning all three relays. They have the top times in the 4×100 and 4×400 going into this weekend and are currently ranked second in the 4×800. In the 4×100, each member of the relay team that set the No. 10 all-time best Heps time are ranked in the top 10 of the 100m dash. In the 4×400, two of the relay members are ranked in the top three of the 400m hurdles while the other two have already broken 50 seconds in the open 400m. And three members of the Big Red’s second-pranked 4×800 squad have the potential to break 1:50 for their respective legs (as they have previously done so in the open 800m) and shave that time down significantly.
For the 4×100 and 4×400, Princeton could have the best shot of upsetting Cornell, particularly if the Tigers give their top longer sprinters the batons. Princeton can also give Cornell a good run for their money in the 4×800 because of its stronger middle-distance crew. However, the favorite for the 4×800 is Columbia, which reset the all-time best time at the Penn Relays last weekend with the same lineup that was used on the Indoor Heps event champion squad.
For the women, it will be a tight race in the 4×100 between Penn, Cornell, and Princeton as each of these teams have a seasonal best that is within 0.11 seconds of each other. If Penn can have perfect hand-offs, they will probably have the edge as they have the most number of runners ranked in the top 10 of the open 100m. The last two years had the Light Blue winning the 4×400 title, but this year it is likely that the Tigers will claim this crown as they have the fastest seed time. Columbia could still make it a close race as they have two open 400m runners who have broken 56 seconds. But then again, Brown has two runners who have broken 55 seconds in the open 400; could the Bears gather a winning squad together?
Based on its season’s best and its middle-distance potential, it appears that Princeton will make a strong stand to defend the 4×800 title, however the Cornell squad certainly has sub-8:40 potential as well. Like the Big Red, Brown, Dartmouth and Yale have yet to compete in a 4×800 this year. While those squads may not be in position to win the event, they could make the race harder for second place. — Mary Boggs