Any event whose result or champion is determined by misses can be a bit unpredictable – the vertical jumps can be such a thing. But this unpredictability is what makes these events so exciting (provided that you keep track of the height, clearances, and misses).
Princeton’s Adam Bragg goes into Outdoor Heps with the top height in the conference – 17-09 ¼ that he cleared this past weekend. It’s a new personal best for him that ranks him 3rd in the conference record books. Considering how this height is over a foot better than the next best vaulters in the conference going into Heps (Yale’s Brendan Sullivan and Cornell’s Keith Rayburn with 16-08 ¾), we could dub Bragg the “favorite”. But the worst case scenario of the dreaded “no height” can happen to anyone – it happened to Bragg last year at Outdoor Heps and at this past Indoor Heps. That allowed his indoor season rival, Grant Sisserson of Cornell, an easier path to the conference title. Sisserson has not cleared the same heights this outdoor season as he did during indoors. His 2015 outdoor best is 16-02 ¾, which ranks him 6th this week, but he and Bragg both flirted with the 18-ft barrier this past indoor season. Sisserson also no heighted last year at Outdoor Heps. Two other men have cleared 16-feet this outdoor season – Harvard Andrew Roney (16-05 ¼) and Princeton’s Ben Gaylord (16-04 ¾) – while Dartmouth’s Max Consculluela and Princeton’s August Kiles are only 1 inch away from meeting that height. Princeton could use this event to try to distance themselves from (or catch up with) Cornell in the team race.
With the high jump, we have a continuation of the Penn/Cornell duel that we’ve witnessed these last few years with new names/faces. You could place the “title favorite” mantle on the Quaker frosh Mike Monroe. He claimed the Indoor Heps title, and he has the height clearance going into Outdoor Heps with 6-10 ¼. Oh, and this is his home jumping platform. But he is not ahead of the competition by large margins. Cornell’s vertical duo Stephen Afadapa and Myles Lazarou both cleared 6-09 this season. Add in Penn’s Thomas Pitt (top returning scorer from last year with his 3rd place finish) and his best clearance this season of 6-09, and you have the top 4 males clearing heights within 3 centimeters of each other. I’m not sure what the height progression is going to be in the high jump competition, but it will weed out the top title contenders around this height. Cornell’s Austin Jamerson (who will likely double up with the decathlon in this event) can give the Big Red some extra points for the team race, while Dartmouth’s Alex Frye will look to improve upon his 6th place finish from last year.
– Mary Boggs
photo of Bragg by Doug Austin; photo of Monroe by Bill Shearn