Nathan Crumpton Photo
Princeton dominated the longer distance events last year, claiming two event wins and earning 43 points out of a possible 93 from the steeplechase-5km-10km events. Princeton can have the chance to continue that dominance this weekend. Based on the season performance lists, Princeton has 38 points across those three events. Seniors Chris Bendtsen and Tyler Udland are currently ranked 1-2 in the 10km with times that are among the fastest in conference history. Both of these men are capable of scoring high, and even winning, in the loaded 5km field that will be Outdoor Heps. Alejandro Arroyo Yamin is also a clutch performer for the Tigers, and he will be looking to win his first individual Heps title before he graduates. Meanwhile, Eddie Owens has been a top contender in the steeplechase since he was a freshman.
According to the season’s performance listings, Penn is Princeton’s closest competitor in the long distance events. Thomas Awad might just be the dark horse for the 5k – his kick has been instrumental during this outdoor season, where he’s improved his personal bests from the 1500m to 5k, including clocking a sub-4 minute mile. In the steeplechase, Brendan Smith has the fastest time of the season so far with 8:53, while his teammate Nick Tuck is just a split second away from breaking 9:00. Last year, you needed to run faster than 9:00 in order to score in this event. We’re expecting it to take a similar time to score this weekend.
But there are other athletes who also can contend in these events. Columbia’s John Gregorek is the defending champion in the steeplechase. While Gregorek has yet to compete in the steeplechase this year, he has posted some of the conference top times in the 800m and 1500m (our theory, he’s been practicing his kick). Columbia’s Daniel Everett got outkicked at last year’s Outdoor Heps for the 5km title – expect him to remain in the hunt for the 5km title. Yale is looking to Kevin Dooney for some much needed points from both the 5k and 10k. Harvard’s James Leakos won the indoor 5,000m title, with assistance from his teammate Maksim Korolev (who has yet to compete this outdoor season). If Leakos is in the right psychological state this weekend, he can contend for his second Heps title. And if Korolev does compete at Outdoor Heps, this duo could make a big shift in the team race.
– Mary Boggs