With less than a month to go until Heps XC, we might as well start thinking about who the front runners are. The Male and Female Athletes for this week have emerged as individual title contenders for the November meet.
Male Athlete of the Week:
Penn’s Thomas Awad has shown himself to be quite a versatile athlete in 2014, spanning from his sub-4:00 mile to his Outdoor Heps 10km win last spring. On Friday, Awad showed he can compete with among some of the national elite at the Notre Dame Invitational, where he finished 4th in the men’s Blue 7.85km Race in 23:26.7, holding off Purdue’s Matt McClintlock in the final stretch. The race was shortened by 150 meters due to poor conditions of the course due to rain in days before the race. In a post-race interview with Flotrack, Awad credits his strong finish due to increased fitness and being more comfortable racing against fast competition. Awad’s high finish helped the Quakers finish 15th in the team competition. #24 Princeton produced the highest Ivy team finish at the meet, finishing in 8th place (after multiple scoring reviews as initial results neglected some Princeton runners in scoring) and besting previously ranked #16 NC State (now #28) and #18 Tulsa (now #29). Sam Pons has solidified his #1 spot on the team, being the top Tiger in 12th place with 23:38.7. Come Heps XC, we are anticipating a tight battle for the individual title between Pons and Awad.
Princeton and Penn also had their women squads compete at the Notre Dame Invitational. The Lady Tigers finished in 7th place in the team standings for the Blue 5km Race, led by a strong 1-2 combo of Megan Curham (7th, 16:21.7) and Kathryn Fleuhr (12th, 16:35.1). Ashley Montgomery (55th, 17:10.8) led the Lady Quakers to a 18th place finish in the same race.
Female Athlete of the Week:
Cornell’s Taylor Spillane continues to provide evidence that she needs to be in the discussion for the Heps XC individual title. The sophomore outleaned Yale senior Kira Garry at the Paul Short Invitational Gold 6km Race for 8th place in 20:14, an 80-second personal best for this course for Spillane. Garry was recorded with the same time for 9th place. Both this and Spillane’s Battle in Beantown finish (where she outkicked Dartmouth’s Dana Giordano) prove that her kick can be deadly. According to Cornell media reports, Spillane’s finishing time is a new team record for the course as she bested a record previously held by Katie Kellner (Cor ’13). This is the second straight meet where Spillane has broken a team course record, as she bested Rachel Sorna (Cor ’14) course best at the Battle in Beantown last weekend.
Male Rookies of the Week:
The Rookies of the Week awards go to the freshmen who finished well at the Paul Short Invitational on Saturday. In the Men’s Gold 8km Race, Cameron Stanish finished as Yale’s #2 runner as he finished the 8km course in 24:25, which was good enough for 25th place. Yale was led by junior Kevin Dooney (7th overall, 23:55) to a 4th place team finish in the Gold Race. Columbia, Penn, and Harvard also competed in the Gold Race. Columbia (11th) and Penn (29th) were led by freshmen for their team finishes: Tommy Rooney (58th, 24:52) for Columbia, and Brendan Smith (70th, 24:57) for Penn. Senior Nephat Maritim finished in 32th place (24:31) to help Harvard finish in 32th place. Cornell, Yale, and Penn also had runners compete in the Men’s Open Race, which was not scored.
In the Men’s Brown Race, Princeton was led to the team title by frosh Wolfgang Beck, who finished in 4th place in 24:44. Princeton’s scoring team for the Brown Race consisted of three freshmen – Beck, Joshua Ingalls (30th) and Charles Stahl (38th).
Female Rookie of the Week:
Yale was propelled to a 4th place team finish at the Paul Short Invitational Gold Race due to the strength of their freshmen. Dana Klein was the top Ivy freshman, where she finished in 41st place with 21:05. The Bulldogs had two other freshmen among their 5 scorers – Sami Glass (52nd, 21:12) and Kelly Reagan (57th, 21:14), which helped them edge out conference competition Cornell (5th) and Brown (6th) in the team standings, 202 to 230 to 235. Brown was led by Lucy Van Kleunen (25th, 20:52). Harvard also competed in the race, where the team was led to an 11th place team finish by senior Jen Guidera (55th, 21:13). Cornell, Yale, Brown, and Princeton also had runners compete in the non-scoring Women’s Open Race.
photo from Penn Track&Field/XC twitter