This weekend was the first weekend where it was starting to really feel like spring. Fortunately for HepsNation, the athletes used this great weather to turn out some amazing performances all across the country. Most of the Ivy action took place at Princeton on Friday and Saturday at the Larry Ellis Invitational (the rest of the weekend recap will be shared later today). This meet has continued the trend of high quality Ivy League performances that have not only altered the conference performance listings, but also the record books and national rankings. Ivy Leaguers from Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, and Princeton claimed 15 event titles at the two-day invitational that featured schools all along the East Coast and many professionals based in the Mid-Atlantic area. Many athletes are putting up times that hopefully qualify them for NCAA Preliminary round, as Outdoor Heps usually result in more tactical races to optimize team points.
The Princeton women claimed three of distance event wins: 800m, steeplechase, and 5,000m. Megan Curham won the 5,000m by almost 30 seconds in 15:54.03 while becoming the 8th Ivy women to break 16:00 in the event. Her time is the 5th fastest in conference history, top of the conference performance list, and ranked 16th in the country. Princeton had 4 in the top 8 of the event, as Emily de La Bruyere (4th, 16:33.20), Kathryn Fluehr (6th, 16:37.20), and Erika Fluehr (7th, 16:50.60) joined Curham. Princeton had a similar showing in the 800m, as Cecelia Barowski claimed the win 2:08.42 (#3 in the conference) and had 4 teammates in the top 10: Kim Mackay (2nd, 2:11.60), Zoe Sims (4th, 2:12.70), Summer Hansor (8th, 2:17.07), and Rachel Skokowski (9th, 2:17.27). They will have a competitive 4×800 squad come Penn Relays and Outdoor Heps. Princeton’s Elizabeth Bird claimed her third steeplechase win of the season, as she ran a new personal best of 9:58.33 while becoming the 4th Ivy woman to break 10:00 in the event. It ranks her 6th in the country right now.
Columbia’s Olivia Sadler has now entered the Ivy record books in the 1,500m, as her runner up finishing time of 4:18.36 is the 8th fastest in conference history and 21st in the country. Sadler was joined by teammate Aryn Foland (4:25.76, 7th in conference listing) and Penn’s Cleo Whiting (4:26.89, 9th in conference listing) in the top 6 of the event. Dartmouth went 1-2 in the 10km, as Leigh Moffett (36:29.84) and Kennedy Jensen (36:40.84) are now ranked 6th and 7th in the conference performance list. Another successful event for the Ivies was in the 400m. Penn frosh Candace Taylor ran another personal best to claim 4th place in 54.52, edging out Princeton’s Jasmine Blocker (54.79 in 5th place). Taylor and Blocker’s times rank them 3rd and 5th in the conference, respectively.
The women had great showings in the field events. Columbia’s Queen of the Jumps Nadia Eke made her season debut in the long jump, and while jumping into a headwind, she got a new personal best of 19-10 ¾ to finish 3rd overall (note: she’s only ½ inch away from making the top-10 all-time record listings). Princeton’s Sarah Ronde (7th, 18-04 ½) and Penn’s Emily Jiang (8th, 18-04 ¼) joined Eke in the top 8 of the long jump. Three Ivy women also made the top 8 of the triple jump: Penn’s Jenny Thompson (4th, 39-03), Columbia’s Anna Williams (6th, 38-10 ½), and Princeton’s Alex Lanzafame (7th, 38-07 ¾). Princeton’s Julia Ratcliffe continued her undefeated season in the hammer throw as she won the event in a new season’s best of 217-0. Columbia’s Joanna Koronois got a new personal best in the hammer while finishing 4th with a new best of 176-07. Penn’s Kelsey Hay won the javelin throw by six feet with a toss of 145-07, while her teammate Serena Graf finished in 5th (133-0). Graf also finished in 6th of the shot put with 40-08 3/4, joining Princeton’s Kennedy O’Dell (3rd, 44-0 ¾), Penn’s Taylor Hojancki (7th, 40-06), and Princeton’s Taylor Morgan (8th, 39-08) in the top 8 finishers.
The Ivy men showed similar results in their portion of the meet. Princeton’s Sam Pons and Matt McDonald went 1-2 in the 10,000m with new personal best times (29:35.78 for Pons, 29:38.76 for McDonald). Dartmouth freshman Colin Minor and Penn’s Tom Timmins both claimed new personal bests while winning their respective events. Minor claimed the hammer throw title with 199-00 toss, which places him second in the conference rankings. Princeton’s Vic Youn finished as the runner up in the hammer with a 192-04 throw. Timmins’ winning time of 51.74 is also the top time in the conference to date. Princeton’s duo of Greg Leeper (2nd in 53.48) and Jordan Myers (8th in 54.09) joined Timmins in the top 8 of the intermediate hurdle event. In the high hurdles, Princeton’s Greg Caldwell used a little wind assistance to finish in second place with a new season’s best of 14.29. Stephen Soerens had a good first decathlon of the season, as he won the event with 7,101 points. His teammate Mike Mazzaccaro took third in the 5,000m with 14:05.98, which is the third fastest time in the conference so far this year. Rounding out the sprints is Penn’s Jeff Wiseman, who finished 6th in the 400m with the second fastest time in the conference this year (48.00).
Out in the field, Penn frosh Mike Monroe won the high jump with a new outdoor best clearance of 6-10 ¼, which leads the conference as well. Princeton’s Nana Owusu-Nyantekyi did not need to take all six attempts in the men’s triple jump to claim the win, as he passed his final two attempts once he secured the win with his 51-00 ¾ performance. The distance is a new season best and wind-legal. Princeton’s Scott Rushton and Penn’s Sam Mattis won their respective throwing events – Rushton claimed the shot put with a 57-01 throw while Mattis claimed the discus with a 192-07 toss. Princeton’s Adam Bragg set a new conference lead in the pole vault, as his 17-03 clearance was good enough for 2nd place in the competition.
The Ivy men showed their national potential in the distance track events. In the 1,500m, Penn’s Thomas Awad showed a few professionals his speed as he finished 2nd overall with a 3:40.68, besting the likes of Ivy alumni Donn Cabral (3:41.19) and Joe Stilin (3:44.37). Awad’s time places him 6th all-time in the Ivy League history, and ranks 7th nationally. Princeton’s Bradley Paternostro also had a great 1,500m race – he ran a new personal best of 3:42.88 that was good enough for 7th place in the race, 2nd in the conference event listing, and 22nd nationally. Columbia’s Brendon Fish ran 1:48.08 in the 800m to finish 4th overall, but the time sits as the 19th fastest time in the nation right now. His teammate Rob Napolitano finished back in 8th place with a time of 1:49.73.
In addition to Cabral and Stilin, there were a number of alumni who had the opportunity to compete at Princeton this past weekend. Princeton alumna Imani Oliver was the only event winner of this small bunch, winning the women’s triple jump with a distance of 42-08 ¼. Kyle Merber (Columbia) and Henry Sterling (Dartmouth) finished in third place in their respective events. Merber finished the 800m with a time of 1:47.23, while Sterling grabbed a new personal best in the steeplechase with 8:50.93. Dartmouth’s Megan Krumpoch finished 4th in the women’s 800m with 2:05.23. Princeton alumni Chris Bendtsen and Trevor Van Ackeren finished in the top 10 of their events – Bentdsen was 7th in the 5km with 14:14.30, whie Van Ackeren was 10th in the steeplechase with 9:07.20:
photo by Mary Hui