Three members of Heps Nation found themselves in a position to compete at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow in August.
For two — Montez Blair of Cornell and Sean Furey of Dartmouth — there is more work to be done. The other — Ben True of Dartmouth — has no control as he will wait to see if N.C. State star Ryan Hill can hit the required standard and knock True off Team USA.
Blair himself had a nerve-wracking wait. He and Virginia Tech’s Ronnie Black were tied for the third spot and had to mull it over for quite some time before the jump-off. Each had cleared 7-4 1/2 and missed at 7-5 3/4. Blair won the jump-off, but will need to hit 2.28 (7-5 3/4) to book his ticket to Moscow. His PR is just a centimeter shy.
“My peak was sort of in the middle of the season, so I’m trying to get back,” he said afterward. “Long jumping and triple jumping, kind of hurt my heel, so I’m just getting back in the flow of things. Hopefully I get the standard soon and I can make the Worlds team.”
While Blair has to hit the ‘B’ standard, Furey needs to hit the ‘A,’ which is 83.50 meters, some 20 feet beyond his third-place effort (253-10).
“I’m coming off a little bit of a shoulder injury to start off the season,” said Furey. “It was building, so I went 75 meters to 77 meters. It started to feel better on every throw so I’m happy to have chance to chase the standard and make the world team. I’m going to throw in two competitions … probably one in San Francisco and one in Chicago to reach the standard and head over to Russia.”
Furey was the only 2012 Heps Olympian to finish in the top three as javelin mate Craig Kinsley of Brown was eighth (240-9), Princeton steeplechaser Donn Cabral was sixth (8:35.37) and Cornell 1,500m runner Morgan Uceny was eighth (4:31.32).
True finished fourth in the 10k on Friday and matched that place today in the nine-person 5,000m run, but Ryan Hill — who was third — needs to hit the ‘B’ standard of 13:20 or True will slot up. “If I go because he doesn’t meet the standard,” True said. “I didn’t really earn it.”
Truth is, he would have. As the race went out embarrassingly slow, True was the one who finally took charge to make it an honest race. “Someone had to do it,” he said. “It might as well be me … I thought I’d grind out those last laps, but I fell a bit short.”
Falling just short was an afternoon theme for some of the Heps athletes. Abbey D’Agostino didn’t have the legs for her patented final-lap kick and wound up finishing sixth in her specialty, the 5k. It was two seconds shy of a trip to Worlds. Look for her to take a well-earned break and prepare for the cross country season, where she will be a favorite to win the NCAA title.
Kate Grace of Yale ran a big personal best in the 800-meter run (2:00.10), but fell just short of making Team USA. “I have to be happy,” she said. “But I wanted more.” Next time you see her in the U.S. Nationals, expect it to be in the 1,500-meter run.
Next time we see Cabral, it will be an interesting story. After taking sixth, he told Flotrack that he was going to “shut down my season.” He feels that his training should be producing better results. “Everything is off,” he said, adding that he would see some doctors and figure out what was going on.
That brings us to the shot put, where one Heps athlete stood atop the podium and another just missed three final attempts.
Standing atop the podium was 2004 gold medalist Adam Nelson of Dartmouth, who was awarded his rightful medal nine years delayed because the winner was a drug cheat.
“I think it’s about as unusual for me as it is for y’all,” said Nellie. “This guy did this thing like nine years ago (2004 Olympics), what the heck is going on. Talk about milking it. Because it happened so long ago, I think the emotions are a little more subdued. It’s been great because I’ve been able to share the experience with my family. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity nine years ago.”
And he saw the Ivy shot-putter of the future as Stephen Mozia of Cornell finished ninth in 62-8 3/4, less than two inches from being a finalist.