Let’s kick off this week’s Outdoor Heps previews with one of the first (and longest) events of the meet – the decathlon and heptathlon.
Only eight men have completed a decathlon so far this 2015 season. Of these eight, only two have surpassed 7,000 points – Princeton’s Stephen Soerens and Cornell’s Austin Jamerson. Soerens comes into his final Outdoor Heps as the top returning scorer from last year, as he finished in second place with a personal best of 7,212 points. He is on track to pass that mark as he scored 7,101 points back at the Larry Ellis Invitational and sits in the top 10 in the conference in two of the decathlon elements – the high jump (t-7th at 2.02m) and javelin throw (7th with 56.80m). Jamerson won the Penn Relays decathlon two weeks ago with a new personal best score of 7,015 points. Jamerson’s strengths are in the jumps and sprints, as he’s in the top individual events of the high jump (5th with 2.04m), long jump (10th with 6.92m), and hurdles (13th in 14.92). Dartmouth’s Nico Robinson is the top newcomer in this event – he contested the decathlon for the first time ever back in March, ended up with a score of 6,504 points. Many of his individual element seasonal bests are from early in the season but he’s been focusing on them in the meets since then. Brown’s Peter Rhodes has not contested a decathlon yet this season, but after being edged out for the Heps title by 5 points this past winter, he will be determined to remain a contender this weekend. He’s the top hurdler in the field this season (11th in the 110H with 14.83) and a strong jumper (11th in the long jump with 6.85m) and proved to be the fastest “distance” runner at the Indoor Heps. He finished 5th at the 2014 Outdoor Heps decathlon, and he has a lifetime best of 6,894 points. The last time someone won the Outdoor Heps title with fewer than 7,000 points was back in 2011, where Brown’s Evan Weinstock won with 6,755 points.
Like the men, only eight women have contested a heptathlon this season. The Indoor Heps champion, Taylor Morgan, is not one of them. Morgan has focused on the individual elements this spring season, which has resulted her in in the top 10 of two events (5th in the high jump, 1.68m; 10th in the shot put with 12.29m) and just outside the top 10 in a third event (long jump at 5.48m). The shot put was Morgan’s golden event at Indoor Heps as she scored almost 80 points ahead of her main competitors at Indoor Heps; Dartmouth’s Allison Frantz and Harvard’s Madison Hanson. Frantz will have to rely on her sprinting speeds at her first Outdoor Heps, much like how she did at Indoor Heps. She did complete a heptathlon at the start of the season, scoring 4,663 points. But it’s going to take more than that to win a Heps title. Hanson has the top heptathlon score going into Outdoor Heps as she raced to a new personal best of 5,210 points back in March. The score is the sixth best in conference history. She’s a talented hurdler and sprinter (2nd in the 100H with 14.04w). You cannot count out Penn’s Noel Jancewicz. She, too, has set a new personal best in the heptathlon this season – 5,051 points that she did at the Penn Relays. Jancewicz is the top vertical leaper of the possible heptathlete contenders as she’s ranked 3rd in the individual high jump with a best clearance of 1.70m. Also, the event will be contested at her home facility, so she’ll get some extra boost knowing that it is her home turf.
– Mary Boggs
photos by Doug Austin