HepsXC14: Princeton Men

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In recent seasons, Princeton became an Ivy League powerhouse in men’s cross country. Under the guidance of former coach Steve Dolan, they climbed to top-10 spots in national rankings, qualified for the NCAA championships multiple times, and claimed 6 Ivy League HepsXC titles in the past 8 years. It’s been about 2 years since Dolan’s departure and since then Coach Jason Vigilante has preserved the Tigers’ strong tradition in men’s cross country. Last year, the Tigers were ranked as high as 9th in the nation and were the top placing Ivy League team at NCAAs. A few front-running seniors did graduate, however, leaving this year’s team with some ground to make up.

Princeton started this season off ranked 20th in the nation but they have slid off the rankings list since then. According to senior Eddie Owens, the team hasn’t quite measured up to its potential so far. Their best performance was arguably their first of the season with a win at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Meet. Owens explained that at all of the large invitationals they’ve run in, their lower than expected placing has been a matter of guys having off days. When asked if he thinks Princeton will take the HepsXC title this year, Owens replied, “I’m confident we’ll be able to win, we’ve had some pretty good workouts lately.” Not to mention homefield advantage!

However, Owens does acknowledge that there isn’t much room for error for his team race-wise. He explains, “We’ve been lucky that this has been an off year for the league. We were pretty shocked to place ahead of the other Ivy League teams at Wisconsin. I think if our top 5 guys can put it together, we’ll have a good shot at winning.”

Although the Tigers were the highest Ivy League finisher at the the Wisconsin adidas invitational a few weeks ago, closer examination reveals that Dartmouth, who placed a spot behind the Tigers, would actually beat them if the meet was scored as a 4-way quad meet including the other Ivy League teams present. In other words, it should be a close HepsXC Championship whether the Tigers can reclaim their former glory or not.

Princeton’s men also ran at the Paul Short and Notre Dame Invitationals this season where they placed 1st and 12th respectively. For spots 1-7, the Princeton men’s lineup for this year’s HepsXC championship will be Sam Pons, Matt McDonald, William Paulson, Eddie Owens, Wolfgang Beck, Michael Sublette, and Noah Kauppila. The Tigers’ varsity team have not placed in a consistent order so we’ll see what happens on Saturday. Spots 8-12 will most likely be claimed by Mike Mazzaccaro, Jack Leahey, Sam Berger, Will Bertrand, and Bradley Paternostro.

photo by Princeton TF/XC 

– Sami Aziz

One Response to “HepsXC14: Princeton Men”

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