Looking at the pre-Heps rankings for the distance events, it appears that the team with the potential for big points would be Cornell. After all, Cornell has the leading performances in the both the mile — senior Nick Wade, who ran 4:00.00 — and 5,000m — Brett Kelly and his 14:09.17 — as well as a pair of scoring performances from John Schilkowsky. This is an improvement on last year, when the Big Red entered no one in the championship 3,000m or 5,000m. We do not doubt that they will earn points, but we are wondering if the races will go their way. These events have been strong on strategy and short on fast in recent years, so anyone could really be in the mix. Don’t expect a sub-4. Heck, we might not get through a 1500m split in sub-4. Kyle Merber won in 4:21 a year ago.
Columbia’s top potential right now is in the 5k with Mike Murphy a step behind Kelly in the rankings. Dartmouth’s John Bleday is the only returning champion (as of now) in the longer distances, as he won the 3,000m last year with his great kick over great Princeton runners, including Olympian Donn Cabral. Bleday has the speed and endurance to score in both the 3k — where he has the best performance this season — and the mile. Can he do that again over Princeton’s Jon Vitez, Michael Frankin and Sam Pons?
Additional potential threats include Harvard’s Maksim Korolev and both Kevin Cooper and Erik Berg of Brown. It should be noted that Princeton has yet to run Alejandro Arroyo-Yamin, who was second at Heps cross, and Peter Callahan, the sub-4 minute miler who won the 800 at Cornell a year ago.
Top fives for 2013:
4:00.00 — Nick Wade (Cornell)
4:02.89 — John Bleday (Dartmouth)
4:02.91 — John Schilkowsky (Cornell)
4:02.94 — Kevin Cooper (Brown)
4:03.93 — Erik Berg (Brown)
7:59.33 — John Bleday (Dartmouth)
8:04.59 — Michael Franklin (Princeton)
8:06.54 — John Schilkowsky (Cornell)
8:07.23 — Phil Royer (Dartmouth)
8:08.73 — Mike Murphy (Columbia)
14:09.17 — Brett Kelly (Cornell)
14:09.86 — Mike Murphy (Columbia)
14:20.14 — Jake Sienko (Columbia)
14:20.92 — Paul Ross (Columbia)
14:21.63 — Leighton Spencer (Columbia)
— Mary Boggs