Nathan Crumpton photo
Last year we went kinda nuts when Heps sent 32 entrants to Nationals in the form of 27 individuals (one doubler), two relays and two graduates. It was something of a Beamonesque moment in League history.
Well, Mr. Beamon, it looks like Mike Powell might be warming up already. (Okay, these references might be over some heads. Bob Beamon broke the long jump world record by leaping more than 29 feet when no one had ever broken 28. Twenty-three years later, Powell broke Beamon’s ‘unbreakable’ record.)
After Friday night, here’s where Heps stands — 19 qualifiers (18 undergraduates, one grad) and a whole lot of talent remaining on Saturday. Last year’s amazing mark of 32 is in jeopardy.
Here’s a rundown of the 10 who broke through to Eugene, Ore., Friday from Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.:
• Harvard’s amazing hurdling duo of sophomore Autumne Franklin (56.65) and freshman Jade Miller (57.22) didn’t just advance in the 400m hurdles, they both ran personal bests and now stand 2-3 on the all-time Heps list behind only Olympic finalist Brenda Taylor.
• Two steeplechasers — Princeton junior Eddie Owens and Cornell senior Rachel Sorna — took different routes to Oregon. Owens dug deep for a 65-second final lap to ensure a qualifier in 8:46.41 while Sorna simply ran from the front as most the field couldn’t keep pace. In her quarterfinal heat, only Florida State’s Pippa Woolven was able to finish within 10 seconds of her 9:52.88.
• If teams and conferences get known for a specialty — like Penn State’s “Linebacker U.” — it seems like the Heps hallmark is the 800-meter run. Four runners — two men and two women — will be competing in the two-lap at Hayward Field after Friday’s quarters. On the men’s side, Brown junior Henry Tufnell was the swiftest non-auto qualify (1:47.99) while Columbia senior Harry McFann took the last ticket to Eugene (1:48.15). For the women, ever-consistent Harvard junior Erika Veidis ran 2:04.72 in the fastest heat of the day while Dartmouth senior Megan Krumpoch took an auto berth in the slowest heat (2:05.68). Georgetown junior Andrea Keklak, who once ran at Princeton, also advanced, but she isn’t included in our 19. That group is reserved for current athletes or those who graduated from an Ivy school. We still take note, though!
• The League’s veteran triple jumper — Princeton senior All-American Damon McLean — advanced with a leap of 15.85 meters (52-0), but spectators in Oregon will also get a look at the future of Ivy tripling as Harvard freshman Efe Uwaifo held on to a spot with a 12th-place leap of 15.57 (51-1). Uwaifo picked a fine time to post his seasonal best (he’d soared 15.70 as a fourth-place finisher at the European Juniors last summer).
There was confusion over whether sophomore Kaitlyn Whitehorn of Dartmouth had advanced in the high jump (5-9 3/4). She participated in a jump-off and — even on Saturday morning — the results site indicates a jump off clearance and no misses. But apparently there was some kind of officials’ procedural error that will keep her from Oregon. Late last night, timer Roger Jennings of Flash Results confirmed the list of qualifiers, which did not include Whitehorn.
The only Heps finals qualifier from Friday to Saturday was Cornellian Max Hairston, who ran a personal best 13.85 in the 110-meter high hurdles. That time is Heps’ No. 3 all-time as he passed League greats Peter Coghlan of Yale and Randy Cox of Penn. The League record is 13.79, set by Cornell’s Saidu Ezike in 2008.
Three athletes produced personal bests, but fell just short of advancement. Dartmouth sophomore Sarah Kikut and Cornell sophomore Larry Gibson had both run faster wind-aided 200-meter times at Heps, but this time the marks stand without wind assistance. Gibson posted a 21.22 while Kikut finished in 23.96 to move into the all-time League top 10. Also, Brown senior Victoria Buhr established a discus personal best (171-1) in the final legal throw of her career. Lastly, Princeton senior Tom Hopkins finished his career with a 46.66 in the 400-meter dash.
As we begin to focus on Saturday, the League needs 13 qualifiers to advance to match last year’s stunning total. Can the Heps Nation really pull it off? Here are some names to remember — Abbey D’Agostino, Stephen Mozia, Waverly Neer, Daniel Everett, Sam Mattis, Rachel Sorna, Thomas Awad, Imani Oliver, Maalik Reynolds, Nadia Eke, John Gregorek, Montez Blair, Dana Giordano, Steve Mangan, Molly Renfer, James Leakos, Sammy Silva, Peter Callahan and Abby Levene. They and others all compete on Saturday along with strong relay teams from Harvard and Cornell.
Thirty-two? Let’s bust through that high ceiling today!