oHeps14 – Men’s Middle Distance

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There is something wonderfully unknown about the 1,500-meter run at Heps. First, we have no idea who will be in it as of this moment. And once we know, we are in the dark about strategy. Let’s start with Thomas Awad of Penn, who shocked nearly 50,000 fans at Franklin Field two weeks ago, winning the open mile at Penn Relays in 3:58.34. First, Awad afterward said that he remains a 5k guy, but after his showing he’d have to check with Coach Steve Dolan about the future.

oHeps-ClaflinHe has the League’s fastest 1,500 time (3:42.89), but his mile conversion brings him down to 3:40.68. But Penn Relays’ had a clock at the 1,500m mark of the race and his time was 3:43.42. That means that Awad has one helluva kick. So if you are John Gregorek or Daniel Everett of Columbia, Michael Williams of Princeton or James Shirvell of Yale, you don’t necessarily be in a footrace with Awad. Jogging two laps and having him conserve his energy would seem like a questionable plan. So will this be the year that someone finally dips under 3:44 in the final? That hasn’t happened in the last 23 years, dating back to Rick Wemple’s 1991 record of 3:42.09. Dartmouth’s Will Geoghegan — a sub-4 indoor miler — is likely out for the remainder of the outdoor season because of a stress fracture in his foot which diagnosed a month ago.

In the 800m, there are a lot of Ivy guys that can get around the track twice pretty quickly. In fact, 15 have done it under 1:52 this spring already and the top 10 has done it in the 1:50s or faster. But the guys to watch are mostly wearing Light Blue of Columbia, particularly the senior trio of Harry McFann, John Gregorek and Brendon Fish. McFann won in 2012 and has the top time (1:47.91) this year, but his mates are right behind in the 1:48s. Yet another Lion, junior Connor Claflin, was second to Princeton’s Russell Dinkins a year ago. But Cornell’s Will Weinlandt, a two-time indoor champion, is hoping to break up that powdery blue party. He and Penn’s Drew Magaha are the only non-Lions under 1:50 this spring. Fourteen years after running a ridiculous 1:46.07 at Heps, Brown’s Trinity Gray still holds the meet record by nearly two seconds.

– Brett Hoover

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