In order for Princeton to keep up with Cornell in the team race, Princeton will need to score well in areas where Cornell is lacking in depth. This year, it is the middle and long distances that are Cornell’s weakest portions. Cornell only has two 800m runners that could be in contention for finals this year: defending champion Will Weinlandt and Hong Cho. Princeton can easily make up ground in these longer events as they have sub-4 miler Michael Williams, Bradley Paternostro (800m), Luke Brahm (1,000m) and Will Paulson (1,000m) who can all finish well in these events.
Princeton will have to worry about displacement points from other worthy athletes from Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth,and Yale. Dartmouth can easily dominate the mile — not only do they have the new conference record holder Will Geoghegan (3:58.04), they have three other athletes who have run faster than 4:02 this indoor season: Steve Mangan, John Bleday and Tim Gorman. Yale’s James Shirvell will also be contention in this race as he has also come close to breaking that 4:00 barrier. But as recent Heps show, the mile has turned more into a game of “who can time their kick the best” than a real speedfest, so the mile title can really belong to anyone in that final.
The 800m and 1,000m can be dominated by Columbia, Brown, and Penn. While Columbia may be the current Heps cross country champion, you can tell their strength lies in these middle distance events. Harry McFann and Brendon Fish have both gone under 1:50 in the 800 this year, while Fish, John Gregorek and Rob Napolitano have gone faster than 2:26 in the 1,000m. Oh, and Gregorek is also a 4:01 miler. Brown has their own middle distance brigade — 1,000m defending champion Ned Willig, Colin Savage (1,000m), Henry Tufnell (800m) and Matt Bevil (800m). Willig is the favorite for the 1,000m as he leads the field by 1.5 seconds going into this weekend.
— Mary Boggs