HepsXC — Princeton Men

Alejandro Arroyo Yamin by Princeton Athletics Communications

The Princeton Tigers are going to have a battle on their home course to retain the conference title. Despite a 14-point victory last season, we are expecting it to be a much closer battle for Princeton because of the surge of Columbia this season coupled with the graduation of Brian Leung and Olympian Donn Cabral. If you remove all of the graduated runners from the 2011 Heps results, Princeton edges out Columbia for a two-point win.

Princeton’s odds for the team title could be in their favor as they have one of the favorites for the individual title — junior Alejandro Arroyo Yamin (Culver, Ind.), who has risen to the No. 1 slot left by Cabral after being the fourth Princeton scorer at Heps last year and has set a personal best in the 8k this season (23:52). Along with Arroyo Yamin’s return, watch for junior Tyler Udland (Millburn, N.J.), the only first-team All-Ivy performer returning from last year.

Junior Chris Bendtsen (Wolcott, Conn.), senior Michael Franklin (Mendham, N.J.), junior Jonathan Vitez (Haddonfield, N.J.), sophomore Matt McDonald (Annandale, N.J.) and sophomore Eddie Owens (Brooklyn, N.Y.) have run well during this season and have typically finished as a pack in the larger invitational races. All of these runners have bested 25 minutes for the 8k this year. In fact, the depth of talent and small spread between the potential top five scorers will make the men’s championship race very exciting to watch.

Under new coach Jason Vigilante the Tigers has been focusing more on pack running as they believe it will be the key to success at the larger meets. It seems to be working as they have risen to as high as 11th on the national polls and are currently ranked No. 23. The question is: will it be enough to hold onto the conference title for the third straight time? — Mary Boggs

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