2013-14 Track Men of the Year

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Tom Hopkins (Haverford, Pa.) had always seem to have been flying under the radar during his undergraduate career, but he has compiled quite a resume that it deserves to be recognized.  In 2014, Hopkins won four events (indoor long jump, indoor 500m, outdoor 400m, indoor 4×400 relay) and finished in 2nd place in another four (outdoor long jump, outdoor 200m, outdoor 4×100 and 4×400 relays).  Princeton alum and HepsTrack photographer Nathan Crumpton shared with me a conversation he had with Hopkins earlier this year: “When I asked him if he had ever won the “Athlete of the Meet” award, he responded, “Nope… I just work behind the scenes. I accepted the fact that I would never get it my sophomore year.” And his goal has always been team achievements it seems, more so than individual accolades.”  This is quite evident in his stats: Hopkins scored over 180 points at all of the Heps he’s contested in, and in the process, earned 25 All-Ivy honors, won 7 individual titles, and participated in 5 relay titles for Princeton.  Individually, he is in the recordbooks for the indoor long jump (6th all-time, 25-01 ¾) and outdoor 400m (6th all-time, 46.23), and has earned a number of USTFCCCA Academic All-American accolades.  On top of that, Hopkins was included as a part of 5 relay records that are within the top-10 in conference history (mostly for 4×400 relays), went to NCAAs as a part of 4×400 relays, and won a Penn Relays Championship of America wheel as a part of Princeton’s DMR in 2012.    Unfortunately, I do not have a tally of highest point scorers ever throughout a Heps collegiate career, but if we did, I would suspect that Hopkins would be up there among some of the other greatest athletes to have ever competed in this conference.

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By the end of Outdoor Heps, Cornell sophomore Max Hairston (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) joined a very small Ivy hurdling club.  Hairston became the 8th Ivy hurdler to ever sweep all three of the hurdling events (indoor highs, outdoor highs and lows) within the same athletic year.  The last athlete to accomplish this feat was Penn’s Randy Cox back in 1987, where he set then-conference records in each of those hurdling events (note: the first indoor conference championship meet was not contested until 1948, but even pre-1948, only two athletes ever swept the outdoor highs and lows at the same outdoor conference championship).  Hairston defended his Indoor Heps title with a new personal best of 7.90 that ties him with the conference meet record (Saidu Ezike’s 7.90 set in 2008) and the 3rd fastest all-time.  Hairston followed it up with an IC4A title a week later, en route to Cornell men winning the team title.  He won his first Outdoor Heps title in the 110 hurdles with a speedy 13.94 (second fastest in meet history), and then about an hour later, won the 400m hurdle title in 51.49.  This outdoor sweep, in addition to a very strong leg on Cornell’s winning 4×400 relay, resulted in coaches voting him as the Outdoor Heps Track MVP.  But Hairston’s best race came at the NCAA East Region Preliminary Round, where he ran not only a personal best, but a new conference record, in the 110 hurdles in 13.78 that qualified him for nationals.  He would ultimately finish 14th at NCAAs.  And please note – Hairston did all of this as a sophomore.  Could he become the second hurdler in Ivy history to complete this sweep for two years in a row (which is what Penn’s Harold Schwab did in 1975 and 1976)?

Honorable Mentions:

Will Geoghegan (Dartmouth) – Geoghegan reset the mile bar during the indoor track season by running a new conference record in 3:58.04.  A week later, he and Harvard’s Maksim Korolev ran one of the best Ivy showdowns of the year in the 3km, where both of them broke the previous conference record. Geoghegan also earned two All-American honors: cross country (14th) and the indoor mile (5th).

Bruno Hortelano-Roig (Cornell) – this speedy senior had fun making all sorts of sprinting history during the indoor season, including a 60m-400m sweep at Indoor Heps, setting two new indoor conference records (6.69 in 60m, 20.75 in 200m), and earning All-American status for his 8th place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Maksim Korolev (Harvard) – Korolev had quite a roller coaster undergraduate career, but we can say that his senior year was his best one.  He earned his second Ivy title with a win at Heps Cross Country, and then surprised the nation by finishing in 3rd place at NCAAs, the best performance by an Ivy male since 1945.  He also set two conference records during the indoor track season: the 3km (7:51.52) and 5km (13:42.56).  Korolev also qualified for NCAAs in these two events.

Hopkins photo by Doug Austin/Hairston photo by Sami Aziz

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