Nathan Crumpton Photo
Princeton will be eyeing the men’s horizontal jumps this weekend as a major source of points for the team competition. Based on the performance listings, the Tigers have five men ranked among the top six of both the long and triple jumps that could result in a total of 36 points from the two events. Two of these athletes — Tom Hopkins (long jump) and Damon McLean (triple jump) — could become three-peat event champions. Hopkins could become only the second Ivy Leaguer to win three LJ titles while McLean could become the sixth three-time champion of the triple jump.
McLean and teammate Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi are currently 1-2 in the season’s triple jump performance listings going into Outdoor Heps. They are also the only athletes who have hopped-skipped-jumped over 50 feet this outdoor season. McLean’s current best, 52-10 3/4, might be two feet ahead of his competition, but he is still about a foot and a half away from a conference record (or seven inches way from the Outdoor Heps record that was set by Cornell’s Muhammad Halim back in 2007). Cornell’s Dan Scott and Harvard duo Malcolm Mason Rodriguez and freshman Efe Uwaifo are the only other athletes in the field who have jumped longer than 50 feet during their collegiate careers. Mason Rodriguez, Uwaifo, and Cornell’s Robert Plummer are less than a foot away from Owusu-Nyantekyi in the performance listings, which would lead to a Crimson or Big Red athlete getting the runner-up spot. However, these men would need a three-foot personal best in order to challenge McLean for the title.
Another Harvard freshman, Elliot Safo, is the current No. 1 seed in the long jump, but he does not have the kind of cushion that McLean has over his competition in the triple jump. Safo — who has a four-inch buffer between him and defending champion Hopkins — got his mark at the Penn Relays, but Hopkins’ mark was from back in March. He’s only contested the long jump twice so far this outdoor season, as he has been focusing on the 200m, 400m, and relays in recent meets. It should be noted that Hopkins soared 25 feet during the indoor season. The Tigers also have Jake Scinto and multi-eventer Stephen Soerens who can potentially win the long jump this weekend.
Cornell will be depending on Steven Bell, Montez Blair, Dan Scott, John Enkler, Robert Plummer, andAustin Jamerson to try to reduce the damage done to them by Princeton. As it stands in the performance listings, Princeton could earn 36 points to Harvard’s 16 points and Cornell’s 10 points if the finals go in the order of the season’s performance lists. But hey, that’s why the have the meet, right?