oHeps14 – Men’s Vertical

o14-bragg
Doug Austin Photo

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o14-maalikIn the high jump, it is a story of Cornell versus Penn.  This will be the last time that Penn’s Maalik Reynolds and Cornell’s Montez Blair will battle for a Heps title.  For three years, these two All-American athletes have competed against each other at Heps, typically finishing 1-2 each time. Reynolds dominated the Heps’ high jump in 2011. Blair transferred to Cornell at the start of the 2012 season, where Reynolds got his first equal competitor within conference competition.  Reynolds continued to win Heps in 2012, but Blair got his groove in 2013 and has won three-straight Heps titles since. Going into their final Heps, they are tied for the No. 1 seed with the season’s best clearance of 7-2 3/4 (but both men are capable of getting up to 7-5). Reynolds is coming into New Haven with the slight psychological edge of besting Blair at the Penn Relays, but will that make the difference on who claims this final high jump crown?

Meanwhile, both Cornell and Penn have two additional athletes each who can reach the podium and really impact the team title race. In the Big Red corner, there is Tommy Butler (who won the Penn Relays’ Eastern event) and Stephen Afadapa.In the Quaker corner, there is Nathan Harriger and multi-eventer Thomas Pitt. All of these men have previously scored at Heps. Keep an eye on Princeton though, as the Tigers need Omar Jarrett and Jake Scinto to score high in order to keep the team in title contention.

Like at Indoor Heps, Cornell can rack up the points in the pole vault as well. Cornell has four vaulters in the top 10 of the season performance listing, led by freshman Grant Sisserson. Sisserson enters his first Outdoor Heps with the No. 1 seed and the distinction of being the only athlete to have cleared 17 feet so far this outdoor season. There are two other vaulters in this conference who have cleared 17 feet during their athletic careers — the 2012 Outdoor Heps champion Peter Roach of Cornell (who has yet to clear a height this outdoor season) and the 2014 Indoor Heps champion Adam Bragg of Princeton. If Roach is out for Heps, the battle for the crown will likely be between Sisserson and Bragg as their best clearances so far this season are at least eight inches higher than the rest of the competition. At this past Indoor Heps, Bragg bested Sisserson. Can he do it again in New Haven?

— Mary Boggs

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