Storybook finishes don’t have to end up with a victory in the race. Princeton senior Michael Franklin is proof of that.
Coming into the 2013 track season, he’d never scored at Heps. But that wasn’t necessarily his measuring stick. As a junior he was named the Tigers’ most improved runner after advancing to the NCAA East Regionals in the 5k.
But 2013 proved to be a much different experience. Franklin was posting strong times from the start. He didn’t just score at Indoor Heps, he won the 5k. Then he doubled down, winning the 5k and the 10k at Outdoor Heps. He didn’t go to the regionals as a reward, he went to qualify for Nationals.
And with that mission complete, he walked onto the Hayward Field track on Thursday as the 18th seed with nothing to lose. The result was that he capped his career with the race of his life, finishing fifth in the 10k in 29:42.34 and earning All-America status. It was the best finish ever in the event for a Tiger as he was about 13 seconds behind champion Lawi Lalang of Arizona.
Junior teammate Chris Bendtsen started out in the pack, but fell back at about the midway point. He finished 22nd in 31:06.83, but a mistaken official signaled him to run another lap even while his time was posted on the scoreboard. Columbia senior Mike Murphy was 19th in 30:33.43 while Harvard junior Maksim Korolev was clearly laboring from the start and posted a time and a place well below his capabilities.
Another Ivy Leaguer looked like she will become an All-American by the weekend. Cornell junior Rachel Sorna ran second to Olympian Emma Coburn in her heat of the steeplechase, earning advancement to Saturday’s final. Sorna’s time of 9:55.84 was better than the winner of the second heat and puts her among the favorites. Senior teammate Genna Hartung closed her career with this race, finishing in 10:24.29.
Hartung was one of several college careers that came to an end on Thursday. Princeton’s Greta Feldman narrowly missed advancing to the final of the 1,500-meter run. She was in great position down the stretch, but began to fade a bit nearing the finish. Three runners passed her and she missed qualifying by a single place. Her time was 4:18.25.
The day also marked the end of the road for Princeton’s Austin Hollimon and Russell Dinkins. They teamed with Tom Hopkins and Daniel McCord on the 4×400-meter relay, but that foursome couldn’t produce the 3:06 they’d managed at the Penn Relays, instead running 3:09.84. Dinkins had the best split of the group, rounding the track in 46.3.
The final competitor of the day was Yale junior James Shirvell, who failed to advance with his time of 3:50.91. He’d run nearly 10 seconds faster at the Eastern Prelims, breaking the Bulldog record in the process.
Three-time NCAA champion — Abbey D’Agostino of Dartmouth — goes after No. 4 tonight in the 5k. Below is today’s schedule.
All times Eastern
3:30 pm — Women’s heptathlon (long jump)
5:45 pm — Women’s heptathlon (javelin throw)
6:15 pm — Women’s pole vault final
6:20 pm — Men’s high jump final
Montez Blair (Cornell)
Maalik Reynolds (Penn)
6:25 pm — Women’s triple jump final
Imani Oliver (Princeton)
7 pm — Men’s discus throw final
Stephen Mozia (Cornell)
7:30 pm — Women’s 400m hurdles final
7:40 pm — Men’s 400m hurdles final
7:50 pm — Women’s heptathlon (800m run)
8 pm — Women’s 100m dash final
8:10 pm — Men’s 100m dash final
8:20 pm — Women’s 800m run final
8:30 pm — Men’s 800m run final
8:40 pm — Men’s steeplechase final
8:55 pm — Women’s 400m dash final
9:05 pm — Men’s 400m dash final
9:15 pm — Women’s 5,000m run final
Abbey D’Agostino (Dartmouth)
Waverly Neer (Columbia)