How do you cap off a great eight-team championship? Bring tired runners back and introduce some fresh ones for some gut-wrenching relays, that’s how.
On the men’s side, Cornell hopes to have enough left in the tank to make a run at Princeton’s 4×4 meet record of 3:12.83 set at The Armory in 2011. A Big Red foursome of Larry Gibson, Max Hairston, Hong Cho and Bruno Hortelano-Roig turned in a 3:10.14 on an oversized track in Ohio this season, but conditions will be different in Hanover. Tight legs and tighter turns make for a big challenge.
Dartmouth’s 31-year-old distance medley record (9:43.86) looks to be in jeopardy as Columbia and Dartmouth have posted all-time top five league marks this winter. The Lions’ 9:30.72 at Notre Dame last week — featuring John Gregorek, Harry McFann, Brendan Fish and Daniel Everett — is one of the nation’s top 10. Penn has the league’s best 4×8 time this season and will be aiming for a title.
The women’s 4×4 will be a race to watch as Cornell and Harvard have both been under 3:40 already. The Big Red foursome of Zena Kolliesuah, Ebolutalese Airewele, Elyse Wilkinson and Udeme Akpaete did it on an oversized track on Valentine’s Day, beating the likes of Notre Dame, Pitt and Ohio State. Harvard’s squad of Jade Miller, Autumne Franklin, Jackie Modesett and Gabrielle Scott did so at the Armory Collegiate Invitational, finishing ahead of teams like Clemson, Duke, Rutgers and Hampton. This should be a terrific showdown.
Princeton grads Greta Feldman and Alexis Mikaelian helped their Tigers to four straight 4×8 titles, but their graduation opens the door in this event. Every team has at least three sub-2:15 runners and Heps has a tendency to get more out of runners than they think possible. Expect fast and heroic with Dartmouth, Columbia, Yale and Princeton near the front.
— Brett Hoover