Friday was quite an Orange day in Jacksonville, Fla., as three Princeton Tigers — Conor McCullough, Donn Cabral and Damon McLean — each advanced to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
McCullough left no doubt as he hurled the five best throws — in either region — in his hammer specialty. His top mark of 237-6 carried him to the next level by more than 30 feet. With a season-best throw is 242-10, McCullough is the favorite to win a national crown.
It would be hard not to call Cabral the national favorite in the steeplechase either. A week after breaking the American College Record at the Oxy High Performance meet (8:19.14), The senior was an easy section winner in Jacksonville to earn his position on an Iowa-bound plane. After running very controlled with Ohio State’s Cory Leslie on his shoulder, Cabral simply took off after the final water jump and no one in the field could respond to the strength of his final kick. His time was 8:38.41. For Cornellian, now Indiana Hoosier Adrien Dannemiller also advanced in 8:42.98.
McLean put himself in a good place early, with the third-best triple jump of the first round (51-7). With some room to relax, he bettered that mark in the fifth round (51-8 1/4) and advanced to nationals with the fifth-best leap of the competition.
Columbia sophomore Harry McFann claimed a place in the 800-meter run at nationals with a clocking of 1:48.78 in the quarterfinals.
Two other Ivy Leaguers advanced in the evening’s final event, the women’s steeplechase. Dartmouth senior Alexi Pappas won the second of three sections, clocking the second-best time of the competition (9:55.89). Also earning a trip to the NCAA Championships out of that same section was Cornell junior Genna Hartung (10:10.55).
Now 11 Leaguers and one graduate will be competing at nationals. On Thursday Cornell’s Katie Kellner (10k), Brown’s Olivia Mickle (10k), Princeton’s Brian Leung (10k) and Yale’s Mike Levine (discus) advanced. Cornell decathlete Nick Huber qualified to the Championships with a strong in-season performance.
The headliners for the League on Saturday are 1,500m runners Kyle Merber of Columbia and Greta Feldman of Princeton, 5k runners Dan Lowry of Brown, Joe Stilin of Princeton, Heidi Caldwell of Brown and Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth, pole vaulter Nico Weiler of Harvard, high jumpers Maalik Reynolds of Penn and Montez Blair of Cornell and shot putter Stephen Mozia of Cornell.
if Weiler and Reynolds were to advance, all eight schools would be represented at the NCAA Championships from June 6-9.